Contract Airline Services


"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, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

"My experience of life can never
be fully appreciated in what
has passed, or what is yet to
come. It can only be appreciated
in all that I am experiencing
- now."

Eleesha, Sharing Inspirations Daily


Kohyn The Good Witch

Carter, the littlest cow

Kayla and Ellis, Miles, and Farmer Ryan

Grandma, Kohyn and Miles

Kohyn, Grandpa, and Kadence

Kohyn and Kadence

Carter, and his best friends

The Halloween Dinner Party was at Grandma's house last night. Roasted Spider, Mashed Ghost, Spider Legs, Toadstools, Green Brains sprinkled with Ghost Poop. And cupcakes. We missed our littlest cow, but he was in Texas playing with Frankenstein.

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jun Nishioka

Friday Fabulous Flyer!

Jun Nishioka

This week Jun earned his English Certificate—TOEFL—Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Congratulations Jun with a great accomplishment!


What makes this extra special is that this accomplishment brings Jun one step closer to reaching his dream of becoming a pilot.


June wrote to me sharing his great news. He said, “I am so happy, and excited with my family. I am looking forward to learning aviation, and meeting you in USA in the near future. The next step is to apply for USA Visa. I think it takes 1 month to get F-1 Visa. Thank you for motivating me up by writing to the world especially when I have a hard time. I won’t stop to learn English forever!!”



Jun has worked at Yamaguchi University as a teaching assistant and studied Environmental Engineering, he knows both Japanese and English, and is a friend to the world—at 22 years old he has his dreams in focus and a vision to be your captain one day.


Jun is planning on attending Flight Safety in Florida in the near future—a long way to go from his home in Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan. When I asked Jun what made him decide to go to Flight Safety he told me they have a program for International Students. But his story is a little more complex.


Jun: In 2010, I took an exam of civil aviation school in Japan. Many Japanese airline pilots start to build their career in this school. There are 3 kinds of examinations. First one is knowledge exam… Japanese, English, Physics, Math, and News. Second one is medical check… all students who are eligible to take the exam are healthy people. The school wants the perfect student. Third one is the interview. I failed at the second one and didn't want to accept this result. I consulted my family about my future. Fortunately, they really understand how much I really want to become an airline pilot, and they said to me that you should go to USA to study how to fly.



I really appreciate their kindness, and start to look for school in Internet. But I have no idea which school is good for me, and one of my best friends from Canada (He is already pilot) recommended me to go to flight safety. Because he knows aviation world a lot, and I trust him always, and from article in Internet, I decided to enroll in Flight Safety Academy. Last May, my dad and I went to survey Flight safety, and we are impressed by the environment, and decided to enroll in there for sure.



Karlene: Jun, what was your greatest challenge earning your English certificate?


June: My greatest challenge earning my English certificate is that I didn't have friends. Although I have Japanese friends in Japan, and friends from another countries on social network, I need to fight to my weakness by myself because my friends don't need English certificate right now. That was a greatest challenge to study by myself. Because I am kind of person who want to ask questions when I have no idea, and want to share my idea when my friends have heard time while studying.


Karlene: I have no idea how you did this on your own. You are amazing. When did you know you wanted to become a pilot?


Jun: As far as I remember, since I was 6 or 7 years old, I have had dream of becoming an airline pilot. I cannot forget the feeling every time I board airplane. I respect how wonderful pilot can take responsible for passenger's life, family, and dream. I don't know how to express this feeling even in Japanese.

Karlene: Many of us have a hard time expressing that feeling. Since I’ve known you, I’ve learned one special thing about you and that is your positive attitude. So I have to ask, where did you get your great attitude from?


Jun: Thank you very much! I am sorry but I don't know. But I am sure I won't act what I don't want (like). I will act with passion what I want (like). I really love to achieve my dream, and want to hear aviation world from airline pilot on your blog. The reason why I like to read your writing is not only this, but also you are inspirational pilot.

