Welcome to the sixth “Share Your Story” post. Pilots from around the world write in, to the blog, featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, etc. These posts show future aviators the diverse range of careers available to them. More details are here: Click Here and Get Involved

My name is Doug Haddaway and I am a pilot.  Since I was 4 years old, I’ve only wanted to be a pilot. Growing up in a village on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I thought this to be an unobtainable goal.

At eighteen I took an introduction flight in Easton, Md. It changed my life. I shortly afterward joined the USN and was attached to an A-7 squadron out of N.A.S. Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fl. The next 4 years included a Mediterranean cruise and a north Atlantic cruise on aircraft carriers. The Navy was the best thing that I had ever done; it fueled my love of aviation.

After my enlistment was up, I was hired as a ramp agent for Piedmont Airlines at National Airport (DCA) and eventually transferred to Baltimore (BWI). In a little airfield near Bowie, MD is where I learned to fly at. Freeway Airport was 2200’ long by 30’ wide bordered by high tension wires. I soloed there and to this day remember screaming at the top of my lungs as the Cessna 152 leaped into the air, no longer burdened with my instructor.

My next transfer involved moving to Charlotte, N.C. I received my instrument and commercial licenses. The instrument rating brought up my skill level considerably and the commercial license made flying fun again.

By now I had made up my mind to become a professional pilot. Working for an airline had opened some doors, but I still needed the necessary hours to get hired. One of the ways I built time was to ferry airplanes all over North America. I learned how to operate in high-intensity ATC environments, severe weather and mechanical issues.

My first job was in the right-seat of a corporate King Air Be-200. Though it was only part-time, it taught me that flying the airplane is only half of the job. Good interpersonal skills are essential in aviation.

I flew cancelled checks in a Beechcraft Be-58 throughout the southeast and that helped me to land my current position with Mountain Air Cargo (Fedex Feeder). I fly a Cessna 208 Caravan mainly in the Florida, Bahamas and the southeast. I’ve been with Mountain Air Cargo for 12 years now, this is a great job.
What do I like the least about flying for a living? You’re gone from home a lot. I’ve missed numerous birthdays, school functions concerts etc. My family has grown accustomed to me being gone and there is a lot of time I’m on reserve waiting for the phone to ring. What do I like the most? The view from the office is great. All I’ve ever wanted to do is be a pilot. Is this for everyone? No, you have to love it.
One of the things about being on the road is that you spend a lot of time in hotels. That’s how I started writing. I’ve written a book; Smuggler’s Moon-Underneath the Radar, which has done well (pictured above). I’ve also written numerous aviation-based newspaper and magazine articles.

Thanks so much for sharing your flying story Doug! I really enjoyed reading about how you got to where you are today, finally flying as a professional pilot. Your love for the career has inspired me, and I am sure it will for others.

Thanks again Doug!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

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.

9 Responses

  1. Mark Lawrence

    Very nice Doug – I’m always at FLL photographing and see the Caravans over on the ramp – always enjoy seeing them going off to those exotic locations – Key West, Marathon, etc. Thanks for sharing the story!!

  2. Capt. Anup Murthy

    Good to read Doug’s post and his career with Mountain Air. Many years ago, I used to know guys at Mountain Air Cargo flying Fokker F-27s. That was a great Aircraft to fly, I’ve got some experience flying the Fairchild F-27/FH227, very similar to the Fokker version but American built (and in my opinion better built). I have lost touch with the guys from that era. Good to see Mountain Air Cargo still around with FEDEX and good to see the Caravan flights do so well. Great airplanes indeed. Hope to read Doug’s book “Smugglers Moon” sometime. Sounds interesting!

    • Swayne Martin

      Thanks for the comment!

      I was glad to share Doug’s story and book on the blog… can’t wait to read it myself! I’m sure he has a lot of fun flying the Caravan–that is some real flying compared to some of the larger Fedex Aircraft.

      Thanks again,

    • Capt. Anup Murthy

      I have just one flight right seat in the caravan some time ago..its good fun..slow and stable but a workhorse indeed. Good bush plane here in SE Asia as well.

  3. capnaux

    Good story! Gonna have to order Smuggler’s Moon. One of the many stories swimming in my head is a novel called, “Flight of the Smuggler.” Looks like Doug beat me to it, lol! Love the Caravan, wish I’d had a chance to drive it in my career…. 😉

    • Swayne Martin

      I know! So cool to hear about what Doug does flying wise. I’d love to fly the Caravan one day too.

      Thanks for the comment,

  4. Karlene Petitt

    Doug, Thank you so much for sharing your story! All we have to remember is that these are the good ole days. Glad to see you smiling!


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