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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, December 31, 2015

Commitment to Create Change

Happy New Year 2016 
This is the year to Find Courage,
and Commit to taking that Leap!




Each year I write many resolutions. 2015 brought a new book, Flight To Success, Be the Captain of Your Life, and I finished the third novel of a series: Flight For Survival, and a children's book: I Am Awesome, the ABCs of Me. I also finished a full year of school. But what happens next, in 2016, will take courage.

My friend sent me this picture of her jump off the tallest building in the world. She amazes me at her fearlessness, and her strength in all that she does. When I told her as much she said...

"Sometimes it is better NOT to look before you leap!
  You just have to commit and go for it."

I always wondered what propels someone to jump off a building, I learned it takes courage. Sometimes that proverbial building is the courage to face your fears such as publishing a book, investing your life savings in your dream, quitting your job to follow your passion, public speaking, or taking a stand for what is right, because nobody else will. Jumping off the building means doing those things that create fear, despite the fear.

As I re-read the commitment chapter in Flight To Success, Be the Captain of Your Life, I was reminded that commitment is a choice, and follow-through is an action. By harnessing the energy of both, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. But it takes facing our fears to find courage to jump. Fear happens to be the first chapter in this book, but also the first chapter in life. To create change often takes facing your fears.


As many of you have read my post, If I Had One Wish For Aviation, I am on a mission to support our industry. Addressing the pilot shortage, and creating sustainable pilot jobs worth having, is key to safety. This means encouraging the best of the best to join the field of aviators. We must realize that pilots are people too, and people with lives in their hands during their daily work. Positive mental health cannot be overlooked.

Pilot training is essential to safe operations. Technological advancement has brought reduced training due to aircraft automation, because our aircraft self report, and operate with computers. However, the pilot must know more, not less, with automated aircraft when the aircraft breaks. While training is expensive, technology has created opportunities to improve learning, and should be used. 

NextGen is on the horizon where new threats are looming. Added complexity, and pilot managed separation will create potential for error. SMS- Safety Management Systems- are mandated to be in place by 2018, and yet safety culture is an essential ground floor requirement. We have new threats with drones flying in our airspace, and the next level of terrorism. What we can control is how we manage our safety systems and processes within our airlines. 

This journey has taken me to earning a PhD in Aviation with focus on safety. What needs to be changed? This year take time to read all three novels in the series. You will understand the challenges. True courage will come when I publish the non-fiction book. The essence of which may be woven throughout the pages of these novels.

I will have the courage to stand up for what is right, despite the fear of what may happen. Besides, experience creates resilience and safety management systems are designed to be proactive. There is no excuse to not do the right thing.
  
This is the year that I push through 
the doors of fear, and create change necessary to improve aviation safety!

What is your resolution?

If you don't have one, or want another...
commit to joining me on 
the Fight For Safety!

What about the Future?

World change comes from education
and inspiring our children. 

  

Health and Happiness 
throughout the New Year!
Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Flight For Survival

Flying into your hands soon!


 

I was finishing a quarter of school while on a trip, during finals week. November 29, 2015 my finals submitted. I returned home on November 30th. During this time, my novel took second priority to school. I awoke December 1st, and sighed. I was only halfway complete with Flight For Survival. I had only one month to finish it. We were in the midst of the holiday season.  

My thoughts were: 

I don't know how I will finish my third novel in one month, let alone during Christmas time. I was helping my friend with her book, working on the children's book, I Am Awesome, the ABC's of Being Me, had shopping, kids coming to town, and a mini trip with my husband. I was on reserve and could be called out at a moments notice. Once school picked up again in January, I would be too busy. 

I experienced a moment of doubt as how I would get it finished for the NW Aviation Conference by February, 2016. Then I looked at the book Fight To Success be the Captain of Your Life, sitting on my desk and...


Instead of giving up... 
I gave it my all. 

Giving it my all worked! 

Flight For Survival is on schedule 
for January/February arrival.


