Aviation collection reportedly sold to Walmart heir

Three and a half years after his death, another one of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s passion projects — the extensive collection of aviation and military artifacts that was housed at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Everett, Wash. — has reportedly been sold off by his estate.

Air Current magazine reported late last week that the museum’s entire collection was sold “in its entirety.”

“Many of the projects are being crated for shipment to their new home while the flying aircraft are being readied for cross-country trips,” the magazine said on its Facebook page. “One man’s dream has come to an end, but another man’s dream has just begun.”

The collection’s new owner is Steuart Walton, the grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton, according to Scramble, a publication of the Dutch Aviation Society.

Walton is the co-founder of Runway Group, a holding company with investments in northwest Arkansas; and the co-founder and chairman of Game Composites, a company that designs and builds small composite aircraft.

He serves on the board of directors for Walmart and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, among other organizations, and is a licensed pilot as well as an aircraft collector. His net worth has been estimated at $300 million.


Paul Allen rebrands his airplane showcase

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum
An artist’s conception shows the expansion of the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum. (Flying Heritage Illustration)

Cross Seattle billionaire Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection off your list of local attractions, and put a new name in its place: the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum.

The rebranding, announced on March 24, will be followed by an expansion in the museum’s offerings and the construction of a third hangar to house its growing collection of aircraft and military vehicles.

The additional hangar at Everett’s Paine Field will boost the museum’s current 57,000 square feet of exhibit space by another 30,816 square feet, the museum said.

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Why war? Exhibit takes on a burning question

Atom bomb replicas
Replicas of the first atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, are on display in the “Why War” exhibit at the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

EVERETT, Wash. – The idea behind the Flying Heritage Collection’s groundbreaking new exhibit about the causes and effects of conflict, “Why War,” was born five years ago – and the man behind the idea is none other than Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who owns the collection.

“He’s the ‘Idea Man,’ as you know,” said Adrian Hunt, the collection’s executive director, referring to Allen’s memoir.

The Flying Heritage Collection shows off scores of historic aircraft and other military artifacts in a 57,000-square-foot hangar complex next to Everett’s Paine Field, including a German V-2 rocket, a Soviet Scud missile system and a couple of tanks.

Hunt recalled that Allen raised a big-picture question during a conversation about the collection and its future: “At some level, don’t we just have a lot of weapons on display? … We should do something to provide some context.”

That set off years of thinking and designing, aimed at putting together an interactive exhibit to explain why conflicts arise, how warfare has changed, and how war affects societies. Hunt says the resulting 2,500-square-foot exhibit, which opens to the public on March 4, is the only one of its kind in the U.S.

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