Wayne W. Parrish, 77, the founder and retired president of American Aviation Publications Inc., whose magazines and newsletters covered all aspects of aviation, died of cancer Nov. 9 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Parrish, who lived in Washington and Jupiter Island, Fla., was born in Decatur, Ill. He attended the University of Illinois and earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Columbia University. He began his journalism career on the old New York Herald Tribune and then returned to his hometown, where he worked for the Decatur Herald.

In 1934, he moved to Washington as a staff writer for the Literary Digest. In 1935, he became editor of the National Aeronautics Magazine, a publication of the National Aeronautics Association.

In 1937, he founded American Aviation Publications Inc. By the time he sold the firm to the Ziff Davis Publishing Co., AAP published 16 journals covering the aviation industry. Mr. Parrish remained as a consultant for several years. In 1973, he was a special representative of the chairman of Pan American World Airways. He continued to write until the end of his life.

Mr. Parrish received numerous honors from the industry he covered, including the Award of Achievement from the National Aviation Club and a special award from the International Air Transport Association. He was scheduled to receive the prestigious Tony Jannus Award in 1985.

Mr. Parrish was a former president of the National Aviation Club and the Aviation and Space Writers Association. He was a member of the Aero Club of Washington, the Metropolitan Club, the University Club and the Jupiter Island Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Frances G. Knight, a former director of the State Department's Passport Office, of Washington and Jupiter Island.