Coming Soon... 



Kathryn Jacobs is in charge of drone regulation for the FAA, Jackie Jameson is managing flight attendant training, and Darby Bradshaw is flying an A330 for Global Air Lines. 

When a Boeing 777 disappears, and a pilot intentionally flies into the mountains, suspicion points to Captain Bill Jacobs, protected by the walls of prison.  

Darby is on top of the world, as she has been offered a 2 million dollar contract for a safety management book she spent three years writing: Fight For Safety, Inside the Iron Bubble. Unfortunately, there are people who do not want this book to be released. The sub-culture of Global Air Lines surfaces between the pages in the darkest realm, with fear that the truth of what goes on inside that iron bubble, shall come to light. 

When the worst crash in history occurs, the fight becomes one of survival. 

The time is now to read 

 


Enjoy the Journey...
And get ready for the best of the three novels!

Join me on New Years Day
For the Resolution of 2016!

My Novels are an integral part of the resolution.
Join the Journey! 

XOX Karlene



Monday, December 28, 2015

Mental Health In The Air

Airlines To Improve Screening For Mental Health Conditions In Air Crews

Helen Bell, a freelance writer who once worked in the healthcare, field sent me a great article on mental health and the pilot. The question remains, is it possible through screening to identify a pilot's mental state? This often takes years of observation to diagnose someone. Most pilots will smile at the title to "improve" screening. As to date, new hire screening is to identify if the pilot fits the culture of the airline, not to assess their mental health. I have yet to be screened. But the job demands and performance could be indicators, if training professionals knew what to look for. For now, enjoy Hellen's article on a serious issue. 

Helen says...

Following the co-pilot induced crash of Germanwings flight A320 into the French Alps earlier this year, concerns have been raised about the way in which airlines and flight schools safeguard and screen the mental health of their charges. Following the terrible crash, which killed everyone on board, it transpired that the co-pilot responsible, Andreas Lubitz, had been undergoing treatment for depression for several months prior to taking this deadly, suicidal step. According to a diary he kept, Lubitz’s state of mind was in extreme turmoil in the weeks leading up to the crash. 

Insomnia left him running on as little as three hours sleep a night, and he was on a cocktail of drugs including tranquilizers and antidepressants – not a good combination in the first place for someone responsible for keeping a plane in the air. Although nobody could have predicted the terrible route by which Lubitz would ultimately end his suffering, the evidence that Lubitz was not at that time fit to perform his duties was ample. In the light of the airline’s failure to take Lubitz’s condition seriously enough to do something about it, aviation authorities across the world have begun to review the way in which they deal with the spectre of mental illness in pilots and air staff.

Current Procedures

It is acknowledged that being a pilot can be a very stressful and pressured job. In recognition of this, most airlines carry out psychological evaluations of potential air crews before contracting them to fly. Furthermore, when applying for a pilot’s licence, applicants are required to disclose their medical history, including any history of mental illness. A diagnosis such as PTSD, or a history of self-harm (for example) is likely to rule out the possibility of getting a licence, although conditions such as depression are currently more of a moot point. Once a licence has been obtained, however, the responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of the pilots and air crews lies with the airlines which employ them. 

Most airlines devote considerable resources to scrutinizing and evaluating their pilots’ performance and health. It’s also worth noting that anti-terrorism measures in the USA require those working with anyone involved with planes to report to the authorities any concerns they may have about a pilot’s behavior or state of mind. However, the skewed way in which society views mental health conditions can work against full disclosure on the part of air crews, and full comprehension on the part of airlines. All too often, major stress, anxiety, and depression are not viewed as particularly serious or as a hindrance to someone’s ability to perform their responsibilities. In fact, these things can all cause serious problems in performance, as well as being incredibly debilitating for the person affected.

Will Things Change?
All over the world, the fate of the Germanwings passengers and crew has led to calls for tightened and heightened mental health screening procedures for pilots. The EU has recommended that all new and prospective pilots undergo comprehensive psychological screening. In the US, experts have asked for a review into the ways in which flight schools currently deal with mental health issues in students. Part of the problem is that nobody wants to demonize or attack people suffering from mental health problems – but at the same time it must be acknowledged that a job which involves so much responsibility (and has such potential to end in tragedy) requires a consistently steady and emotionally sound state of mind. Perhaps one way in which to reduce the chances of air crews developing mental health problems is to put measures in place which will reduce stress. 

Fostering an environment in which a positive mental and emotional state is nurtured could be of enormous help. However, you can never prepare for the vagaries of disease, or of outside influences which also act upon peoples’ mental health. It is therefore important that airlines and flight schools develop ways of spotting mental health problems as they arise, and getting the affected individuals help before their health has a chance to start impacting upon their work. Mental health problems can be hard to spot – but it’s worth making an effort to do so, for the sake of everyone involved.

 What do you think the answer is?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

TWAS The Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style

 

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.


The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots, 
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots. 
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up, 
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt. 

 When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter, 
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter. 
A voice clearly heard over static and snow, 
Called for clearance to land at the airport below. 

He barked his transmission so lively and quick, 
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick". 
 I ran to the panel to turn up the lights, 
The better to welcome this magical flight. 

He called his position, no room for denial, 
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final." 
And what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer! 

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
 As he passed all fixes, he called them by name: 
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun! 
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'? 

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head, 
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread, 
The message they left was both urgent and dour: 
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower." 

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking, 
Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking." 
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh 
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..." 

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk, 
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks. 
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost 
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust. 

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale, 
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale. 
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly, 
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly. 

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red, 
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead." 
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump, 
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump. 

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work, 
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk. 
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief, 
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief. 

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log, 
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog. 
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear, 
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk, 
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk. 
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction, 
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion" 

He sped down the runway, the best of the best, 
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west." 
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night, 
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."


Happy Holidays 
and 
Merry Christmas 
From My Family to Yours! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Beaver

The Best and the Worst Gift of the Year! 


A Beaver might be that gift. 

Last year (2015) we gifted a Beaver to my sisters' significant other to enjoy on their lake.  Nothing could be better than sitting on your dock in Seattle, with a cocktail in hand, playing with your Beaver.  

However, what has transpired is he has been working his Beaver all year, and has yet to fully take advantage of the joy of his toy. You see, his Beaver was missing parts, and had broken pieces, and she was just not ready to fly. So, after a year of challenges working with her and preparing to play her what happens? 

Regulations Change! 

Now he has to register his Beaver before he can take full advantage of her. What has this world come to when the government wants you to pay $5 to play with your holiday Beaver! The good news is he has had time to play with a simulated beaver to learn how to use his properly. 

I'm guessing we'll get him a bottle of Scotch this year.

Happy Holidays! 
What is your Best and Worst Gift?


Enjoy the Journey

XOX Karlene 


Monday, December 21, 2015

I Am Awesome!

And so is this children's book!  

Written by yours truly, and illustrated by my middle daughter, Kayla. This work has been in the making for a couple years, now. But time has been flying with so many projects. However, the time is now and we are getting closer for this book to be flying off shelves everywhere. 
Last night Kayla sent me the artwork of all 26 kids in a variety of careers. From an Astronaut to a Pilot, Engineer, or Chemist, children worldwide will be Awesome, Passionate, Exciting, and Cool. This book will inspire, and enthuse children everywhere. 
100% proceeds will go to:
 
 
You will love this book! And so will the kids. 
The illustrations are incredible!

I wish it were available for this Christmas, but the debut is planned for the January 23rd, 2016 in Bend Oregon at a fundraiser for Children's Museum of Central Oregon.  My hubby and I will both be there, and anyone in the area would like to join as a guest or support we would love the assistance.

