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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Vicki Ross: Making Aviation Dreams Come True

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

 Vicki Ross 
(and daughter Alli)

I was introduced to Vicki through a mutual friend, Captain Nancy Wendel, and so glad she connected us. Nancy introduces me to the greatest people. Vicki has been there, done that and now she is helping others achieve their dreams. If you want a job as an airline pilot, this is one woman you will want to meet. She will get you ready for that interview.

Vicki Ross:

"Like many pilots I was exposed to aviation inadvertently by my parents who took us on a small plane ride when I was 10 years old. It wasn’t until 1972, though, that I discovered the Aviation program at ASU and got my licenses through a CFI by 1974. 

Alli with her boss Patrick

My husband and I bought a C 182 and I enjoyed flying recreationally while working on a masters degree in Social work. It wasn’t until I had my first child in 1980 that I again started to think about aviation professionally. I flight instructed when they were infants and did some corporate flying in King Airs until being hired at Stateswest, a regional, in 1988. I upgraded on the 1900 in 5 months and was then hired by Southwest in 1992. I was able to upgrade in Phoenix (home base) in 96 and retired in 2012.

I had a spectacular career but still my greatest achievement is managing that while staying married to the same man for 40 years and raising three amazing successful kids! As every flying mom knows, that isn’t easy!

Vicki's three: Steven, Michel, Alli

I was a member of the interview team for 17 years at Southwest and participated in hiring pilots while flying as a line pilot. I also was a frequent volunteer for the “adopt a pilot” program, the new hire mentor program and the prospective pilot mentor program. I’ve been a member of ISA, WIA, and the 99s for many many years. I volunteered several years for the PPLI (professional pilot leadership program) program through the 99’s and I serve on the ASU industrial advisory board.

Lunch with the Dutch Students

In 2004 my daughter sold an oldsmobile to a group of dutch student pilots learning to fly in Arizona and we got to know them so well with dinners and events that when they finished the program in Arizona they sent a group from the next class who we got to know as well. Things have changed over the years, of course, but we continue the tradition to this day, more than 10 years later! Those first students now visit on long layovers as KLM pilots.

Dutch pilots visiting with Andrew C17 pilot and new delta

I’ve kept my CFI current and the most rewarding aspect of that was to sign off my daughter for several of her ratings. She just finished two years flying freight out of Milwaukee and just got hired at a regional airline. My husband is a private pilot, of course!


Ace Interview Prep is my business helping to prepare pilots for the next phase of their careers. It’s a great fit for my love of mentoring and my love of helping pilots to plan a strategy for their next step. I work with pilots in every phase from ASU students deciding if they want an airline career to pilots interviewing for the majors. I think it is helpful that I have sat on all sides of the table. I have been interviewed. I have done the interviews. I’m a pilot so I know what happens in the cockpit and on the line .

One of the things I really encourage people starting out in the field is to deal with conflicts and difficult issues professionally from the beginning. If they can discipline themselves to manage conflict early, to deal with mistakes (which we all make) professionally, it will make the rest of their careers so much easier."

Lady Pilots Having fun! Sarah, Vicki, Jan and Nancy

NOTE: Imagine my surprise when I opened the photos for this post, and saw a friend I had lost contact with over twenty years ago. So I emailed Vicki and she said, "Nancy and I go way back. We flew together and now play tennis together and I watch her daughter in tournaments. Jan's father gave me my first lesson in 1968! Her mother went to college with my mother. That is how I got that first flight when I was ten. Now she is a SWA captain. Small world. Sarah is a flight attendant for SWA with her commercial working on CFI." 

Vicki continues...

"I love this business. I have picked guys (and gals) up at the airport, worked with them for several hours, and taken them back to catch a flight home. I have met people in California while on vacation. I am available to my clients by phone up until the interview itself. I just helped a young man with his Skywest interview. It was so much fun. He is so excited to have been offered a job. It’s the same level of satisfaction for me, no matter what the pay or equipment etc."

 To contact Vicki for your Interview Prep:


Thank you Vicki!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Air Traffic Control System

En Route Automation Modernization

Did you know there is Officially a 
New High Altitude ATC Control System?

Before the Senate Commerce Committee on FAA Reauthorization, Michael Huerta, Administrator  thanked Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and the Committee for inviting him to speak on the reauthorization of the FAA.

