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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.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Truth. Justice. Courage.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day
January 20, 2020!

"I Have A VOICE!"

"Injustice anywhere 
is a threat to justice everywhere." 
MLK Jr. 

Today is the day we honor a person who stood up to injustice. This is a human who gave his life for others to have a better life with fairness and justice. There are many people who have given their lives so women had the right to vote, drive, think, attend college, and become pilots. We have freedom in our world because of those who have gone before. I am living my life in honor of these people by not allowing their sacrifices to be forgotten.  

This weekend I was provided an incredible honor for leadership and bravery. Courage doesn't mean  you are not afraid. Courage means to do the right thing, regardless of the threat against you. I have had the opportunity to meet so many courageous individuals who are standing up to injustice. My wish for you all is to be strong! Together we can create change. 

Live your life with gratitude of those good people who have gone before, by following in their footsteps. Strive for honesty, integrity, and caring for our fellow humans. Above all demand justice!

"The time is always right to do what is right."

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Aircraft Automation


Captain Jim Wright

The article copied below was Captain Wright's contribution to Linked-In’s Shiphandling Professionals Group. He shared it with me because of our mutual concerns about automation dependency. I think it will be of interest to you too. Enjoy! 

“The question is whether highly skilled pilots could have successfully overcome the recent 737 MAX computer deficiencies. Will this debate eventually be relevant to harbor pilot skills? You could say that the answer will depend on whether the capabilities of autonomous ships will eventually exceed the skills of their pilots. But now we’re getting into unproductive “apples-to-oranges” comparisons because computerized inputs are automated while pilotage skills are intuitive.

In aviation, a remedy for “loss of feel” is for pilots to hand-fly the approach and landing. The reported problem is that some pilots, unaccustomed to hand-flying, let the computer do most of the work leaving their skill level absent of improvement.

For harbor pilots, the corresponding remedy has been to make the approach and docking with minimal usage of thrusters or assist tugs. You could say this is an antidote to the “loss of feel” problem.

While most pilotage grounds require different sets of skills, ships will tend to send similar signals to their pilots. Being able to interpret those signals and apply proper corrective action in a timely manner is the result of practice and experience. The risk of automation is that it tends to filter out the signals.”

It occurred to me that automated pilotage as opposed to intuitive pilotage might be an area requiring greater investigation. For example, pilots in our area of Alaska typically docked ships in visibility reduced to the point where the midships kingposts were not visible from the pilothouse. The usual procedure was to set up an instrument approach using the radar with the EBL (electronic bearing line) set on the dock heading and the VRM (variable range marker) adjusted continuously to show distance off the berth. In the old days we had to estimate speed then later we could get an accurate over-the-ground speed with GPS. You could say that this was somewhat similar to a semi-automated approach. At the same time, we had the mate-on-watch look out the window and let the pilot know as soon as any visual sign of the dock appeared. When that notice was given, the pilot abandoned the radar and moved to the bridge wing where the final approach and docking was conducted visually without the aid of automation – the forward part of the berth remaining obscured in the fog.

For the early part of my pilotage career this was “just the way we did things” and no explanation was given as to why it always seemed successful. Later, my curiosity led me to further introspection leading to a partial conclusion that the time involved in switching between looking at the radar (a 2-dimensional presentation) and looking out the window (a 3-dimensional presentation) required a short, although significant, loss of mental orientation. Mental disorientation became progressively cumulative as the rate of switching increased.. 

As our automation dependency discussions progressed, it occurred to me that loss of mental orientation might also be a contributing factor for airline pilots when switching from auto-pilot, auto-throttle and/or auto-land to “looking-out-the-window” flying. This idea was further reinforced by some of the old Alaska bush pilots who, when landing on non-ILS and sometimes poorly lit landing strips in close to zero visibility conditions had the FO fly the approach on available instruments while the Capt looked out the window and took control of the airplane for landing as soon as the field was detected. Or, on the other hand, maybe this is the definition of over thinking the problem.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Image result for News Years Eve Photos

With Gratitude to 2019

Thank you for the Lessons I Learned!
Now it's time to take on the New Year. 

With the close of 2019, I look forward to 2020 with optimism and clarity that only 2020 vision can bring. This year I will continue to not judge, as each person has their destiny and that is not mine to decide. I will not be critical of myself, as I know that I am doing my best. I will not rush to accommodate others--either they have patience, or they need to learn it. I will continue to practice patience daily.

I will awaken each morning with gratitude of life, enjoying the beauty of each raindrop, and be thankful for each heartbeat. I will remember that the sun shines on the other side of every storm. I will workout daily, as without our health we have nothing. I will smile often, love deeply, care passionately, and continue to always give my best. I will love those from afar that I cannot spend time with, and I know one day I will see them again, and will tell them how much they were missed, and loved always. 

I will plan for retirement, design my new home, and publish two books by February: 

Flight For Truth, and 
Normalization of Deviance---The Threat to Aviation Safety. 

I will finish Flight For Justice for next years publication. I will study for the LSAT--- when the time is right I will take the test. I will fight for injustice and help all those in need. Nobody stands alone in my world.

Each day is a gift, and should be opened with gratitude. Fun times ahead. I learned to play bridge in 2019. I took my first golf lesson yesterday, and in 2020 I will become a golfer to share my husband's passion. Another year almost took his life, this time his heart. But he survived, stronger than ever. Stress is a killer. My wish for everyone, no matter what happens in your life is to find a way to de-stress.

