Welcome to the 35th “Share Your Story” post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show students the diverse range of experiences/careers available to them in aviation. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved

Hey Swayne!

Well, I’m finally up in Juneau. Been here almost two weeks now. Just began flight training this week. I will probably have my checkride tomorrow and IOE on Sunday and/or Monday if all goes well. Things are really starting to get busy around here, which is nice, but not when I can’t actually fly yet. Ha. Anyways, I’m sitting at work waiting for a plane to not be in use so I can do some flight training and figured I will have enough time to share my story.

I caught the flying bug around the age of 14. I was doing river trips with a white water rafting company in the Grand Canyon. I met a trip halfway through the run with extra supplies. I had to fly into the bottom of the Grand Canyon in a Cessna 182 and thought it was pretty dang cool. Fast forward a few years later and I began training for my Private out of Ormond Beach, Florida. Training was slow, part 61, mom and pop FBO that didn’t suit my learning style too well.

I ended up switching schools, and states, and finished my Private out of Carlsbad, California. As soon as I finished it I was off to The University of North Dakota for an aviation related degree. Took me a few years to decide what to major in. And then a few more to complete the degree. But I decided on Flight Education as my major. I really enjoyed the program, the faculty, and the 141 training curriculum. I needed a very strict, and structured training schedule to keep me in line. I would reccomend a part 141 school to any aspiring professional pilot. The aviation degree on the other hand…I have mixed feelings about. Anyway, I graduated and was hired to instruct at UND.

I instructed for about 6 months before I decided to pack up and try my luck flying in New Zealand. Luck was not on my side. I couldn’t find a flying job. So after about 6 months I finally threw in the towel and came back to the States. Arizona to be exact. I instructed for one summer and a few extra months. I realized that I didn’t want to spend another summer in Arizona. So I began looking for jobs elsewhere. I thought about trying another country for a while, but decided against it. Then I saw a job posting for a fish and game warden in Alaska, flying floats and skis.

It got me thinking. I had heard great things about flying and living in South East Alaska. I set my sights on the panhandle. I sent out countless emails and made even more phone calls in search of a job. I only heard back from one company. That is where I’m at now.

Based in Juneau, flying all around South East, mostly paved runways, but we service one or two dirt strips. As well as all of our float destinations, but I’m a wheels guy for now. I’m flying a Cessna 207. I’ve only had 2 training flights so far, and it’s odd being in the left seat again.

I’m about to take my checkride and begin IOE. So far it’s absolutely stunning up here. The weather hasn’t been too poor yet, but I’m excited to be challenged a bit. I’ll check in a few times over the summer as my experience grows!


Thanks so much Cameron for writing in and sharing your story! You just started a dream career for so many people. I’ve been to Alaska once, and can totally imagine myself there in just a few years, doing exactly what you are doing now. I’m excited to hear about how it goes! Make sure to write back soon with some more stories!

Thanks again for writing in and participating in the Share Your Story section of the blog,

Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Youtube: MartinsAviation1 

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

4 Responses

  1. Eric Auxier

    So great to hear your story! I remember giving you my novel, “The Last Bush Pilots,” a week before you left for AK—and you read it in two days! And now, YOU’RE “DC,” the main character learning to “sink or swim” in the wild skies of the AK bush—I hope the book helped you in training!

    I must say that, as a grizzled Cap’n flying Airbus autopilots about the country, I can’t help but feel a tad jealous of your new adventure. You may leave Alaska…but Alaska will NEVER leave YOU!

    Eric “Cap’n Aux” Auxier

  2. Karlene

    Cameron, what a great adventure you have ahead. You’ll get some of the most challenging flying up there…but keep your head, and follow your gut. You will do GREAT! And you will see some of the most incredible views. Have fun!

    Swayne, thanks for sharing a great story about a great pilot.

    • Swayne Martin

      Of course! I’m happy to share such a cool and exciting story! I think Cameron will have a great time. I can’t wait to hear how it goes in the future.


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