Hay River Airport named after bush pilot

The Town of Hay River will rename its airport to commemorate the life of well-known bush pilot Merlyn Carter.

Merlyn Carter ran Carter Air Services for 40 years

The Town of Hay River will rename its airport to commemorate the life of a well-known bush pilot.

Merlyn Carter moved to the Northwest Territories from Saskatchewan in the 1950s. He and his wife Jean founded Carter Air Services.

He began flying when he was 18 years old and continued until the day he died.

Carter was killed by a bear at his sports fishing camp in 2005. He was 71.

Merlyn Carter, seen here at McKay Lake in 1964, was a well-known bush pilot in the Northwest Territories. He died in 2005 at the age of 71. (Courtesy Nonacho Lake Fishing Camp)

His wife, Jean Carter, said she is honored the airport will be named after her late husband.

"I can't help but be a little emotional... I’m happy for Merlyn because I know he worked hard and I'm really happy that he was able to get that recognized and be honored for it," she said.

In his lifetime, Carter and his family were pioneers in the North's tourism industry. They started going out to their main camp at Nonacho Lake in 1957.

They built six bush camps in all. Carter strapped hundreds of boats and canoes to the outside of his float plane and flew them to the camps.

The airport was officially renamed Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport in December, but the unveiling ceremony is scheduled for Friday.