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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Brien S. Wygle Collection

Identifier: 2020-09-17
The Brien S. Wygle Collection is a small collection primarily consisting of logbooks and certificates, licenses, and awards documenting Wygle's service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II through his career at the Boeing Company as a test pilot.

The logbooks span 1943 to 2008 and document his military service, his time flying as a commercial pilot with Queen Charlotte Airlines in 1950, and his Boeing career beginning in May 1951. There is a gap in the logs from 1953-1962. His Boeing logs include the first flight of the 737 on April 9, 1967 and the first flight of the 747 on February 9, 1969. His Boeing log notes show his participation in many production test flights, in-flight refueling, autoland and autopilot tests, demonstrations, ferry trips, and training trips.

The awards and certificates mark military accomplishments as well as accolades from various organizations including the Society of Experimental Flight Test Pilots and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. An illustration by G. Russell rounds out the collection with a visual depiction of Wygle's Boeing career.


  • 1939-1990


Language of Materials

One item is in Chinese. All other 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.


.5 Cubic Feet (1 letter-width full size document box and 1 oversize folder)

Biographical Note: Brien S. Wygle

Brien S. Wygle is a World War II veteran and test pilot who worked for the Boeing Company for 39 years. He was born on August 23, 1924 in Seattle, Washington to Aurelian and Christine Wygle. When he was three years old, his family returned to their family farm in Alberta, Canada.

Wygle joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 and underwent operational training in the Lockheed Hudson. After serving an anti-submarine assignment in Nova Scotia, he was deployed to England in 1944. There, he transitioned to the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and participated in training exercises for the upcoming Normandy landings. Shortly before D-Day, he was selected for reassignment to the China-Burma-India Theater, where he served with 436 Squadron. During his time in the CBI, he flew over 200 air drop missions in support of Allied troops.

After the end of World War II, Wygle served as a transport pilot in Allied-occupied Europe. He returned to Canada in 1946 and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia. While in college, he served with the RCAF Reserve and worked as an airline pilot for Queen Charlotte Airlines.

After completing his degree, Wygle applied to several Canadian and American aviation companies in the hopes of becoming a test pilot. He was ultimately hired by the Boeing Company and relocated to Wichita, Kansas in 1951. During his 39-year career with the company, Wygle participated in test flights for numerous Boeing aircraft, including the B-47 Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress, Model 367-80, 707, 727, 737, and 747. He retired in 1990 as Vice President of Flight Operations.

Wygle served for many years on the Museum of Flight Board of Trustees. He died in 2020.


Biography derived from collection materials.


The materials are organized by format and then chronologically.

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the Museum by Wygle's family after his death.


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 Materials

The Museum also has the Brien Wygle Philatelic Collection (accession 1999-09-28A) and an oral history recording with Wygle is in the Museum of Flight Oral History Collection (accession 2019-00-00-100).

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and are kept in Objects storage:

  • RCAF Blood Chit, WWII
  • RCAF Distinguished Flying Cross medal on ribbon, with original presentation box, WWII
  • Wygle pressed paper dog tags on chain, RCAF, WWII
  • Wygle metal dog tags on string, RCAF, WWII
  • (2) Fabric patches, “Canada”, RCAF, WWII
  • Patch, RCAF fabric pilots wings, WWII
  • (3) fabric ribbon bars, awards, WWII
  • Medal on ribbon – British campaign medal, 1939-1945, WWII
  • Medal with ribbon – Canada Volunteer Service, 1939-1945, WWII
  • Medal with ribbon – British 1939-1945 Service Star, WWII
  • Medal with ribbon – The Burma Star, WWII
  • Medal on ribbon – Eastern Front Medal, 1941-42 (German issue), WWII
  • (2) RCAF Operations winged badge pin, WWII
  • Fabric patch – Pilots wings, Israeli Air Force
  • Plaque, wooden – Award from Society of Flight Test Engineers, 1/11/1990
  • Plaque, wooden – 1989 Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award presented by Society of Women Engineers for “persistent efforts to create an environment of acceptance and advancement for women at all levels”
  • Certificate (framed) – Certificate of appreciation for support give to Museum of Flight’s Archives and for Flight Test Lecture Series, 6/7/1988
  • Award – Trustee Emeritus, MoF Board of Trustees, 1992-2014
  • Award – Chairman of the Collections Committee, MoF, 1999-2012
  • Award – MoF Pathfinder, 2000
Guide to the Brien S. Wygle Collection
Completed - Level 4
N. Davis
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

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