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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Joann Osterud Airshow Collection

Identifier: 2021-10-29-A
The Joann Osterud Airshow Collection documents Osturud's career as a stunt pilot with visual and audiovisual materials from the late 1960s through 1990.

The bulk of the collection is made up of photographic slides and prints, primarily taken by Osterud's father, Kenneth L. Osterud. In total there are 301 35mm slides and 16 prints ranging in size from 4x6 inches to 20x30 inches. All photographs are in color except one print. While a few images are more personal in nature depicting Osterud at Reed College and working at the Pacific Science Center, the majority of them depict her participating in airshows. She is depicted with her Piper J-3 Cub, Stephens Akro, and Sorrell Hyperbipe Supernova, as well as the plane "Blind Man's Bluff" she tried to use in competition in 1987. The images were taken at numerous airshows, including ones in Yuma, Arizona; Bakersfield, Oxnard, and Salinas, California; Goodland, Kansas; Reno, Nevada; Medford and North Bend, Oregon; Paine Field and Whidbey Naval Air Station, Washington; and Abbottsford and Nanaimo, British Columbia. Her various stunts such as the hammerhead, tail slides, and lomcevaks are captured in the images, as well as scenes of Osterud with other airshow participants and the crowds. About three dozen images depict other pilots and performers, including Robert Notkke, Mike Sorrel, and Art Scholl, as well as the Blue Angels and Canadian Snowbirds. Dorothy Stenzel is seen in a few images alongside Osterud at a North Bend, Oregon airshow in 1989 and one oversize print depicts Julie Clark, Lauren Lee, Suzanne Asbury, and Patty Wagstaff with Osterud.

In addition to the photographs, there are 49 videocassettes and 6 sound recordings with news programs, interviews, and documentary footage of Osterud flying at airshows. While none of the photographic images relate to Osterud's work as a commercial pilot, a few audiovisual materials do: there are four sound recordings and three videocassettes from United Airlines with training programs for the Boeing 727.


  • 1966-1994, 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1973-1990


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The film and sound recordings are not currently accessible, pending digital preservation. The remainder of the 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.


3.3 Cubic Feet (2 records cartons, 1 half-width letter size document box, 1 oversize folder)


Joann Osterud was a stunt pilot who flew in airshows from the late 1970s through the 1990s. Slides, photographs and audiovisual recordings in the collection document her stunt performances from her early career through 1990, including ones in her Stevens Akro plane which is in the Museum's collection.

Biographical Note: Joann Osterud

Joann Osterud was a stunt and commerical pilot who flew in airshows from the late 1970s through the 1990s.

Osterud was born on November 14, 1945 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When she was three her family moved to Seattle, Washington when her father took a position at the University of Washington. In 1968 Osterud graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she had majored in Political Science. During her summers she worked at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. She also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for one year, working towards a Master's degree which she never completed.

It was after graduating from Reed that Osterud began purusing aviation. She trained at Hillsboro Airport, near Portland, and then got her first pilot job with Lynden Air Transport. In 1975 she begain working for Alaska Airlines as their first female pilot. Three years later she was the fourth female graduate from United Airlines' training program and was the sixth female pilot they hired, in May 1978.

Meanwhile Osterud also flew as a stunt pilot in airshows, primarily in the western United States and Canada. She initially flew a Piper J-3 Cub, then a Stephens Akro, and finally a Sorrel Hiperbipe. In 1994 she donated her Akro to the Museum of Flight. During her career as a stunt pilot, she set many records. Her first record was on July 13, 1989 in North Bend, Oregon, for flying 208 outside loops, breaking Dorothy Hester Stenzel's 1931 record of 62 outside loops. On July 24, 1991 Osterud flew from Vancouver, British Columbia to Vanderhoof, British Columbia and set two flight records: the first for the longest flight upside down and the second for the longest flight upside down in one stretch. Her stunt flying career ended on April 11, 1997 when she crashed at an airshow in Yuma, Arizona during her "Ring of Fire" stunt in which she would fly upside-down through a flaming ring multiple times and then cut a ribbon hung between two poles with the tail of the plane. She hit the runway while inverted and totalled her plane but was unscathed herself.

She was married to John Gregory Hull from 1971 to 1973 and then Robert H. Nottke from 1978-1984. She died in 2017.


The materials were arranged by format and then chronologically.

Other Finding Aids

Itemized lists of audiovisual materials can be provided upon request.

Related Materials

The Museum also has the Joann Osterud Record-Breaking Flight Photograph (2019-12-09) and a biographical file on Osterud. Her Stephens Akro plane is in the Museum's aircraft collection.

Separated Materials

A plaque for the U.S. National Record, Special Category for Consecutive Outside Loops by a Female pilot, July 15, 1989 was transferred to the Objects collection.
Guide to the Joann Osterud Airshow Collection
Completed - Level 3
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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