Statement of Michael Huerta, Administrator:

"It seems like not long ago, we were united with a shared sense of urgency to provide the necessary framework and structure to support our nation’s aviation system, as part of the FAA reauthorization of 2012. And now we are here again to continue that work. Government and industry have a shared responsibility to create the aviation system that will carry this nation well into the 21st century.

The FAA has made major progress in transforming our airspace system through NextGen, and that progress continues as we speak.

I am very proud to announce that we achieved a major milestone last month by completing one of the largest automation changeovers in the history of the FAA. We have completed our new high altitude air traffic control system – known as ERAM. This system will accommodate the technologies of NextGen, giving the United States a more powerful air traffic system.

ERAM, or En Route Automation Modernization – is not just a faster computer system, it’s a network that replaces our legacy system, which had its roots in the 1960s. ERAM processes data from nearly three times the number of sensors as the legacy system. It can track and display more high altitude flights and enable controllers to handle additional traffic more efficiently.

This upgrade is complete now because we introduced a great deal of discipline and structure to the way we do business at the FAA. In 2012, we created a Program Management Organization to better manage the deployment of this and other technology. We also worked closely with our employees – those who will use the system – to gain insight and to make alterations ahead of time for a smooth transition.

The fact that we turned ERAM around, and that it is now operating nationwide, is a testament to what the FAA can accomplish as an agency when it sets milestones and pulls together as a team to make fundamental changes.

ERAM links seamlessly with another complementary system that makes up the foundation of NextGen. This system is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast, or ADS-B.

Last year we finished the coast-to-coast installation of the ADS-B network that will enable satellite-based air traffic control. ADS-B provides a more precise and efficient alternative to radar and will create a sea change in how we manage our nation’s air traffic.

With this highly flexible NextGen foundation in place, the FAA has fulfilled an important commitment. We are working with the industry and the general aviation community to help them meet their requirement to equip by 2020.

On a parallel track, through our collaboration with industry, we have identified key priorities in implementing NextGen air traffic procedures. We now have more satellite-based procedures in our skies than radar-based procedures. We created new NextGen routes above our busiest metropolitan areas, saving millions of dollars in fuel burn, shortening flight paths, decreasing carbon emissions and cutting down on delays.

We have accomplished all of this despite a very challenging fiscal backdrop. Prior to 2012, the FAA faced 23 short-term extensions for reauthorization, as well as a lapse in spending authority and a partial furlough. Two years ago, like other federal agencies, we slashed our budget under the sequester and furloughed employees. Later that year, we continued to operate our nation’s air traffic control system and regulate industry safety despite a complete shutdown of the federal government.

What the FAA needs in reauthorization is stability and predictable funding. We also need the flexibility to identify priorities and match our services and infrastructure with the needs of our users.

It bears emphasizing that the FAA is a 24-seven operation, singularly focused on safety. I think everyone has acknowledged that the funding piece has been challenging in the last five years. There is talk about restructuring the FAA as part of this reauthorization. I am all for having that discussion, but the discussion needs to be based on facts. We need to be sure that any governance changes would work to solve the challenges faced by the FAA.

Our aviation system is a valuable asset for the American public that contributes 12 million jobs and $1.5 trillion to our economy. We should use the upcoming reauthorization to provide the FAA with the tools necessary to meet the demands of the future. A lot is at stake, and we need to get this right."

Statement of Karlene Petitt: 

We have a responsibility to assure that our pilots have the tools and skills necessary to meet the future demands of  automated aircraft

I'm currently working on a redesign of training that will provide "more" training in a different machines to assist pilots to understand the complexities of their automated aircraft and gain proficiencies, with savings to the airlines, making a win win for all. But without this redesign, NextGen will be here... and the question remains...  

"Will pilots be ready to enter that world?"

The Challenges with Automation
Through True Fiction 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Monday, April 20, 2015

FaceBook Message:

The reason I should go to Facebook more often!

My days get busy and the messages coming in on Facebook are often forgotten. Only so many hours to do it all. But today I took a moment this weekend and so glad I did, as this beautiful message was waiting to be read.

"May I say in, "Flight To Success" such a beautiful read, and at times mostly hard to either, put down or leave for too long. I, definitely give it 7 out of 5, whilst, words, paragraphs are guidance, they are sound and, in my thoughts, should be in any doctor/ councillor surgery, or for any individual looking inwardly at themselves and looking for advice and pointers.

Whilst recovering from double broken/dislocated fingers it has also, made me re-evaluate my own self with positive thoughts actions. 

