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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The Movie 

I've been sitting on writing anything for a few weeks because I did not want to give a spoiler alert. But I feel compelled to speak out about the movie Flight.

This movie was not what I was expecting. I was thinking more aviation. However, it was a substance abuse movie. They did an excellent job from the perspective of an addict. Could a pilot be an addict? Or course.  The believability of the plane flying upside down with a broken jackscrew was a stretch. But with most movies, and stories, we need to remember that they are entertainment and liberties are taken for added drama.

The reality of truth is woven through the story.


During the crash scene, I was very uncomfortable. I squirmed in my seat, closed my eyes, and covered my ears once. This was a powerful few minutes. I'm wondering if non-pilots had the same visceral reaction. The impact of the crash brought tears. Just as Kathryn had said, in Flight For Control, "It's the silence after the crash that is the most painful."

This flight had the same problem that caused Alaska Airlines' Flight 261 horrific crash in January of 2000, and it's said to be representing that flight. One of my sisters is a Flight Attendant at Alaska and she lost friends and coworkers, as did many. Entire families perished together. Until you're living there, you cannot imagine. Please join me for a moment in memory of lives lost.


Back to the movie.

A few technical details were in error. But to make it larger than life for the screen, most people would not notice. The errors made the drama more real to the general public. The writers made the captain a normal person with human problems. Pilots are not Gods and this movie displayed that truth.

The movie got panned because they say it was not believable due to the substance abuse of the captain. Maybe today this type of behavior is not as prevalent with flight crews, on the job, but it was. And many pilots still drink. Every once in awhile they catch one going through security. And when there is a problem, they hide it. This is a very human issue.

Pilots bathe in large amounts of stress daily, and they all deal with it differently.

The interesting thing is that the word in the sky is that our union 'ALPA' is very upset with the movie because it "made pilots look bad." Personally, I didn't think it made the pilots look bad, it made the union look bad. You will have to see the movie and make your own decision on that. The funny thing is, I hadn't thought anything unusual about their behavior until my husband and I were discussing the movie and he pointed out how it did make them look less than stellar.

Should you see it? 
Most definitely. 

The million dollar question is...

Could you see Flight For Control as a movie?

If your life touches the airline industry, and you want to be in the movie, email me at and tell me who you are, and that you want to be in the movie. We are going to cast the memorial scene with real airline people. And those who love planes, we'll sneak you on the set too!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. I want to be Bill (the bad guy). I have an English accent. Don't the best guys always have English accents? Americans think it makes us sound smart, and to be smart AND evil.........

    Ok, so I don't work for an airline, but I do have a commercial license.

    1. I meant to say "Don't the best bad guys always have English accents" :) But it's pretty good as is....

  2. I like books that creates accurate images and scenarios on my mind rich with details and with that cinematic mood. Flight For Control is one of them. The moment I closed the book after finish reading it I told my mother: - That would be a hell of a movie. The book has everything to become a great movie, that's why I love it!

    1. Oh... thank you so much!!! I hope the directors thing that too. :)

  3. Karlene, I went to see Flight last night with Kevin and another couple. We were riveted, and Julie was really drawn in, especially during the action leading up to the crash. The word around "here' is that you will never want to fly again after seeing this movie.

    I thought it was good. A little extreme, perhaps, with the cocaine, but I have seen the heavy drinking and dope use before on a real flight, 30 years ago, and was horrified.

    I think we have come a long way in the industry. I remember the guys talking about one airline class of thirty pilots - 28 had gone through substance abuse rehab. The military encouraged it (Drinking like a fish in order to fly like an eagle), and I never judged the guys because I wasn't there. It was another time.

    In fact, I wondered if they modeled it after our NW pilot who flew from Fargo to Minneapolis drunk. Of course instead of being black, the NW captain was Indian.

    I was not happy with the ending of the left the pilot looking like a real hero as he capitalized on his fame by writing a book, and tried to make the copilot look like a religious nut case. Oh, wait, isn't that what happened with the NW crew? Captain - famous, wrote a book, rehired, paid big bucks to speak at events...other two pilots fired and engineer belittled?

    It was a good movie. I want to be Kathryn in yours. ;)

    1. Thanks for your comment Kathy. I think so many people took this different ways. I liked the way it ended when he didn't lie and trash the name of his girlfriend. He did have some honor behind the sickness. I suspect there is a point where you are in a prison and have to break free by admitting that you don't have control.

      What I don't know if the general public understands is how hard that is for a pilot to say they aren't in control.

      Unlike your friend ;) they mirrored this off of, I don't think the integrity was there if they could have got off. But what I liked about this is that he could have lied his way out of this, and he didn't. He chose prison, instead of the continued lies. That was a noble breakthrough.

      Thanks so much for your comment! And... you will be in the Flight For Control movie. :)

  4. Very few movies with aviation themes since Airport, have been close to accurate. This is certainly no exception. Could AS261 have saved the day by flipping it over? Hardly.

    But when you compare it to the other stuff we temporarily suspend critical thinking on (ailens, Spiderman, flying metal suit, vampires, zombies, Hogwart's, time machines, the injury defying feats of every action movie), this is right in there. It's hard to make a case for "oh, that couldn't happen" when the public hasn't seen a movie that DOES hold to the laws of physics and nature since who-knows-when.
    But it seems a lot better than this 1997 made-for-TV movie also with a tail issue: Final Descent

    Wherein: A passenger airplane is involved in a mid-air collision shortly after takeoff. The damage forces it to continue to climb higher and higher, which computer simulations indicate will rip the plane in two. While trying to get the plane safely back on the ground, the captain on the flight (played by Robert Urich) must deal with the airline inspector (who holds a grudge from a previous encounters), his feelings for the co-pilot (his girlfriend), and the manufacturer of the plane (whose recommendations for action are not ethically motivated - specifically move the old folks to the back of the plane and then turn off their oxygen, so everyone else has enough.).

    Realistic aviation productions rarely seem to make it past the Discovery Channel.

    1. Yes, the plane flying upside down did suspend critical thinking for most of the pilots.

      The interesting thing is they advertised this as an aviation film, but it really wasn't. Now...wait until you see book three in the series. Plotted a new one and it will be very realistic!

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. Replies
    1. Imagine... What if...a pilot was sitting for 8 months on reserve and not flying. What else could possibly go wrong when her 64 year-old captain has a heart attack at the moment when all hell breaks loose because of a malfunction? And then she is faced flying into the worst snow storm of the year,single pilot. Chilling.


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!