Student Profile - Meet Eric Doughtie

Eric moved from Texas to join HHA in 2020 and is working on his professional pilot training. Read more about his experience at Hillsboro. 
  1. Why do you want to be a pilot and what’s your dream job?
    I decided to become a pilot because I was looking for both a fulfilling career and a way to make an impact. My interests include EMS, Firefighting, and Search and Rescue. Over the years I got to witness these jobs in action during Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, during the Hoback fire in Wyoming, and in Yosemite National Park. I was mesmerized by their skill and felt a pull to do something meaningful.  It wasn’t until years later, after a string of tough jobs in an even tougher job market that I decided to bet on myself and take the plunge to become a pilot. 

  1. What can a potential student expect when starting school?
    Expect to work hard. Flying is crazy fun, and you get to do it in a beautiful place, but with all that fun comes a lot of studying, ground work, and commitment to become the best pilot you can be. 

  2. What is the daily time commitment to becoming a pilot?
    Becoming a pilot is extremely time consuming. The time required for flight and ground training plus at least an hour or two in the books everyday, and rightfully so! It is no small thing to take control of an aircraft, it's important to know your stuff! Beyond studying I have found that changing small habits in my daily routine helps me to keep up with my studies. For instance, before work in the morning I often catch myself checking the weather like I would before a flight. I have found little things keep me sharp and help me to become a better pilot. 

  1. What is your favorite part of the training at Hillsboro?
    The community hands down. We have flight instructors and students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds, all here to reach similar goals. It is supportive, encouraging, and fun!
  1. Why did you choose Hillsboro?
    I had been working in Texas for several years and was tired of the heat! I wanted to go somewhere where I could get a lot of different flying experiences and have a great community. After touring HHA and going on a demo flight, it was clear I had found my spot!
  1. What are some of the biggest challenges when learning to fly?
    Flying helicopters isn’t something that feels “natural” at first, at least it didn’t to me, it feels counter-intuitive at times. It takes a lot of focus and confidence in your reflexes and abilities to think clearly under pressure. It gets easier, thank goodness! I found that after I began to relax and trust myself (around 10 hours in), flying become much more fun. Along with a lot of work studying material and regulations, it takes some important self-reflection.
  1. Outside of school, what does Oregon offer as far as social life?
    You’ll become great friends with your fellow students and instructors. I have lived in a lot of places where there is literally nothing to do….Oregon is not one of those places! Dozens of waterfalls and hiking are just 10 minutes away from the airport. There is always a group getting together to do something fun in the city or in the Columbia River Gorge. You won’t be disappointed!