I would most definitely, without reverence, recommend "Flight To Success" to anyone including friends, and can't wait for late 2016, and the release of the third in the series of Karlene's continuing trilogy of, Darby, Jackie, Katherine in ..... "Flight For Survival", am sure, as in all previous flight novels, the level of writing and depth, whilst not heavy, is light enjoyable and, top quality."

Mark Nottingham u.k.

Thank you so much Mark!! And Flight For Survival is underway! For all those who have not caught up with the Flight For Series... time to start reading now! 

XO Karlene 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Susan Lagier

Fridays Fabulous Flyer! 

Teaching Pilots 
The International Language! 

Fascinating people touch Aviation in many ways, and Susan is one of them. She is helping pilots reach their dreams by teaching them English. Those of us who speak English sometimes take for granted that our language is the International language of Aviation. Imagine the learning curve of not only learning how to fly, but learning a foreign language. Susan is helping those pilots to become proficient in English. I know you will enjoy her story as much as I did.

"My name is Susana Lagier, but everybody calls me Susan. I’m a mother of twin girls and a grandmother of three children (two girls and a boy) and one baby boy coming in July. In my free time I enjoy painting, walking, knitting, weaving and most of all, reading.

I’m not a pilot. And what’s more, it never occurred to me to be one. However, for an inexplicable reason I have always been drawn into the aviation world and I have been so much involved with pilots that it feels as if I were one of them.

I have two nationalities: I was born in Argentina but I am also Swiss. Though Spanish and French were spoken at home, my language was English. I loved English and for me it was clear that I had to do something connected with it. At University I studied to be a Public Translator, but what I really enjoyed was teaching. I had my first English student when I was 16 and I have never stopped since then. I worked at schools, at home giving private tuition and for the last 30 years I have been an oral examiner for the University of Cambridge.

It was 20 years ago that I started teaching English to Luciano, a pilot who was at the very beginning of his career, struggling to log hours and have enough to apply to an airline. Today he is an A330 Captain of Aerolineas Argentinas with 12,000 hours (half of them logged in Airbus). He brought his friends to me and that’s how I started working with more and more pilots that came from different companies (Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, LAN Argentina) or pilots that were and/or are at the beginning of their careers

From the very beginning I realized about the importance of speaking English as the only one language in aviation communication so I started studying everything connected with phraseology, planes, airport layouts, CRM, emergencies, weather conditions… and reading everything that fell into my hands. Some years ago the FAR/AIM was my number-one-reader. I don’t know how to fly a plane but I could surely do the communication with any tower in the world!

I was very happy when ICAO implemented the English Proficiency Examination for Pilots and ATCs. Having been an examiner for such a long time, I had no difficulty understanding what was expected at each level and I even contacted authorities from ICAO to clarify some issues. And I was even happier I had studied so much as my goal was helping pilots, mainly those who flew international. 

I have my reservations as regards how pilots and ATCs are assessed, not only in Argentina but in other countries as well. This is a process that will take longer than was expected because there has been some resistance. Not everybody enjoys studying, not everybody thinks it is fair that English was chosen as the language, etc, etc. But as I tell my pilots: Take this as a hobby… something you do in your free time, something that helps you keep your mind alert and your brain young, something that helps you have your memory trained! Imagine being in an emergency: on top of having to deal with one million things in the flight deck, you have to try and remember how to say something to the ATC in English?????? This would be crazy and totally unnecessary if you speak English naturally!

When dealing with the subject of communication, I would like to say that pilots who have to learn English in order to fly make a great effort. For some, it is relatively easy but unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. 

I think communication can be improved in the long run, but we need a lot of cooperation from those who are English native speakers in that they could help a lot if they spoke a bit more slowly and used phraseology at all times, if they were a bit more patient and a bit more formal. Colloquialism and dialects should be totally banned in this type of communication. 

And non-native speakers should cooperate by studying more and trying to keep up their level. I am convinced this is a two-way issue and I truly believe in team-work. Pilots and ATCs should work in team. After all, everybody should bear in mind that speaking only one language is nothing but a question of safety and this concerns us all!

Why do I keep teaching English? 

Why is it so satisfying? It’s amazing how well my students can make me feel when they pass an exam, when they are proud of their first communication in English, when they can relay messages in the middle of the ocean, when they have an urgency and they can solve it, say by speaking to a mechanic in Rome, a controller in JFK or you name it, when they see their own improvement. Every time they achieve something, I feel it is my own achievement! And yes… I teach them to speak English but they teach me so many things! Through them I see the world and most importantly: I fly a plane!"

