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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, 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. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Airline Safety!

How Safe Is Your Airline?

The most interesting thing about the aviation industry is that management grades themselves on being a "safe airline" in relation to their accident rate. You'll often hear of self-professed safety because they have not had an accident. But what they don't tell you is how many close calls they've had. Pilots falling asleep on short final, lining up to land on the taxiway, missed communications, errors due to lack of automation understanding, etc. Yet, they've haven't had an accident, thus they assert they are safe. 

I pose this question to anyone 
who thinks safety is determined 
by an accident: 

Scenario:

After work you stop by a bar to unwind and throw back a few drinks. Then you climb into your car and don't bother buckling your seatbelt. It only dings at you for a minute, until it silences. Your low tire pressure light illuminates, but it's been like that for years. One day you'll get it fixed. You still have some tread on at least two of your tires. No sense replacing them until you have to. You'll get it all checked out the first chance you get. You back out of your parking spot feeling the warmth of your alcohol, finally relaxed from your long day, and head home. Your wife would be furious if you're late, but you've learned a shortcut through a residential area. Doing 45 in a 25 mile per hour zone, running stop signs because most families are having dinner at this time nobody is on this road, you pull into your driveway. You've made it! This pattern of drinking, driving a car that needs work, no seatbelts, and speeding in an area that puts others at risk, has been ongoing for three years and you have never had an accident. 

How Safe Are You?

A few facts about fatigue and alcohol: If you are a 160 pound man who has had two drinks, that will put you over the FAA Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) regulation of .04%. If you have three three drinks you'll be up to .08% for men and a 140 pound woman will have a BCL of .11%.  What if the same individuals had four drinks? Men and women would have a BAL of .11% and .15% respectively.  

This is significant because pilots are flying fatigued. Pilots are being pushed beyond limits of legal alcohol consumption. Research identifies that seventeen hours awake is equivalent to a BAL of .05%, 21 hours awake is equivalent to a BAL of .08%, and 24 hours awake is equivalent to BAL of .10%.  It appears that "pilot pushing" is nothing short of downing 2-4 drinks prior to short final. 

Combine fatigue with substandard training, negative safety culture, and lack of systems understanding.  How safe is this industry? My doctoral research spoke volumes. While very few dissertations are read, I turned my dissertation into a book:  Normalization of Deviance, A Threat to Aviation Safety.  


Find your ebook by clicking on Kindle. If you would like an autographed copy, order off this website. 

Without a full understanding of the problem, 
there cannot be a solution.

How safe is the Aviation Industry?
Normalization of Deviance 
might just answer that question!

Heartfelt gratitude to the 7400 pilots who took their time and energy to participate in this research, and for the numerous comments and stories you shared that found their way into this research and the book. Your comments are priceless and explain so much. Thank you! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 



Wednesday, November 2, 2022

H is for Human Factors

Share the Love of 
Human Factors
With the Little Ones in Your Life!

An incredible lady sent me this book...and I thought it was so cute that you might want to share it with your kids. Education improves lives as it opens its door to a variety of experiences. 


This is the second in their series. "'H is for Human Factors' breaks down the concept of designing products to work better for people. Written by human factors experts from Bold Insight, a Chicago-based user experience (UX) and human factors research and design agency, the book playfully illustrates the industries and products that kids find in their lives which have been designed with human factors concepts in mind. We hope you enjoy sharing your passion for human factors research and design with the children in your life!"


To Learn More or Order 
Your Copy by clicking on: 

Enjoy the Journey!!
XO Karlene 


Monday, October 24, 2022

Whistleblowers

Fighting Back! 



Jackie Garrick
Whistleblowers of America

With all the talk about a Whistleblower in the news last week, there is no better time than now to explain the impact on whistleblowers. 

Jacqueline Garrick is the Founder of Whistleblowers of America, Workplace Promise Institute. She is compassionate and has dedicated her life to helping others. Jackie was a whistleblower herself who had been retaliated against and suffered the grave consequences. She was terminated, and without financial means to employ an attorney she took on the legal battle herself, and she succeeded. But not without enduring the consequences. Retaliation is bad enough, but standing up to right the wrong has consequences all its own. 

 "The financial ruin, defamation of character, social ostracism, public humiliation, and the loss of belonging and a lost sense of purpose, impact employees who become depressed, anxious, and suicidal. They suffer from the symptoms of PTSD. They have nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and become guilt-ridden, avoidant, and angry. They face divorce, homelessness, and poverty as they struggle with their emotional decline and stagnation because of workplace traumatic stress." Jackie Garrick

While I was conducting a search as to the impact to whistleblowers, I came across the following article, based on Jackie's research. This is a must read if you have suffered the consequences of retaliation, harassment, or discrimination of any kind or know someone who has. 