Karlene: I always appreciate your kind words and wonderful comments. But you are also very supportive of everyone, and motivating. Were you raised that way, or how did you find such a kindness in yourself?


Jun: Thank you very much!! I am sorry but again I don't know exactly. I guess because of my family and my friends!!! I think the people surrounding me grow me up little by little. The reason why I like to support friends is that I really want family and friends success, which is great medicine for me. Also I really appreciate their mental help. I know without family and friends, I won't be able to achieve my dream.


Jun with Queenie Hou and Buddy Masangya


Karlene: Your friends and family are very lucky to have you part of their world. If more people understood what great medicine supporting others success is, the healthier and happier we would all be. So tell me, what will it mean for you to fly?


Jun: In the future, I want to think flying as my principal tool to inspire many people. Because I am inspired by pilot every time I board the airplane. I cannot imagine my current life if I don't have dream. That's why...


Jun visits me in Osaka upon landing


Karlene: That is an excellent “why.” Have you ever flown before?


Jun: I have flown as a passenger many times. I have flown 1 time with piper when my dad and I visited at Flight safety academy. We were so excited to fly for 1 hour, and one of my memorial days is this day.


Karlene: Jun, you will have many more memorable days in your future.


Jun: Thank you for asking me questions, Karlene san!! I will protect my dream. Right now I have 2 feelings. 1 is I am looking forward to learning new skills. Another is I am worrying about my future.


Have a great day,
warm regards,
Jun


For the readers, today’s Friday Flyer is a surprise for Jun. He had no idea when I sent him these questions that he would be subject to sharing his life with the world.



I wanted to congratulate Jun on accomplishing his TOEFL, for not accepting the results of that second exam, for his family supporting him, and for his courage to venture across the world to follow his dream. For all he is, and all he does for his friends and family, for the kind and gentle spirit and his willingness to support everyone—Congratulations Jun. You deserve every success that will come your way.


You will protect your dreams. You will learn new skills. But never worry about your future. Keep doing what you’re doing and the path will be there for you. Worry is wasted energy for those who do, give, and achieve—there is no time or energy to worry—you’re too busy. You will achieve all your dreams. There will be struggles along the way, but that’s what you have friends and family for—support.


Please take a moment and congratulate Jun, give him your words of wisdom, and we will follow his career. The sky is no longer the limit.




Enjoy the Journey!


XOX Karlene

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Changing Degrees


This week I received an email from Xavier...

Hi Karlene ! I wanted to ask you advice:


Xavier: I'm currently political science major. However, I am having second thoughts on this major. And as you may know, my true passion lies in aviation. I am considering transferring to Auburn University to participate in their Professional Flight Management program. In case you aren't familiar with the degree program, it is a combination of business oriented curriculum and flying. I wanted to ask if it would be worth it to major in such a thing, considering this is what I would like to go into.

Karlene: YES! Go for it. That sounds like a fantastic major.


Xavier: Do you think its worthwhile for someone to obtain an aviation related college degree? I've heard so many things, along the lines of "don't major in aviation-have a fall back blah blah blah".

Karlene: A Management degree is a great degree... and that fall back too. I say, "do what you love." Follow your passion. If the pilot thing doesn't workout for whatever reason, you'll have a great education under your belt and could do anything. My advice on what you should take in school... take what you love.

Xavier: Also, I wanted to ask you what do you think about the future of the American airline industry, say in the next 10 to 20 years?

Karlene: Hard to believe where we'll be in the next 20 years. I wish I had that crystal ball. But we'll need brilliant people doing brilliant things and the planes... they'll be the more advanced than we can imagine. Can you imagine yourself being part of that? I can.

Xavier: What do you think job security will be like, and what do you think about your retirement pension being at the mercy at the airline (say, in the even that it were to be wiped out because the airline went bankrupt and/or out of business), and what do you think should and will be done about it(if anything)?

