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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, February 26, 2024

AVIATION WEEKEND

SUCCESS

The conference was incredible and so busy.  Which proves one thing, the Passion for Aviation is alive! We had a great mental health talk and I learned of many people who want this subject to move from taboo to an open discussion.  We need to speak about this subject more openly. Many connections from the past stopped by to say hello and those who will be in my future, too. Bur for today... enjoy the photos. 

I even gave away my flight bag to Mike, starting his next career, when he bought all the novels. He also bought Flight To Success for his teenage daughters, who I plan to travel to Portland to speak to their school. Life is beautiful when you share a passion with others. 










Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


Friday, February 23, 2024

Northwest Aviation Conference

And Trade Show

February 24 & 25, 2024

SATURDAY 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM 

 SUNDAY 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM


You're invited the biggest and best Aviation Conference in Western Washington... the Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show. I will be  at Booth 124 over the weekend, autographing books and giving away great prizes! And sharing the love of aviation. 

Then, at 1 p.m., on Saturday the 24th (tomorrow), I will be speaking in the Pioneer room discussing the hot topic of the year.... Mental Health and the pilot. Yes, the world is upside down. We may not have the ability to upright it, but together we can learn how navigate through the chaos and save our mental health in the process. 


Make sure you drop by my booth to enter and win a great prize! I'm giving away the makings for the next simulator pilot. And... I'm adding a joy stick too! This is a $450 value. I'm also giving away a few more surprises too (priceless) but you'll have to drop by the booth to see what those may be. Collector items for those who love aviation. 



This is the big release of the next novel in the series: 


And the new children's book
The Happy Plane! 


The Happy Plane is children's book to help our kids learn the skill to control negative thinking. Teaching kids how to have better thoughts at a very young age will carry forward to their teen years and for a lifetime of joy and improved mental health.

I'm also giving my flight bag to the first person who buys the entire set of books! Fill her up, and she's yours. Boy... the stories she tells...


We're going to have a great conference! I hope to see you all and catch up on the adventures over the year!

For More Information About the Conference Click Here

Enjoy The Journey!
XO Karlene 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

When the Plane Falls Apart

 You Hope You Have Competent Pilots Flying

Boeing 747-200 Wing in 2004

Twenty years ago, a panel on my 747 wing broke off. I was a 747 Second Officer at the time. We had just departed Anchorage headed for Tokyo. During the walkaround I had asked about over-servicing one of the landing gear struts, and maintenance confirmed it was within limits We took off, gear up, and Boom! It felt like a sledge hammer hit the side of the aircraft and then she shook violently. 

The first thought was it the gear due to the timing of retraction. The FO called maintenance. I went down stairs to see if any of the cargo was an issue. As I returned the guys were cycling the landing gear. They were also cleaning up the plane, meaning bringing flaps up. When the gear and flaps were retracted, the  vibration stopped. 

We pressed onto Tokyo, and we even made fuel. Meaning... we did not burn what we planned, but less than. In hindsight, it's hard to believe with a hole in the wing we would not burn more. When we began configuring I said, "Do you feel that?" I could feel the vibration in my feet. As we slowed, it got worse. We landed with flaps 15 and kept her at higher speed. 

Not until we landed and I climbed a ladder, did I see the hole. To put it into perspective, the wing is about 48 feet at that area. This hole was every bit of 6 feet long, and a foot wide. 


This week the world watched the video of the B757 leading edge falling apart and the ensuing emergency landing. A question media asked, "Is this a maintenance issue" the answer is "NO". This is an age related issue. Equipment breaks. Old airplanes fall apart. 



This leads me to the question of why haven't these planes been grounded? If this happened on one aircraft, couldn't it happen on others too? Hopefully the next component failure due to fatigue won't be the rudder. That would have catastrophic consequences. Fingers crossed they remember the bolts and pray that the old structures hold.  


