The Flying Heritage Collection

Located in a 51,000 square foot hangar at the southeast corner of Paine Field in Everett, Washington State, the Flying Heritage Collection offers visitors the opportunity to view an extraordinary collection of historic aircraft. Privately owned by American billionaire and philanthropist, Paul Gardner Allen, the collection highlights an era of great advances in aviation during the 1930s and 1940s and includes combat aircraft from World War II – a time when the boundaries of technology were pushed with a sense of urgency in a battle for dominance of the skies.

With a passion for history and aviation, and the financial means to do so, Allen started his collection in the late 1990s. As the collection grew, he decided to have the aircraft restored and put on display for the public. Visitors will be delighted to discover though, that this is not a museum of static displays, but the aircraft are restored to take their rightful place in the air. During the summer months, different planes from the Flying Heritage Collection are taken out to be flown. On “Free Fly Days” aviation enthusiasts can watch these vintage aircraft take to the skies, take the opportunity to chat to the pilots, and glean some gems of information from the on-site military aviation historian, Cory Graff.

A dedicated team has painstakingly restored the aircraft of the Flying Heritage Collection to a level of authenticity seldom seen. Seeking out original vendors to reproduce components no longer available – from paint, to cockpit equipment to specialized cotton-coated wiring – the team has made every effort to remain true to the original aircraft. This has included examining old factory drawings, and researching manufacturing techniques of the time. The history of each of the aircraft has been compiled, including details on its manufacture, where it was deployed, combat it may have been involved in, post-war activities it may have been used for, various locations it was used and what repairs were carried out.

A recent addition to the Flying Heritage Collection is the only operating example of the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 German WWII fighter. Having been partially disassembled to facilitate road transport, the aircraft was restored for viewing by the public on the weekend of 23 April 2011. The Fw-190 is scheduled to fly along with the collection’s American P-51 Mustang fighter on 18 June, and with the Bf-109 on 6 August 2011.