Paul Allen was complicit in the crime against humanity that was MS-DOS, and he has been atoning for it ever since. His most recent expiation is the Flying Heritage Collection, which restores and preserves historic warbirds. It just happens to be based in my hometown. Most impressively, it actually flies all of them that are airworthy! As much as I love the Museum of Flight, it's a boneyard, albeit an impressive one. Ditto the Smithsonian. This is to the typical air museum as a zoo is to a natural history museum: it's alive.
There were about 1500 people there (my off-the-cuff estimate) and it was the first nice day we have had all year (notice the strange bluish color of the sky!) and it was quite an event. It's not often you get to see one of these beauties fly, let alone three. I love the growl of the
You can see a more complete photo gallery here.
Fun facts: the red-tailed plane, 'Val-halla" is owned and operated by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, whom I have met. Today his son Greg was flying. The unsual name of the yellow-checkered-nose one, "Upupa Epops" was because the pilot was an amateur ornithologist. There's a moving video of the pilot being reunited with his airplane after its restoration. The original nickname of the striped P-51B, now named "Eva," was the much more poetic "Impatient Virgin." Fittingly, the event was joined by a juvenile bald eagle.
I brought the two boys with me, and they were thrilled. Son Number One was unusually quiet and mesmerized by the aircraft. Son Number Two was perched on my shoulders for a better view and breathlessly narrated the entire show in a high-pitched squeak, to the amusement of the crowd in our vicinity.
They're flying the Messerschmidt Bf-109E in two weeks. Wonder if I'm off that day...