Friday, February 9, 2024

Integrity in the Aviation Industry

 ABC News Corespondent  

John Nance

John Nance will tell you he is a self-employed author, wrote a couple of books, and is maintaining his  business of about 32 years running as a professional speaker, mostly in medicine. In truth, he's written over two dozen books, most of which were bestsellers, and some even made into movies. Blackout, Final Approach and Scorpion Strike are some of my favorites, but his novel, the Vendetta Crossing was amazing. I had the privilege of a sneak peek to help out with the Airbus information. He has been such a support throughout my writing and aviation career. More than that, he had the courage and conviction to step up to the plate in my darkest hour. 

John flew for Braniff International. He ended his Braniff career 1982 as the result of a bankruptcy. Then he moved on to Alaska Airlines. He was also a United States Air Force officer pilot commissioned in 1968 who was on active duty until 1975, at which time he shifted to the 97th Reserve Squadron at McCord where her remained for a total of 17 years. If that's not enough, he also holds a law degree. 

He even won an award for his book why hospitals should fly


I met John Nance at a book signing about 35 years ago at a Fred Meyer of all places. I had a baby in arms and two toddlers at my side, and told him I was going to be a pilot and an author, too. Then I said I planned to write movies. He advised me to write the book first, and was extremely encouraging toward my dreams of becoming an airline pilot. I did become a pilot, and even followed him to Braniff, but eight years after he was gone. 

In 2008 I was about to take a screen play writing class, but I had remembered what he said and I switched to the novel writing course instead. Years later I reached out to him for his expert opinion as an author, and thus he's read a few of my novels and commented on them. In Flight For Sanity, he wrote: 

"When Karlene Petitt grabs you by the throat with her fast-paced narrative, she doesn't let you go until the early hours of the morning! Flight for Sanity plunges you into a world in which money trumps everything...aviation safety, homeland security, and even the presidency. Couldn't happen? Some of it already has, as with the use of fraudulent mental concerns to silence airline pilots who dare to point out safety problems.

A wild and scary ride with a satisfying and potentially accurate ending. And there may not be enough orange jump suits to go around!" John Nance. 

 

WITNESS 

For those of you who personally don't know John Nance, beyond seeing him on television as the ABC news correspondent, he is a man of integrity. He's approachable, kind, and giving. He took his time to testify in my trial. The fun part was that my attorney Lee Seham and John Nance actually set precedence on expert testimony for pilots. I still smile reading the transcripts. This is something every pilot and attorney should read. 

After the preliminaries of John's experience, Lee asked, “What have you witnessed with respect to Karlene's professional demeanor?” and John began with, “An extraordinary individual," then he continued to explain why he was of that opinion. 

This testimony infuriated Delta's legal team and their attorney said, "I’m going to object to the testimony of Mr. Nance to the extent he’s testifying as an expert on human factors! He’s never been disclosed as an expert, and we certainly didn’t have any notice that he would be testifying as someone with expertise in this matter!" She was livid. 

Well, I'm here to tell you that Lee's rationale as to why John Nance was qualified to give expert testimony, despite not being anointed an expert in this case and having never worked for Delta, was priceless. The judge overruled Delta. John was able to testify. And testify he did. 

SPOILER ALERT

John Nance is the only character in Flight For Justice whose name was not changed. His good friend, a retired Northwest Captain also testified. The question the retired NWA captain posed for the judge regarding people being different is a must read. There were three other courageous Delta pilots who testified as well. You might have to read the book to see if you know who each of these individuals are, by what they said. 

The aviation industry is a small world, I'm wondering if you can guess who all the witnesses are in Flight For Justice simply by their testimony. Yes... I kept the dialogue verbatim from the trial, and just captured enough for the story to unfold. 

Get your autographed copy of
  Flight For Justice today! 
Also on Amazon and Kindle too! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Flight For Justice

 Is a Fight for Justice 



Flight For Justice is an aviation legal thriller that is more truth that fiction, and based on real events. The trial testimony is verbatim from Petitt vs Delta. The deception and a false mental health accusations are also nothing short of a conspiracy of which the union is complicit, and the FAA looks the other way to the safety of our industry. 

The trial is a distraction to what's really happening behind the scenes. Unfortunately, there is no safety without justice and Darby, Kathryn, and the gals are back fighting the villains of Global Air Lines. Bill Jacobs is also released from prison and the game changes. The stakes increase when Covid is unleashed on world. Who would have known the reasons why. 