The theme of this engaging book is: 

I can be anything, because I am me! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Friday, December 18, 2015

Susan Friedenberg

 Friday's Fabulous Flyer
 
Susan Friedenberg
Susan Friedenberg

Susan C. Friedenberg started her aviation career in 1970 where she pent the first 15 years of her aviation career flying for American Airlines and then Capitol Air. She has been involved in Business Aviation for the last 30 years flying both as a contract flight attendant with a coast to coast clientele list and as a full time flight attendant for Coca Cola Company, DuPont Aviation and American Standard Companies.
 

In 1999 Susan started her own training company called "The Corporate Flight Attendant Training Program" and today she teaches her training course in Long Beach, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also conducts In-House training classes for clients globally as well as in the US. Susan does consulting within the business aviation industry/community and also does contract flying upon request.

She is committed to raising the standards within business aviation where it pertains to the third crew member. She has been published in numerous business aviation trade journals globally as a pro-active advocate for Corporate Aviation Flight Attendants and lack of FAA regulations where it is applicable to the third crew member on private aircraft. Her professional mission in life is to have the United States Congress implement and pass legislation requiring professional flight attendants on all business aircraft of a specific weight level and seats in addition to all business flight attendants being required to have corporate aircraft specific emergency training and attend yearly recurrent training.
 


Susan was an active sitting member on the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Flight Attendant Committee in Washington, DC for ten years. She held the position of Scholarship Chairperson for the Flight Attendant Committee for two years. In that time she raised $44,650 in educational scholarships for the corporate flight attendant. She served as the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee Vice Chairperson for one year. She represented Contract Flight Attendants throughout the United States on this committee for five years. She now serves on this national committee in the capacity of an esteemed advisory consultant.

Susan was awarded by Women In Corporate Aviation, VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR for 2011 for raising $25,000 in scholarship awards in 8 weeks. And she is an Advisory for Dr. Beau Altman's (Founder of FACTS Training) EASI Training; Executive AirTraveler Safety Instruction and teaches human factors for Dr. Altman's training from time to time. 

Susan is a monthly contributor and Consultant Editor on Corporate Aviation Flight Attendant training, food safety and aircraft safety issues for business aviation in numerous International online and print magazines: Blue Sky produced by Newslett Publishing in the UK, Universal Weather & Aviation, Aviation International News and Business Aviation Advisor. 
 

She has also been a participant in BLOGS for business aviation experts in their respective fields created from Forbes Magazine entitled ForbesBlogs. Susan is highly respected and considered an expert in business aviation. She speaks at various conferences globally on many topics reflective of the professional role of the business aviation flight attendant.

Susan also actively speaks out about Horse & Carriage tourism/animal abuse in Philadelphia and volunteers for a No Kill Animal Shelter in Philadelphia, Operation Ava. 
 
Susan is also a Comedian and does stand-up comedy in Philadelphia and Atlantic City area comedy clubs! She resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 

I'm not sure about you... 
But I would love to have a 
professional comedian 
conducting my training! 

How To  Find Susan:

Susan C. Friedenberg - President & CEO
Corporate Flight Attendant Training & Global Consulting
241 South 6th Street - Suite 1806
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106 USA www.corporateflightattendanttraining.com
Telephone - 215.625.4811 - FAX 215.413.9013
SKYPE - susan.friedenberg

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

World Connections


 The Power of a Blog...

Followed by Generations of Aviation 
 
 


Today was spent sharing holiday cheer, writing, and putting off cleaning up after the holiday magic of grandkids over the weekend. But at the end of the day, I managed to read my email and the letter that follows, touched my heart. Someone found the stories of Hannah Hunhoff and her family on my blog. Hannah comes from a line of aviators and flying is in her genes. 

Larry Hunhoff and Barbara Hunhoff (Joe's mom and dad) Joe, Cynthia and Hannah - See more at: http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2011/05/history-of-aviators-continues.html#sthash.wKJK2du8.dpuf

EMAIL: 
 
I finally found, I have read on your blog the history of the family of Hannah Hunhoff. And I was interested by Mr ELMER SCHWANKL, Hannah's great great uncle who was killed in action while flying in a B17 in north of France In WW2. 