Karlene: Job security? Pensions? What's that? ;) I think it's up to the pilots, the public and our unions to take a stand and make sure that our pilots are paid a good wage, with security, and a pension. The responsibility we have daily is like none other. We want our pilots stable, so they can think about what they're doing in the air, and not worrying about how to pay their bills on the ground. Job security is the only way to make the industry safe. Do I see that happening in the future? Yes. It has to.

Xavier: Also, do you think that due to the supposed pilot shortage in the coming years, the airline will value them/us more (ie: better pay, benefits, etc?) I read about so much doom and gloom about the US airline industries future.

Karlene: There will be a pilot shortage. At that time will the airlines value the pilots more and pay more? I hope some. Hopefully that happens before the pilot shortage. Pay increase with supply and demand sounds great in theory. But it's all up to the negotiations. Pay, benefits and respect need to come back to this industry. People forget that their lives are in the hands of their pilots.

Also...Don't listen to the doom and gloom. We can find that anywhere. If people spent a fraction as much time trying to make things better, as they do complaining about what's wrong... the world be a better place.


Thanks and Blue Skys,
Xavier

You are welcome! I hoped I helped answer your questions. If anyone has some advice for Xavier, we would love for you to share it too. Thanks.

Enjoy the Journey~

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Take It Back! Wednesday Wellness

"Off the Record Q & A with a Local A.M.E."

DR. Larry

Old Drugs are Like Old Clothes


Unused medications accumulate in the house like old clothes in the close. Most households have them and like so many of us, it’s time to quit procrastinating and get rid of them.


This coming Saturday, October 29th is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 am to 2 pm for controlled substances, regular prescriptions, pet prescriptions, and over-the-counter (OTC) products. It’s a wonderful opportunity to remove these hazards from our homes and communities.


Why should YOU/WE care?


YOU should care because prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country. Abuses of medicines by teens often results in medical emergencies and fatal overdoses. Most abusers of medicines, including teens, get the drugs from a friend or relative- not a drug dealer. It’s alarming that in most communities, nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by teen overdose. I’m passionate because I’ve known one too many. Let’s stop it now.


YOU should care because unwanted medicines left in the home endanger our children, seniors and pets. About half of the 37,000 phone calls to the Washington Poison Control Center concern young children who have been poisoned by medicines found at home.


WE all need to care about our environment. We used to encourage flushing drugs down the toilet or mixing them with kitty litter before throwing them in the garbage. Now we know that when unwanted medicines are sent down the sewers or disposed of in landfills they find their way into our drinking water, lakes and food sources. Do we need more pollutants in the environment? I don't believe so.


What can be taken back? Lots! Click HERE to find out what’s returnable. It's simple. It's easy. Participating pharmacies will take back non-narcotic medicines while law enforcement agencies will take back everything including narcotic prescriptions.


Click HERE to find participating locations. This event occurs every six months and nearly 5000 law-enforcement agencies nationwide participate.


Encourage Others!


Forward the Message!

To learn even more, visit:


TakeBackYourMeds.org

DEADiversion.USdoj.gov/drug/disposal/takeback


Prescription and OTC drugs are not candy. They are a liability. Make your own home and community safer by taking back those old prescription medications and consider yourself a hero. You may just save a life or two.



To your good health,

Dr Larry.

For more information on Dr. Larry's click on his bio.

Thank you Dr. Larry, I'm cleaning out my cupboards and driving less than a block from my house to take them in this Saturday. If anyone wants a copy of the Take Back poster, below, to hang in your workplace or share with friends, please email me and I will send you the PDF file.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Decision Making... The Process

Monday I posted David’s Dilemma, which is not unlike many …


What Should I do?


When life throws you multiple opportunities it also throws the dilemma of making a decision. What if you make the wrong decision? Your career and future happiness depends upon doing the right thing.

Life is definitely easier when our options are limited—the decision is easy. But when there are more than one way to go... how do you decide?


