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Elmer L. Munsell Collection

Identifier: CA057-85

Scope and Content

This collection contains personal papers, ephemera, correspondence, personal business records, flight logbooks, flight time records, business records for various employments held my Munsell, newsletters, clippings, manuals, moving film, photographs, maps, ephemera, and memorabilia that were created and/or collected by Elmer L. Munsell during his work with Civil Air Transport (CAT) and Air America, Inc. The Elmer L. Munsell Collection is housed in four manuscript boxes, five film cans, and one flat-file folder, totaling 5.2 linear ft.

The collection arrived in good condition and was initially processed with only a container list as description. Due to a change of the content management system, further description proved to be necessary. During an assessment for an application for an NEH grant, the collection was identified for further processing and description.

The curator identified seven series with the first series being the Personal Papers Series, which contains a personal narrative by Munsell regarding his personal information, him being introduced to Civil Air Transport, his experiences in Thailand, Nepal, and Laos, the reasons of his termination from Air America, and his various flight operations he participated in; United States passports issued to him, various identification cards from Air America, the Far East Pilots Association, Bangkok Christian Hospital, membership card to “The Captain,” a Thai identification card, and a club card to “Club Rendezvous.”

Brochure, correspondence, receipts, financial statements, and note about Munsell engaging in a personal business venture with the Concrete Masonry, Ltd. in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; correspondence, notes, financial statements by Siamerican Securities Ltd. regarding sales of stocks; memorandum with J. H. Minet and Co., Ltd. insurer regarding loss of license, brochure “Workers’ Information Unemployment Insurance in the District of Columbia,” medical records, correspondence with FAA regarding airman medical certification, and radio grams; and flight time records.

The second series is the Employment History Series, which is further organized into four subseries: 1. Civil Air Transport (CAT), 2. Air Asia, 3. Air Ventures, Inc., and 4. Air America, Inc.

Subseries 1. contains correspondence regarding that Munsell is flying to Tokyo-Taipei as an employee of CAT.

Subseries 2. contains correspondence regarding an offer of employment in the position of Senior First Officer/Helicopter and correspondence regarding travel arrangements.

Subseries 3. contains correspondence Munsell’s employment with Air Ventures, Inc. and being on approved leave by Air America, Inc.; correspondence regarding company approved leave for Munsell and Jerome A. McEntee; bill of sale for Munsell’s 1928 Buick and other personal property while in Nepal; correspondence Air Ventures, Inc. regarding medical costs; and correspondence regarding Munsell’s possible employment with Continental Airlines.

Munsell’s reference letters for his employees (Mahli) Cheer Bahadur and Chiatia Narayannas (cook); memorandum of personal household effects; Munsell’s time sheet with Air Ventures, Inc.; Information memorandum for all Air Ventures, Inc. personnel Aubuchon, Munsell, and Bell regarding their departure from Nepal; employment agreement between Air Ventures, Inc. and Munsell; and correspondence between Godfrey A. Rockefeller and Munsell regarding the latter’s possible return to Air America, Inc.

Subseries 4. contains Munsell’s membership card for the Far East Pilots Association; correspondence, statement of final settlements regarding Munsell’s withdrawal from Air America’s Retirement Plan; travel orders; flight crew monthly reports with listings of payment; crewmember duty report work sheets; and memoranda, notes, inter-office routing slip regarding letter of commendation.

Payroll documents, correspondence regarding purchases of “coolseats,” correspondence regarding tax rules, correspondence regarding crew sign in/out procedures at Udorn, Thailand; Pilot Information Bulletin regarding pilot safety; rate table for loss of license insurance; information about CAD/Transfer pump equipment and cockpit check list; correspondence regarding Munsell’s approval of medical certification issued by FAA; Air America, Inc. retirement plan; minutes of the Board of Directors Far East Pilots Association, Udorn, Thailand; correspondence regarding Munsell’s leave of absence from Air America, Inc.; memorandum IRS and Loss of License Insurance; rough draft of pilot expenses; listings of aircrew members including seniority listing; and mailing listings.

Munsell’s reports about two incidents he was involved in: picking up a downed pilot, Don Romes, and dropping food supplies; Munsell’s pay stubs and payroll sheets, crew member duty reports; correspondence regarding the pilot’s strike, listings about pay, and “Agreement Between Air America, Inc. and The Air East Pilots Association;” booklets by Air America, Inc. Employee Insurance Benefit Plan for Eligible Personnel of Air America, Inc. and Its Associated and/or Affiliated Companies, and Compensation and Rules of Employment for U.S. Citizen Pilots of Air America, Inc..

The third series is the Publications Series, which is further organized into three subseries: 1. Air America Log, 2. Clippings, and 3. Manuals.

Subseries 1. contains Air America Log issues.