Elmer

"I am 59 years hold and I was born in 1956 in calais in north of France. I spent my childhood in a smal village close to Calais called Hervelinghem. It is near the cap gris nez and cap Blanc nez on the channel.
 
When I was young, as a teenager, I spent  holidays and many week ends at Hervelinghm. There, I often heard  farmers and  families speaking about the crash of a B17 in a field close the a small wood near by the village (Hervelinghem). In the 60' No information was available, not web site, no TV report Nothing on books, and nothing else to help to get more information about this event of the WW2.

Recently I started investigation on web sites about this B 17, and I also went back to Hervelinghem to meet an hold farmer Mr DENAVAULT.  Starting with him a conversation about this B17 crash. Excepted the precise place were the plane crashed ,This hold retired farmer has only few information about the crew. He told me "we were at war and the German very quickly set up the clearance of the wreak. The farmer was only able to tell me that some crew were killed ans some were caught prisoner by Germans. This farmer said also he had for many years some pieces of the wreck in a shed. Then I have made other investigations on web sites and I have found more details.

The name of the plane was "Pub Pet Dinah Might" ( why? and what does it means?) Plane took off from an USAF base at Framlingham east cost of UK. You still Can see the former air field today on google earth there is a former control tower converted today in a museum.

The mission was to bomb a launching ramp of V1. There were many in north of France. On the way back to UK, the B17 was shot down by the flak and it crashed at Hervelinghem. One of the crew was killed on board probably by a shell piece. As far as Hanna's great great uncle, he was also killed.

One the enclosed document found on a French, Site witch records many planes crashed in France in WW2. You will find the complete file of the "Pub Pet Dinah Might"  With also mention of Elmer Schwankl. He seems to be buried in Belgium and I guess the family has more information about the cemetery.

As Hannah, I do not forget the history of these young guys who came to UK in WW2 to fight in France against the Germans.
 
Hope Hannah and her family will be pleased to the see that even today, there are people which have the best respect For the foreign soldiers who gave their life here.

I wonder whether these information were known from Hannah and hope to have participate to give her some news about her great great uncle awaiting the pleasure to hear some news from your side (but most of them were on the blog!)"

2011! Where is Hannah today?
Enjoy the Journey!!
XO Karlene

Friday, December 11, 2015

Glacier Girl

Friday's Fabulous Flyer! 


 Glacier Girl

In July of 1942, during operation Bolero, six P-38 fighters and two B-17 bombers were on their way to the British Isles, and returned to Greenland due to inclement weather. These aircraft all made an emergency landing. The crewmembers were rescued, but the aircraft were subsequently buried under a couple hundred fee of snow and ice. 

I knew nothing of this story, but a friend sent me photos of Glacier girl today, and what a better Friday Flyer. She was one of the P-38 fighters of this 94th Fighter Squadron was rescued many years later, and restored.


If you want to know more, there is also a book. I'm thinking that this might be a really interesting read. I have not read it, but the adventure of digging up old bones and bringing them back to life is a noble mission, and the makings of an interesting story.


If anyone knows of Glacier Girl, we would love to know more of the story.  

This weekend is Christmas for me. Well, technically Thanksmas. The holiday we celebrate between Thanksgiving and Christmas and all grandkids are in town. Big news ... I'm also going to be a grandma again (next July)! That makes 8.

Happy Holidays!
Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gifting Aviation!

Happy Holidays Early! 

To gift people you love some aviation adventure, they must start at the beginning.
 
 Flight For Control in Hardback
is on Sale for $15   
 
For the month of December, order your autographed copy for your family and friends off my blog. Free gift wrapping! But you can also buy all three books: 
 
Thrillers in Hardback and
 Flight to Success in Softback for for $35. 
Or 
All three in Softback for $25. 