After all these years Darby decides it's time to let her hair down, as she steps into the ring for the final round in the fight of her life. She fights for the integrity of the pilot profession and the safety of passengers worldwide. But little does she know how deep the corruption runs within the union, the FAA, and Global Air Lines. Or how badly they want to stop her.

Twists and turns you will never expect are found in this fight for justice. This is the 7th in the Flight For series. And the very unexpected ending, leads to the next in the series: Flight For Revenge. Be ready!


Order your autographed copy on this site

Or GET YOUR Autographed copy at the 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, February 5, 2024

You Might Get There...

 But Will You Get Back?


PENDING STRIKE

On December 12, 2023 we learned that WestJet was in chaos due to union breaking tactics with the mechanics. Now the saga continues. As it turns out, management filed notice of dispute, without prior consultation with AMFA, and after only three negotiation sessions. This was a bit premature, and will place WestJet in an interesting position this spring. Timing is everything, and when you're nasty it often comes back and bites you in the ass. 

Today I learned that on January 30, 2024, federal mediators advised everyone that a strike or lockout of WestJet aircraft mechanics could occur as early as April 17 of this year. 

Why so soon? 

Because of premature notice and offensive tactics by WestJet's management team. Unfortunately this may impact passengers who counted on WestJet for their Spring Break travel. 

What that means to the traveling public...
Be cautious on where you place your traveling dollars. 
If it's on WestJet in Spring of 2024
You might get there, but you might not get back. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Alcohol Use Disorder

 The FAA Subjective Diagnosis 


There is NO specific test 
to diagnose alcohol use disorder!

The FAA is supposed to ensure passenger safety. But the history of the agency overlooking aircraft manufacturer standards, allowing airlines to violate federal regulations regarding duty time and SMS, and enabling FAA administrators to retire to airlines' board of directors after they leave the FAA, despite it being illegal for anyone in the FAA to accept any money from an airline, indicates they may not be doing their job. Yet, they are crushing down on pilots directly, without fact or evidence of mental health issues or alcohol use disorder. 

This agency is making subjective opinions about pilots being alcoholics when they are not. Why? Because the HIMS program is a profit center where airline management can control pilots by placing their careers on the line, and the FAA appears to work for airline management more so than the public. The FAA instills fear that without this program pilots will fly drunk. But they fail to inform the public that the agency is overlooking airlines flying pilots fatigued, knowing that fatigue has a similar impact as alcohol. You can read more in Flying Drunk from Fatigue.

I'm hoping that our new FAA administrator, Michael Whitaker, will be different. 

While there is no test for alcohol disorder, there are symptoms as identified by the Mayo Clinic to include:
  • Unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down on drinking
  • Too much time spent drinking, getting alcohol, or recovering
  • Strong cravings or urge to drink alcohol
  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it's causing physical, social, work or relationship problems
  • Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies to use alcohol.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don't drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms.
If a pilot fits those symptoms and has a problem, there are many alcohol support groups. Yet, those pilots are far and few between. The concern is the pilots who do not have any of those symptoms but are labeled alcoholics and forced into treatment. 

What I know to be true is that that the HIMS program, a company paid program, sponsored by the FAA, to control pilots, is forcing pilots who are not alcoholics into the program. ALPA even encourages pilots who have done something stupid on a layover, to claim they are an alcoholic, so they can be protected from termination in the program. Someone should question why a company would allow a program that supported dishonesty instead of truth and accountability. Alcohol is typically involved in stupid behavior, but that does not mean the person is an alcoholic. But once in the program, the airline owns the pilot. Then they go through treatment hell giving their life to the program. You can kiss your family time goodbye. I know a Captain who quit Delta because it was either the program or his family. He chose his wife and kids.

ALPA even encouraged a FedEx pilot to enter the program because the company was retaliating against his safety claims. This pilot doesn't drink. The ALPA HIMS rep told him that it didn't matter, as exercise was an addition too. They were trying to backdoor his termination, because his being an alcoholic, false or not, would give claim to FedEx. 