There are many tools available to help rationalize which route to take when trying to make a decision. I recently purchased the book How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer. I’ve yet to read it, but looking forward to discovering how our minds work in the fascinating process we call decision-making. I'll keep you posted.


Decision Making


There are many analytical tools available. One is the Grid Analysis, where you list all your choices down one column and rate each factor with a number with the highest most important—then add up the scores. Another is a SWOT analysis that companies use to determine their Strengths and Weaknesses in alignment with the Opportunities and Threats of the environment. This tool actually enables businesses to identify their strengths and to look outside their walls to the environment. I’ve come up with a combination of these two analysis methods to assist in decision making process. I hope this helps.


We'll use David's Dilemma for the example.


Here’s how it works:


List all your options down the left side. Write the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats for each option across the top. Once you get them on paper you’ll have a clearer picture of the right thing to do. I’ve started the evaluation list for David. Now it’s up to David to figure the rest out by filling in all the squares below.


Options

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threat






Stay at Gulfstream

Stable.

Senior

Good pay

Enjoy the flying

Experience

Bad Reputation

No glass time

Check-airman

Accident

Un-Stable?

Change Companies





Fly for Commuter





Fly for US Department






So with all this said, you can make the best decision with the information available and you still may not make the correct decision.


1996 I had an invitation with NWA for an interview. But I was flying the 747 with Tower and was looking at a Captain in 6 months. I loved what I was doing, but didn't know what to do. I asked so many pilots and some said "stay," others said, "go." Everyone had an opinion. Bottom line...I decided I loved what I was doing and decided to stay at Tower. I was tired of changing airlines.


The day I had made that decision was the same day I learned I was on the list to be furloughed from Tower. I took the interview with NWA, and was hired. The story gets better…


This furlough notice went out in October, and in November (the same day I was offered the job at NWA) I was called back to work at Tower. They’d told me they'd decided to not furlough this year. Historically, the owner of Tower would furlough for a month before the big Haj contract started so he wouldn’t have to keep all the pilots on payroll.


What had happened was the Chief Pilot was on his way to New York to tell the owner of Tower to not furlough that particular year because all the airlines were hiring and Tower wouldn’t have anyone to fly the Haj. But on his way to the airport the Chief Pilot got hit by a car and missed his flight so he didn't talk to the owner and the furlough letter went out. (Later to be retracted) Because of those events... my life changed.



I stayed at NWA and Tower eventually went out of business. But the moral of this story is… sometimes we make the wrong decisions, and the universe changes our options. Or we might make the right decision, and the choice is taken away. All I can say is… make the best choice you can, and hope for the best. Use all the resources you have, follow your instincts, your gut... that little voice... and do the best you can. You won't know if made the right decision until the end of the game.


Enjoy the Journey!


XOX Karlene

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crossroads in My Life

Monday Motivation:

"I am at a crossroads in my life
and uncertain of where and how I
should proceed. Allow this day,
to bring forth all the solutions
I need, so that they can not just
be found - but understood by me
as well."


A couple weeks ago David sent me the following message:

There is a career fair at Embry Riddle on the 19th. I don't have much experience in the career fair environment. Do you have any rapport building strategies, or would you happen to know any of the recruiters that will be in attendance? I am really interested in making an impression and finding a comfort zone within myself so I can thrive in this environment without feeling like I sold my soul. I am a nice guy, so I don't think I need to be fake, but I am not sure what the recruiters are looking for outside of the minimums. Thanks for being there.”


My comment went something like this:

“Just go there to meet people. You're there to interview the airlines. Show interest. Ask questions. Pick up cards. Listen and remember what people say about the airlines. Then if you interview and or apply, you can use that information to your benefit. You'll have a great time. Learn lots. And ... what you learn will help you when and if you decide to go there.”

Last weekend David updated me on the Career Fair. Thank you for sharing this information David.

Embry Riddle Career Expo.

