Located within Everett, Washington’s Paine Field airport, the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum preserves the private military aircraft and equipment collection of collector Paul G. Allen, offering a variety of exhibits dedicated to the major international conflicts and military technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum was the vision of vintage aircraft collector Paul Allen, who began a collection of historic World War II-era aircraft in 1998, recognizing the increasing rarity of well-preserved military equipment from the era. Allen envisioned a museum facility that would serve as a public display of 20th-century military artifacts for the Seattle area, preserving all collections to strict standards of authenticity and historical accuracy. In 2004, the museum was officially opened to the public under the name the Flying Heritage Collection, presented as part of Arlington’s local airfield. As a result of its success in its first years of operation, it was moved to the nearby Paine Field airfield in Everett in 2008. Expansions to the Paine Field facility were made in 2013, adding another 22,000 square feet of hangar exhibition space to display historic aircraft. In 2017, the museum’s name was changed to the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, in order to reflect its growing collection of military vehicles and other wartime memorabilia. Plans for a third 30,000-square-foot hangar expansion were finalized in 2017, with ground expected to break on construction the following year.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum is owned and operated by the Friends of Flying Heritage nonprofit organization, which is focused on educating the Seattle area public on the history of international military conflicts and technologies throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Nearly all of the museum’s collections have been restored to their original historic flying or operating condition, with special attention paid to the restoration of original mechanical systems, paint schemes, and military markings. As a historic military museum, the FHCAM strives to honor the technological engineering skills and human stories of the 20th century’s international conflicts and continue to preserve military technologies from around the world into the 21st century.
More than 75,000 square feet of hangar space showcases over 50 restored military aircraft and vehicles, primarily focusing on the technologies of the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, Germany, and Japan during the Second World War. Notable American WWII holdings include a Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk, a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, a M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank, and a tattered American flag carried on the LCT-595 amphibious assault vehicle on D-Day. Other notable WWII crafts and memorabilia include a British Churchill Mk VII Crocodile, Hawker Hurricane Mk.XIIA, and Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc, a German Mittelwerk GmbH V-2 Rocket and Enigma Machine, an Australian 17-Pounder Mk. I Anti-tank Gun, a Soviet Ilyushin II-2M3 Shturmovik, and a Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go. Notable holdings from other international conflicts include a World War I-era Curtiss JN-4D Jenny, a Cold War-era Soviet R-11M Ballistic Missile System and American Republic F-105G Thunderchief, and a General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams Turret Trainer and M60A1 Patton Main Battle Tank used in the Gulf War.
The museum’s newest exhibit, Why War: The Causes of Conflict, offers interactive multimedia features that explore the social roots and causes of 20th-century international conflicts. Activities within the exhibit include a data visualization wall with eight giant interactive touchscreens, a conflict simulator command station, a nuclear heat map detailing the proliferation of nuclear technologies since WWII, and a Chronicles of War documentary station recounting the stories of those who lived through major American conflicts. Full-scale replicas of the nuclear weapons used in Japan during WWII are also presented as part of the exhibit to give visitors up-close perspective on nuclear technology.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Free tours of the museum are offered daily as part of standard admission, with FHCAM docents on hand to walk visitors through hangars and exhibits and relate anecdotes about collection pieces. Curriculum-incorporated tours are also available for elementary and secondary school student groups, with several different tour packages available based on student ages and classroom needs. In-classroom outreach programming is also available, bringing World War II experts directly into Washington classrooms. School holiday event programming is also offered, along with adult workshop programming and annual children’s summer camps. A variety of public special event programming is offered throughout the year, including annual summer Fly Days events, which allow meet-and-greet opportunities with pilots and vintage aircraft demonstrations, and a Memorial Day TankFest Northwest event, which showcases the museum’s WWII-era tanks with land and firing demonstrations.
3407 109th St SW, Everett, WA 98204, website, Phone: 877-342-3404