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Flying Heritage Museum to reopen with new owner at Paine Field

EVERETT — Closed for greater than two years, the Flying Heritage and Fight Armor Museum at Paine Subject — the late Paul Allen’s ode to classic warbirds — will reopen with a brand new prosperous proprietor.

Walmart inheritor Steuart Walton has purchased the museum’s plane, artifacts and belongings. The gathering can be overseen by the Wartime Historical past Museum, a nonprofit group Walton based earlier this 12 months, in line with a information launch.

“Wartime Historical past Museum plans to reopen Flying Heritage and Fight Armor to the general public, at its present location, throughout the subsequent 12 months and can share extra particulars when plans are finalized,” the discharge mentioned.

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The Buddies of Flying Heritage, a nonprofit group that operates the museum, confirmed the long-rumored buy Thursday.

Launched in 2004 by Allen, the late Microsoft cofounder, the Flying Heritage museum was a showcase for his non-public assortment of World Conflict II and Chilly Conflict plane, classic tanks, bikes, army automobiles, fight armor and peculiarities of battle.

In an announcement, Walton mentioned: “This unbelievable assortment reminds us of the importance classic plane and different historic automobiles have had on our nation and globe. On behalf of my fellow Wartime Historical past Museum board members, we hope to share these essential artifacts for generations to return and unearth inspiring tales to assist gas innovation, understanding, and exploration.”

The favored museum closed in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this 12 months, it was broadly reported that the gathering had been offered to the Walmart inheritor. The Dutch Aviation Society was among the many first media shops to report the sale, fueling hypothesis that the gathering may transfer to Arkansas. An aviator and grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton, the gathering’s new proprietor is predicated in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Steuart Walton, an legal professional, is the co-founder of Sport Composites, which builds small composite plane. As an skilled pilot and “investor within the preservation and restoration of historic plane,” Walton serves on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Air and House Museum board, in line with the press launch. He additionally serves on the board of administrators of Walmart, Flipkart and the Walmart-affiliated Crystal Bridges Museum of American Artwork.

Flying Heritage’s govt director Adrian Hunt mentioned, “It has been my honor and privilege to assist develop and take care of this wonderful assortment, share it with the general public, and protect and have fun the essential army historical past and human tales of which we’re caretakers.”

“I’m thrilled that the museum’s mission and affect will proceed below the management of Steuart and the Wartime Historical past Museum,” mentioned Hunt, who has led the museum since 2007. “I stay up for the Flying Heritage and Fight Armor Museum persevering with to coach and encourage the group by compelling artifacts and fascinating displays that honor those that served their nation.”

The museum and different properties are owned by Seattle-based Vulcan Inc., the Allen household holding firm. In latest weeks, Vulcan has introduced the sale of a number of of Allen’s properties together with actual property holdings in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York Metropolis and Hawaii.

The Flying Heritage and Fight Armor Museum at Paine Subject is seen on the night of Wednesday, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Allen, 65, died in October 2018 from problems of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He left behind an enormous property that features property, art work and enterprise capital investments, in addition to the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Path Blazers. In 2018, Forbes estimated his web price at greater than $20 billion.

Allen wasn’t married and had no youngsters. His sister Jody Allen was named executor and trustee of his property.

Paul Allen started gathering planes and different army artifacts within the Nineteen Nineties.

In 2004, he opened the classic plane assortment to the general public at an Arlington airfield location. 4 years later, it moved to Paine Subject in Everett, the place it’s housed in three hangars at 3407 109th Avenue SW.

Displays concentrate on historic battle machines from the USA, Nice Britain, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union. Many are operational. Guests may usually glimpse on-site mechanics engaged on restoration tasks.

A somber reminder of the daybreak of the atomic age — replicas of Little Boy and Fats Man, the 2 atomic bombs that had been dropped on Japan in 1945 — are among the many displays.

Different shows showcased peculiar wartime applied sciences, resembling World Conflict II “pigeon parachutes” used to deploy service pigeons behind enemy strains and British-made exploding “rat dummies” engineered to ignite when tossed into a fireplace or furnace.

Lots of its army artifacts had been restored to unique flying or driving situation and have genuine paint schemes and mechanical techniques.

“That is fantastic information {that a} fellow nonprofit, based by one other visionary and conscientious chief, will proceed FHCAM’s mission and Paul’s imaginative and prescient,” mentioned Steve Hinton, Flying Heritage’s former principal take a look at pilot.

“Paul curated an incredible assortment of serious plane and machines that inform robust and essential tales that should be remembered and celebrated,” mentioned Hinton, president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum.

Following Allen’s loss of life in 2018, the museum continued to function. In March 2020, nevertheless, the museum board closed the establishment to the general public, citing pandemic considerations.

“Though artifact care and restoration has continued, the museum has remained closed, and its belongings are actually being offered in step with Allen’s needs,” the discharge mentioned. “Phrases of the settlement weren’t disclosed, and all proceeds can be earmarked for philanthropy.”

Individually, the museum not too long ago offered its operational, totally restored MiG-29 to billionaire Jared Isaacman. Allen acquired the two-seat Soviet-era fighter jet in 2005.

Walton established the Wartime Historical past Museum as a nonprofit earlier this 12 months. Its mission, the discharge mentioned, is to “protect and restore wartime historic artifacts and pioneer methods to make them out there by dwell exhibitions, museum properties and public areas, together with the skies above.”

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; [email protected]; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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