I am pleased to inform you that I had a wonderful time at Embry Riddle's Career Expo. The electric atmosphere was charged with promise. It felt great to be a part of something so special. The formal attire and high hopes permeated the field house like an intoxicant. It was hard for me to contain myself by the time I reached the front of the line to speak with a recruiter. I smiled, told jokes, and spoke with eloquence.


Get your Ducks Lined Up.

Several of the recruiter had positive outlooks on their companies future. Jetblue, Allegiant, and Arik Air International are forecast growth in the immediate future. United Continental Holdings, American Airlines, and Delta should be hiring sometime in 2012 for attrition. I was advised to get my ducks lined up. Then, apply early and often. One of the recruiters even said that their system won't acknowledge my application if it is not updated every 60 days. I believe I made a pretty strong connection with the United Continental Holding Recruiter Christi Nixon. She gave me some great advice on beefing up my resuming to compensate for the fact that I work at Gulfstream.

Time in a Glass Cockpit?

My company Gulfstream International Airlines has apparently made quite a name for themselves. Our training department has taken a lot of heat because a few former Gulfstream pilots were linked to two big accidents. Christi told me I need time in a glass cockpit in order to prove I can make it at the next level of automation. I have that from my time flying a CRJ. She also told me that I need to apply to be a check-airman.

David's Dilemma…

So, Essentially these are my two options. Turn my negatives into positives by sticking with Gulfstream and working my way up to instructor or check airman. My second option is to go with another company that doesn't have a tarnished reputation. I'm not at all sure on where I should go, but I did have someone from the US Department of State tell me that I should come fly for him. How would that affect my credentials? I'm also concerned about how it would affect my ability to network since I would be flying in another country. I really don't want to start over at another regional unless the upgrade time is short.

Ahhh, What to do? Yesterday truly was a wonderful day, but it seems like the more options you have the harder it is to make a decision. Please share your thoughts. I do not like the idea about being a high-risk applicant. I feel like I have worked to hard to be waving a red flag. However, I haven't been working as smart as I should have. So, I'm hoping you can help me fix the latter. Looking forward to your next email.

David, you may have a dilemma...but nothing you can't figure out. Learn what the minimum requirements are for the airline you want to apply with, make sure you meet them and then stick with te job that will get you the most hours and experience. Also remember ... flying as a check-airman will help your career in many ways. There is something about understanding the plane and procedures well enough to teach them to someone else, not to mention learning from those that you teach ... it's just great experience.

I know with more options, the tougher decision. But actually, the more information, the decision should be easier. More options make that decision more difficult.

Tuesday I'll share something that helps with decision making. But today... does anyone have any words of wisdom for David? What would you do if you were David?

Thank you.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fabulous Flyer and BOOK Giveaway

Sally Ketchum

Imagine a little girl born in rural East Texas, growing up on a dirt farm with a God-fearing, ranting, father who lived with a bottle to his lips for the mistake he’d made by spawning this child. Dragging her to tent revivals to kill his demons, he punished her for his sins. Picture a little girl who had nothing but rags on her back, who would punch a little boy in the nose for making fun of her for not owning a pair of shoes. Imagine the early life of Sally Ketchum.


She didn’t own a pet. There weren’t toys in her life other than Sugar—a rag doll a relative made for her. The few friends she met at school would never see where she lived. Her best friends would become the books that she snuck into her home that would eventually break her free from the prison of ignorance and poverty in which she lived.


Sally was a lot like me in the fact that she watched clouds and daydreamed of having wings. Then one day her dreams came true. Tex, and his Jenny, flew into town and Tex fell in love with the woman he saw standing in front of him— Strong, direct, honest, and intelligent Sally Ketchum. He saw past the dirt and poverty. To Tex, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.


Looking into her soul, he saw a pilot.

Together they took to the skies.


The Jenny


Sally fell equally as hard for the man, the plane, and the freedom they gifted her. Unfortunately her six months of heaven barnstorming with her two loves would end abruptly when their Jenny crashes and she watches the loves of her life burn to death. Why was she spared this fateful crash? Her life was over. But in reality, it had just begun.


