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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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!



Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
Everywhere,
When ghoul and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween.

Harry Behn



Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Aviation Reality 101

Pilot: Is this the career for you?  

 
Last weeks post on the Pilot Shortage turned into quite the discussion and debate.

It turned from a positive outlook into a complaining session to how hard it is to become a pilot and how bad the job is. But those comments sparked some interesting thoughts about the job itself. If you think becoming an airline pilot is going to be easy, immediate rewards, and safe and secure... this might not be the job for you. 


Reality

Becoming a pilot is expensive and will take years of training. That's the truth. I say it is worth the investment. Despite the 8 airlines and numerous times I've started over... I'm very glad I chose this career. Every day I feel like I won the lottery.

But then I don't fear a good challenge and never searched for easy. To me easy is boring. But some people need security and a guarantee in life. And if that's you then becoming a pilot might not be a good career choice. I wanted to recommend an easy, safe with all the guarantees job for you, but in today's world there are no guarantees. However, if you want to sleep in your own bed every night then a job that takes you around the world might not be the smartest choice.

For those who thought you would become a pilot and have instant success, money and a great schedule...were mislead. You won't. I'm not sure where we got confused about this, but this is the reality. The good takes time. And it's hard because it's supposed to be.  We need to weed out those who don't have the determination to keep flying that plane when the shit storm hits.


Pilot Career 101:

Wait to get Married and Start a Family

Those early years will be low pay and you're never home. Why would you get married and start a family and then blame the job for your dissatisfaction? You know what it takes. Be patient. There are always exceptions to the rules. If you have a spouse that understands why you're gone and is working, go for it. If you can balance a budget on the initial pay. Why not? This works. You can have it all, but it takes a unique situation and two very understanding people. But guys (and gals) don't expect marital bliss when your other half is at home with a new baby, no help and you're on the road 'having fun'.


Accepting Low Pay

Corporate executives reading this post... you are free skip this section. But for all you pilots who complain about the low wages at the commuter level, you are partially responsible for this. If there were no pilots who would fly for cheap, they would have to pay you more and provide better schedules, etc.

I understand where you are coming from. You are building your hours. I was there, I get it. But as a collective group, you are making your choice. So either live with it or change it. Think about this... commuter pilots are required to have the same amount of flight time as the airlines require. You are carrying the same passengers. You are equally responsible. But you fly more challenging routes. You do more circuits in a day. You face a groundhog day effect. Why wouldn't you be paid an equitable rate? You should.

 

1500 Hour Requirement

Yes... this is the new reality. Or is this an old reality? When I was hired by America West Airlines in 1990, I went into the training department because I only had 1400 hours of flight time. It did not matter that 700 of those hours were as a 727 first officer. I also had a thousand plus hours as a 727 Second Officer with Braniff. Great experience? I thought so. But the reality was... they wanted 1500 hours of flight time. No exceptions! Exactly the same requirement today and no reductions for Ab initio schools or military flying.


Building Flight Hours

In today's world there are fewer opportunities to build flight hours. If you have time on your side you can build those flight hours a couple a week and make it. But most of you want that career now.

What would I do if I wanted to build my flight time today? I would get my single-engine and multi-engine instructors licenses and get checked out on as many planes as possible. Then I would let it be known that I fly with pilots who need to get proficient in their planes with me as a safety pilot. I would be flying all the time. There are thousands of airplane owners who don't fly often who need you.

I'm going to buy an A36 and will need a pilot to teach me how to fly it and make sure I'm proficient in every area. If you want the job... sign up below. Trust me, there are people out there who will hire you for your experience as an instructor.


Airline Pilots Complaining

For those who have the best job in the world and still feel the need to complain... I always wonder why they are still flying. If they really thought there was something better out there they would be gone. I think working 20 days per month versus 10 is a little less desirable than they want to admit. This is a great job.

I suspect they complain because their life didn't turn out like they thought it should. Yet some complain because nothing will ever be enough. And yet others really got a raw deal. But for those of you who got a raw deal, I'll tell you a story of ten who had it worse.

Pilot Shortage

Since when did anyone take a job because they thought there was going to be a shortage? Supply and demand comes and goes with the economy. The numbers show that we will need pilots in the future. Fact or fiction, you decide. But how many more attorneys do we need? I don't see law schools searching for students, they are full. John left a great comment on the pilot shortage post...