Happiness is a choice. Life is all about perspective. You can choose to hate, be angry, and judgmental, or you can choose to love, be happy, and be accepting. Life is short. At the end of the day, nobody will look back and wish they hated more. I choose to be happy this year and always. Join me on that journey! 

Happy New Year! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Grinch arrives at local airport

"Grinch Arrives Where Santa Died"

As reported by Christine Negroni.... 

"On the Friday before Christmas in 1959, private pilot Charles Chase Jr. died dressed in a Santa suit.

The 39-year old father and aviation aficionado had taken his airplane over Central Maine, loaded with Christmas presents for the children in the town of Dover-Foxcroft. It was an annual tradition that would see him land right back on the private airstrip he helped develop and distribute presents to the kids eagerly awaiting their flying Santa.

Gifts and Santa are an unbeatable combination but sixty years ago, one can imagine that the kids were probably equally excited about the airplane.

On this particular Christmas, however, Santa’s arrival was not to be. Chase’s plane crashed short of the runway. As a memorial, his heartbroken parents deeded the airstrip and 70 acres of land on which it sat to the town. In February 1961, Charles A. Chase Jr. Memorial Field was created."

This is the part where grinch arrives....

Please visit Christine's website to read 
the remainder of this story.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Monday, December 9, 2019

The Bridge of Hope


If you're like me you want to help, but you never know if the money will reach the children. You don't know who is behind the effort, and if it's a scam of not. We  know how little of our donations go to even the largest organizations. 

But this is one, I know to be true. 

All donations go through the hands of my childhood friend's non-profit.  I know the woman behind this organization and she is amazing. She gets in and does the work herself. A little about her past. In junior high she and I would make prank phone calls at Christmastime. We called random phone numbers, and she would play the piano and we would sing holiday songs. Geri, has always made people smile, and giving the gift of hope to children in Sierra Leone is just one of those ways.

Our holiday purchases bring short-term smiles, but they rarely make a long-term difference. This year, make your gift count. You can provide an education for a child, food, and perhaps save a life. Your donation will not only give a short term smile, but will make a lasting and long term difference in our world. My gift to you, is going to the children who need help this year. 

"It is that time of year...the time when we scurry around getting our to-do list done and preparing for the wonderful holidays ahead. But it is also the time when non-profits like us hope and pray that the needed funding comes in to help those in need.

In the last 6 weeks, four of our young students passed away. I can't even imagine that type of grief for those parents. We need to do more to bring much needed education and medical care to the Bridge villages. 

This year, we ask you to consider choosing a gift that makes an impact on a life for years to come. Make a donation that provides hope for one of our beautiful friends in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Donate in the name of a friend or loved one. How beautiful it is to know we can make a BIG DIFFERENCE with a simple gift."

Bring joy to a child in Sierra Leone today!

"You can donate a specific item like medical supplies, a bag of rice, a solar light...or just give a general gift that will go to the highest need. We’re not asking you to do anything dramatic and if you’ve given all you can this year already, we just want to say THANK YOU! "

Your gift truly saves lives.

I did!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Friday, November 29, 2019

Julie Chapman

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Julie Chapman

"How I overcame crippling confidence issues 
in the cockpit."

"Early on in my flying career, I couldn't get enough flying. It was new, beautiful, and the fulfillment of a childhood dream. I had become the proud owner of a light sport airplane in 2012 that I was flying everywhere. As the years came and went, I started to have confidence issues in the cockpit. 

I felt like I would have to fight for control when I was in moderate or greater turbulence and I had one flight where I encountered the worst turbulence I ever had been in and I was scared and struggled to fly for the next four years. I had no confidence in my ability to handle anything but smooth weather and I stopped flying cross country for several years. I was afraid of all of the "what ifs" and where the insidious bumps might be hiding in my mountainous home (SLC, Utah). I never stopped loving flying, but I definitely ramped way back and kept myself painted into a small geographical area that I felt safe in. 

I then discovered another kind of flying that was all about being in control in turbulence and that was glider flying. That's all about learning the terrain, using it to your advantage, and using thermals and winds and everything that will push you up to keep you up. 

Steep turns in moderate turbulence 
while flying at the bottom of the green arc? 

Talk about getting comfortable with the performance envelope of your aircraft! Glider flying was exquisite (and made me a better power pilot) and all but vanquished my fears of turbulence. My resurgence in confidence was so powerful that I earned all three ratings--private, commercial, and flight instructor--in 7 months. I absolutely love teaching now and find that I can share with students how to stay confident aloft."

Julie's passion for aviation is unrivaled. By profession she is an Aerospace Quality Engineer and holds three ASQ certifications (Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Reliability Engineer, and Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt). She has 14 CFR Part 145 expertise for a Limited Airframe rated Repair Station and she's the quality engineering liaison with the FAA FSDO. She works with type certificate holders and the FAA MIDO to secure FAA Parts Manufacturer Authority designation (FAA-PMA) (14 CFR Part 21) in order to sell spare parts.  She's a pilot rated on airplanes, seaplanes, and gliders, a flight instructor, and is a kit plane owner who enjoys flying for fun and volunteering. 

Confidence is everything in an airplane. 
Find it, and you'll soar to new heights! 

Julie is a Certificated Flight Instructor for the Utah Soaring Association.  She now is able to teach what she loves. When you're ready, I'm sure she will teach you too!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene