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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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa Express

This morning I did bounces, alias three takeoffs and landings, in the simulator in Minneapolis, and then back to Seattle in time for the Santa Express. (Or so I thought)

Travel Update: Thanks to a great instructor, he not only gave me some excellent flying tips, an engine failure, and a high energy approach... he got me out of the simulator with 5 minutes to spare, for the 8 a.m. van. But... the van no-showed! At 8:20, the nicest man, Ken, had just arrived to work and said, "I'll give you a ride to the airport." We got chatting and missed our exit, but he still got me there in time. I rushed to the gate and boarded. We fit my suitcase in the overhead. Yeah. Then the man in 14C gave me his aisle seat. Is this my lucky day? I'm now going to make it for boarding the Santa Express.

Santa Delivers more that Gifts!

The Excitement never ends. We landed early, but ended up waiting 3o minutes for our gate, at which time my phone rang, "Mom, Kayla is in labor!" My daughter was off to the hospital. Long story short... I made it to the hospital with 15 minutes to spare and watched my youngest grandchild enter the world. Miss Ellis Kathryn landed at at 9 pounds 2 ounces, and 21 inches long. Healthy. Alert. Beautiful.

Ellis Kathryn Wopschall

My plan for the early flight so I wouldn't be late or Santa express was with good intention. But the detour well worth it. I flew over to pick up my grandson, alias big brother, and bring him home with Grandma. We spent an extra 40 minutes in traffic. He was such a great passenger, I didn't have the heart to tell him world is about to be turned upside down. That little sister is strong.

Miles Richard Wopschall... alias big brother

We may have missed boarding, but Miles and I finally made it to the North Pole~ and with plenty of time to see the arrival of the Santa Express!

What is the Santa Express?


Christina Wallace, Regional Ops Manager of Flight Operations, West Region, Delta Air Lines, had been busy playing Santa for 115 under-privileged kids in the Seattle area. She's been selling these really cool silver, 747 NWA key chains. The proceeds went to purchasing a book for each of these kids, to take on their flight... The Santa Express!


Additional sales then went to getting each child a $10 gift card. What a great cause... supporting children and reading, too. I went a little overboard in the purchasing department, but it was for a great cause.


The Flight...

The Santa Express departed SeaTac airport and flew to the North Pole with 115 children on board. Each child received a bag of goodies... They each got a book and their gift-cards, wings, treats, Delta baseball hats and more. This night was full of magic.


How does magic like this happen?

The 767 departed the gate, and taxied around the airport for 30...40...50.. minutes. Then they arrived at the hangar, alias North Pole, and gave these kids the gift of a lifetime.


A special thanks to the women behind the Santa Express and the North Pole Event... Kim Cook, Christina Dumas, and Tammy Aguilar. The pulled off an incredible feat with Christmas decorations, a choir, and Santa too!


Oh... back to those key chains... All you have to do is follow this blog, and leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered in a drawing to receive one of three of these key chains. A NWA collectors item. You'll know that the key chain came from a place of giving, and provided smiles on many children tonight.


Remember to leave a comment. Trust me, this is one gift you'll want to receive. This will be a Christmas that these kids will remember always, and you'll be part of it.

Drawing to be held on December 22nd!

What do you plan to do this year to make someones Christmas bright? Christmas is about giving... your heart, a smile... hope.

Happy Holidays!

XOX Karlene



41 comments:

  1. SANTA S PRESENT! I AM AWAITING RESULTS. THEY LOOK BRILLIANT FOR SURE. WOULD LOVE TO BE PART OF IT SO LEAVING A COMMENT. ENJOY THE FLYING DEAREST

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  2. OK, Karlene, you've gotten me. I want one! Neat to know the back-story. And...whatever Christina is selling next year, I'd like to be on her mailing list!

    Joy of the season...

    Frank

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  3. What a really neat idea! I would love to be one of the pilots on this trip around SeaTac. Was this a NWA program originally? What part do you get to play?

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  4. What a wonderful idea! That will truly be a special day for the children. :)

    All the best!

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  5. The Santa at the mall is fun but this is way cooler. Thank you for letting your readers know about this event. Sounds like a fun thing for flying clubs to mimic (replacing the 767 with more than a few Cessna's, etc).