"Shortage or over supply; in how many other occupations? How many architecture graduates are working directly as architects 5 years after graduating? They may be in a 'related' field, but not directly as architects. This is the story in many professions. So, aim high & keep climbing. I remember being told as a kid that it's (life) about 'persistence & perseverance'" Johnblyon

 

There will be ups and downs in this journey called life. You will go full speed and run into a roadblock you did not expect. But then you figure out how to go around it or take a different route. Life goes on when the path changes. It's just another adventure. I really didn't start over with 8 airlines, I just added to the experience from the last and carried it forward to the next.

Another comment said,

"When you can combine a passion with a profession 
you are living!" 


What Would You Do  
If Money Was No Object?


What drives your passion?

Do you want to become a pilot?  
Then go for it! The time is right. Now!  


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Groundhog Day Aviation Style

Last week I received an email from Steve Slade with a great reminder about complacency and how easy it is to get into routine where mistakes happen. It's not if... but when.

Steve Slade:

"This Wednesday our local commuter here in Homer decided to try and new landing technique. I guess not too new, as we have seen this many times. ERA says the landing gear failed. Ya right. All three independent gear assemblies all failed at once. A friend of mine made the comment that "how could this happen with two pilots and a checklist?" Valid question. I think that question has been asked a thousand times throughout aviation history.

 

My answer? Complacency. I think complacency is one of the most under estimated, under recognized hazards to aviation safety. These commuters take off and land at the same airports hundreds of times a month on little 20 to 30 minute flights. You tend to go on automatic mode.

When I flew I found myself on personal "auto-pilot" many times. I was flying, doing just fine, but my mind was on a beach 3000 miles away in the Caribbean or insert whatever your favorite personal daydream is. Then again, we also find ourselves doing the same routine duties such as take-offs and landings that we feel since we have done the same thing, in the same place, a 1000 times, that how can we mess it up. Right?

 

Having jump-seated many times I can see where complacency would be a bigger danger to airline pilots vs. and average helicopter pilot. We are up and down, around, dodging weather, multiple landing is many different places. A jet takes off and lands a lot of times only once a day.

Commuters may do it multiple times a day. Especially in the same area at the same airport. Their day tends to be very routine and that's where the danger lies hidden. We tend to think that since it is routine, that it makes it bullet proof to mistakes. But contrare, that is what makes it one of the most dangerous attitudes to slip into.



I think every pilot has felt like last month was like the old movie "Ground Hog Day." You ask them about what they did three weeks ago and it is exactly the same what they did this week. For an office worker, that is fine. But not for a pilot. Every take off, every landing has to be approached with the same precision you did it when you were first taught.

Fighting complacency is a never ending battle. Period.
You never overcome it. When you think you have, that is when you are the most dangerous. It has to be recognized as your mortal enemy and defended against every time you strap that 10 ton flying machine to your ass."

Steve apologized for the rant (unnecessarily) But he has lost too many friends to complacency and thought maybe we could "highlight something we pretty much all know but need to be reminded from time to time." 

"This time it only cost a ton of money and with airlines tight bottom line, the costs only get passed on to you and me. But these pilots might not be so lucky next time and could costs things money can't buy.... Besides, it really looks bad on a resume..." Steve Slade, from Rotor Apps

What do you do to keep complacency 
out of your plane?

Have you ever gone on personal autopilot?

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene

Monday, October 28, 2013

Be The Captain...

 "You Must Be The Captain You Want To Become." 


While I was in Austin playing with my grandson this weekend my friend, Alex Wood, sent me a great quote from the movie, Bruce Almighty, "If you want a miracle, be the miracle." Which in turn reminded me of another quote from Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see." I'm sure the second quote inspired the first... which in turn inspired today's quote.


The reality is we can be anything we want to be. If you want to become a captain it's up to you to learn the traits of a captain and become one. If this doesn't come naturally... you can learn, change and grow, into anything you want to be.

While you start out as a first officer, airlines hire captains. They want leaders. Remember you are applying for a position as a captain when you apply for your airline job. When you apply at Delta, you are applying for a position at Delta Air Lines... not Airlines. It's all about the details.



