Donald Sheldon

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Donald Sheldon
Born(1921-11-21)November 21, 1921
Mt. Morrison, Colorado
DiedJanuary 26, 1975(1975-01-26) (aged 53)
Spouse(s)Roberta Reeves[1]

Donald "Don" Edward Sheldon (November 21, 1921 – January 26, 1975) was a famous Alaskan bush pilot who pioneered the technique of glacier landings on Mount McKinley (now Denali)[3] during the 1950s and 1960s.

Sheldon was born in Mt. Morrison, Colorado and grew up in Wyoming. At age 17 he journeyed to Alaska to seek work and adventure.

Although he was already a pilot, Sheldon served in World War II as a gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress crew over Europe. There he flew 26 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and four other Air Medals.

From his base in Talkeetna, Alaska, he operated Talkeetna Air Service, which ferried climbers, hunters, fishermen, and others to places inaccessible to ground transportation. Over the years, he assisted in numerous rescue operations, both civilian and military, and was awarded an Alaska Certificate of Achievement for his help. His planes, which included Piper Super Cubs, Cessna 180s and Aeronca Sedans[4] were equipped with an assortment of landing gear, including skis, floats and large, soft rubber wheels. Sheldon died of cancer in 1975.


  1. ^ "High on Denali, the Sheldon legacy continues". The Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "Deep in the heart of Denali, ode to an aviation pioneer". The Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Mason 2002, p. 32
  4. ^ Greiner,James. "Rescue From Devil's Canyon". Retrieved July 12, 2008.


  • Greiner, James. (1974). Wager with the Wind: The Don Sheldon Story. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-85337-8
  • Mason, Mort (2002). Flying the Alaska Wild. Stillwater, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 0-89658-589-1.

Additional sources[edit]

  • Phinizy, Coles (February 14, 1972). "Off Into The Wild White Yonder." Sports Illustrated. Accessed July 2012.