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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.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Inspiration Has Wings

To Take Flight! 

GREAT NEWS! I passed my qualifying exam and I am now an official doctoral candidate. 

The work has begun. Because as my friend said ...

The Excitement Continues! 
We are Flying it Forward
and giving free flights to girls 
who have never had the opportunity 
to fly in a small airplane.  

September 24th and 25th
Museum of Flight at Boeing Field

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fabio Sturaro

Friday's Fabulous Flyer! 

Fabio Sturaro

I have met some  of the greatest people on twitter, and Fabio Sturaro is one of them.  The world needs more enthusiastic pilots like Fabio, who has not only embraced aviation, but exhibits a self-directed focus toward his aviation career, and more than that, he is also sharing his journey and giving back to the aviation community by sharing his experiences, and educating the public.

Where did Fabio get his passion?

"My dad is an ultralight pilot and he transmitted me the passion of flying, while I was growing up I thought to turn my passion into a career, so I decided to follow my dream of being an airline pilot. Nowadays is more and more common to travel with aircraft, firstly because they're the safest transportation method and secondly because they shorten a lot the time of traveling."

Photo by Drone of Fabio and his runway

Fabio believes it's important for people (passengers) to understand what kind of pilots they are relying on to make their travels safe. There are so many responsibilities that do not come lightly. Thus, Fabio decided to talk about his pilot training on Twitter using the Hastag #cadetpilotdiary. This type of discussion will also be useful for everyone who is taking pilot training themselves.

"Everyday I'll tweet about topics discussed in class and curosities keeping updated my followers with all my progresses. In June 2016 I started my ATPL integrated course at Fte Jerez in Spain, and I'm currently attending ground school lessons to take the first 6 EASA exams in November, after that I will be flying; there is an alternation of flying and ground school teory ending with the MCC and JOC with a total of at about 14 months of training."

Phase One Reading

Fabio would like to help anyone he can, and is willing answer questions for anyone thinking about flying. He even created an email address dedicated to his mission: 

I have no doubt Fabio will finish his training with great success, and reach his goal of flying for an airline one day.  How much fun will it be learning with him, along the way. 

Follow Fabio on Twitter at: 
and monitor the Hastag 

Good Luck Fabio!
You will achieve great success!
Enjoy the Journey!
 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


The Whistleblower Law

This week we learned the essence of a safety culture, and that many airlines have a non-reporting culture. When an employee becomes an ‘irritant’ for reporting safety issues, or hurts the ego of a manager who was aware of a situation and should have solved the problem and didn’t, or identifies where the airline is working around policies with ‘carve outs’ that may be in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), and someone decides the best way to deal with that problem employee who reports these issues is to have them removed… 

But wait, you can’t fire an employee for reporting! You can, however,  falsely charge them with a mental health accusation, and send them down the rabbit hole fighting for their life. Or can you? Many managers think that they cannot be held accountable for removing a pilot from flight status if they are still on the payroll. No harm. No foul. 

The truth is, regulatory policy has been created to support a reporting culture by establishing programs such as the Air21, whistleblower law, making it illegal to not only discharge an employee, but also illegal to change the terms, conditions, or privileges of their employment for reporting safety issues. 
More than that, the report does not have to be external. If you report internally to a manager, chief pilot, or supervisor, and any aspect of your job has been changed because of that report (demotion, pulled from flight status, loss of known crewmember privileges, or unfounded mental health accusation, etc.), then you may have an Air21 claim.

The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (Air21) 49 U.S.C. §42121 is a joint FAA/OSHA program that extends beyond discharge and compensation, to terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. 
Unjust action in any capacity is protected. 
You can read more here:
But know one thing: 
You have only a minuscule 90 days to file.
Don't give up your rights! 
Without a Safety Culture and freedom to report, a level of safety will be reduced. Hazard identification and risk mitigation depend upon every employee, from the ground floor to the top of the food chain, to feel comfortable in reporting safety related issues, training issues, manual issues, procedural errors, or regulatory violations, etc. The success of safety management systems (SMS) will depend upon the structure of airlines' processes they have in place. If you do your best in the interest of safety, do not be swept under the rug and put out to pasture. Fight for your rights. Make the system safer.

Enjoy the Journey!
 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Non-Reporting Culture

There's a Sign! 

Photo from:

Yesterday I wrote about the elements of Safety Culture.  One of the easiest ways to identify if your organization has a positive safety culture is to ask employees if they are comfortable reporting safety related issues. If you hear employees speak of fear in reporting with comments such as, "I'm not saying anything, I need to keep my job", then the chances are your company may be lacking a positive reporting culture. Personally I think a reporting culture is one of the most important elements of a safety culture. 

