It was with great sadness that The People’s Mosquito Board learnt of the passing of Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and lifelong warbird enthusiast, yesterday.
Paul sadly lost his fight with cancer, following complications from his Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in the early 1980s.
During a lifetime of philanthropy, Mr. Allen would go on to donate more than $2 billion toward nonprofit groups dedicated to the advancement of science, technology, education, and the arts.
Among the scientific research organisations to benefit from his support were the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003 and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in 2014. He was also a conservationist, investing heavily in efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate elephant poaching.
However, most of his philanthropic activity focused on his hometown of Seattle, where we helped to transform the city’s fortunes by supporting many of the city’s leading cultural institutions. Having acquired the NBA basketball team, the neighbouring Portland Trail Blazers, in Oregon in 1988, he rescued the Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise in 1996, which was on the cusp of leaving Washington for a new home.
However, it was Mr. Allen’s love of aviation heritage where his presence will be most keenly felt by all those connected to our industry.
A childhood passion for World War Two aircraft began to be realised in the late-1990s as the collection now known as the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (FHCAM) began to take shape at Paine Field, near Seattle. The boy, whose own father landed on Omaha Beach after the first wave in June 1944, went on to create a world-renowned museum that today boasts a stunning collection of 28 historic aircraft, restored to unprecedented levels of authenticity. Among those aircraft, is of course Mosquito T.III TV959, formerly of 3 CAACU and now displayed regularly following a beautiful restoration by Avspecs, in New Zealand.
Among the many other highlights of the collection are several aircraft that are so rare FHCAM chose not to restore them to airworthy condition. These include a Focke-Wulf Fw190 D-13, its Jumo V-12 engine mounted in a long nose, which is the only surviving D-13 in the world, and the only surviving example of a Nakajima Ki-43-I Oscar in existence. FHCAM also houses one of only two flyable Ilyushin Il-2M3 Shturmovik aircraft in the world, this one having been restored to flight status by using an Allison V-1710 engine.
Mr. Allen’s passion for warbirds was known throughout the world. We at The People’s Mosquito salute and thank him for everything he achieved during his remarkable life. His loss is a loss to all who love historic aviation.
Paul G. Allen
1953 – 2018