Flying Heritage Collection Opens to Public at Paine Field

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Rare vintage aircraft owned by philanthropist Paul G. Allen on display in Everett, Wash.

The collection represents technological innovations during World War II

SEATTLE, Wash. ó June 6, 2008 ó The Flying Heritage Collection, one of the worldís great collections of rare World War II-era fighter planes from five major countries of the war, announced today that its exhibition facility at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. is now open to the public. The collection features 15 of the most famous fighting planes ever designed and built, and it is one of the nationís largest collections of vintage planes in flyable condition.

ìThese planes and artifacts are important pieces of aviation history,î said Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, owner of the Flying Heritage Collection. ìEach plane represents a technological advancement that had an impact on flight right up to today. Our goal is to restore these planes, preserve them to authentic, flying condition, and share them with the public for generations to come.î

The new facility, in a restored, working hangar close to the Paine Field flight line, will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The collection will be open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the rest of the year. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

ìWe are thrilled to open the collection to the public in our new home at Paine Field on the 64th anniversary of D-Day,î said Adrian Hunt, executive director of the Flying Heritage Collection. ìThese rare aircraft can now be enjoyed by anyone with a love of flying, history or technology. Many of our aircraft are the last examples known to exist and now we have a public facility in which to display them.î.î

ìThe Flying Heritage Collection, combined with the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour, has enhanced Paine Fieldís reputation as an international aviation attraction,î said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. ìWeíre proud that Paul Allen chose Snohomish County as the permanent home of the collection.î

The collection will continue its tradition of flying planes during the summer to help keep each plane operational and exercised on a regular basis. These ìfly days,î scheduled every other Saturday beginning June 14, 2008 and ending October 11, 2008, are free to the public and offer a great opportunity to see historic aircraft return once more to the sky.

Home of Legendary Flying War Birds

The Flying Heritage Collection features legendary planes that are known and recognized by nameóthe Spitfire, Zero, and Mustang. The Supermarine Spitfire along with the Messerschmitt Bf 109, also represented in the Collection, are two of the major combatant planes of the famous Battle of Britain. The Mitsubishi Zero Sen was the worldís first truly strategic fighter and the North American P-51D Mustang was considered by many to be the finest fighter plane produced during the Second World War.

Beyond the legendary fighters well-known to historians and enthusiasts, the collection has an important collection of very rare, one-of-a-kind planes of which there are few, if any, examples left in the world. A technologically advanced German rocket plane, the Messerschmitt Me163 Komet, is a highlight of the collection. The worldís first rocket-powered fighter plane, the Komet was a late-war innovation by the Germans to forestall the inevitable end of the waróthe plane was designed and used to intercept bombers over Germany.

The collectionís Fieseler Fi-103 V-1 ìBuzz Bombî was the worldís first cruise missile and was also developed by Germany late in World War II. Even rarer is the Fi-103 Reichenberg, a modified V-1 designed to carry a pilot who could guide it to specific targets; the pilot was expected to eject prior to impact. A few prototypes were test flown, but this manned-missile was never used in combat.

Documenting Rapid Technological Advancement

Each plane in the collection represents a technological advancement in manned flight, whether in design, propulsion or production. Taken as a whole, the collection demonstrates how world conflicts can drive innovation. These planes were created at a time when aeronautical discovery evolved into aviation mastery and technology advanced from highly refined piston-powered flight to jet-powered flight.

ìThe Flying Heritage Collection traces the evolution of technology in the face of demanding times,î said Hunt. ìIt was Paul Allenís inspiration to start collecting these planes and open them for public viewing, study and education.î

Saved from the Brink

Many of the planes in the collection were salvaged and saved from extreme circumstances. The collectionís Nakajima Hayabusa, a Japanese fighter plane from 1942, was located deep in the jungles of Rabaul (a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea) at the Warís end. The P-40C was located in a field in Russia five decades after it crash landed during the War. The V-1 examples were found on the floor of a secret underground factory years after the War. And the Bf 109 was found in 1988 when a man walking on the beach near Calais, France tripped over a piece of metal sticking out of the sandóit turned out to be the wing tip of the buried plane.

Currently, the Flying Heritage Collection includes more than the 15 planes on display. New planes will be placed on display as they finish restoration. Along with the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the Flying Heritage Collection forms a collection of vintage planes in Western Washington that rivals the finest collections in the world.

About the Flying Heritage Collection

The Flying Heritage Collection is a collection of rare World War II-era military aircraft owned by philanthropist Paul G. Allen. The mission of the collection is to obtain, restore, fly, interpret and preserve aircraft and artifacts representing technological advancements in manned flight. Currently, the collection displays 15 of the most famous fighting planes ever designed and built. It also is one of the worldís largest collections of vintage aircraft that have been restored to flying condition. The collection is operated by Friends of Flying Heritage, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to educating the public about these rare, historic aircraft. The Flying Heritage Collection is located in a restored hangar at the southeast corner of Paine Field at 3407 109th Street SW, Everett, Wash. 98204. The Collection is open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the rest of the year. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, please visit

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Updated: July 18, 2011 — 3:25 PM
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