Natalie Gillis Death & Obituary: 34-year-old Canadian pilot killed in Albany Aviation accident

Natalie Gillis Death & Obituary: Natalie Gillis, a 34-year-old Canadian pilot, has tragically died in an aviation accident in Albany, NY. Natalie was not only a pilot but also a photographer, poet, and wilderness guide. Her brother, Matthew Yap, confirmed her death in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “I don’t know what to say. I’m still overwhelmed with grief,” Yap stated in response to an email from the Times Union requesting comment. He also expressed gratitude towards the first responders, coroner, and NTSB for their work, condolences, and support.

How Did Natalie Gillis Die?

Natalie Gillis was the sole victim of a plane crash that occurred on Monday. She was piloting a twin-engine Piper PA 31 Navajo aircraft, which crashed less than two minutes after takeoff from Albany International Airport.

Natalie Gillis’ Career

Natalie Gillis graduated from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Governance and Political Science. Her journey to becoming a pilot began with her career as a wilderness guide, where she developed a passion for kayaking.

In 2019, Natalie sailed the Southern Ocean and worked as a sea-kayak guide on a 60-foot sailboat crossing the Drake Passage en route to Antarctica. She self-published a book of poetry, “This Is Where Atlantis Sank,” chronicling her journey.

In September 2023, Natalie joined Quebec-based KASI Aviation Services as a pilot and recently participated in environmental conservation projects, including surveying rainforests. She achieved the highest level of pilot certification as an airline transport pilot.

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Tributes to Natalie Gillis

“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,” her family stated. A celebration of her life is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, 2024, from 1:00-3:00 pm at Kane-Jerrett Funeral Homes, 6191 Yonge St, Toronto. Attendees are encouraged to bring stories, memories, and pictures to share, which will be compiled into a book. For those unable to attend, contributions can be sent to her brother, Matthew, at The family requests no flowers, as there will already be her favorite roses.


The sudden and tragic loss of Natalie Gillis is deeply felt by her family, friends, and colleagues. Her adventurous spirit, dedication to her passions, and love for flying left a lasting impact on those who knew her. As the community comes together to celebrate her life, Natalie’s memory will continue to inspire and remind everyone of a life truly well lived.