Sally Ketchum became a WASP.


WASP: Women Airforce Service Pilots.



Nothing in life is easy, especially breaking into the world of aviation for a woman, especially during the time of war. I know of the many struggles that the Women Airforce Service Pilots faced, but can only imagine living during that time. Sally’s life was just a glimpse of those challenges. But she got to do what she was born to do—Fly.



P-19


“Sally made a slight correction of stick and rudder to keep the PT-19 pointed arrow-straight toward the runway that waited approximately a mile ahead…She forced herself to loosen her grip on the PT’s stick… She instinctively advanced the throttle a smidgen to keep up her airspeed and the engine’s oil temperature… Nothing could go wrong now.”


Sally did fly, until her life was ended once again—Or had it just begun?


That determination will be yours.


WASP


“More than 25,000 young women volunteered for training as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Of the 1,830 who were accepted, 1,074 graduated. Almost all went on to fly many types of aircraft, from the smallest and slowest trainers to giant bombers and hot fighters. Missions ranged from ferrying aircraft to dispersal points for shipment overseas, to towing targets for student gunners firing live ammunition. Flight occurred in all kinds of weather, sometimes in worn-out aircraft returned from combat, or in machines fresh from the factory and making their first hop. These missions were often as dangerous as combat, and in fact thirty-eight WASP died. By war’s end, Women Airforce Service Pilots had flown sixty million miles in seventy-eight different types of aircraft.”

Karl Friedrich


Today’s Friday Flyer is in honor of Sally, the image of all the female flyers who called themselves WASP, for those who lost their lives, and those who survived like my friend Betty Blake, one of the first WASP. To read Betty’s story click HERE.


Betty Blake



If you would like to share the dream of flight, live the life of a WASP, and find yourself wrapped up in the life of Sally Ketchum, you must read WINGS by Karl Friedrich, A Novel of World War II Fly Girls.



Author Karl Friedrich


“Karl Friedrich has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine and public relations writer, advertising copywriter, and photographer. His many friends who fly military or commercial aircraft, and his lifelong fascination with women who achieve great accomplishments despite the displeasure of men, provided inspiration and impetus for Wings.”


Karl's experience writing, combined with his passion for story and love of aviation explodes on the pages of his novel, WINGS. I'm looking forward to joining Karl and his aviation buddies, as I’m told they often have discussions about the planes of today. Hopefully they all can be a Friday Flyer one day.


Thank you Karl for sharing a great story. Thank you for the gift of WINGS.


Readers... now you, too, can have the gift.


WIN A COPY of WINGS


Sign up to follow my blog and leave a comment below.

One name will be randomly drawn from the comments below.


Make sure you check back on Tuesday November 1st to see if you're the winner.

Good Luck!


For those of you who can't wait, WINGS is available for purchase by clicking HERE


Or visit Karl to purchase an autographed copy for those aviators in your life by clicking on WINGS


What a great gift to give to the men and women with a heart and soul to fly.



Enjoy the Journey!


XOX Karlene

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Choosing a Flight Instructor: Part Two

Tuesday I discussed how to find a flight instructor, when you’re just starting out and don’t know the appropriate questions to ask. As previously mentioned typical questions included:

  • How long have you taught?
  • What planes have you flown?
  • How many hours of instruction do you have?
  • How many total hours do you have in their logbook?

Tuesday I added to the list:

  • How long will your instructor be available?


Today I'll add:


How will the Instructor know that you’re ready for the check-ride?


Question for your potential instructor:


Instructor Darby, how will you know when I’m ready for my check-ride? Who makes that decision? … Me? I make that decision? You mean I get to tell “you” when I feel ready? That makes sense, since I’ll know better than anyone when I’m good to go.


Not!


You will not know when you will feel ready.


You will never feel ready.


That decision belongs to the instructor.




Any instructor who says, “I’ll sign you off when you feel like you’re ready,” is not fulfilling their job as a qualified instructor.


