Flying Heritage Collection,
Paul Allen's lovingly cared for plane
This custom built
hangar is crammed full of beautifully restored planes for
the Flying Heritage Collection.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen
has invested his billions of dollars into a very diverse range
of businesses and other enterprises and indulgences.
In the Seattle area we not only
have his Experience Music Project but also the less well known
Flying Heritage Collection, located 30 minutes north of Seattle in
This is an excellent but
surprisingly small collection of aeroplanes. Personally, I
prefer planes to Jimi Hendrix, and so while welcoming both of Paul
Allen's public projects, I can't help wishing he would lavish his
Flying Heritage Collection with resource more in line with that
given to the EMP in Seattle.
The Many Different Aviation
Themed Attractions Around Seattle
Seattle is one of the
birthplaces of the US aviation/aerospace industry, along with
obvious other places such as Kitty Hawk and some not quite so
obvious places such as Wichita.
Whether for this reason or
purely by accidental chance, the greater Puget Sound region has
a treasure trove of aviation themed attractions and activities.
This eleven part series details many of them.
0. Aviation Themed Attractions in the Seattle Area -
1. Museum of Flight, Seattle
2. Boeing Factory Tour & Future of Flight, Everett
3. Flying Heritage Collection, Everett
4. Historic Flight Foundation, Everett
5. Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Everett
6. Heritage Flight Museum, Bellingham
7. Fly in a glider/sailplane/balloon
8. Special Events
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR
10. Other Regional
Flying Heritage Collection - Everett
A view inside the Flying Heritage
Collection's hangar in Everett
Paine Field in Everett is where Boeing has its main airplane
assembly operations. It is also the home to two
surprisingly similar 'warbird' type museums - and the Seattle
Museum of Flight's Restoration Center too; and it is possible
to spend a (very) full day visiting all four places.
If you're a
real airplane buff, however, you'd probably end up spending two
days at Paine Field.
Another view, showing a Fieseler Storch
in front, then a MiG 29 and at the rear,
a P-47D Thunderbolt - three extremely
One of these two museums is Paul Allen's Flying Heritage
Collection. This has a beautifully presented collection of
currently 15 airplanes primarily of the World War 2 era, from
German, Japanese, Russian, British and American Air Forces.
Included are the 'normal' sorts of planes you'd expect such as
Spitfires, Messerschmitts, Mustangs Hellcats and Zeros as well
as less common planes such as a Storch, an Me-163, and two
different Polikarpov planes from Russia.
A video presentation in front of a
lovely Spitfire, then a Hurricane behind
it, and further back, an obscured P-40C
Tomahawk and then a totally obscured
The museum's collection is steadily growing, and they indicated
that during 2011 they have already confirmed the addition of two
more planes to their collection; a B-25 (which means there will
be two B-25s now based at Paine Field, both flyable) and a Focke
Wulf 190 A-5 (complete with the original BMW 801 engine, which
when it was restarted in Dec 2010 marked the first time
since 1957 that one of these engines had operated).
Believe it or not, this is the jet
engine from a Me-163; with the Me-163,
that attained speeds of almost 600 mph
from this engine, immediately to the
They also have a couple of WW2 tanks (one German, one Russian)
and a German Flak-88 anti-aircraft gun, also from WW2.
These come out and drive around and even fire blank charges on
Not just planes, but a Russian T-34
tank, and a German Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank
destroyer as well (plus a Flak 88 AA gun
out of the picture to the left).
Currently there is also a beautifully restored MiG-29 at the exhibit,
which was bought by another of Paul Allen's corporate entities
from the Historic Flight Foundation. The MiG is close to
new, having something like only 510 hours on its airframe prior
to being purchased and restored by the Historic Flight
only be there for a short time, however, before being 'flown away
to a non-disclosed location' somewhere else in the US.
Very few Mig-29s are in private ownership, making this a very
interesting additional item on display.
When you visit, you are offered a guided tour by a docent at no
extra charge. Guided tours through their collection
typically run anywhere from one to three hours, depending mainly
upon you and the number of questions you have.
In addition to docents at hand to answer your every question
(although on my tour, I found they didn't know all the answers
and were baffled by some of the German rocketry, even when asked
questions to which the answers were already on the placards
alongside each exhibit) there are interactive displays in
several places giving you further opportunities to learn about
the exhibits (and be entertained).
Almost all the planes have been restored to their original
splendor, and not only
are they in full working order, they actually get to fly.
The museum has 'Free Fly Days' that occur perhaps ten times a
year, from May through September on Saturdays at noon, and typically more or less every other weekend,
depending on other activities and commitments, both by the
museum and by Paine Field.
On these occasions anywhere from two to four planes are
featured. You can indeed simply go up to Paine Field and
watch the planes take off, fly overhead, and land, but if you go
into the museum, you will get to meet the pilots then see and
planes start up in the hangar and taxi off to the runway.
The organization is one of Paul Allen's various different
projects/hobbies, and he is closely involved in its ongoing
operation, being an airplane enthusiast himself. As such
it is, ahem, well funded, and this is clearly represented by the
quality of their collection and its presentation to the public.
Seattle is very fortunate to have Paul living here and
enrichening our lives as he does.
With a fairly full hangar already, and two more planes expected
to arrive this year, and unstated but clearly underway plans to
continue acquiring further planes and who knows what other
No good museum is complete without a gift shop, and this is no
exception. Indeed, it is a good gift shop, with an
interesting range of mementos and I ended up getting a set of
four coasters in the form of common airplane instrument dials.
If I'd wanted to, I could have even got special label wines
featuring the museum and aviation related themes.
Ah yes, the ideal pre-cursor to flying a vintage plane -
enjoying a not quite so old but still fine bottle of vintage
wine, I guess.
The museum is open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor
Day; the rest of the year it is open six days (closed Mondays).
Admission is $12/adult, discounts for seniors, military and children.
For full details,
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25 March 2011, last update
30 May 2021
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