High power ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) loss versus static field H profiles and the corresponding spin wave instability threshold microwave field amplitude hcrit vs H butterfly curves were measured for in-plane magnetized thin Permalloy films of thicknesses 35, 57, 74, 104, and 123nm at a nominal pumping frequency of 9.11GHz. Cavity loading and calibration issues that proved to be problematic in past attempts to obtain accurate resonance saturation data over the full FMR profile in ferrites and metal films were resolved through a careful decoupling of the pump field and a full cavity response calibration. The FMR profiles show a drop in the loss peak, a shift in the peak to lower field, a broadening, and the development of a foldover-like asymmetry as the power is increased. The butterfly curves show a minimum hcrit at the low power FMR field and a smooth rounded increase on either side, except for a small kink on the low field side associated with the shift and asymmetry development. Apart from the kink, the second order Suhl spin wave instability theory, suitably modified for thin films, provided good fits to the butterfly curve data through the use of a single spin wave linewidth ΔHk value for each data set. The ΔHk values ranged from 16to35Oe, with the implied critical mode in-plane wave vectors always directed parallel to the static field. These spin wave linewidths translate into Gilbert damping parameter αk values in the 0.002–0.005 range, the same order as expected for intrinsic magnon-electron scattering losses in metal ferromagnets. These ;- 1;k values are about a factor of 2 smaller than those implied by the low power FMR linewidths. The FMR in-plane precession cone angles at threshold were on the order of 3°–6°.