If you have read any or all of these books: 
 
 
Telling your friends about them,
and leaving comments on Amazon, 
is the best gift I could ever receive. 
 
THANK YOU! 
 
I'm up to chapter 39 on 
Flight For Survival!

A Christmas Miracle in Process.  
 
Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Monday, December 7, 2015

Focus On The Future


Monday Motivation

The Power of Focus! 
 

"Let me not wake up to dwell 
on the past.
Let me only dwell upon - 
the tasks that lie ahead."

~ by Eleesha,
Author of The Soul Whisperer
 
I love motivations from my friend Eleesha. These are the emails that I take a moment to read, ponder, and wonder how they apply to my life. This is one of them. With all that is happening in the world... news of terrorism, airplane crash reports, shootings, and the many injustices of the past... I will focus only on how to create change.
 
We are not superhuman to solve everything. But if we have passion in one area, and something needs fixing that is where to apply our focus. Take your thoughts from fear of what is happening and place that focus on problem solving... you can create change.  The deeper I dig into my PhD, the more passionate I feel about what I am doing to fix the industry. 


Join me on my journey to create change... 
Help me with my  

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Drone Landing At Frankfurt

The First Drone to Land at Frankfurt.... 

And NO BATHROOMs... 





 The Future of Aviation~
 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sandy McCormack

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Sandy McCormack

I am honored to know Sandy. We found each other through PNWA. And I'm so excited to share her story, and read her book too. I was planning on attending her talk at the Seattle Museum of Flight to get my copy there, but scheduling called. So, Night Witch is on it's way via Amazon. But Sandy is more than a talented writer, teacher and pilot, she is a caring and fun lady who gives back to her community. She was my backbone helping at our Flying It Forward Event this year. 
I can't thank her enough. 

Sandy says:

I’m an original boomer…you know, the post-war kind. I am really proud of that distinction, kind of like being a museum artifact, or at the very least a link to the past.

When I was a kid, girls could only do…well…girl stuff. Society said that we could be nurses, teachers and secretaries. That was it. I wanted to fly. My heroes were pilots. Amelia Earhart. Pancho Barnes. Jackie Cochran. My parents wouldn’t think of my endangering my own life by leaving the ground. And, so, I didn’t. 


I waited until I was in my twenties and living on my own. One day I marched myself into the FBO at Bellevue Airfield and plopped my $5 down for what they called the “familiarization flight.” 45 minutes later I was hooked, but I knew I would be.

6 months later, in November, I was ready for my private check ride. I took off out of Bellevue and flew to Auburn to pick up my examiner. Things were going well until it started to snow. Big time snow. The kind that snarls 405 traffic in less than an hour. This would have been perfect had it been my IFR ride. Alas, we struggled back to Bellevue and someone drove my examiner home to Auburn (on 405 no less).

Instrument, Commercial and CFI ratings followed. I flew and flew and flew. Sometimes the bill for instruction and air time was almost as much as my monthly paycheck. But I was in love and managed to find a way.


Night Witch Talk

Teaching was my day job and writing my extracurricular passion. I wrote poetry, essays, articles, short stories and started two novels. Then I joined a wonderful writing organization, Pacific Northwest Writers Assn. (PNWA). Through their workshops, summer conferences, and very knowledgeable network of writers, my writing blossomed.

One evening on my way home from school, I heard a story on NPR about a group of Soviet women pilots during World War II (their Great Patriotic War). The Germans called them “Nachthexen.” Night Witches. These courageous souls flew Polikarpov PO-2 biplane trainers that had been retrofitted to carry bombs beneath their lower wings. Their nightly missions were to harass the Germans, keep them awake, maybe take out ground equipment and destroy a section of railroad here and there. My search for more information began.



I would write a novel about this little known regiment of women pilots. And, thus, Night Witch was born.  This was the best of both worlds. I was in love again. My heroes were now named Raisa, Lilya, Tat’yana.

