Brien Wygle oral history interview
Test pilot Brien Wygle is interviewed about his decade-spanning career in the aviation industry. He describes his flight experiences prior to his work at Boeing, including his RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) service as a transport pilot during and after World War II and his time as an airline pilot with Queen Charlotte Airlines. He then discusses his test pilot career at the Boeing Company and his involvement with various aircraft, including the Boeing B-47 Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress, Model 367-80, 707, 727, 737, and 747. He also touches on his experiences as a hydroplane racer.
Table Of Contents
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.