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Warbird collection to remain near Seattle

Walmart heir and Game Composites CEO Steuart Walton purchased the collection assembled by Paul Allen and displayed in Everett, Washington, in the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, which AOPA visited in 2016, now slated to reopen under its new ownership in 2023. Photo by David Tulis.

Steuart Walton, a general aviation pilot and co-founder of aerobatic aircraft manufacturer Game Composites, acquired the collection August 4 through the newly established, nonprofit Wartime History Museum.

The museum at Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) opened in 2004 and continued to operate after Allen’s death in 2018. It closed to the public in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn’t reopened.

“This incredible collection reminds us of the significance vintage aircraft and other historic vehicles have had on our nation and globe,” Walton said in a written statement. “On behalf of my fellow WHM board members, we hope to share these important artifacts for generations to come and unearth inspiring stories to help fuel innovation, understanding, and exploration.”

The Wartime History Museum plans to reopen to the public in 2023. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed.

The collection includes restored American fighter aircraft such as a Republic P–47 Thunderbolt; a North American P–51 Mustang; a Vought FG–1D Corsair; a Curtiss P–40C Tomahawk, and a Grumman F6F Hellcat.

Foreign warplanes in the collection include a British de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito bomber, and fighters including a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire. World War II adversary aircraft are also in the collection, including a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero and a Nakajima Oscar, as well as two German Focke-Wulf Fw190s, a Messerschmitt Bf 109, and a Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet. Aircraft from the Soviet Union are represented by the Polikarpov I–16 and U–2.

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