My book Night Witches went “live” on Amazon October 13, 2015. It was on that day 74 years ago that hundreds of girls and young women were selected to become Aviation Group 122, the first all-female regiment of pilots, navigators, mechanics and staff.

I am so happy that I learned that girls can do "well" at ANYTHING.

Take a look at Night Witch 
and find out the rest of the story.


NIGHT WITCH:

"Farm girl to aviator in the heroic WWII Russian flying unit the Germans called the Night Witches… June 1941 Nineteen-year old Raisa Tarasova’s peaceful life shatters when Hitler’s forces invade Russia. Her two brothers immediately enlist in the air corps. Despite Raisa’s desire to fly and her many hours of flying time, neither the air corps nor her father would allow such a thing. She is, after all, “just a girl.” In September Raisa returns to her engineering studies at the university in Moscow. Once there, she jumps at the opportunity to join a newly formed women’s aviation unit.


Wearing men’s uniforms hurriedly cut down to fit, Raisa and 300 other female recruits are loaded into railcars and transported to a training base. After six hard months of schooling, Raisa is assigned as a navigator with the all-women Night Bomber Regiment. Their aircraft is the PO-2, a biplane made of wood and fabric. Months later, after a night of heavy losses, Raisa is given a field promotion and the new responsibility of pilot. She has no choice but to carry out her orders and face down a most significant enemy…her own fear. Courage, an impossible romance, and a daring rescue only a woman would devise become part of Raisa’s new life as a member of the 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, the NIGHT WITCHES."

Visit Sandy on her website too!
sandymccormackbooks.com

Better yet... Meet Sandy in Person! 

Sandy will be at the 
University Book Store 
in Bellevue WA
Saturday December 5th! 
From 1-3
And they will be raffling baskets! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Automation Problem

Are we over thinking it? 


Just when school was over for the quarter, my friend Captain James Wright sent me an inspiring email. One of those writings that make me think!  He posed some interesting questions on automation, and as always sparked the brain cells. 

Backstory: Last year, around this busy time of year, I visited the Pacific Maritime Instituted. PMI. My plan was to do an incredible write up on this training center. There were many things the airline industry could learn from how they train harbor pilots. However, life got away and time flew as I jumped into my first year of school.  But the photos PMI, speak volumes.


Jim says: 

PMI is about to put on a series of Bridge Resource Management classes for Crowley Maritime tug masters and mates working out of Valdez.  The simulator exercises are modified based on the previous classes experiences.  

 
 
The latest modification is aimed at “automation dependency”.  The purpose of this exercise is for the bridge team to develop a comfort level with transitioning from a “glass bridge” to a WW-II type non-automated bridge.  A similar comparison in aviation might be transitioning from a 787 – Dreamliner cockpit to the “The Spirit of St. Louis”.  

The modifications include a full electronics failure (including radar) leaving the bridge team with only hand steering, basic engine control and a magnetic compass.  The bridge team will then be required to make decisions to balance safety and efficiency using the available controls and equipment to either complete or abort the exercise.


Since my age group mostly learned our profession in WWII type ships we tend to think that the transition described above should not be a problem.   

 Evaluations of pilots, masters and mates at PMI suggest the opposite; that mariners from the “automation-era” might find transitioning “back to the basics” somewhat uncomfortable.   



This leads to the questions below:
  • Do traditional pilotage / ship-handling (hand flying) skills add value to our profession in the “age of automation”? 
  • If so, is there a reasonable expectation that traditional pilotage / ship-handling (aviation) skills can be passed on to pilots in “the automation generation”?
  • If so, what solutions in addition to the above type of exercise might best accomplish this goal?
  • Alternatively, are we overthinking the “automation” problem?



My Dissertation is moving toward
the automation challenge. 

Do I think there is a problem? 
Perhaps when I read articles that state:


The answer is in the results.

What do you think?

Enjoy the Journey!!
XOX Karlene