Photo from

Without a reporting culture, supported by open communication, that encourages and rewards reporting safety related information and is free from retaliation, the opportunities to demonstrate flexibility will be non-existent, and there will be no opportunity to identify if the culture is just, informed, or provide areas for learning. Systems must be established that enable employees to report without fear of retaliation to support a positive safety culture.

I found the above photos on line. The statistics are appalling. During the final quarter of my doctoral course, I began researching elements of safety culture and associated retaliation. What I learned was nothing short of shocking:
I know of seven pilots, from multiple airlines, that have been pulled from flight status with a fitness for duty challenge due to mental health accusations in retaliation for reporting safety issues, and 24 additional pilots (I have yet to speak with) have been identified to be off duty for a similar reason. Airlines are using a mental health clause to retaliate against employees who have reported safety issues, and they can do it to anyone for any reason.  

These pilots are being paid because the company thinks it is only illegal to fire an employee for reporting safety. But they are ordered to go through horrendous psychiatric evaluations, with questioning and interrogation that nobody should be exposed to. They are set aside for months at a time, isolated from their airline family, humiliated, kept from flying, not allowed to maintain currency in the simulator, haunted by nightmares of the fiasco, and many end up just quitting. Therefore, the company thinks they are not liable for unjustly firing them.

The fact that the Germanwings crash is being used in support of and justification for this retaliatory tactic is one of the most criminal things an organization could do. Not only does this methodology harm the psyche of the pilot, that will be carried with them for life, but it creates a stigma for pilots to self report if they needed help. If this is a punishment from a manager, why would anyone who really had a problem come fourth? They wouldn't.
Mental health problems are a disability, not a punishment. For anyone to mock the disabled, by using their illness as a tactic to punish an employee who is attempting to make their work environment better, should take careful consideration of what they are doing. Many pilots who are facing this retaliation think there is nothing they can do until they are fired, that's not true.

Join me Tomorrow to Learn 
Your Rights!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Safety Culture

A brief update on ...
Safety Culture 

A lack of accidents does not indicate safety.  It’s more than pretty airplanes, fancy uniforms, or a great marketing strategy. A safe airline will have a strong safety culture.  Safety culture is the essence of how the organization operates, and is identified by five critical sub-components to include a reporting culture, a just culture, a flexible culture, an informed culture, and a learning culture.

Reporting Culture
Reporting cultures exist where open communication and reporting safety related information is not only encouraged, but rewarded.  Ground floor employees are working in the field and are the closest to the operation, and the first to identify hazards. Operations must have systems in place for these employees to report without fear of retaliation.

Just Culture
A just culture is where fairness prevails and those people who report are listened to, right or wrong, there is always something to learn.  Honor, ethics, and leadership are the core of a just culture.  There are no special favors for the good old boys, everyone is a valued employee, and they all have the same opportunity as everyone else. 

Flexible Culture
In a flexible culture, leadership will adapt and shift from a hierarchy structure to a flatter structure where control passes to those employees making the decisions, where the system can adapt to 'on the spot decision making' versus an ivory tower mandate. Silos are replaced with a cross-networking structure. 

Learning Culture
A learning culture is where employees learn, grow, and improve the overall system. Every experience can be a learning moment, and information sharing is key. Without a strong reporting culture, that is flexible and just, learning will be hard pressed.

Informed Culture
An informed culture indicates that management has the experience and knowledge, not only about the technical aspect of the operation but they also understand the psychology of people. This knowledge is supported by diversity and subject matter experts, and will determine the safety of the organization.


The FAA states, “All levels of management must actively promote and provide leadership to foster a positive safety culture,” and further defines safety culture as, “the shared values, action, and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands” (FAA, 2013a, p. 9).

Leadership is key to a Safety Culture 

DOT Safety Culture

The department of transportation (DOT) safety council identified the most critical elements of a safety culture:

  1. Leadership is clearly committed to safety.
  2. There is open and effective communication across the organization.
  3. Employees feel personally responsible for safety.
  4. The organization practices continuous learning.
  5. There is a safety-conscious work environment.
  6. Report systems are clearly defined and non-punitive.
  7. Decisions demonstrate that safety is prioritized over competing demands.
  8. Mutual trust is fostered between employees and the organization.
  9. The organization is fair and consistent in responding to safety concerns.
  10. Training and resources are available to support safety (FAA, 2013a, p. 9).


