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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Showalter, N.D. (Noah David), 1925-2012



  • Existence: 1925 April 27 - 2012 August 13

Biographical Note: N.D. Showalter

N. D. Showalter was a B-17 pilot during World War II and later led a career in military aerospace.

Showalter was born in 1925 in Cheney, Washington. He went on his first flight at age two with his father, N. D. Showalter, Sr. (1906-1981), a Flight Instructor and Ground School Instructor at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, and his lifelong interest in aviation was born. He studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington and Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University, though never earned a degree.

In 1943, shortly after turning 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was trasferred to Santa Ana, California to begin pilot training. He graduated as a B-25 pilot in August 1944 but was then sent to B-17 training. He was assigned to ba a pilot in command and with his crew flew a new B-17 from Nebraska to Italy via Newfoundland, the Azores Islands, and the coast of Africa. He flew combat missions with the 483rd Bomb Group, 840th Bomb Squadron, completing 13 missions by the end of the war.

After the war he returned home to Seattle. He worked for a short time in commercial aviation but, dissatisfied with that, soon went to work for the Boeing Company, starting as a junior engineer working on the B-52. In 1948 he was transferred to be a co-pilot in flight testing. He flew the B-29 and C-97 while inflight refueling via a boom was being developed. Later he was upgraded to pilot status and worked on the B-47, B-50, and KC-135. He flew the first XB-52 and YB-52 and every B-52 variant through "H." He became senior test pilot in the 1960s. In 1966 he flew the replica of the Boeing Model B&W.

Showalter also became involved with new aircraft devlopment for Boeing and was involved with designs for the Advanced Strategic bomber. However, when Boeing shifted priorities to commercial aircarft Showalter took a position with North American Rockwell in Los Angeles, California, which had an Air Force contract for the B-1. When that contract was cancelled Showalter went to General Dynamics and helped develop a strategic cruise missile for the B-52 and was Program Manager for the F-16 Automatic Integrated Systems. He worked with General Dynamics until 1987 when he retired.

Showalter died in 2012 and is buried in Riverside, California.

Biographical note derived from collection materials.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Hough "Bill" Cook Jr. Papers

Identifier: 2017-10-26
Abstract The William Hough “Bill” Cook, Jr. Papers are comprised of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia pertaining to the life and work of Bill Cook, Jr. A significant portion of this collection is made up of correspondence, both personal and professional. Major topics include the Boeing high speed wind tunnel, the B-29, B-47, and B-17 bombers, the development of the YC-14 short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft, and research on supersonic transport.

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