15 Vintage Warplanes in Flying Condition
June 6, 2008 4:27 PM   Subscribe

As the Seattle PI notes "Paul Allen's 'Flying Heritage Collection' of 15 planes, mostly dating from the 1930s and '40s, is noteworthy both because of its rarity -- several are the only models of their kind remaining -- and its condition -- almost all of them have been refurbished so that they can be flown."

The collection includes:

Curtis JN-4D Jenny
Curtis P40C Tomahawk
Fieseler FI 156-C2 Storch
Focke Wulf FW 190D-13 Dora
Grumman F6F Hellcat
Hawker Hurricane Mk.XIIB
Messerschmitt 163B Komet
Messerschmitt BF 109E-3 Emil
Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Zero-Sen
Nakajima KI-43 Hayabusa Oscar
North American P-51D Mustang
Polikarpov I-16 Type 24 Rata
Polikarpov U-2/PO-2
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VC

The PI also has a photo gallery accompanying its story.

The collection is housed at Paine Field in Everett, Washington (satellite view). Paine Field is also the home of Boeing's 747, 767, 777 And 787 assembly plant, as well as the Legend Flyers, a pair of reproduction ME-262 jet fighters from the same era.
posted by maxwelton (27 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
If not clear in the FPP, and for those not reading the first link, this collection is 10 years in the making and opening for the first time today. Other noteworthy bits:
The collection has four mechanics on staff to maintain the planes, which represent the air forces of all of the major combatants of World War II -- the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan.

posted by stbalbach at 5:23 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'll be up there tomorrow or Sunday, I believe. The next nearest Mustangs I know of are in Oregon, and I don't think I've ever seen a Zero in this neck of the country.

I have heard that the Me-262 guys ae pretty friendly, I have to imagine they will have something available to look at. I just happened to see the first one streak by the Seattle waterfront during shakeouts as I was driving home from work a couple years ago.

Hope they go all out on the demo flights this weekend, but who knows.
posted by mwhybark at 5:33 PM on June 6, 2008

Thanks, stbalbach. Also of note are the frequent "fly days" at the museum where they take planes from the collection and fly them over the airfield...looking forward to seeing one of those.
posted by maxwelton at 5:37 PM on June 6, 2008

Almost all of the planes can be rolled out of the hanger and flown ..

After the Messerschmitt 163B Komet took off, the wheels fell to the ground and the plane had to be landed on a 2x6 skid plate on the bottom of the plane.

I assume the Messerschmitt 163B Komet is the exception when it comes to rolling out of the hanger and flying.

Anyway, it's nice to see someone with enough money able to do this, the planes are more likely to survive the centuries ahead. And Paul did it right with a public museum instead of some rich guys private collection that no one gets to see and gets sold off in pieces when he dies - knowing Paul he probably thought about after he dies to keep the collection intact and in good hands and open to the public.
posted by stbalbach at 5:38 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The wheels are supposed to fall off of the 163B Komet. No pesky exposed wheels for extra drag, and no complex machinery needed to hide them in the body.
posted by TheJoven at 5:58 PM on June 6, 2008

Dude needs a real plane, like a Lancaster. Pity he does have any Avros in his collection.
posted by GuyZero at 6:08 PM on June 6, 2008

I assume the Messerschmitt 163B Komet is the exception when it comes to rolling out of the hanger and flying.

I assume that too. But I SURE HOPE I'M WRONG!
posted by mwhybark at 6:09 PM on June 6, 2008

Powered by an extremely volatile Walter rocket motor, the Me 163 had a tendency to explode in flight.

I guess they don't fly this one much either.
posted by GuyZero at 6:09 PM on June 6, 2008

Oops, same plane.
posted by GuyZero at 6:10 PM on June 6, 2008

So, PNWMF aeronerds, meetup?
posted by mwhybark at 6:11 PM on June 6, 2008

Right as I clicked the [more inside] link, I thought to myself:"I hope I can see the list of aircraft without having to go to some stupid Forbes top ten or other similar poorly made website". Thanks, you win.
Also, where's the Handley-Page bomber?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2008

Great post maxwelton. Thanks!
posted by matty at 6:39 PM on June 6, 2008

The flyingheritage.com site would be much improved if each page in the collection wasn't dominated by an extremely bad CGI render that looks like it came from a circa-1996 game engine. They have the planes, why don't they use photographs of them?
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:42 PM on June 6, 2008

George_Spiggott, I was thinking the same thing. The Thunderbolt gets a modern photograph, most of the others have grainy black and white images- wonder why this is.
posted by mattoxic at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2008

Paul Allen really does some neat stuff with his money.