                            Whistleblower Retaliation Checklist

Abstract: 

Whistleblowers are an often misunderstood and miscategorized group of employees who suffer retribution for being relators of organizational wrongdoing. They step forward because they feel compelled to speak out against illegalities, improprieties, or injustices that could cause harm to the public welfare or to other individuals. But, when whistleblowers take on powerful, entrenched systems whose leadership has perpetrated or condoned these injustices, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination often ensues.

These workplace traumatic stressors have long-term psychosocial impacts on these ethical individuals, but the toxic retaliatory tactics used against them are not well documented, classified, or quantified. The mental health profession needs to have a trauma-informed framework for understanding the taxonomy of workplace retaliatory tactics and the means to help their patients mitigate the psychological distress these individuals face. This is especially important when conducting forensic exams for treatment or compensatory damages. Furthermore, organizations that want to be salutogenic for their staff, effective in their missions, and conserve their public and often global reputations need to incorporate whistleblowing protective practices into their management structure and social cultures. 

This article analyzes the Whistleblower Retaliation Checklist (WRC) survey results, hundreds of peer support conversations with whistleblowers, and it offers a comprehensive literature review. It is meant to give insight into the psychosocial impacts of life after whistleblowing and the need for a new mental health paradigm to emerge for all employees, first relators, and their employers. 


Not only has Jackie conducted extensive research,
but her book is about to be released!



Jackie understands that those who have faced retaliation often suffer from PTSD.  If you have been retaliated against and need assistance you can reach out to Jackie here: 





Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 





Friday, September 2, 2022

For the Love of Aviation

Breakfast in Narita is a Fun Read! 

Jean, Jeff and Kathy in the Good Ole Days
Northwest Airlines 

I met Kathy McCullough, Retired Northwest Captain, and the author of Breakfast in Narita, back in 1997. She is a good friend who was one of the first female pilots at Northwest Airlines. I am honored to write this post because I understand the effort it took to bring her current book to life, and what she experienced to be able to tell this story.  

Ten years ago Kathy McCullough began writing this novel. Four or five years ago, I did my first read and edit with four more to follow over the years. While it takes a team to write a book, I understood the world this story originated and the importance to get it right. As an author it's hard to tell a story when you  you're in the center of the action in real life. It becomes necessary to step outside the drama in order to tell the story, and allow the characters to have a life of their own... to share the challenges of women in aviation but make it a fun read. Because honestly, it was not always that much fun. Unless you made it fun, which Kathy and I did on many occasions. 

While this book is fiction with a sinister plot that includes corruption to the highest and most disgusting level in the pursuit of financial gain, the events of what Kathy lived are true. 

Since June 6th there were 20,447 views on LinkedIn visiting the post on Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry. And 15,224 views on the follow up Not my Problem, Think Again. Thanks to an FAA report and Dr. Tony Kern for his great insight as to the inability to have a positive safety culture with this type of behavior ongoing, we are one step closer to solving the age old problem. 

Breakfast In Narita: 

Kathy lived in this world, and I understood the story she was trying to tell. I am glad she invited me to be part of her team. While dining in Haneda, dinner and dessert, at the gym, in the tub, while locked in my hotel, I had the opportunity to read this novel for the final time. And I smiled as I read this version because this is the book she was looking to write. She did it! 

There I was... Reading Breakfast In Narita 
While Having Dessert in Haneda


Kathy:

"My grandmother encouraged me to write as a child, and I loved creating stories. It was my goal to be a published writer long before Amazon existed. I sold some stories to Woman’s World and Cricket magazines, so I knew I could do it. After all, I heard Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing Little House on the Prairie at age 65. 

I used to drag a heavy word processor around the world with me. When you wake up in the middle of the night in a hotel room, there are not many things you can do. That’s why I have two nonfiction books, and a lot of journals and other writing. Breakfast in Narita is fiction because I'm hoping the real characters from this book have grown in their retirement years. At least they won't be causing anyone grief in the future. Besides, fiction is a fun challenge, or at least I thought it would be. 

I thought writing Breakfast in Narita would be easier to get it down on paper than it was. Creating believable characters and making their dialogue sound real is hard. I took tons of classes and went to writing conferences. Show don’t tell. I am very good at “telling” a story, but showing is different. Also, I didn’t want my main character to sound whiny or mean, although there was plenty to whine about. There were so many false starts and so many times I gave up and quit working on this book. Then a flight attendant friend-of-a-friend read my nonfiction book, Ups and Downs. She loved it. 