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  6. Wow, have a GREAT time with those kids. Wonderful!

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  7. Great program for deserving children. All I got as a kid was a lump of coal! :) This would be a good program to join forces with Pilots For Kids. Super program guaranteed to make happy children! Way to go Christina, Karlene, and all the other caring volunteers!

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  8. Can big kids ride on the 767 as well ;) Sounds like a good program, glad to see Delta Airlines trying to be active in the community
    Dan

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  9. Karlene, this is a brilliant thing to do for less well-off children. It will be a truly magical experience for them between being on a Boeing 767 and meeting Santa. This is a wonderful organisation and you all should be so proud for being involved in watching children's faces light up with glee and happiness. Well done!

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  10. Great idea, Karlene. I need to get myself motivated to start something like this in Oz.

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  11. What an exciting day you must have had! Sim training, becoming a grandma again and then the Santa Express!!! To much in one day!
    It must have been a magic day!!!
    Congratulations grandma!!!
    Can you save me a keychain, i love to buy 1 or more and contribute to this wonderful course.. I'll pick it up in Seattle in a couple of months!!!
    XOX An

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  12. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Welcome to the world, Ellis Kathryn :-)

    What a beautiful way to put a big smile on those kids' faces :-)

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  13. Congratulations on the beautiful new addition to your family!

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  14. What a wonderful time. So much happening - great things.

    The key-rings are beautiful. Fingers crossed.

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  15. Wonderful gift from Delta for the kids. And a wonderful picture of you holding Miles. I'm thinking of stealing it for your guest blog since grandmother probably comes ahead of pilot in your order of importance. Guess I won't, since the post is about aviation.

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  16. Congratulations on baby Ellis!!! And what a really really neat program Delta runs! It's things like this that make me want to work there. Nice tie too by the way!

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  17. Congratulations! What a beautiful baby girl! And thanks for sharing the fantastic pictures.

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  18. Keychains! :0 They're beautiful! So many exciting airplane Christmas type things!

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  19. Wow! What a great idea! Too bad they couldn't throw in a takeoff and landing...! Congratulations to the new parents...and hugs to Miles!! :)

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  20. This should have been covered by the News media, such wonderful Christmas joy needs sharing by any needs. It is blessing to all that Mrs. Petitt does this. Thank you!!! It must have been a great event to watch unfold. I hope the children had a blast. :)

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  21. Thank you Dipeet! Flying went well as did everything else!

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  22. Hi Frank, You are on my list too! :) Thanks for the comment!

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  23. Hi Daniel, my part was buying key chains to provide books for the kids. A great cause! I tried to make it there to greet the kids on boarding, too, but I got to greet my granddaughter's arrival instead. Hard to be everywhere. :)

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  24. Thanks Curt! Maybe you'll get more than coal this year. I'm sure you've been a good boy! I'll be part of pilots for kids too... December 21. We're on it! Happy Holidays.

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  25. Thanks Dan. It would have been fun for the big kids too. Yes... some great employees pulling off some wonderful things.

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  26. Airsteiner now that's a great idea! The holiday event of all times.

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  27. Thank you Aisling! You're such a special person, you keep lighting up the world!

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  28. Thank you An! Yes... the day was magical. I'm thinking Santa had you on his good girl list too! :)

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  29. Thank you Angela! The day was incredible.

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  30. Bob, excellent idea for the land of Oz!

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  31. Thanks Dave~ Yes... you can steal that picture. :)

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  32. Thank you Daniel! I hope to fly with you one day... wouldn't that be great!

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  33. Thanks Heather! She is a beauty for sure!

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  34. Yes there are Christine! Thanks for the comment. Good luck on the drawing!

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  35. Thanks Kathy! I guess they were doing a high-speed taxi around the airport. Having a good old time. Hugs to the happy family for sure!

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  36. Thank you Nathan, I think it should have been covered by the media too. Surprised it wasn't! Maybe next year. I'll put the bug in their ear. Thanks for the comment!

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  37. As a 747 guy I appreciate Delta taking the kids in a 767, but putting a 747 on the poster. I love it!
    I think that 747 keychain would be perfect hanging from the whiskey compass on my next crossing!

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