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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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Freight Dogs Unite.

A friend sent me these little words of wisdom about Freight Dogs. An oldie... but goodie! 

You know you are an old freight dog when:

  • Your airplane was getting old when you were born.
  • You have not done a daylight landing in the past six months.
  • ATC advises you of smoother air at a different altitude, and you don’t give a shit.
  • When you taxi up to an FBO they roll out the red carpet, but quickly take it back when they recognize you.
  • You call the hotel van to pick you up and they don’t understand where you are on the airport.
  • Your company call sign is "Oil Can".
  • The lady at the FBO locks up the popcorn machine because you plan on "making a meal of it".
  • Your airplane has more than eight faded logos on it.
  • You wear the same shirt for a week, and no one complains.
  • Center mispronounces your call sign more than three times in one flight.
  • Your Director of Operations mysteriously changes your max. take off weight during the holiday season.
  • Every FBO makes you park out of sight of their building.
  • You have ever walked barefoot through the FBO, ........because you just woke up.
  • You mark every ramp with engine oil.
  • Everything you own is in you flight bag and suitcase.
  • All the other pilots wait for you to "test the squall line" first.
  • All the other airlines hold to see if you get in.
  • You request the visual approach with 300’ overcast and ½ SM vis.
  • You make no attempt to deviate around weather.
  • You don't bother to check the weather because you're going anyways.
  • You have an emotional reunion with your newly assigned Beech 99 because you used to fuel it 25 years earlier when it only had 18,000 cycles on it and the windows weren't painted over.
  • You've slept more nights at Willow Run than in the house you grew up in. (or on the plane)
  • Upper management thinks a derelict fuel truck for you to sleep in is a "crew domicile".
  • You hope to someday make it to the big time... Atlas Cargo. (Or NWA) 
  • You carry your own personal step ladder in the back of the aircraft.
  • You've changed tires, starter generators, and ADI's but you're neither an A&P or an avionics tech.
  • You have a secret Mexican family in Del Rio, Texas.
  • The tip tanks also serve as an alarm clock when they run dry.
  • You become VERY proficient at nightime aileron rolls to stay awake.
  • You lose your radios and the approach controller says, "Hey, Mailbag 216, wake up! I know you're sleepin' up there!"
  • On a clear night you consider it normal to make a low pass or two to clear the ground fog and deer off the runway at Presque Isle.
  • You fly with a Captain who has both dead-sticked a DC-3 at night to a safe landing and had to declare an emergency because his copilot tried to pee out an old antennae hole on a Convair 240 and was nearly emasculated. 

When I was flying with Evergreen I was told that I was not a real freight dog until I ate food off the trays in the hallway as we arrived at 0300.  But the reality is, flying freight out of Alaska was the best job there was...until this one.

Enjoy the Journey...
XO Karlene

Author of Flight For Control and Flight For Safety,
If you haven't read's time!


  1. Haha this is awesome. Guess that mean I've "made it to the big time!"

    1. Lol... I was thinking that when I posted this. Congratulations!!!

  2. I was just about to think I am a young tonne llama.

  3. This is great Karlene,

    I would not consider myself a freight dog because my company is (purple not brown). But so many of the things you wrote still apply to us. I count my last day landing in terms of years, not months.

    When talking about the weather, I say "It isn’t whether or not were going. It is just what it is going to be like going to the hotel."

    I only pack one work shirt for a week-long trip.

    We or brown are usually the weather ship for the arrival airport. And the only time we look for smoother air is when it is too bumpy to see the instruments.

    Love being a vampire and I hate walking through the airport in uniform because I usually look like crap after being up all night. I carry a pull over golf shirt to put on after I get through security.

    1. Rob, Vampires are totally in. They are the heart-throbs of this generation of women and girls. I love your additions. Thank you!!! I lived many of these myself... but remember... you are living your dream!

  4. Love the post! I was a 141 driver in the AF and C-17 in the reserves up until retirement a couple of years ago. After a short stint flying pax for TWA, I was lucky to go back to the cargo world at purple. I was fortunate that I never did the true civilian "freight dog" work, but even much of what we do at purple rings true to your list.

    1. Steve, That's awesome. I think purple is the best color for freight! I was flying with a guy on NWA freight and he said, "You know, I had a chance to fly for Fed Ex, but I did not see myself flying freight. And this is the best flying there is!"


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