She loved my voice and told me I had a gift. That’s what I needed to make me finish this. Encouragement and confidence. Now I’m glad I did, because the feedback has been incredible. A goal accomplished!"

For Your End of Summer Read
I recommend:


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Not My Problem

 Think Again!


There were 20,421 views on LinkedIn alone in response to the June 8th post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry as a result of Dr. Kern's article, An Honest Discussion Men Need to Have Right Now. Not to mention the thousands of views from other social media sites. If you have not read that post yet, I think you should. Dr. Kern had written his article in response to the FAA's report "Breaking Barriers for Women in Aviation."

Today is Part Two
Dr. Kern's second article: 

Dr. Kern believes there are two reasons why women don't speak out when they are sexually harassed: (1) Fear of retribution and (2) they don't want to play the victim card. Sometimes it's also easier to simply look the other way and pretend the behavior doesn't exist. Other times women think by ignoring the behavior, they are being accepted as part of the group. Furthermore, if the behavior doesn't happen to them, it's easy to believe it's not occuring at all. As I mentioned in my post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry, the problem may be due to the deviant behavior of management. 

If senior leadership behaves poorly, they set the example for others to follow. This behavior becomes the culture. Culture includes the norms and behaviors of everyone in the organization. But culture begins at the top. Culture also dictates who the organization will employ, which will often be the same cookie cutter selection they have always chosen. The aviation industry even has a culture of its own. 

Dr. Kern has brought to our attention that it is impossible to have a positive safety culture when sexual harassment is prevalent. He discusses the need to change and how that might happen. I do believe it's possible to change culture. But I also know what it feels like to be at the pointy end of retaliation when attempting to create change for the better. Therefore, I understand why people are reticent to come forward to create change of any kind. There is no right answer to this problem other than to start at the top. Unfortunately when a CEO is also the Chairman of the Board in an organization with a negative safety culture, that change becomes difficult to manage. Even Board members may fear retaliation if they attempt to rid themselves of the bad example. The negative culture persists.

I highly recommend you read Dr. Kern's article

Then... let's all think how to solve this problem. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Pilot Faculty Position Available

In Puerto Rico

Inter American University 
of Puerto Rico School of Aeronautics 
needs you! 


Exciting news! A fellow ERAU PhD Aviation program graduate, Dr. Jonathan Velazquez, Dean of the School of Aeronautics at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, has reached out looking for a full time faculty position. All classes will be taught in English. The job is in Puerto Rico. And I'm thinking this could be an opportunity of a lifetime. Time is running out. You only have until August 8, 2022 to apply. Phone numbers and contact information below. 

Tenure Track Professional Pilot Faculty Position: 
The School of Aeronautics is seeking a full-time faculty member for the undergraduate Aircraft Systems Management (Professional Pilot) program. 


This is a 9-month tenure track appointment
 
The selected applicant should be in place by the second week of 
August 2022 for the fall 2022 semester

Responsibilities: 
  • Teach courses as assigned such as: 
    • Private, instrument, commercial, and/or instructor pilot ground schools. 
    • Applied Aerodynamics  Advanced Aircraft Systems 
    • Aviation Weather 
    • Aviation Safety and Security 
    • Air Carrier Operations 
  • Advise students on academic matters and career planning. 
  • Teach selected courses in-person and via videoconferencing simultaneously. 
  • Serve on division, college, and/or university committees as assigned. 
Minimum Qualifications
  • Master’s degree in Aviation or related field. 
  • FAA Advanced Ground Instructor (or Certified Flight Instructor) and Instrument Ground Instructor (or Certified Flight Instructor Instrument) certificates. 
  • Experience in fields applicable to aviation.
  • Ability to apply current instructional technology in classroom and distance learning. 
Salary: 

In accordance with the current salary scale for teaching staff of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. 

To Apply: 

Send your job application, self-identification forms (Veterans and People with Disabilities), Resume, Letter of Intent and academic credentials and Vaccination Certificate (full cycle) against COVID-19 to: 

Inter American University of Puerto Rico, 
Bayamon Campus, 500 
Dr. John Will Harris Rd., 
Bayamón, PR 00957. 


Apply by August 8, 2022

You may obtain the documentation necessary at www.inter.edu 

Due to the COVID-pandemic, applications can be sent to the following email addresses (as long as the documentation is also sent via regular mail): 
wfigueroa@bayamon.inter.edu
etorres@bayamon.inter.edu.

