Skip to main content

Archives at The Museum of Flight

Norah O'Neill Papers

Identifier: 2006-03-03
The Norah O'Neill Papers highlights the 1973-2005 flight career of aviation pioneer and pilot Norah O'Neill. The collection includes three (3) pilot log books for 1973-1976, eight (8) photographs depicting Norah in her pilot uniform and casual dress, serials and newsletters from professional organizations such as the Ninety-Nines, and a few job-related documents, such as two (2) commendation letters from supervisors and an e-mail related to sexual harassment that O'Neill experienced from a male pilot. Additionally, there are a few book reviews for her memoir, Flying Tigress.

The collection also includes a scrapbook, compiled by O'Neill, which includes an introduction written by Norah in March-April 2017. It primarily contains photocopies of articles written about O'Neill at various points in her career, as well as photocopies of photographs, some original clippings, and a 2013 article by O'Neill's daughter about growing up with a pilot mom.


  • 1973-2017


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


0.7 Cubic Feet (1 half width legal size document box and 1 flat box)


Norah Ellen O'Neill (1949-2017), from Seattle, Washington, was a commercial pilot and an aviation pioneer. The collection contains a scrapbook, book reviews, newsletters and serials, photographs, pilot log books, and correspondence related to her flight career and personal life.

Biographical Note: Norah O'Neill

Norah Ellen O'Neill was born on August 23, 1949 to Jack and Bertha Moore O'Neill in Seattle, Washington. She learned to fly in 1973 and embarked on a thirty-five year aviation career.

O'Neill was an aviation pioneer who garnered many firsts starting in 1974 when she was the first woman pilot hired by Alaska Central Air. In 1976 O'Neill became the first woman pilot hired for the Flying Tigers, a commercial cargo airline. In 1977 she was the first woman in the world to pilot the Douglas DC-8 and in August 1980 the first to fly passengers on a Boeing 747. O'Neill also was the first woman pilot to land in Korea, Japan, the Phillipines, Malayasia, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong.

O'Neill was active in her professional field as a mentor and a lecturer. She was also an active member of the Ninety-Nines (99s), Women in Aviation, Mensa, the Airline Pilots Association, and the Flying Tigers Association. Additionally, she was one of the founding members of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, serving as vice-president for two years and as historian for twenty years.

Upon her retirement in 2005, O'Neill wrote her memoir, Flying Tigress and spent time with her family. On September 22, 2017, O'Neill passed away after an extended battle with cancer.

Sources and further reading:

Biography derived from collection materials and obituary published in the Seattle Times on October 6 or 7th, 2017.

O'Neill, Norah. Flying Tigress: a memoir. Seattle, WA: Ascending Journey, 2005.


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Related Archival Materials at Other Institutions

There is material related to The Ninety-Nines, Inc. (Lubbock, Texas Chapter) at Texas Tech University. Online finding aid:

Additionally, researchers may contact the 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma which houses a library, oral history video tapes, and "the Jessie Woods Photo collection, as well as collections from Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Matilde Moisant, Grace Harris, Hazel Jones, Lucile Wright, Jerrie Cobb, Edna Gardner Whyte, Jackie Cochran and so much more." Online at
Related Archival Materials at The Museum of Flight Minnie Boyd Collection on the Ninety-Nines. Minnie M. Boyd (1910-1998) was born in Four Lakes, Washington and was an avid aviator. This collection contains correspondence, organizational records, membership directories, photographs, clippings, printed materials, and ephemera related to the Ninety-Nines, Inc.,and gathered by Minnie M. Boyd during her time as a member.

Separated Materials

The following materials have been separated from the archival component and are kept in Objects storage:
  • One (1) Flying Tigers Captain's uniform jacket with epaulets and wings, pants, shirt and blue rose tie

  • One (1) Flying Tigers pilot's leather suitcase

  • One (1) Wings pin-back button
The following materials have been separated from the archival component and are kept in the Library:
  • Tigerview, Vol. 30, No. 9, December 1976

  • Tigerview, Vol. 31, No. 1, January-February, 1977


Guide to the Norah O'Neill Papers
Completed - Level 3
J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st Edition

Revision Statements

  • November 2018: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
Contact us with a research request