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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Iva and Homer Metz Space Collection

Identifier: 2019-11-01
The Iva and Homer Metz Space Collection documents the careers of both Iva Metz and Homer Metz. This collection, which dates from 1928 to 2003, consists of certificates, membership cards, pilot rating book, flight logs, photographs, cacheted covers, and assorted documents related to the Apollo and Skylab programs. The collection records the early days of Iva and Homer’s flight careers and gives insight to their involvement in the space industry.

The first part of the arrangement is comprised of early flying logs and photographs circa the 1940s that document Homer and Iva’s flight training. There are documents related to Homer’s pilot training for the United States Navy. In addition, there is an early photograph of Iva during her flight lessons where she completed her first solo flight on an Aeronca Chief.

The remainder of the collection follows Iva and Homer’s careers in the space industry during the time they worked on the Saturn V/Apollo program through an assortment of certificates and a scrapbook compiled of the various Apollo missions. The scrapbook was arranged sequentially by Apollo mission and created by the Metzes. Included in the scrapbook are decals, certificates awarded to both Iva and Homer, letters, and publicity related to the Apollo launches.

The final aspects of the collection are a series of cacheted philatelic covers collected by the Metzes commemorating various space missions from the John F. Kennedy Space Center that range from 1981-2003, as well as documents they collected on the Skylab Program.


  • 1928-2003


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.


.4 Cubic Feet (1 letter size, full-width document box)


The Iva and Homer Metz Space Collection documents the careers of both Iva and Homer in aviation and the space industry. It follows their time with the U.S. Navy, the Boeing Company, North American Aviation, and at Cape Canaveral during the Apollo and Skylab programs.

Biographical Note: Iva L. Metz

Iva L. (Fullerton) Metz worked as a secretary with the U.S. Navy, North American Aviation, and at Cape Canaveral during the Apollo and Skylab programs.

Metz was born on February 12, 1924, on a farm about 10 miles outside of Mankato, Kansas to John and Jeanette Fullerton. Her father was a farmer and her mother stayed at home taking care of their six children, four girls and two boys. Her mother passed away at 37 years old when the children were little. Attending Montrose School, Metz describes her journey to school: “[we] rode horses to school, and – all four girls on one horse. That was our bus.” She attended the same school, elementary through high school, in Montrose, Kansas. By 1942 she was teaching in a one-room schoolhouse east of Mankato with nine students all in different grades.

Metz became interested in flying as a young girl when her father took her to an airshow in Concordia, Kansas, about 30 miles south east of their farm. In July 1942, once living on her own and teaching school, Metz began flying lessons. After only five hours of instruction, she soloed an Aeronca Chief, a side-by-side, two-seat, 65-hp light airplane. She was the first female pilot to solo from the local field. Homer L. Metz, who would later become her husband, was also learning to fly at the same airfield. Iva was only able to take a few more lessons before the airplane was needed to train male pilots preparing for World War II. After Homer joined the U.S. Navy at the end of 1942, Iva moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1943 to attend ground school at Wichita University. They were married in 1944.

When Homer was transferred to Banana River Naval Air Station in Florida, Iva went to work for the Navy where she controlled the secret documents used to train the pilots on radar. After the end of the war, the couple remained at Banana River to help deactivate the air station. The couple moved to Glendale, California in 1946 and Iva found a billing clerk job at Andrew Jergens Company. In 1950, after completing school and having their first child, Steve, the family moved to Wichita, Kansas. Homer went to work for the Boeing Company and Iva for Cessna Aircraft Company as a payroll clerk. The family remained in Wichita until Homer was transferred to Seattle, Washington in 1958. The family, now numbering four with the birth of Douglas, put their furniture in storage and moved to Seattle. However, not long after that, Boeing sent them to Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton, Florida. Iva found a job at Boeing as the secretary for the manager of the facilities. She was at Hurlburt when Alan Shepard became the first American into space on May 5, 1961.

In June 1961, the family was transferred back to Seattle where Homer went to school to learn more about electrical system and electronics. After five months of training they were sent to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with Boeing. Iva found a secretarial job at Autonetics, a division of North American Aviation which was designing guidance systems and involved with Minuteman Missile testing. She became one of the first operators of the 1-A Data System that provided direct communications with all North American facilities. The A-1 used telephone lines and a punch tape to send the messages quickly and confidentially.

In 1966 Homer transferred to Cape Canaveral with the Saturn V and Minuteman programs and Iva transferred to a North American operation at the Cape as well. Here she was working with various engineering groups who were working on Apollo and the Saturn second stage. She typed critical design documents, which had to be perfect to ensure the safety of the astronauts. The astronauts were very appreciative, frequently sending gifts as a way to say “…thank you for not killing me.” She became very close to all the astronauts over her time at the Cape.

A vivid and tragic memory was the death of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee in the Apollo 1 fire in January 1967. Iva wore a collar pin every day that she said was “my Roger Chaffee”. She learned of the fire when her youngest son, Douglas, ran in to the family home saying Chaffee had died. Iva said that couldn’t be right because they were only doing pad tests. A few minutes later she found out about the fire. Throughout the investigation Iva typed up the investigation findings.

