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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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Flying Carastros

Friday Fabulous Flyers! 

The Carastro family is flying the Air Race Classic 2015. Grandmother, Daughter, and Granddaughter fly! Aviation is in their family, but more than that... these brilliant women are sharing the love of flight with others.

"We have met many long term friends along the way 
and have life long memories to treasure."

Marie Carastro is the matriarch of the team. Her inspiration to fly was due to her brother having been drafted into the Army Air Corp in WWII. Sadly, her brother was shot down over Romania and never returned. In his honor Marie found the courage to follow his path. In 1958 Marie took to the skies in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and obtained her private pilots license and purchased a Cessna 140.

Her Mother, with good reason to be concerned about her daughter flying, said, “I reckon you are ready to die”. Well obviously she did not die, but enjoyed a new found hobby flying around the state of Alabama. When she visited her sister she would land on backroads that her family temporary blocked for the arrival. She would taxi from the road into her sister’s driveway, and would depart the same way she came.

 Marie 2012  race

Flying was destined to be in the family as Marie married a career Air Force pilot, Bob Carastro. Dedication to all she has accomplished has been one of her greatest strengths, as was her good judgement. Apparently she was very particular about allowing Bob (the jet pilot) to fly her Cessna 140. Marie blended aviation and her career as a consultant dietician by traveling around the state of Alabama in a Cessna 172. She has been a registered dietitian for over 50 years and presently works for The State of Alabama Department of Licensure and Certification. 

Susan and Maria

Marie participated in the Powder Puff Derby in 1960, and returned to participate in the Air Race Classic in 2002 and has been racing ever since. 

Marie also encouraged her children to pursue aviation and both her son Michael, and daughter Susan, were taught to fly by their Father. Michael is a professional pilot and has flown for domestic and international airlines but presently owns a flight school in Biloxi, MS. Marie participated in the Powder Puff Derby in 1960, and returned to participate in the Air Race Classic in 2002 she has been racing ever since. 

Susan was the product of an aviation family. Family time as a youngster  was spent on at nearby small town airports on the weekends with Bob taking the kids up for flying lessons. Susan said, "I can remember sitting in my father’s lap unable to reach the rudder pedals but being able to use the ailerons. I thought the steering wheel in the car looked strange because I was used to a yoke."  Bob continued to train Susan through her instrument rating because he told her that it was the most useful rating.

Susan with Dad Bob

After Susan finished veterinary school and residency in ophthalmology, her interest in flying was renewed. She moved to Florida for business, but maintained a monthly consulting business in Alabama. As she says, "The only logical way to travel was to fly myself." Susan also obtained her multi-engine rating and a Cessna 310-R. She presently uses her airplane to fly for consulting jobs in Key West and Alabama, and monthly visits to see her family.  

Not only is Susan is a veterinarian, 
but she recently obtained her ATP rating.

Susan and Marie have flown together in the previous 12 races and are coming back for one more in the ARC 2015!  Susan says, "We alternate legs during the race and my Mom always accuses me of giving her the hard legs." 

Nephew Dane getting plane ready for 2014 race
Danielle, Marie's granddaughter is joining the team this year, and carrying on the family tradition. Danielle is a freshman in high school in Ocean Springs, MS. She also enjoys soccer, cheerleading. And with a family of flyers, I'm thinking this race might pull her into the skies for a career. :)

Enjoy the Journey!!
XO Karlene


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