Sale of giant warbird collection confirmed

The Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum has been bought by the Wartime History Museum — and will stay at its current home
Two of the jewels in the FHCAM crown, Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 Werknummer 1342 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5 Werknummer 0151227, flying in formation at Paine Field.
Two of the jewels in the FHCAM crown, Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 Werknummer 1342 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5 Werknummer 0151227, flying in formation at Paine Field. MIKE SHREEVE

A statement on 4 August confirmed the sale of the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum collection to the Wartime History Museum, a new non-profit organisation established by entrepreneur and warbird pilot Steuart Walton. It also announced that the museum will remain at its current location, Paine Field in Everett, Washington, rather than moving to Walton’s home state of Arkansas.

The FHCAM had continued to operate following the death of its mastermind, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma during late 2018. It then closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has remained so since then, albeit with upkeep and restoration of museum artefacts continuing. Now its assets are, said the 4 August announcement, “being sold consistent with Allen’s wishes. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, and all proceeds will be earmarked for philanthropy. Wartime History Museum plans to reopen FHCAM to the public, at its current location, within the next year and will share additional details when plans are finalized.”

“This incredible collection reminds us of the significance vintage aircraft and other historic vehicles have had on our nation and globe,” said Walton, grandson of the founder of the Wal-Mart store chain, and a seasoned warbird owner-pilot himself. “On behalf of my fellow WHM board members, we hope to share these important artefacts for generations to come and unearth inspiring stories to help fuel innovation, understanding, and exploration.”

Exhibits in the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum include the Scaled Composites White Knight carrier aircraft for the SpaceShipOne spaceplane, suspended above an array of the Second World War-era warbirds for which the collection is better-known.
Exhibits in the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum include the Scaled Composites White Knight carrier aircraft for the SpaceShipOne spaceplane, suspended above an array of the Second World War-era warbirds for which the collection is better-known. ERIC FRIEDEBACH