Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

Dave and Davey Doyon

Father and son Alaska floatplane fliers

Dave Doyon Sr. braids a frayed rope in a dockside hangar on a dreary Alaska morning. Dressed in head-to-toe black rain gear, the silver-haired Vietnam vet is waiting for the next group of passengers to arrive at Misty Fjords Air, a four-floatplane charter firm he founded in 1981.
Photography by Chris Rose
Zoomed image
Photography by Chris Rose

Outside, the company’s two de Havilland Beavers, a Turbine Otter, and a Cessna 185 Skywagon, all painted in gleaming black-and-gold livery, bob in the saltwater canal.

“It’s going to be a busy day, and that’s good,” Doyon said. “I like people, and I like action, and flying brings those things together like nothing else.”

His son, business partner and chief pilot Dave Doyon Jr., or “Davey,” will be doing most of the flying today—several scenic flights over nearby fjords and glaciers and a cargo run from Ketchikan to Juneau and back.

Doyon moved to Alaska in 1971 after leaving the U.S. Army. He worked as a fisherman, lodge owner, and hunting guide before learning to fly and buying a float Cessna 180. That four-seat airplane launched the air charter firm in 1981, and the company’s missions have grown to include wildlife tracking, fish surveys, cargo and passenger flights, and scenic tours.

Davey, the older of two Doyon sons, said he idolized his dad growing up.

“He was my hero,” he said. “We did just about everything together, including flying, and I absolutely loved it.”

Davey earned his flight ratings in Arizona, flew air cargo in Alaska and the Caribbean, then joined his dad’s company in the early 2000s. Davey is the better mechanic and instrument pilot, and the senior Doyon has more business experience and sets the organization’s tone.

“Business is business and family is family, and sometimes it’s tough to keep those things separate,” Doyon said. “My son is an excellent business partner. We respect each other and genuinely enjoy being around each other.”

It also helps that they’re both neatniks.

“Keep your tools sharp and they’ll work for you,” said Doyon. “We spool our lines on the dock and we’re attentive to detail because we take pride in what we do, and that matters.”

[email protected]

Dave Hirschman
Dave Hirschman
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.

Related Articles