Be a CAPTAIN: 

Communicative: Captains listen to their fellow crewmembers, enlisting feedback, then they communicate their decisions, decisively. They speak loud enough for all to hear, with the confidence that they have made the right decision. They create a plan with their crew, and then they communicate that plan with dispatch, ATC, and their cabin crew. They let everyone know what they intend on doing. They know there are people on the plane and in the system who need to know what is happening "after" they deal with the emergency. After they have a plan.
Assertive: Captains know that being assertive with ATC is essential. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, but more the strength to communicate what they want, and need. They do not allow controllers to lead them down the path of no return. When a captain is not ready for an approach, he or she asks for radar vectors, or a holding pattern, until they are ready. If dispatch tells them to do something that doesn’t feel right, they have the strength to override that decision.
Procedures: Captains are perfectionists in themselves and their performance. They know all procedures better than the back of their hand. They know standard operating procedures, set-up procedures, emergency procedures, departure and approach procedures, and with practice will perform them with precision. Knowing procedures, and checklist responses is essential to good performance.
Think: Captains think ahead of the plane. They plan for all contingencies before they step into the flight deck. When they brief the abort, they have taken into consideration the weather, the stopping distance, and any contingency that may limit stopping ability, as well as those that may limit the ability to fly. They think beyond the plane. Instead of being reactive, they are proactive in their thoughts and actions.
Attitude: Captains have an attitude of leadership. They are confident, communicative, willing to listen, and support their fellow crewmembers. They are positive, and encouraging and appreciate the feedback from their team. They instill in their crewmembers a feeling of importance as to the safe outcome of the flight.
Instill confidence: Captains instill confidence in others, by being confident in themselves. They instill confidence by being honest, upfront, and forthright.
Not afraid. Captains are not afraid to be human. They know that we all make mistakes and they encourage their fellow crewmembers to be comfortable in speaking out if they see something wrong. They are not afraid to say thank you, or to be humble.

What do you think the traits 
of a good captain include?

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene
Be a CAPTAIN:
Communicative: Captains listen to their fellow crewmembers, enlisting feedback, then they communicate their decisions, decisively. They speak loud enough for all to hear, with the confidence that they have made the right decision. They create a plan with their crew, and then they communicate that plan with dispatch, ATC, and their cabin crew. They let everyone know what they intend on doing. They know there are people on the plane and in the system who need to know what is happening "after" they deal with the emergency. After they have a plan.
Assertive: Captains know that being assertive with ATC is essential. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, but more the strength to communicate what they want, and need. They do not allow controllers to lead them down the path of no return. When a captain is not ready for an approach, he or she asks for radar vectors, or a holding pattern, until they are ready. If dispatch tells them to do something that doesn’t feel right, they have the strength to override that decision.
Procedures: Captains are perfectionists in themselves and their performance. They know all procedures better than the back of their hand. They know standard operating procedures, set-up procedures, emergency procedures, departure and approach procedures, and with practice will perform them with precision. Knowing procedures, and checklist responses is essential to good performance.
Think: Captains think ahead of the plane. They plan for all contingencies before they step into the flight deck. When they brief the abort, they have taken into consideration the weather, the stopping distance, and any contingency that may limit stopping ability, as well as those that may limit the ability to fly. They think beyond the plane. Instead of being reactive, they are proactive in their thoughts and actions.
Attitude: Captains have an attitude of leadership. They are confident, communicative, willing to listen, and support their fellow crewmembers. They are positive, and encouraging and appreciate the feedback from their team. They instill in their crewmembers a feeling of importance as to the safe outcome of the flight.
Instill confidence: Captains instill confidence in others, by being confident in themselves. They instill confidence by being honest, upfront, and forthright.
Not afraid. Captains are not afraid to be human. They know that we all make mistakes and they encourage their fellow crewmembers to be comfortable in speaking out if they see something wrong. They are not afraid to say thank you, or to be humble.
- See more at: http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-be-captain.html#sthash.BRrd1nuK.dpuf

Friday, October 25, 2013

Steve Thorne

Friday's Fabulous Flyer


I'm Steve, and I'm a private pilot who loves to share flying with everyone and anyone that is even remotely interested! I recently started a YouTube channel to allow my "aviation ambassadorship" to reach wider than ever....

My motto:

 "Flying for Fun. Striving for professionalism"

although it is really more like... 

