Canadian Pilot Natalie Gillis Killed in Albany Aviation Accident

Natalie Gillis Albany NY Death: Albany, NY – Natalie Gillis, a 34-year-old Canadian pilot, photographer, poet, and wilderness guide, tragically lost her life in an aviation accident. Natalie, hailing from Calgary, was piloting a twin-engine Piper PA 31 Navajo aircraft that crashed less than two minutes after takeoff from Albany International Airport. Her brother, Matthew Yap, confirmed her death in a heartfelt Facebook post on Tuesday.

Family and Community in Mourning

Matthew Yap expressed his grief and gratitude in an email response to the Times Union, saying, “I don’t know what to say. I’m still overwhelmed with grief. I’d like to thank the first responders, coroner, and NTSB for all their work, condolences, and support.”

A Life of Adventure and Accomplishment

Early Life and Education

Natalie graduated from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Governance and Political Science. Her passion for the outdoors and adventure began early, leading her to a career as a wilderness guide.

Professional Journey

Natalie’s journey to becoming a pilot started with her love for kayaking, eventually working as an intern for an outfitter. In 2019, she sailed the Southern Ocean, serving as a sea-kayak guide on a 60-foot sailboat crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica. She documented this incredible journey in her self-published book of poetry, “This Is Where Atlantis Sank.”

In September 2023, she joined Quebec-based KASI Aviation Services as a pilot. Recently, she had been surveying rainforests as part of an environmental conservation project. Natalie was certified as an airline transport pilot, the highest level of certification for pilots.

Tributes and Memorial Service

Natalie’s passing has left a void in the lives of her family and friends. A statement from her family reads, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved daughter, sister, and friend, Natalie Gillis. Natalie tragically passed away on June 17, 2024, in Albany, New York, doing what she loved.”

A celebration of Natalie’s life will be held on Sunday, June 23, 2024, from 1:00-3:00 pm at Kane-Jerrett Funeral Homes, 6191 Yonge St, Toronto. Friends and loved ones are encouraged to bring stories, memories, and pictures to share, which will be compiled into a book. Those unable to attend can send their contributions to her brother, Matthew, at sapperyap@hotmail.com. The family kindly requests no flowers, as her favorite roses will already be present.

Remembering Natalie Gillis

Natalie’s untimely death is a reminder of the risks faced by those who pursue their passions with such fervor. She leaves behind a legacy of adventure, creativity, and dedication to environmental conservation. Her life, though cut short, was truly well-lived.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her.

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