Let me explain. Student pilots don’t know enough to know when they’re ready to pass the check-ride because doubt, fear, and what if, creeps into their mind. The instructors have been trained to make this determination. They should also have the skills to help you believe.


Remember: You are the student. You’re not trained to make that kind of assessment.




The pilot personality is also one of perfectionism. We will always want to be better. “One more ride, and I’ll know I’ll feel better about it.” But you don’t. Trust me—you will not know when you’re ready. There will always be one more ride. Then another and another.



The mother bird has to kick the baby out of the nest because Mother knows baby can fly far before the baby knows.


An instructor who allows the student to make the determination of readiness is failing the student. Your instructor must have the skills to know if you are able to fly the plane, and have confidence that they did their job well in preparing you. They must also instill that confidence in you.




My first instructor never asked if I felt ready to solo. He also never told me the day that I would take that plane into the sky alone for the first time. One day he asked me to taxi to the base of the tower and he climbed out of the plane and said, “You’re ready,” then closed the door.


Years later I had 500 plus hours and was training for my 727 type rating. I did not feel ready. But the instructor never asked me if I was, he just said, “You’re ready. You can do this.” Fighting the doubt and fear, I chose to believe him for a couple reasons: First, I knew he knew far more than I. Second, I figured his name was on the sign-off and he wouldn’t want a down on his record. He was right, despite my doubt.




There is no such thing as a perfect check-ride. Being proficient and safe are the keys. Knowing what to do when you make a mistake is essential. But flying a perfect ride is a fairytale.


Perfection is a Process...

A process of learning, improving, being safe...

knowing that you will make a mistake...

but nothing you haven’t been trained to fix.



Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pilots on Prozac?

Wednesday Wellness with Dr. Larry
"Off the Record Q & A with a Local A.M.E."


DR. Larry

"Dr. Larry, I heard that the FAA is going to start allowing pilots to fly with Prozac. I always said, “I’d rather have a pilot on Prozac, than one that needs Prozac.” Can you give us the scoop on this and what Prozac does to the body? How do you feel about pilots flying with it? Is this safe?"

In a long-time coming policy reversal, the FAA last year changed the protocol for pilots taking one of four antidepressants or wishing to. These four are from a class of medications called SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Prior to the FAA's decision, ANY antidepressant was disqualifying. Now a pilot has the potential to be certified taking Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), Zoloft (sertraline) or Lexapro (escitalopram).

This was a landmark decision the FAA wrestled with for many years and in part was held up due to legal questions. As noted and like the rest of the general population, many pilots deal with anxiety and depression issues. However, they were restricted from taking medications which could help them feel substantially better. The FAA also knew there were many pilots taking these medications yet not reporting it for fear of losing their license. The trick was in figuring out a way for these wayward reporters to come clean without reprisal and be allowed to continue flying.

Certification is on a case-by-case basis when a pilot is taking one of the four specific antidepressants. If one wishes to pursue this sort of therapy, a number of hoops need to be jumped through. Click HERE to view the FAA’s protocol for certification with SSRIs.

SSRIs were deemed ok to fly with because they are generally well tolerated and have a very low potential for side effects, especially sedation. Word is circulating there will likely be a few more options in the next couple of years as well.

Depression and anxiety as well as obsessive-compulsive disease and premenstrual mood disorder are due to a depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain. SSRIs and other antidepressant type medications typically work by increasing or replenishing specific neurotransmitters, so instead of people believing it’s mind over matter, it’s more often matter over mind.

I personally have thought for a long time we needed medication options, besides cognitive mental health work, for treating depression and/or anxiety in the pilot populations. Now we have a means which allows pilots to continue their occupation or joyful hobby. We've come a long way yet we have a long way to go.


To your good health,

Dr. Larry

To Read Dr. Larry's bio, click HERE.

Thank you Dr. Larry. This is great information during a high time of stress for pilots.