Pavelka and professional partner Chelsie Hightower were sent home on the show's fifth elimination, and he choked up when he got the news.
"I didn't really expect that; that's kind of just how I felt," Pavelka said today on "Good Morning America." "It really meant something to me. I'm so grateful to have been able to dance with Chelsie for six episodes. ... I still am really sad to say goodbye to the 'Dancing With the Stars' family.'"
The airline pilot and reality TV star said that he and fiance Vienna Girardi haven't set a wedding date yet, but he praised her for her support throughout the show.
"Vienna has been amazing," he said. "I owe her big. She put her life on hold for me to do this, so I'm going to go romance my bride."
Hightower said she wasn't surprised that the pair was sent home.
"We came out and we did our best and unfortunately didn't get enough votes," she said, adding that she was impressed by her partner's attitude, especially his willingness to dance in his underwear for a "Risky Business" dance on the show's Movie Night.
"He was willing to throw himself into anything," she said.
"I thought, well, shoot, what the heck?" Pavelka said, calling it a "once in a lifetime opportunity. ... Seize the moment."
For now, Pavelka is looking forward to spending time with his fiancé and expects to return to flying.
"Flying, no matter what happens, will always be a huge part of my life," he said. "You never know what doors God's going to open, but right now the plan is to fly airplanes."
Pavelka's departure comes a week after fellow reality TV star Kate Gosselin was voted off "Dancing With the Stars."
Gosselin said she was upset but not surprised to be sent home, and that participating in the show during a custody battle for her children was "emotionally very hard, very draining, very scary."
"That's why you saw me the way you saw me," Gosselin said on "Good Morning America." "My kids come first, and their future is uncertain right now. Dancing feels … it was just, it had to be second place at that time."
Gosselin and professional partner Tony Dovolani lasted until the halfway point of the 10th season of "Dancing With the Stars," despite consistently receiving harsh criticism and low scores from the judges.
"I wanted to learn more, I wanted to do more," she said, although adding, "I knew it was my day yesterday."
The reality-TV star said she would be happy to return home with her children, who were big fans of the show and hadn't yet learned that she'd been voted off.
"It was very hard for them to hear what the judges are saying," Gosselin said. "They weren't allowed to watch the judges' comments. It was hard for them to hear negative things about me. Of course, in their eyes, I was the best dancer."
Gosselin had been criticized for her participation in the show, because it required time away from her children. But she has maintained that she did it to support them and to set an example about hard work and trying new things.
Dovolani said he was proud of Gosselin, and that footage of the two fighting during rehearsals told only part of the story.
"They only showed the emotional parts, but really, what we had was a lot of fun," he said.