Meticulous Restorations On Very Limited Display

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While some aviation museums struggle to keep the lights on, money isn't a factor for the Flying Heritage Collection in Arlington, Wash. Billionaire owner Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) will soon open the collection, in a limited way, to showcase possibly some of the rarest and most meticulously restored vintage aircraft anywhere. Everything from the thread count in a restored JN-4D Jenny's wing fabric to the precise paint formulation on the collection's P-51 have been matched exactly. The collection also boasts some extraordinarily rare artifacts, including a manned version of the German buzz bomb, and many have been restored to flying condition. Allen quietly acquired the 12 aircraft in the collection over the past three years. The facility will take groups of no larger than 15 people, at $20 a head, on a detailed tour of the collection. Reservations are required. Revenue will cover maintenance and upkeep. Also, about four times a year, each of the flyable aircraft in the collection will be "exercised" and the public will be able to watch that.