"Learning from the small mistakes, 
to avoid making big ones"


My journey into aviation is not a dramatic one; But it's a quest that I've been on for my whole life. It's a story of a dream dreamt and realized, followed by a mission to share it. My earliest memories involve looking up at birds and airplanes, knowing with perfect clarity that I wanted to fly.

As a young boy I was fascinated with hawks - red tailed hawks to be specific. I spent many an afternoon studying photos and drawing hawks in flight. (art was also a passion) Then it was model airplanes (the little balsa wood flying kind - I was not interested in scale models that couldn't fly).


I'm not sure at what age the stories of my grandfather flying Spitfires in world war 2 began to have an imprint on me, but I'm pretty sure I wanted to fly before I knew that. Anyway, it obviously plays a role on some level… if only genetic?

But I didn't know my grandfather well, and he died before I was old enough to have gleaned any wisdom from him.



Into my school years, I never had an aviation mentor, or even knew anyone that could fly. It pained me each time a friend or acquaintance casually mentioned having an uncle or family friend with a plane - I couldn't understand how they would mention it off hand; as you would describe a tree on your lawn; just a fact, not worth examining further or availing themselves of the amazing opportunity. If it were me, I'd have been all over it!
And so it went, I continued to independently develop my dream with a quiet determination. My mom saw it in me and got me a ride in a small plane over Toronto some time when I was 7 or 8 years old… and as much as I remember it being amazing, I also have a distinct memory of feeling that it was fleeting… I knew it was "a one off" - there weren't the resources to allow me to pursue it in a real way and do the training - even as a young boy I understood that.

It is important to note at this point that my ambitions were not to be a commercial pilot - I knew it was simply flying for the sake of flying that I wanted to do - having a job in aviation was never a part of the deal.


As a 12 year old (in 1986) I sent away for the info via snail male from a local flying school, I have very clear memories of waiting for what seemed like weeks to get that thick envelope. Strangely, I remember the details of that brown package and the photos on the brochures more clearly than I remember my first airplane ride.

It is as if this pile of papers was more real then the actual sight seeing flight had been, because I knew this was a real gateway to ME actually getting MY pilot license. I studied the info and remember a sense of urgency as I tried to assimilate and boil down the details to get to the bottom line - when can I start, how long will it take and much will it cost!

My heart sank when I saw that the answers; I couldn't solo until I was 17 (or was it 16? it doesn't matter, waiting 4 years to a 12 year old seemed like forever) and that it would cost over $3000, an insurmountable sum to a kid (yes, in 1986, in Canada, the cost to get the PPL was that low!) Anyway - despite the bitter sweet nature of the package to my 12 year old self, it was carefully filed, and I still have it to this day.

That year I did my grade 7 science fair project on Bernoulli's principle and took top honors. 1st place and 3rd in Regionals. 


I also earned the nickname Bernoulli (kid's aren't always creative) through my middle school years (which I wore with pride).

A couple years went by and then I heard that joining Air Cadets was a way to get the training paid for! I was IN… until I realized the military and my personality doesn't jive. I didn't excel at the military aspect of cadets, and I realized I didn't stand a chance at being one of the top few that get the flight training scholarship, so I quit… defeated but undeterred I pressed on.

Soon after, I got my first part time job and saw that $3000 wasn't an impossibly huge number after all!
By then I was 16 (it was 1990) - so close to being able to solo! But I was also the holder of a fresh driver's license… The abstract and difficult goal of initiating and completing flight training lost out to the immediately accessible instant gratification of getting my own car - also happening to be attainable for $3000.  So my flying dream was delayed again by a used 1985 VW Scirocco.


High school ended, and the University era began - I was going to film school; following my artist ambitions…

My girlfriend at the time knew of my flying dream and surprised me with an intro flight at the start of the summer between 1st and 2nd year… This time, I was more wise than my 7 year old self. I was 20, and saw it not as a "sight seeing" flight, but as my first real training flight. I took it seriously. I picked the instructor's brain before the flight, and spent very little time looking out while we flew…
I was more interested in the Cock-pit and studying everything he was doing - I CAN do this, I was thinking to myself.. and I WIL do this. 

I got home and began researching options to get started (beyond just blindly starting out at the flight school I'd just done the intro flight at). In those days (1994) the Internet was barely in existence - it was actually a local dial-up bulletin board that was my first invaluable aviation resource. It was called "the pilot's lounge", and I made a simple open plea to the members, explaining that I was looking for any and all tips on how to get started training.


