The new Paine Field home for Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection of rare World War II aircraft will open to the public June 6, adding yet another tourism destination to the airport as it joins the Future of Flight and Boeing Tour facility and the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center farther north.
Since it’s a flying collection, most of the planes will get from their Arlington Airport hangars, the home of the old warbirds for the past three years,to a renovated 60-year-old hangar at Paine Field under their own power. A few, like a Japanese Oscar and a U.S. Navy Hellcat, were delivered in late March on a flatbed trailer.
Opportunities to see the planes fly out of Arlington or into Paine Field are coming up, too, although flight schedules will shift according to the weather, pilot availability and any work that must be done on the planes. A Messerschmitt Me-109 and a British Hawker Hurricane are due to fly to Paine Field April 2, followed by the flight of a P-47 from Arlington to Paine Field April 21. An extremely rare, rocket-powered Me-163 Komet developed by Germany, and flown near the end of World War II, will be delivered (not flown in) on May 10 and a Japanese Zero will fly into Paine Field from a restoration center in California on May 10.
Adrian Hunt, the air museum’s director, said it’s not just the rarity and historical significance of the aircraft in Allen’s private collection that’s fascinating. It’s that Allen chose to restore planes that represented examples of significant technological advances. The challenging era of World War II involved military, economic, social and political upheavals but also tremendous manufacturing and technology changes as the major nations of the world worked to leapfrog each other’s advances in weaponry and firepower.
That’s what visitors who look beyond the popular movie and history images of the aircraft will see when they tour the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field where 15 finely restored aircraft and missiles will be on display beginning in June.