Paul Allen opens 2nd hangar at Paine Field

By Sara Bruestle | Apr 17, 2013
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Corey Graff, military aviation curator for Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection, explains the history of the M4A1 Sherman tank on display in the collection’s new hangar. Hangar 2 opened April 2 at Paine Field. “I can’t imagine sitting inside one of these tanks during the war,” Graff said. “It would have been scary.”

The M4A1 Sherman tank was America’s standard tank during World War II.

The medium tank was so reliable, easy to maintain, rugged and mobile that it was mass-produced and formed the backbone of most Allied offensives.

A Sherman tank is on display for the first time at Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection in a second hangar at Paine Field.

The FHC opened Hangar 2 on April 12 with all new exhibits featuring planes and ground weaponry from World War II. The Sherman is one of three WWII tanks on display in the new hangar.

“The Sherman tank is the show-stopper,” said FHC spokesperson Christina Siderius. “It’s iconic of the allies of World War II and can be seen in movies like ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

“This is the one that most people know and recognize.”

The new 26,000-square-foot hangar allows the collection to show more of its restored airplanes and other artifacts – and delve deeper into history and technology of WWII aviation.

“Paul Allen’s idea for the Flying Heritage Collection is to have all these materials on display for the public, and we got to the point where Hangar 1 was full, and we were juggling things in and out,” said Corey Graff, military aviation curator for the FHC.

“Hangar 2 allows us to display all of the restored materials at one time.”

The exhibits in Hangar 2 follow the story of major WWII combatant machines into the five theaters of the war – and their vastly different environments.

The new hangar illustrates how military technology was customized for each of the theaters of the war: the European cities of the Western Front, the snow of the Eastern Front, the deserts of the Mediterranean, the open ocean of the Pacific, and the jungles and mountains of China, Burma and India.

“Environment plays a huge role in technological innovation,” Siderius said. “As the military encountered these challenges, such as deserts, or snow or long distances over the Pacific, they had to adapt and make changes in technology based on that.”

In addition to a tour of the theaters of World War II, Hangar 2 includes a 49-seat movie theater, designed to be reminiscent of a pilot briefing room. It will show short videos about WWII events, developments and conditions.

The Flying Heritage Collection is Paul Allen's collection of rare military aircraft and ground support, comprised of examples from Germany, Japan, Russia, Great Britain and the United States. The collection has been at Paine Field since 2008.

The first hangar is 50,000 square feet and focuses on the rapid development of military technology during WWII.

The focus of Hangar 2 was made to complement the history in Hangar 1 by putting the advancements in technology into the context of the theaters of the war.

Also added to the collection were a Mikoyan MiG-29UB Fulcrum, which was the most successful Soviet fighter aircraft of the late 20th century and served with the Ukrainian Air Force, and a large searchlight and generator that worked with the German Flak 88 anti-aircraft gun.

All together, the two hangars display 19 aircraft and more than a dozen artifacts.

“The original hangar is like a ship in a bottle, where if you wanted to move one airplane, you have to move everything,” Graff said. “Now to move one, you don’t also have to move seven others.”

The Flying Heritage Collection is at 109th St. S.W. at Paine Field Airport in Everett.

For more information on Hangars 1 and 2, visit www.flyingheritage.com.

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