C'mon, cure malaria-where's the fun in that?

Seriously, I agree with those who are glad that he is not only preserving these historic aircraft but both flying them and sharing them with the public. Nice work, maxwelton!
posted by TedW at 7:05 PM on June 6, 2008

They have the planes, why don't they use photographs of them?

It is kinda sad that the Post Intelligencer photo gallery is more compelling than the collection's own website, though I did like the brief historical sketches under the forgettable CGI.

I had no knowledge of the Soviet female pilots ("Night Witches") who flew the Polikarpov U-2 during the war, for example, before reading about them on the Collection site.
posted by maxwelton at 7:08 PM on June 6, 2008

Stonestock the PNW aeroseum you are looking for may be in Langley, BC. No Avro or Lancaster, actually (sorry GZ), but a Handley-Page, looks like.
posted by mwhybark at 7:09 PM on June 6, 2008

Wait, I take it back. They have an Avro Canuck. No Arrow, though, so sorry.
posted by mwhybark at 7:12 PM on June 6, 2008

Are there any Arrows left? Downsview has a replica but I don't think there are any originals. There's a disassembled Lancaster at Downsview which is kind of a sad plane. All gutted and stuff. But the Lancaster was as much a part of the British war effort as any of the British planes he has there.
posted by GuyZero at 7:21 PM on June 6, 2008

Flying Heritage Collection,Experience Music Project, yeah, he's one cool boomer.
posted by caddis at 7:24 PM on June 6, 2008

All of you happen to win tens of millions in the lottery? Don't go and blow it on yellow Lamborghinis and stupid brassy McMansions.

Go and blow it on something cool like Art Deco Aeroplanes.

Or Zeppelins.

Or wooden yachts.

Or, you know, doing good.

Anyhow. Cool planes!
posted by notyou at 7:40 PM on June 6, 2008

Looks like Ontario is your best bet for a Lanc, GZ. This British site is chock fulla info on the plane, whoch was built in large numbers in Canada.
posted by mwhybark at 7:41 PM on June 6, 2008

It's a good question to ask yourself sometimes: "What would you do if you had unlimited sums of money?" It helps you realize that a lot of what really matters in life can be accomplished without unlimited sums of money.

It's also entertaining to ask strippers this question.
posted by mullingitover at 8:34 PM on June 6, 2008

I still want to find out what party I have to hang out with to convince Paul Allen to give me money for my crazy hairbrained scheme (i mean, EMP? SLUT? etc) that would mostly involve me helping him spend his money for myself and things i deem worthy.

My friend's met Dennis Kaslowski's (tycho ceo, one of the guys known for embezzling money from his company) daughter who described herself as a "professional philanthropist." That is mind boggling.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:31 PM on June 6, 2008

i'd buy the strippers & train them as pilots for my personal Night Witches squadron.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:47 PM on June 7, 2008

He might be able to pick up a shiny new B-2 bomber with cash.

Of course, he would probably prefer to get this one and rebuild it.
posted by TedW at 6:35 PM on June 7, 2008

I finally got out to the museum today, which was also a "fly day." They took up the Storch and the Spitfire. Really is a great place.

Only downside was the various public announcements before and during the flight. Surprisingly, in an otherwise first-class operation, the audio equipment was pretty terrible, and the volunteer speakers were pretty terrible. General consensus in the people around me, including me, was that silence would have been far preferable, especially during the fly-bys, when you want to listen to the merlin engine, not someone poorly relaying factually inaccurate anecdotes about Hitler.

I went and ran some errands after the mid-day fly-by and came back just about an hour before they closed to get an up-close look at the Spitfire. I recommend going around that time, if you can't make it to one of the scheduled fly days. Had the place almost to ourselves and you can get pretty darn close to the aircraft.

For $12, it's a great bargain. Sadly, I'd say the median age of the guests was about 112. Lots of interesting first-hand anecdotes if you hung around the right vets and eavesdropped, though.
posted by maxwelton at 6:20 PM on June 28, 2008

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