Jean and Merlyn Carter were inducted as NATA Honourary Life Members in 2005. Sadly, Merlyn is no longer with us. He is now listed in the NATA Honour Roll.
Aviation and tourism pioneers in northern Canada for nearly half a century, Jean and Merlyn founded Carter Air Services in 1963. They were a team in aviation contributing to opening up Canada’s North.
For decades Jean and Merlyn provided vital air services to isolated First Nations communities without proper (or any) airstrips. During the 1960’s their Lockheed 10-A aircraft landed at the isolated Inuit community of Ulukhaktok in the Canadian arctic, bringing radio telephone to that remote settlement, assisting to improve radio communications with the outside world. In the 1980’s, Carter Air’s Twin Otter floatplanes were used to transport equipment and electricians into Wekweeti so electricity could be provided for residents of that community.
Merlyn also assisted numerous aspiring young men to become pilots, including Joe McBryan, Perry Linton, Darcy Fleming, and others who went on to enjoy lifetime careers in aviation.
Longtime residents of Hay River, Jean and Merlyn were made honorary lifetime members of NATA on April 5, 2005 for their leadership and contribution towards aviation in Canada’s North. At the ceremony Merlyn commented: “Jean did all the work and I did all the flying.” On June 3, 2009, the Carters were also inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame for their lifelong commitment to promoting tourism in the Northwest Territories.