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Russel ("Russ") Hyde Merrill (April 8, 1894–September 16, 1929) was an Alaskan aviation pioneer. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he became a U.S. Navy pilot during World War I, becoming Naval Aviator No. 469. After the war, he received a chemistry degree from Cornell University and pursued a career as a civil engineer.

On April 5, 1925, he responded to an advertisement offering a flying boat for sale in Portland, Oregon, where he lived at the time. This started his career as a bush pilot, and on May 26, 1925 he arrived at Ketchikan, Alaska.

Merrill was the first to fly to many cities in Alaska; the first airport in Anchorage was named Merrill Field in his honor. On September 16, 1929, Merrill departed on a flight from Anchorage to the Nyac mine near Bethel, and was never seen again.

Further reading

  • MacLean, Robert Merrill; Sean Rossiter (1994). Flying Cold: The adventures of Russel Merrill, pioneer Alaskan aviator. Epicenter Press. ISBN 0-945397-33-X.  

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