Paul Allen, one of the Microsoft co-founders, turns out to have more up his sleeve than the X Prize, although it’s related to it. He loves restoring old war planes. I’m not talking about painting them up so they can be placed in a museum, I’m talking about getting them up in the air! Just the idea sends shivers down my spine. I’d love to see a 1918 Curtiss Wright, or a Messerschmitt take flight, and he’s done it! What’s more, no expense is spared to restore them to their exact state when they were in flight, with the same materials and look. This is amazing restoration work, and it’s also very costly, bringing the price to hundreds of thousands of dollars per plane.
He’s purchased about three dozen airplanes since 1998, and about half of them are on display in two hangars at the Arlington airport outside Seattle. Once a year, he holds a flight day, where these old planes take flight for a public audience. His collection is open for viewing on Fridays and Saturdays, and the fee is $20. Definitely worth it!