Why is Safety Culture Important?

Safety Culture is the foundation is of Safety Management Systems (SMS). SMS is an FAA mandate, required for all US airlines, January 2018, that will improve the safety of the operation.  However, without a Safety Culture, an SMS will be nothing but lip service.

Does your airline meet 
all aspects of a safety culture?

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Author of:
I am Awesome. The ABCs of me. 


Federal Aviation Administration. (2013a, May 8). Safety Management System 8000.369A.  Retrieved from

Monday, August 22, 2016

Courage for the Greater Good

"Although what lies ahead 
may appear daunting to others. 
To me, it is perceived with willingness 
and anticipation
- for I am guided, from within."

~ by Eleesha,
Author of - The Soul Whisperer

Strength. Courage. Determination.

History provides examples of people willing to experience pain to do the right thing for the better of the world. African Americans, women, those with disabilities, and gay people have all benefited from those who have come before, and were not afraid to take a stand to do the right thing, for the right reason. Employment has been impacted where people fought for work rules, safety in the workplace, and fairness in hiring practices.

Human rights enabled all people to be treated equally, vote, drive, fly, and be able to function in the workplace without a preconceived notion they were the wrong sex, too fat, too old, or worked from a wheelchair. This was achieved through pain that someone received while fighting for what is right.

I just finished my first two years of doctoral course work, and I am awaiting the results of the qualifying exam. If I don't pass, I will take the test again. Perseverance is a key to success. And I will not give up because I have passion for what I am doing. And the future of aviation safety depends upon it.

My training background and flying experience, understanding, education, and perception of where we are now and where we are going in the future of NextGen, and the knowledge of how important safety culture is to support SMS (safety management systems), has provided me strength to do the right thing, for the right reasons. Warnings of what could happen if I pointed out problems in the industry that impact safety will not stop me. I will hold strong no matter what the headwinds, because the safety of my fellow crew members, flight attendants, and passengers alike are what is important. As it should be. 

My journey is fueled by My One Wish for Aviation.

I am not quitting no matter the obstacles, and your continued support and encouragement is appreciated. 
Together we can make a difference!

One of my professors gave me her song: Fight Song to listen to each morning to provide strength on this journey to safety. There are multiple versions out there. The one I like best is the one she sent, but I did not post it due to a couple seconds on each end of the video that had a political alignment. This song is not about politics, this is about taking control of your life and having a little fight left to take back your life. So the second best rendition is the New Years Eve version.

"This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song"

Friday, August 19, 2016

Emilio Corsetti III

Fridays Fabulous Flyer

Emilio Ciorsetti
 Pilot, author and defender of justice.

I want to thank Emilio enabling me to share his story on Flight To Success. Mostly, because I have been so busy with school and qualifying exams this week, that I was able to grab this content from his website!
His list of flying jobs includes flight instructing, charter flying, corporate, time critical freight, air ambulance, aerial photography, regional airline, and now he flies for a major airline. He holds type ratings in the Lear Jet, ATR 42 & 72, A320, DC-9 MD80, and Boeing 757/767, and has over 25,000 hours total time. He graduated from St. Louis University where he received a degree in Aeronautics. 

In 1985, Emilio started his first company. Apollo Software was the first company to market a computerized trip quoting system for air charter companies. His next business venture was Odyssey Interactive. Emilio, along with three business partners, began Odyssey Interactive to create multimedia CD-ROMs. The company’s first and only CD-ROM was Apollo XIII: A Week to Remember. This award-winning CD-ROM tells the dramatic story of the Apollo 13 space flight through a combination of still images, narration, animation, an original soundtrack, newspaper articles and interviews with the astronauts and five of the controllers who worked the flight. Emilio was the writer, programmer, and project manager on the CD-ROM. 

Emilio’s writing career began after he sold his first article to Flying magazine. From there he went on to become a regular contributor to Professional Pilot magazine where he wrote on a number of topics relevant to the general aviation industry. He also published articles in the Chicago Tribune and Multimedia Producer magazine. He currently writes nonfiction books, films, and documentaries on his blog

Emilio’s first book – 35 Miles From Shore : The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980 – tells the dramatic story of the first and only open-water ditching of a commercial jet. 
His most recent book Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption tells the true story of an airline crew that was wrongly blamed for causing a near fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name. 

Emilio has appeared as an aviation expert on the show Studio B with Shepard Smith and in the MSNBC documentary Why Planes Crash: Brace for Impact. He and his wife Lynn reside in Dallas, TX.  If you want to read more about Hoot Gibson click here.