I got a great reply from Norm a retired gentleman, who became my first and most pivotal flying mentor.  (we are still friends to this day, and have done some amazing flying together, but I digress). I followed Norm's advice, got connected with a local gliding club and spent every weekend that summer gliding.

I soloed in minimal time. 

 

Shortly there after I did a solo flight climbing to over 5000' from a 2000' tow, staying up for over an hour, only forcing the old Schweizer 2-33 down for bladder related reasons (I got a pin from the club for that flight - bronze medal? can't remember)

The following weekend conditions were similar and I expected to be able to repeat the performance; however, after 20 minutes of desperately maintaining 1500' AGL hopping from cumulus to cumulus but failing to climb, it was clear the thermals were not as strong, and I found myself a few miles away from the field. 

Fear subsided when I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it back, and I felt a calm coolness come over me as I reverted to my training and executed the "land out / forced approach" procedure. It went perfectly and may have been my best landing ever.


All was safe and despite some teasing from the club members, the tow pilot made it clear he was proud of me for landing safely, and picking a field so good that he was able to fly the tow plane in (with another pilot) to fly the stranded glider out.So it was only a slightly shaken me, and not the glider with the wings disassembled, that the club truck needed to pick up

- Thus I was spared the usual punishment of having to buy everyone beer to pay for the labour of disassembling and then re assembling the ship.

I didn't know him well, and have since lost touch, but Marion, the club chief tow pilot was an idol of sorts to me. He was also a crop duster pilot and watching him fly that Bellanca Citabria was like watching an artist at work; I knew I wanted to fly a tail dragger… 


As that summer ended, and 2nd year university started up, I had the info I needed, and had gained the flying fundamentals from my gliding experience. I started powered flight training, and considered it like a part of my university course load in terms of cost and homework delegation. I put myself under great pressure to get done in minimums for financial reasons - not something I recommend, but it worked for me none the less.

I soloed in an old Cessna 150 on hour 9, and flew my flight test on hour 41. 

I needed to burn an hour in the circuit to get to hour 45 before I could take my first passenger! It was a stressful process doing the training in minimums, and I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I should have… There was a great deal of energy put into being sure my instructor was constantly impressed, so I'd be sure he would sign me off in minimums at every stage.


My flight test was scheduled for the morning, but wind was high… The examiner was local and happily pushed the booking to the afternoon. I was a bag of nerves and hadn't eaten breakfast, and knew I couldn't eat lunch before the test! It was an amazing feat to pass that check ride while fighting to stay conscious while suffering through a three hour hypoglycemic attack!

I have a distinct memory of sitting down to a burger at a road side diner on the way home from the airport…
There on the table sat my fresh newly signed off temp PPL, beside an amazing home cooked burger that seemed like a good idea when I ordered it, but now it was clear my beyond empty stomach was not sure about it. It dawned on me then with great clarity, that I had just achieved the greatest feat of my young life (it was early 1996 and I was 22) and I was having a "now what?" moment.

I had made a few young flying friends while training. Shortly after getting licensed, three of us took an old 172 from Southern Ontario Canada, to Ft. Lauderdale FL. for a week.


We had friends to stay with down there, but barely had the money to afford the plane rental let alone trip expenses. None the less, off we went with a jar of peanut butter and some bread hoping we could do the ~10 hour (one way) flight over a couple days.

We swapped seats as we flew the legs and naturally had to make many diversions for weather, and spent a couple un-planned nights sleeping in the plane on the ramp on a random small airport with no facilities…

But that trip was an incredible experience and really solidified much of the training for me. We were very proud of this photo of the three of us with our Canadian plane in front of FL Palm trees.


Norm was always happy to join us for adventures, and rode along when a buddy and I took that same 172 to Oshkosh for Air Venture '98. Again, it was a great experience, and nearly as epic as the Florida flight.


Oshkosh was amazing! 
Sensory overload for a young pilot!

I didn't know who he was when I saw Bob Hoover do his incredible routine in the Shrike Commander, but I never forgot that performance, and learned all I could about Bob Hoover after that.
His book "Forever Flying" is a must read for pilots and aviation enthusiasts…

I also had a great opportunity to spend a month on the Island of Maui for a photography job. I made sure to get my ducks in order to have an FAA licensed issued before I departed, so I'd be able to rent a plane down there.