If you have any questions, you may call the Human Resources Office at
 787-279-1912, ext. 2056

All the best!
Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Pilot Shortage

A Government Funded Event

The government bought and paid 
for this pilot shortage
with your taxpayer dollars!

While I do have an MBA, it does not take a masters in business to see that this summer pilot shortage should have been avoided. A quick Internet search indicates that the government paid airlines insurmountable funds to survive the "Covid" challenge: An $85 Billion Rescue May Only Delay the Pain and Taxpayers spent Billions on Bailing out Airlines.  

How Airlines Used 
Your Taxpayer Dollars

Airline management used your money to pay extremely large sums to their most senior pilots to encourage them to retire early. Some airlines paid pilots 55 hours a month for three years, to leave with all their benefits. Those benefits are a high value too. To put this into perspective, that's approximately $20,000 a month. That is a modest number, as in some cases that payment was significantly more. To compensate for that process, airlines are now paying pilots 2-3 times more per trip to encourage them to fly overtime, causing a world of fatigue and pilot unrest. Literally. The results are passengers are being grounded for their summer travel and pilots are exhausted. Don't think this is for summer only. The airlines are so far behind the power curve that they are sending instructors to fly during summer months, cutting much needed training, which will exacerbate the problem come the holidays. 


Perhaps the government was acting in good faith. However, when giving an open checkbook to airline management who do not care about operating an airline, do not care about safety, do not care about the flight crews or passengers, but instead care only about lining their pockets with the intent to take the money and run-- passenger travel and safety will be in jeopardy. 

Either the current airline flight cancellations are occurring because airline management has absolutely no idea how to operate an airline, or they have devised a shell game creating an illusion of management. A staged pilot shortage enables airline management to cancel less lucrative flights, raise prices, and feign ignorance of what pushing pilots to their limits will do to performance, reducing many levels of safety due to fatigue in the process. 

The  Solution is Simple! 

1) Offer those pilots that have already been paid to retire an opportunity to return to the flightline. These pilots will take a day in the simulator, maybe two, depending on currency and they will be qualified. 

2) Enable those pilots who were forced to retire at 65 to return to the flight deck and fly until 67 to get the airlines through this challenging time. They too will require minimal training. 

Captain Rich Seiler, forced to retire at 65 six months ago, is still playing semi-professional senior baseball, is physically fit, competent and wants to fly.  It simply does not make sense to ground him and other pilots like himself that could be helping in this time of need. 

Union and Pilot Objections and Solutions: 

SENIORITY:  "It's not fair they come in over our seniority." SOLUTION: Place them on their original equipment, base of their choice, at the bottom of the seniority list in that base. 

UPGRADE:  "It's not fair, it will delay my upgrade." RESPONSE: Maybe for the short term. But growth is immense and airlines expect to hire 14,500 new pilots over the next 8 years. This is not a long term solution, but simply until the airlines get caught up with training.

DOUBLE PAY: "They'll take my overtime trips" RESPONSE: There are overtime trips being cancelled now. There is more than enough to go around for everyone. 

OVER 65 PHYSICAL HEALTH:  Pilot's fitness is assessed whether they are 55, 65. or 67. That make no difference. Either a pilot is or is not fit. Age is not the issue. NetJets employs pilots to fly that are older than 89. 

COGNITIVE ABILITY:   There are tests to check cognitive ability. While every person has a different baseline, these tests could be utilized to determine a decline in the performance of a pilot for their own level. 

Negotiations 

I would think with contract negotiations in progress at all airlines, that creative minds on both sides could solve the problem by simply signing a contract that works for everyone and enables this 12-24 month fix, with a long-term contract secured. 

Flying Fatigue

Flying fatigue is similar to flying drunk. Federal regulations have created limits to avoid pushing pilots to fly too many consecutive hours that would impact performance. However, the previous FAA administration has approved airlines to place pilots on duty for more than 25 hours due to this pilot shortage with the excuse being Covid, and called it a "workaround".  Currently airline management believe that it is okay for these extended duty times as they and the FAA manipulate the meaning of a deadhead. Therefore, until we allow our retired pilots to return, even those over 65, passenger safety will be in jeopardy because of an FAA/Airline workaround that induces fatigue instead of mitigating risk. 

FAA Challenge

I challenge the FAA to justify why it's safer for a 64 year-old pilot to be on duty for over 25 hours, versus a healthy qualified 65 year-old that has 40 years of experience flying airplanes, to be a safer option for passenger travel. 

The Solution is Simple
The Question is 
Why Aren't they doing this?

Enjoy the Journey 
Karlene Petitt PhD, MBA, MHS