Subseries 2. contains clippings from the The Bangkok Post about Lao forces engaged at Plain of Jars and Air America, Inc. and San Antonio Express about United States role in Asian affairs.

Subseries 3. contains Beechcraft 18 model two view emergency equipment and exits, listings of power settings for Pratt and Whitney WAS Jr. R985 AN4-AN14B, and student outline Beech Ten-Two P-65/1-IR-001; Bell 204, 204B, and 205A training manuals; C-46 Curtiss Commando checklist and Section 9.60A operators manual; de Havilland C-7A Caribou flight manual; Sikorsky S-58T Operations manual; Sikorsky UH-34D Section 9.60G operators manual; Sikorsky UH-34D, G and J pilot training manual; Sikorsky UH-34D directed study program including information sheet about Willis H. Bird and Co., and Ltd. Share and Note Brokers and Distance/Heading guide for Laos Operations.

Standardization program packet for CH-47 instructor Pilot Course, Part I: Program of Instruction for 2C-F10 CH-47 Instructor Pilot Course, Helicopter Aerodynamics 7D, 7J, 7K, 38, 39, 41, 67, 83, 84, 90-50515-2, Instructing Fundamentals for the Instructor Pilot, Regulations for Army Aircraft, CH-47 Basic Flight Maneuvers, CH-47 Advanced Flight Maneuvers 38/7D-5051-3, and Precautionary Measures, Critical Conditions, and Emergency Procedures, CH-47 38-5055-2, 7D-5055-2.

Standardization program packet for CH-47 instructor Pilot Course, Part II: Introduction and Flight Controls 38-2576-3, Power Plants and Related Systems 38-2577-3, Power Plants and Related Systems 38-2577-3, Fuel, Oil, and Engine Condition Controls System 38-2578-3, Transmission and Rotary Wing Group, 38-2580-2, Flight Control Hydraulic and Stability Augmentation Systems, 38-2582-3, Utility Hydraulic System 38-2583-3, Utility Hydraulic System, 38-2583-3, Electrical System, 38-2585-3, Electrical System, 38-2585-3, Weight and Balance, 38-2588-1, and Flight Training Guide. CH-47 Contact Instructor Pilot Course, 2C-F10.

Directed Study Training Program: Coming Ready of Not your ATR Test. Where do you stand?; Basic Flight Manual and ATC Procedures, Part I Airman’s Information Manual; Federal Aviation Administration publications: Advisory Circular, and Federal Aviation Regulations.

Sikorsky Aircraft Division “Fail Safe Structures,” Programmed Text manuals regarding instrument flight, Instrument Rating (Helicopter) Written Test Guide, and AIP Saigon FIR Section RAC manual.

The fourth series is the Media Series, which is further organized into two subseries: 1. Moving Film and 2. Photographs.

Subseries 1. contains an original film transfer from Thailand and Nepal from 8mm to VHS tape and 8mm film on Laos, Bangkok, Laos L-11, Udorn, and Ice Show.

Subseries 2. contains images of the Plain of Jars (Plaine des Jarres), Elmer L. Munsell in a Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw helicopter, Munsell next to a “Oriental Concrete Block King” in Malaysia, Munsell in Nepal, and notes to Dr. Larry Sall.

The fifth series is the Maps Series, which contains two maps from Nepal “The Great Himalaya Range.”

The sixth series is the Ephemera Series, which contains a 10 Swedish Krona bill.

The seventh series is the Memorabilia Series, which contains bronze figurines. These items are currently missing.


  • 1962 - 1974
  • Majority of material found within 1964 - 1974


Language of Materials

Collection is in English and Thai.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rigths Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Biographical Sketch

Elmer Lonzo Munsell was born on April 22, 1930 in Caldwell, Texas to Harvey Otto (H. O.) Munselle [sic] and Mattie Jewell, née Neyland. He was employed as a captain for rotor wing aircraft with Air America at Udorn, Thailand from 27 June 1968 through 31 July 1975, when he separated from the company.

Prior to Air America, he worked for Civil Air Transport from 1962-1964, Air Asia, and for Air Ventures from 1964-1967. For the latter, Munsell worked as a Remote Area Aviation Specialist and flew mainly in Kathmandu, Nepal. He flew Sikorsky S-58 helicopters, with which he logged approcimately 5,000 hours flying time.

Elmer L. Munsell passed away on December 14, 1994 at the age of sixty-four in Kerr, Texas.


"Elmer L. Munsell Collection," Personnel File, Folder 1, Box 1, History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
"Jerry Fink Papers," Air America Roster, Folder 1, Box 32, History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
"Munsell, Elmer L." "VHPA" accessed January 20, 2021,
"Munsell Family," "Trypod," accessed Januay 20, 2021,


5.2 Linear Feet ((Four manuscript boxes, five film cans (7.5x1.0"), and one flat-file folder (36.0x24.0").)


Elmer L. Munsell flew for CAT/Air America, Air Asia, and Air Ventures in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

Series Description

The Elmer L. Munsell Collection is arranged in seven series:

Series I. Personal Papers 0.25 linear ft. (nine folders), 1956-1985.

