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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Merrill, A. Elliott (Albert), 1901-1992



  • Existence: 1901-1992

Biographical Note

A. Elliott Merrill (1901-1992) was a Seattle native, local aviation pioneer and accomplished Boeing test pilot. He graduated from the University of Washington College of Engineering in 1925 and learned to fly in 1926 as an Army Air Service, ROTC Cadet at Brooks Field, Texas. After his service and training in Texas, Merrill returned to Seattle and served as a reserve officer in the local 489th Bombardment Squadron at NAS Sand Point, Seattle, Washington.

In 1928, Merrill made the first landing and take off from what is now Boeing Field in Seattle and a year later, formed the Washington Aviation Co. Inc. (later called Washington Aircraft) with friend Omar Drury. The company was a general aviation service and provided student training, passenger flights and charter work. Many of the early women pilots in the area learned to fly from him, including his future wife, Mildred Filz, whom he married on September 30, 1936. Mildred and several of Merrill's other female student pilots formed the Associated Women Pilots of Boeing Field in 1933.

In 1941, Merrill went to work for Boeing as an experimental test pilot and flew 314’s, DB-7B’s, the XPBB-1, B-17’s, B-29’s, XC-97’s, B-50’s and B-47’s. He was the Chief Engineering Project Pilot on the B-29, B-50, C-97 and refueling tanker programs. On January 9, 1944, Merrill piloted the XC-97 from Seattle to Washington D.C. and set the transport-class transcontinental speed record of 6 hours and 3 minutes.

In 1946, he and fellow Boeing test pilot, Robert T. Lamson were awarded the Octave Chanute Award from the AIAA. The same year, Merrill was appointed the first Chairman of the Washington State Aeronautical Commission.

From 1952 to 1956, Merrill was Chief of Flight Test at Boeing-Wichita on the B-47 and B-52 programs. From 1956 to his retirement in 1966, he was the head of Boeing's military sales division.

He remained active in local aviation activities until his death in 1992, including serving as first Board Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation, which later became The Museum of Flight. A. Elliott Merrill died in April of 1992.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Biographical Information Files - M

Scope and Contents Individuals whose names begin with M: MacCready, Paul [Innovative aeronautical designer and engineer] "A Man for All Reasonings," California Magazine, November 1986"The Sky's the Limit," The Country Gentleman, Spring 1982"Masterful Tinkering of Genius," Insight, June 25, 1990"P.B. MacCready, 81, Inventor, Dies," New York Times, August 31, 2007 MacGilchrist, John...

Elsie Anderson Collection

Identifier: 1997-04-17A
Abstract Elsie Anderson worked at Boeing Company as a Public Relations representative, circa 1940s-1950s. The collection includes negatives, films, photographic prints, and a small amount of textual materials related to Boeing aircraft and test flights occurring during the 1940s-1950s.

The James H. Dilonardo Collection

Identifier: 2006-01-21
Abstract James H. Dilonardo was a local aviation enthusiast strongly tied to Boeing Field and The Museum of Flight. His collection consits of photographs, textual materials, sound recordings, and film largely related to aviation in Seattle, Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

John Fornasero Papers

Identifier: 2011-06-24
Abstract: The John Fornasero Papers are comprised of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera pertaining to the life and work of flight instructor, aviation inspector, and test pilot John B. Fornasero. A significant portion of this collection is made up of photographs. Major topics include the Ryan School of Aeronautics, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, Fairchild Aircraft Company, and Boeing Aircraft Company.

Kenneth B. Luplow Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2015-05-20
Content Description The Kenneth B. Luplow Collection is a small collection consisting of a logbook and notebook dating to Luplow's time working for Boeing in the 1940s. The logbook spans 1941-1946, and documents Luplow's role as flight engineer on many first flights, including the XB-29 and XC-97 and XPBB-1. Other test flights documented include ones for B-17 variants. Test pilots documented in the log include J.B. Fornasero, Elliott Merrill, A.C. Reed, Edmund T. Allen, Robert Lamson, J.A. Fraser, R.M....

Franklin W. Minert Collection

Identifier: 2008-11-23
Overview Franklin Minert was a test pilot and boom operator at the Boeing Company from 1943-1970. The collection contains photographic, textual and audiovisual materials relating to his career.

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