On a day off, I took a couple co-workers up for a flight around the surrounding islands - it was amazing! Being able to do that flight really exemplified why I got my license in the first place!



Years past and I maintained "weekend warrior" private pilot currency.  I got checked out on a couple types including the PA-28 and a DA20.


It was apparent that flying multiple types was great for improving my over all fundamentals. When times were tight, that meant flying a measly 0.5 per month, but I kept at it.

Inspired by Norm (and my childhood memories of wishing I had a "flying mentor") I do my best to introduce as many people to flying as I can. 


My log book is full of many "1st rides" and I've taken great pride in letting many happy kids take control for the first time. 




In 2003 I met Jill. I barely maintained monthly currency while I was distracted with building our relationship, and never ended up taking her flying during those early years. Then in 2005 things really got serious, and we bought a house, got married and had a baby with in a couple years. I had my biggest non-flying period that lasted nearly 4 years! Life was amazing, but I felt a core part of myself was atrophying… 

Steve and Jill

Our daughter Evelyn was a year old, and Jill supported me as I got a pile of re-currency training and revived my flying muscles in 2009.

Jill and Evy

I'm happy to say that since 2009 I've done more flying than ever!

I have checked out on several new types, started IFR training "for fun" as well as the obvious added safety buffer, and am finally doing my tail wheel conversion training! What an awesome adventure starting to fly an old Piper Super Cub!


The biggest take away from that first tail dragger flight for me, is how amazingly comfortable I was with the controls.


I hadn't flown a glider since '95, yet I felt at home with my left hand up there on the throttle (same exact place as the the "spoiler" control in a glider, which essentially works the same - pulling back ADDs spoilers, which reduces lift, basically the same as pulling back on the throttle.) and the center stick was in the same spot, so it felt natural to rest my forearm on my thy even before the instructor explained that was how you do it.


Honestly, flying a Cessna right seat felt much more awkward the few times I've done it. I was impressed that I could basically fly the cub first crack.  Like could I fly it to save my life? Yes; But would it be pretty? No. It is really weird to taxi, and those heel brakes are very unnatural to work with. I can't wait to build more tail dragger time - it really brings me back full circle to those summer weekends when I started nearly 20 years ago!

I took Jill for her first ride recently (it's along story, but after having Evy, I felt a heaviness related to risking orphaning her - despite the fact that the logical part of me knows that GA flying is not as scary as getting onto the highway for a drive these days)

Jill's First Flight

Future goals include finding the time to get back into gliding, and to volunteer as a tow pilot! I'd also love to fly warbirds - a process that I started at the "Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association" years ago, and I hope to get back there.

It's 2013 and I'm 39 now; it seems crazy that I've been flying for over 18 years.
It doesn't get old - I still love it.

I am driven to stay in good health for my daughter, but in the back of my mind, it is also so that I can fly for as long as possible :)

Steve Videos:
It has been rewarding to make flying videos, sharing my experiences while maintaining currency as a private pilot. Most of my videos are some what self deprecating as I publicly share my little errors and analyze them in an effort to grow and improve.

As of now I have over a dozen videos and I plan to continue to make a video per week as long as I can.  If I had to use some of my current videos to best say who I am, and why I fly, it would be those attached. 

The following video is my self assessment and lessons learned. Hopefully they will help you too."


Thank You Steve for sharing your incredible story. You are an inspiration to me and to all those you take for that first flight. 
For everyone else...
If you haven't watched the videos... you must! 

Jill's first flight brought tears to my eyes! Reed's enthusiasm spoke volumes. I'm now inspired to get my tail dragger endorsement. And the unintentional test was a great lesson. Steve's are some of the best videos I've seen and there is something for everyone. 
Which is your favorite? 

For more great videos check out: FLIGHT CHOPS
And follow Steve on Twitter @Schteevie

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Simple Path

T.H.ursday with Tom Hill

Most of us in the aviation career fields are highly successful types. (At least, that's what I tell myself!) Most of us have Type-A personalities. We set lofty goals and go for them. Some of us get on the corporate ladder, constantly working for the next level. Add in the variables of family life and you have a full day. In fact, your cup might runneth over, as they say. 