I know a dozen or more pilots who have been forced into this program that do not have any of the symptoms as listed, and have never been tested in any manner. When these pilot's tell the doctors in the company-paid rehab programs that they are not alcoholics, their jobs are threatened because they are "in denial." If the pilot conveys they have no issue with alcohol and can quit drinking at any time, they are called liars. Because "all alcoholics are liars," if you say you're not an alcoholic you are, simply because alcoholics are liars, and if you're in denial, that means you are lying and thus an alcoholic. See the logic here?

Captain Ratfield was forced into the program because she was raped. Captain Danford refused to return to the program after he received a false positive PEth test and was thereafter terminated. I know a Delta captain who was forced into the HIMS program by Dr. Altman for having a half glass of wine with a low level DUI. Yet, despite Dr. Altman asking if I drank and I provided him a litany of alcoholic beverages that I've consumed, he did not as much put one word about my alcohol consumption in my 366 page medical report. 

Karlene, Mike Danford, Andrea Ratfield.

Of important significance, Mike, Andrea, and I were at a party together, and I was the only one of the three of us consuming alcohol. They are both in the program, yet despite my admissions, I was never sent there. Neither of these two pilots have any of the symptoms, or cravings, or need to drink. They were never tested or even asked the above questions. While I love a nice bourbon in the evening, or a tequila on the golf course, I don't crave the stuff and wouldn't care if I never drank again. Yet, if Delta hadn't provide directive to Dr. Altman to give me a permanently disqualifying diagnosis, he would have put me in the program despite my not being an alcoholic. 

Dr. Altman was the head HIMS psychiatrist prior to forfeiting his medical license for accepting $74,000 from Delta to give me a false mental health diagnosis. Dr. Riccitello, from AMAS, said, "Dr. Altman is the big gun for the FAA." Dr. Altman even testified in trial that, "Dr. Charles Chesanow, who is the chief psychiatrist at the FAA, told me that I've done more evaluations of pilot than anyone else at this point in time." I feel heartbroken for all those pilots who lost their careers at the deception of this man and the FAA allowing him to continue for so long, when the agency had knowledge of his behavior. 

Delta terminated Danford for not reentering the program. Yet, there is life beyond Delta and Mike still flies. Congress was willing to allow Captain Danford out of the program, but the FAA got involved and said that he had a "lifelong condition". (See the email below).  I know Mike. He does not have a lifelong condition that prevents him from abstaining from alcohol. This assertion was subjective and without knowledge or merit and exemplifies the overreaching arm of the FAA on individuals, when they should be focusing on manufacturers and airline violations. 

Captain Danford was never tested, because there is no test. And Captain Danford has given up drinking without any support system. He regularly is around others who drink and has no cravings and never consumes alcohol. He has NONE of the symptoms listed above. Yet, someone at the FAA has denied him without any justification. 

On Jan 4, 2024, at 10:11, Ball, Lauren (Hagerty) <Lauren_Ball@hagerty.senate.gov> wrote:

Hello Mr. Danford,

I have received a response from the FAA and copied it below.

“He requested your assistance regarding his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certification.

Mr. Danford does not meet medical standards due to history of substance dependence, a lifelong condition requiring sustained abstinence-based recovery. The FAA requires continued monitoring under the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) program to hold a special issuance medical certificate. We are unable to release Mr. Danford from the HIMS program, but we have modified the requirements of special issuance authorization to reduce the frequency of blood alcohol testing, HIMS evaluations, and peer support group meetings.”

If you need any further assistance please let me know.

Thank you,

Lauren Ball
Constituent Services Representative for U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty
900 Georgia Ave, Suite 260
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-752-533

Fax: 423-752-2504
Lauren_Ball@hagerty.senate.gov 

I invite everyone who is interested in this injustice, to please reach out to Ms. Ball and tell her so.

Or better yet, reach out to our FAA administrator, Michael Whitaker on LinkedIn or write him a letter: 
FAA Administration: 800 Independence Ave SW #300, United States.

This situation is not unlike the unjust treatment with subjective assertions about pilots' mental health. Something must be done, before further destruction of pilots' lives. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene