Steuart Walton, Walmart heir and CEO of Game Composites, purchased the collection assembled by Paul Allen and displayed in Everett, Washington at the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, which AOPA visited in 2016, and which should reopen under its new owner in 2023. Photo by David Tulis.
Steuart Walton, general aviation pilot and co-founder of aerobatic aircraft builder Game Composites, acquired the collection Aug. 4 through the new nonprofit Wartime History Museum.
The Snohomish County Airport Museum (Paine Field) opened in 2004 and continued to operate after Allen’s death in 2018. It closed to the public in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and has not reopened.
“This incredible collection reminds us of the significance that vintage aircraft and other historic vehicles have had on our country and the world,” 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 uncover inspiring stories to help fuel innovation, understanding and exploration.”
The war history museum plans to reopen to the public in 2023. Terms of the sale were not 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 fighter planes in the collection include a British de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito bomber and fighters including a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire. Adversary WWII aircraft are also part of 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 of the Soviet Union are represented by the Polikarpov I–16 and U–2.