Arranged by topic.

Series II. Employment History 0.2 linear ft. (ten folders), 1962-1975.

Arranged by topic.

Arranged in four subseries: 1. Civil Air Transport (CAT), 2. Air Asia, 3. Air Ventures, Inc., and 4. Air America, Inc.

Subseries 1. Civil Air Transport (CAT) 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1962.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 2. Air Asia 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1962.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 3. Air Ventures, Inc. 0.02 linear ft. (one folder), 1964-1967.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 4. Air America, Inc. 0.16 linear ft. (seven folders), 1972-1975.

Arranged by topic.

Series III. Publications 1.02 linear ft. (two manuscript boxes and eight folders), 1965-1973.

Arranged in three subseries: 1. Air America Log, 2. Clippings, and 3. Manuals.

Subseries 1. “Air America Log” 0.01 linear ft. (one folders), 1973.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 2. Clippings 0.01 linear ft. (one folders), 1970.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 3. Manuals 1.0 linear ft. (two manuscript boxes and six folders), 1965-1971.

Arranged by topic.

Series IV. Media 0.8 linear ft. (three manuscript folders, one VHS tape, and five film cans), 1960-1971.

Arranged in two subseries: 1. Moving Film and 2. Photographs.

Subseries 1. Moving Film 0.7 linear ft. (one VHS tape and five film cans), 1960-1964.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 2. Photographs 0.1 linear ft. (three manuscript folders), 1963-1971.

Arranged by topic.

Series V. Maps 3.0 linear ft. (one flat-file folder), Undated.

Arranged by topic.

Series VI. Ephemera 0.1 linear ft. (one folder), 1963.

Arranged by topic.

Series VII. Memorabilia 0.0 linear ft. (items), Undated.

Arranged by topic.

Provenance Statement

The Elmer L. Munsell Collection was donated to the History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by Elmer L. Munsell in multiple accessions from 1985 through 1989.

Additional Sources

Additional information can be found in the History of Aviation Archives in the following collections:

CAT/Air America Archives.

Additionally, CA061-13 Bill Brockway Collection contains a video recording of Elmer L. Munsell.

Image ID

It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Images in this collection are identified by a unique number that provides information about the format, record group, collection, series, box, folder, and image numbers. Please use this number when ordering reproductions of images from this collection.

Record Group Code

01 = CAT/Air American Archives

02 = Doolittle Archives

03 = Lighter than Air Archives

04 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

05 = History of Aviation Archives

06 = University Archives

07 = HAC Stacks

08 = WPRL Stacks

09 = Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Collection

10 = Belsterling Collection

11 = Closed Stacks

12 = Unidentified

13 = Chance Vought Archives

14 = Twirly Birds Archives

Image Format Code

P = Photograph/Postcard

S = Slide

N = Negative

T = Positive Transparency

B = Black and White

C = Color

Example: 01ELM-01-01-PC001

01 = CAT/Air American Archives

ELM= Elmer L. Munsell Collection

01 = Box Number

01 = Folder Number

P = Photograph/Postcard

C = Color

001 = Image Number

Images archived in plastic image holders may also have a location code in the format: 1/TL. In this example, the number is the sheet number and the letters indicate the top left position on the sheet. Position indicators are T = top, L = left, R = right, M = middle, and B = bottom. Position indicators may be combined to describe the position on the sheet, as shown in this example.

Note to the Researcher

All metal fasteners have been removed, photographs are either housed in polypropylene sleeves or interleaved with acid-free paper depending on their size.

Material Removed List

0.1 linear ft. (four items) of duplicate photographs and FAA correspondence have been de-accessioned.

Guide to the Elmer L. Munsell Collection, 1930-1994
Thomas Allen, PhD, CA.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
English (eng)
Edition statement
First revision by Thomas Allen, PhD, CA. 2018-06-05. Second revision by Patrizia Nava, CA. 2019-08-28. Third revision by Patrizia Nava, CA. 2021-01-20. Fourth revision by Patrizia Nava, CA. 2022-09-12.

Revision Statements

  • 2018-06-05: 1st revision was a migration to ArchivesSpace by Thomas Allen, PhD
  • 2019-08-28: 2nd revision was an update of the collection number by Patrizia Nava, CA.
  • 2021-01-20: 3rd revision was an update of the biographical sketch by Patrizia Nava, CA.
  • 2022-09-12: 4th revision was a reprocessing of the entire collection with new arrangement and description by Patrizia Nava, CA.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Archives. Repository

3020 Waterview Pkwy
Suite 11.206
Richardson Texas 75080 US