Ronald M. Auen Learning Center First Flight Experience

About the Program

First Flight Experience is an opportunity for students from the Coachella Valley and surrounding areas, 12-17 years old, with a serious interest in becoming airline pilots to explore that interest.


Each aspiring pilot will receive an introduction to flight in the Palm Springs Air Museum’s Cessna 182 Skylane, Inspiration One, and receive a First Flight shirt and flight log.


Each student goes through a pre-flight check with the flight instructor before take-off, and learns about take-off and landing procedures, in addition to how to maneuver the plane in-air.


After landing, participants receive a certificate commemorating their flight. Time spent in the air counts towards the total number of hours needed to qualify for a pilot’s license.


First Flight Experience participants then have the opportunity to take a pilot assessment with our partners, SoCal Pilot Center, which shows them their areas of strength in becoming a pilot and helps guide them in improving their odds for success. This also includes an assessment in a fully immersive flight simulator.


Palm Springs Air Museum is proud to offer this incredible opportunity to local youth at no cost to families! It is our hope that First Flight will inspire future aviators to see their own potential!


This program runs October through July, offering flights to five individuals each month.


All flight dates for the 2023-2024 First Flight season are full. Please email our education department at [email protected] to be added to the email list and receive an email when applications for the 2024-2025 First Flight season opens.


Who can participate?

Local youth 12 to 17 years of age, who have never had any flight experience, with a serious interest in becoming a pilot or to be in a program on a flight track.


Five individuals will be selected in the active program months. There is a high demand to participate in the program and space is limited.

The Experience

  • Each aspiring pilot will receive an introduction to the Palm Springs Air Museum and receive a First Flight shirt and flight log.
  • Next, participants will be introduced to the Cessna 182 Skylane, Inspiration One and the pilot.
  • Then they will board, taxi and take-off for an approximate 30 minute flight next to the pilot.
  • After landing, participants will receive a certificate commemorating their flight.



  • Must have a parent or guardian permission forms and limit loss form completed.
  • Passengers who cannot board the aircraft without assistance will not fly.
  • You must be capable of climbing and descending the equivalent of a standard ladder.
  • The physical restrictions for all planes (other than the C-47) are: 6’5″, and 250 lbs. or smaller
  • All passengers are required to complete a Participant Release.
  • For safety, all passengers must wear closed-toe shoes. No sandals or flip-flops will be allowed. Long pants are recommended.
  • Large backpacks, shoulder bags, duffel bags, tripods or other bulky items are NOT permitted on the aircraft.
  • No animals are permitted on the aircraft.
  • Participation in the program allow the Palm Springs Air Museum permission to use likeness in educational, communication and marketing materials.
  • NO Firearms, Pepper or Chemical Sprays, Stun Devices or weapons of any kind are permitted on the aircraft.
  • Passengers must be 12 years of age or older. Minors who fly (age 12-17) must have their parent or guardian complete a Participant Release for Minors. The parent or guardian must be present for the flight.
  • No smoking and no vaping devices are allowed on any of our aircraft.
  • No portable oxygen assistance devices are permitted.
  • Flights may be canceled due to weather, mechanical, or crew availability.

If you have questions or concerns, please email
[email protected]

Thank You To Our Partners

Atlantic Aviation
Air and Space Forces Association