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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Noah D. Showalter Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2021-02-25-A
The Noah D. Showalter Collection consists of textual, visual and audiovisual materials related to the career of N.D. Showalter, from his military service during World War II, to his time as a Boeing test pilot, and later work in military aircaft development.

Showalter's military service as a bomber pilot during World War II is documented with a few military records but primarily with materials related to his involvement with the 483rd Bomb Group Association. Included are letters from later in life with many fellow crew members and some photographs they traded, both vintage war-era prints and images of the men later in life. Some articles and clippings and an association roster from 2012 are also present.

Showalter's time as a Boeing Company test pilot is primarily represented with materials related to the replica B&W. These materials include some black-and-white photographs of the plane in flight; color snapshots of the plane at the Museum of Flight; photographic reproductions of the aircraft operations log; a photocopy of the log of the original plane; and some articles about the replica. A few clippings and some correspondence relate to other Boeing bombers including the B-17, B-29, and B-47. The B-52 is documented with several official Boeing black-and-white photographs of Showalter and other test pilots; accumulation records from 1969; and an accident summary list. A 16mm film from North American Aviation titled "B-52 Chock-to-Chock" is also present.

Showalter's work for Rockwell International is represented by several photographs related to the B-1; a 1970 press release; a first flight cover from 1974; and two 16mm films: "B-1 Low Level Ride Control" and "B-1 Mission Readiness."

A folder of personal materials inlcudes photographic portraits; a resume and biographical information; and his death certificate. A few materials related to his father, N.D. Showalter Sr., are also present such as his funeral program, short snorter bill, clippings and family history information.


  • 1945-2012


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. The 16mm films have not been reformatted and may not be viewed at this time. 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 size full width document box, 1 oversize folder, 3 film reels)

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.

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and are kept in the Library:
  • Combat Crew Strategic Air Command, October 1961
  • Skywriter, North American Rockwell, Vol XXIX, No 15, April 11, 1969
  • North American Rockwell News Vol 30, No 8, April 17, 1970; Vol 30, No 20, October 2, 1970; Vol 30, No 25, December 11, 1970; Vol 30, No 26, December 18, 1970
  • Rockwell International News Vol 1, No 20, November 16, 1973; Vol 1, No 21, November 30, 1973; Vol 4, No 21, October 22, 1976

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

  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Parachute remnant
Guide to the Noah D. Showalter Collection
Completed - Level 2
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
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