Me? I was on that track. Then, at a mid-point in my Air Force career I got to a crossroads. It was a very difficult time. One decision would've set me up for the rest of my career. I had to do a lot of thinking. I had no idea how to figure it all out. Something that helped immensely was defining what I wanted in very simple terms. How I got there is an interesting story.


In the late 90's, I was at Edwards AFB flying the F-15. Looking back, I was probably at the crest of doing the coolest things, flying the coolest aircraft in my career. I loved doing what I did. But, as we all know, good things don't last forever. I was coming up for assignment and needed to decide what I was doing next.

Doing great at that job only meant I was demonstrating good abilities to perform at the next higher level. To the Air Force, that meant doing something that didn't include flying. I had a desk job in my future. It was the normal stepping stone for moving up the chain of command. It was the standard practice to get promoted to do "bigger and better" things down the road by taking one of these jobs. It was the path to leadership and it was the expected career choice. However, I was completely uncomfortable with that future and didn't know what to do. 

At the same time as having this huge decision hanging over my head, I was selected to interview as a NASA Astronaut. The story is too long to explain why being picked for the interview was one of my top five Air Force career highlights. Let me just say it was a tremendous honor to be considered among the finalists. The best part of the interview was realizing my future path. That interview helped me understand where I needed to go for my next assignment.


What I realized during the interview week at NASA was that I wanted to stay in operations. Specifically, I wanted to stay connected to the day-to-day conduct of flying. I wanted to fly and I didn't want to interrupt flying by taking a desk job. I was worried that if I got out of the cockpit I might never be able to get back in.

What happened at the NASA interview--between medical appointments where I was poked and prodded--I met many many awesome engineers, scientists, astronauts, and support personnel tied to the manned space program. These people were truly world class. Their jobs were important. And, they all were jazzed with what they were doing. The attitudes were infectious - so much so that I got the clear understanding that that was what I wanted to do when I "grew up." 

It wasn't so much about being at NASA, which would've been great. No, it was simply being involved with any flying operation that made a difference. I wanted to be around people just like them, who were committed to making something tangible happen. That meant being directly connected to flying.

Bing! like a light bulb over my head, my path became clear. I didn't need to be on the upwardly mobile career track. Taking such a track would've moved me away from what I wanted. That desk job didn't look appealing in the least. Instead, my epiphany pointed down the path that was exclusively tied to operations. And, it lined up with precisely with what I learned at the NASA interview.

After pointing myself towards the "all-fly" track, incredible job opportunities came my way. I won't bore you with those details except to say that never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the awesome opportunities I've had, let alone flying cool, awesome missions for the past 15 years.

Why did I get those opportunities? 

I can trace it back to acquiring a set of clear and simple goals as a result of that interview. Instead of trying to optimize many considerations, having a simple goal that points toward what’s really important puts everything else in perspective. The unimportant considerations tend to take care of themselves. The key here is the goal needs to be simple and it needs to be true to you. Once you have that, everything else falls into place like magic. Really, it's amazing.

I mentor many incredible people. One thing I make clear to them is that having all-encompassing, complicated goals does not make decisions easier or the results better. It's better to have a few simple goals that make a difference to you. That's what I discovered when I went to that NASA interview. (Notice I didn't mention anything about what other people might want you to do. That's an entirely different subject.)

If you don’t have a simple direction that will drive everything, search for one. From that, everything else will fall into place.

Cheers
Tom 
(Photos taken by Tom in Antelope Valley where Edwards AFB is located)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flight Scholarships

Women in Aviation Scholarships
One is waiting for you!



Thousands of dollars worth of scholarships are available to deserving individuals. Type ratings, flight training, education in Aerospace, Technology, Aviation Management and the list goes on and on and....


All you have to do is become a member of Women in Aviation... WAI. The price is nominal for all you will receive. The Membership benefits are awesome

WAI Membership is open to women and men  
from all segments of the aviation industry.

Member services include:


- Discount registration at our Annual International Conference
- Bimonthly Magazine "Aviation for Women"
- Scholarships
- Government and industry representation
- Networking base for career and personal development
- Product and services discounts
- Chapters


Once you are a member you can apply for the many scholarships.

When you join... make sure you say you were referred by: 
Karlene Petitt WAI Membership# 46404

WAI is giving away prizes. One is a trip to the conference. If I get this...I am giving it away to some lucky person who joined and wants to fly! I'm going for a free entry for you!


To make this easy below are useful links:
Don't Delay!

