On October 27, 2017, the Alaska Air Carriers Association (AACA) recognized and bestowed the esteemed title of Alaska Aviation Legend to National Park Service pilot, Darry “Lynn” Ellis. A lifelong Alaskan, Ellis grew up in the remote community of Nabesna located in the Wrangell Mountains northeast of Glennallen, where aviation was a way of life for his family. In the early days of Alaska’s statehood, his father was a commercial big game guide, and Ellis learned his piloting technique from the backseat of his father’s Piper Super Cub, in addition to maintenance skills needed to keep the aircraft flying. Later, when others were leaving Alaska, Lynn started a commercial aviation business at the Gulkana Airport where he delivered mail, passengers, freight, hunters, and birdwatchers. Missions with more urgency included search and rescue operations for those in Glennallen and the surrounding communities. Lynn amassed over 14,000 flight hours flying the region.
In 2011, several years after selling his personal aviation business, Lynn put his immense aviation knowledge and talents to work becoming a pilot for the National Park Service in his beloved Wrangell Mountains. As a FAA certified flight instructor and a Department of the Interior instructor pilot, Lynn is passing his expertise and knowledge on to the next generation of NPS and DOI aviators. He is a highly respected member of the Alaska aviation community as well as in the DOI aviation program.
Alaska Regional Aviation Manager, Jeff Babcock stated, “if you have had a chance to work and fly with Lynn, then you are lucky. If not, maybe someday Lynn will have the opportunity to show you his portion of Alaska, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve - the largest national park unit in the nation, containing over thirteen million acres and over twenty thousand square miles. We applaud his AACA “LEGEND” Award and congratulate him on a job well done!”