Iva watched the launch of Apollo 7 from the parking lot of her office building about five miles from the launch pad. Homer had told her to go outside and away from the windows in case the rocket exploded. If an explosion occurred she was to get under the car for safety. Because she was so well-liked by her engineers, for one of the Apollo launches she watched from a location closer than the VIP section, about two miles from the launch pad.

When the Apollo program ended Iva continued on with the Skylab Program. Wanting to get her son Doug close to a launch (Steve was in Seattle), she needed press credentials to get better access than her own NASA access. She contacted the local paper in her home town of Mankato seeking credentials for a Mankato reporter and her son. The paper sent two passes, one for Doug and one for Iva. They were able to see the astronauts get in to the van taking them to the pad from only a few feet away. The launch viewing area was only about two miles away.

In 1973, the Metz family moved back to Seattle. Homer worked on tanks for the nuclear power plants in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, though he was still based in Seattle. North American didn’t have any Seattle facilities so Iva went back to working at Boeing. She worked her way up to a budget analyst position on the military side, retiring in 1987.

As of 2022 Iva Metz was still living in the Seattle area.

Biographical information derived from orla history interview and additional information provided by interviewee.
Biographical Note: Homer Metz Homer Leon Metz had a career in both the aviation and space industry. He served in the V-5 program for the United States Navy during World War II and later worked for Boeing on the Bomarc Missile Program, Minuteman Missile Program, and Saturn V Program.

Homer Metz was born on February 18, 1924 in Mankato, Kansas. He grew up in Mankato and attended the common school. From an early age he was interested in flying. While still in high school he began to take flying lessons. Also in high school, Metz met Iva Lea Fullerton at a school dance. They shared a common interest in flying and later married on November 6, 1944.

Once World War II began, Homer took as many flying lessons as possible in order to join the V-5 program of the United States Navy. In November of 1942, he went to Kansas City and joined the United States Navy. He left for duty in February of 1943 and completed his training in Corpus Christi, Texas on the 4th of October 1944. He was then commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.

In 1944, after completing his training in Corpus Christi, he transferred to Banana River Naval Air Station, Florida to train bombardier students in the use of radar. Homer and Iva would leave the station in July of 1946 for Glendale, California where he attended Cal Aero Technical Institute using his GI Bill benefits to become an aircraft mechanic.

After completing his education, Homer went to work for the Boeing Company in Wichita, Kansas on May 31, 1951. While working for Boeing, he was transferred many times. In August of 1958, he was transferred to Seattle, Washington to work on the B-47, B-52, and the 707. He was then transferred to Fort Walton, Florida to work on the Bomarc Missile Program. In June of 1961, he and Iva returned to Seattle, Washington for five months of training and then he was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Maria, California. In March of 1966 he was again transferred by Boeing to Cape Canaveral, Florida to work on the Minuteman missile program and Saturn V program. He was the first Boeing Inspector to be transferred from Minuteman to the Saturn V rocket. In December 1966, he was the supervisor of Pad A LOX and fuel areas during facility activation and checkout. He supervised various inspection activities during processing, test and launch of all S-1C stages from the Launch Complex. He was a supervisory member of the AS-506 launch team and supervised the Pad A Command Center and pad activities on second shift. For his work there he was presented with a medallion which contained metal from the Apollo spacecraft that took the first men to the moon and from Eagle, the Launch Excursion Module (LEM) that actually landed the First Men on the Moon. Homer and Iva witnessed all the Apollo launches and two of the Skylab launches via the Saturn V rocket. They both felt that working on the Saturn V/Apollo Program was the most interesting and exciting time of their life. In 1973, Homer transferred back to Seattle where he worked on tanks for the nuclear power plants in the Tri-Cities, Washington. He retired in 1979 due to health problems. Homer Metz passed away on May 6, 2009 in Seattle.

Biographical note derived from donor information.


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 of Flight has an oral history with Iva Metz in the Oral History Collection.

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and transferred to the Library:
  • North American Rockwell News Vol. 32, No. 25, January 12, 1973
  • Spaceport News Vol. 12, No. 1, January 11, 1973

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and are kept in Objects storage:
  • Framed piece of Skylab umbrella material
  • Skylab decal with material sample
  • Skylab I temporary mission decal
  • Mission patches: Apollo 1
  • Apollo-Soyuz patch
  • Apollo 13 patch
  • “Beep, Beep” Apollo 14 patch - Backup Crew AB emblem souvenir patch (silver border)
  • “Beep, Beep Your Ass” patch, Apollo 14 Backup Crew
  • (4) Skylab Program patches
  • STS-51-C Discovery patch
  • North American – Rockwell Apollo Launch Team patch
  • Missile, Space and Range Pioneers patch with certificate
  • Framed Apollo 8 coin
  • Apollo 16 button
  • Apollo 17 button
  • (2) Press passes for the Metz’s at Kennedy Space Center
  • Navigational plotter
  • Weems Mark II plotter

Processing Information

This collection has been fully processed.
Guide to the Iva and Homer Metz Space Collection
Completed - Level 3
C. Dinges
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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