Your WAI membership must be active prior to November 1st, 2013. (You have 8 days!)

The Women in Aviation International 2014 Scholarship Program deadline date is Monday, November 18th, 2013. (18 Days)

There is a pending PILOT Shortage.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pilot Shortage?

AlanCarr, an avid aviation aficionado, learning about the aspects of the flying world from the business to the technical, frequently writes on what he finds. He currently works with globalair.com to provide resources on aircraft related information and sent me a great article to post about the pilot shortage. 

Shortage Ahead? 
The Job Outlook for Commercial Airline Pilots 
 
We’ve all read the sensational headlines about the looming “pilot shortage.” The FAA mandates that pilots retire by the age of 65 and a verifiable fleet of pilots are nearing that age. Coupled with new rules about co-pilot flight hours, these statistics have led to speculation that not enough kids dream about becoming a commercial pilot anymore—at least not enough to fill that gaps that will likely be created at regional airlines that don’t pay nearly as well as larger carriers. Still, it doesn’t take much research to prove that the mainstream media favors hyperbole that feeds both conversation and fears. How can we know if the pilot shortage is real? What is the job outlook for commercial airline pilots?

If we listen to the 2013 Boeing and Technician Outlook, there will be a great demand for commercial pilots worldwide over the next 20 years. In addition to worries surrounding the rate of pilot retirement, Boeing is quick to point out that “airlines across the globe are expanding their fleets and flight schedules to meet surging aviation demand in emerging markets.” This means in addition to the pilots that airlines need to replace, airlines are adding jobs for pilots that will fly them all over the globe—especially in the Asia Pacific. They estimate that North America will require 85,700 new pilots over the next 20 years.

Nevertheless, if one is to look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they predict an 11% increase in airline and commercial pilot jobs over the next ten years , from about 103,500 pilots in 2010 to about 115,000 in 2020. With more than half of all airline pilots in their 50s, (for the sake of numerical ease, let’s just say that 69,000 pilots are set to retire over the next ten years), these calculations reveal that Boeing’s numbers may fall short: 80,500 new pilots would be needed over the next ten years alone.

How does is this reflected in current hiring patterns? 


According to USA Today, American Airlines is looking to hire 1,500 pilots over the next five years after its proposed merger with US Airways. And  United is bringing back about 600 pilots that were furloughed back in 2008. These figures obviously only represent the hiring patterns of two major airlines. Regional carriers, which cannot pay its pilots and copilots as much as major airlines, will lose talent as their pilots move on to larger carriers, and may not have access to pilots who would be willing to make as little as $19 an hourfor just about 21.5 hours of flight time in a week. 

In fact, in a study conducted by the University of North Dakota Aviation Department, 32% of their surveyed aspiring pilots are now reconsidering their career plans and 35% of those respondents said that a salary increase might convince them to continue their training. Though the sample size was not exactly statistically significant, the numbers still reveal a trend that has caused news outlets like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today to warn travelers about a crisis.

The numbers don’t discourage Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger, the pilot that made the miraculous Hudson River landing back in 2009. According to a 2012 interview with CBS, Sullenberger thinks the shortage is hype created by the airlines to scare the FAA into rescinding new rules on pilot experience.  Co-pilots are now required to have 1,500 hours of flying experience—the same as captains—instead of 250 hours (With reductions for military and Abinitio schools). New rest rules will also go into effect in 2014. If these new laws do create shortages, then it should be stated that these shortages would just be collateral consideration of the public good.
What does this all mean? 

All things considered, this might be a good time to train to become a commercial pilot. You may start out with more student debt than you know how to handle and wages roughly equal to the Starbucks barista at your local airport, but there will be jobs in your field. If the shortage turns out to be real, you may be in the position to negotiate better pay and benefits from the regional airlines that will be clamoring to hire you.   
By Alan Carr


This is the BEST time to fly!

Delta will need 600 pilots per year for the next 15 years due to pilot retirements and new aircraft. This is great news for anyone looking to fulfill the dream of flying. Yes... this is the best time to fly!

How will you afford it?  
  • Student loans.... You will be able to pay them off ten-fold. 
  • The old fashioned way... multiple jobs. 
  • Oh... and Scholarships might help too. 
Where are scholarships? 
Join me tomorrow 
and I'll tell you! 

Enjoy the journey!
XOX Karlene