 Please Join Me in Thanking Susan 
For Providing a GREAT service to Pilots Worldwide
and assisting Aviation Safety!

Susan is absolutely correct, 
speaking one language is essential
 for Aviation Safety!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

iHeart Radio and Flying High!!

My friend Christina Nitschman, pilot, entrepreneur and all around great woman, who started Savvy Radio, the home to over 80,000 listeners per month globally, has been awarded to run in syndication through AMFM247 and iHeart Radio!

Christina and I have a challenging time conducting an hour interview because the hour flies by and we end up on the phone for hours. Interviewing with Christina is like sitting with a good friend over a cup of coffee. Well, she got some great news this week for both of us! 

 iHeart Radio and AM/FM stations are going to 
air my show this Thursday!

My Show?

Of course I had to schedule another interview with Christina at Central Savvy for the release of Flight To Success, Be the Captain of your Life. And I will debut through iHeart Radio and AM/FM channels first, and then this Friday via all the podcasting platforms. Time to do a Darby Happy Dance!

 To access this great show through 
 iHeart Radio, click HERE

Thursday evening (Tonight) at 8pm ET, our show will also air on Savvy's following AMFM channels:

Tampa, FL: 102.1 FM and 1630 AM

Las Vegas, NV: 1520 AM and 107.1 FM
Lancaster, PA: 102.1 FM & 1640 AM 
Macon, GA: 98.3 FM & 810 AM 
Boulder, CO: 100.7 FM 
Milwaukee WI: 104.1

This AM/FM broadcast can also be accessed 
through AMFM247 

If anyone has a message to share, a book, or a company and you want to get your voice and product in front of hundreds of thousands of people, I would contact Christina and schedule an interview. It's well worth it, but also supports a wonderful and courageous woman who had a dream and made it come true.

Thank you so much Christina 
for your support and 
being the wind beneath my writing career
and allowing it to takeoff!!! 

 I hope you will tune in and enjoy the show!

Autographed copies are available here, 
and Amazon comments are so much appreciated!!! 

Thank YOU!


Christina Nitschmann
Telephone: 718-713-2289 or (732) 474-7375
Skype: SavvyCentralRadio

XOX Enjoy The Journey!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Aviation Terminology

Below is an actual
British Airways 1996 Memorandum

"It appears some confusion exists over the new pilot role titles. This notice will hopefully clear up any misunderstandings:

The titles Pilot-in-command, Commander, First Officer, Pilot Flying, Pilot-not-flying, P1, P2 and Co-Pilot will now cease to have any meaning, within the BA operations manuals. They are to be replaced by Handling Pilot, Non-Handling Pilot, Handling Landing Pilot, Non-Handling Landing Pilot, Handling Non-Landing Pilot, and Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot.

The Landing Pilot is initially the Handling Pilot and will handle the take-off and landing, except in role reversal when he is the Non-Handling Pilot for taxi, until the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the Handling to the Landing Pilot at eighty knots.

The Non-Landing (Non-Handling, since the Landing Pilot is handling) Pilot reads the checklist to the Handling Pilot until after the Before Descent Checklist completion, when the Handling Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot who then becomes the Handling Non-Landing Pilot.

The Landing Pilot is the Non-Handling Pilot until the "decision altitude" call, when the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Landing Pilot, unless the latter calls "go-around", in which case the Handling Non-Landing Pilot, continues handling and the Non-Handling Landing Pilot continues non-handling until the next call of "land" or "go-around", as appropriate.

In view of the recent confusion over these rules, it was deemed necessary to restate them clearly."

And I thought Pilot and Co-Pilot was an issue.
We can always find a good laugh!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Pilot and Co-Pilot

We are all Pilots!

It's time to bring the world up to date on the correct terminology of pilots.

"Are you the pilot or the copilot?"

Karlene and An in the Netherlands flying an A320

Anyone Who Flies a Plane is a Pilot. 

Captain: The pilot in the left seat for takeoff and landing. Wears four strips, makes more money than the first officer, gets the steak on the crew meal, and is the final authority over decisions. 

First Officer: The pilot in the right seat for takeoff and landing. Wears three stripes, makes not as much money as the captain, supports the captain's final authority, and flies in the left seat during the captain's break.

Pilot: Either a Captain or First Officer. 

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene