Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage aviation collection reportedly sold

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s collection of aerospace and military artifacts has been housed in Everett, Wash., at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum. (FHCAM Photo)

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.

The holding company for Paul Allen’s estate, Vulcan Inc., declined to confirm reports about the sale for the time being. Efforts to contact Walton or the Runway Group were unsuccessful. We’ll update this report with anything else we find out.

Since Allen’s death due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 65 in 2018, his sister and the trustee of his estate, Jodi Allen, has dramatically transformed Vulcan through the transfer of numerous holdings — including the Stratolaunch space venture; prime property in Los Angeles and Hawaii; and Allen’s Octopus superyacht, which played a role in the billionaire’s deep-ocean exploration projects. (The new owner of the Octopus is said to be Swedish billionaire Roger Samuelsson.)

Vulcan also closed facilities such as Seattle’s Cinerama movie theater, the Living Computers Museum + Labs and the Flying Heritage museum, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the gems in the Flying Heritage Collection are a British de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber that was built at the end of World War II; a Soviet-era Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik attack aircraft; a German Junkers Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber; and the White Knight carrier airplane that helped SpaceShipOne win the $10 million X Prize for private spaceflight in 2004 with Allen’s backing.

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