Contract Airline Services

"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.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Happy Veteran's Day

Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran 

When you see someone in a uniform, 

Someone who serves us all, 

Doing military duty, 

Answering their country’s call, 

Take a moment to thank them 

For protecting what you hold dear; 

Tell them you are proud of them; 

Make it very clear. 

Just tap them on the shoulder, 

Give a smile, and say, 

"Thanks for what you’re doing 

To keep us safe in the USA!"
 By Joanna Fuch

Saturday, November 6, 2021

AIRBUS A330: Understanding the Technology

A Higher Level of Understanding 
Improves Operational Performance

High Energy Approaches

The A330 has a very sleek wing and it's difficult to descend and slow down at the same time. Therefore, some carriers create techniques for high energy arrivals that keep the plane at altitude while it slows and then descend. The problem with this method is this technique is created in a cookbook fashion, and to work they require a sequence of steps to begin at a specific point in time, height, distance, weight, and environmental conditions. This works in a simulator but is unrealistic in real life. ATC often keeps us up high on arrival and the moment we might need this procedure ATC requires us to descend. Which makes this "stay at altitude to slow before we descend" not practical. 

Another other option is to go down and then slow down. Very effective, but you also need the experience to know how quickly this plane slows, and that too is dependent upon wind and weight, as well as ATC's ensuing speed requirements. 

Regardless, both options depend upon high situational awareness. In my opinion, the cookbook stay at altitude and slow approach is unrealistic because chances of being in the exact condition that was trained in the simulator, and ATC allowing you to stay at altitude longer than they want is highly unlikely. The descend and then slow is a great option, but not in every situation. Below is a real life it's going to happen scenario. Will you know how to manage the mass to accomplish the goal safely?

Manage the Mass

The airplane can descend and slow down if you understand the technology. The following is a technique based on systems knowledge and how to manage the mass when ATC is bringing you in on an arrival, and then decides to turn you on a short base for a visual and you become unexpectedly high. This is a far more likely situation in real life, and the need to understand how to get the plane down and slow down quickly is essential. 

  • Dial in the FAF altitude on the FCU, and pull for Open Descent. The thrust goes to idle, and the plane starts down. 
  • Select speed and dial in 170 knots. This is a speed that we can configure to flaps 3.
  • While selecting the speed, call "gear down" and pull for full speedbrakes. Both of which create drag. 
  • Select flaps on schedule as you slow: 240 flaps 1, 196 flaps 2, 170 flaps 3. 
  • When stable and on profile, press for managed speed and call "flaps full landing check." 

Understanding the Automation

The speed tape displays an amber hook (blue arrow below) which identifies VLS. VLS is the lowest selectable speed for the autopilot and autothrust. Autothrust won't allow you fly below the hook, even if you select a speed lower than VLS. Therefore, during a high energy descent if you get into the hook your thrust will increase. When high, this added power prohibits your goal. Situational awareness as to what your plane is doing is essential at all times.

Speedbrakes increase drag and will help you to descend and slow, but you must have the knowledge that thrust will increase if you get into the hook. If you're aware of this, then you'll know that you may need to come out of speedbrakes temporarily, if the hook raises due to your current configuration, as it continually adjusts. Understanding the technology will help you manage the mass for those non-standard situations. 

To learn more, I found a great Airbus Article on speed management: 

Training Update! 

I am finished with the simulator portion of training and now the goal is to retain what I learned, for when I get to fly the plane. It looks like I will be flying within the next 30 days! I can hardly wait. 

If you ever find yourself in the predicament of not flying and need retention, take the time to visualize a flight each day. It works! This will keep operations fresh in your mind. Thinking about your flight is excellent practice, and your brain does not know the difference.

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce:

Does Generation and Gender
Influence Curriculum Development?

Yesterday I received an invite, via Curt Lewis and Associates, from Kurt Reesman, Retired Air Force Instructor, who is giving back to the aviation industry by pursuing a PhD with research in training development.  After taking the survey I wanted to learn more about the person behind the research. 

Kurt Reesman

In the Air Force Kurt Reesman flew the T-37, RF-4C and F-15E, and instructed and evaluated student performance in the T-37 and F-15E. He also served as an instructor and evaluator to the Royal Saudi Air Force in the F-15S. After retiring from the Air Force in 2005, he was hired to help Liberty University start their aviation program. 

During his nine-year tenure at Liberty, Kurt served as an associate professor, flight instructor, and National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) team coach. While at Liberty, he also represented the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as a Safety Seminar presenter and Flight Instructor-Refresher Course instructor. Additionally, he was invited to serve as an industry representative for the re-write of the FAA Private Pilot and Instrument Rating practical test standards. Those documents were converted into the recently released Airman Certification Standards for the Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating. 

After leaving Liberty, L3 Commercial Training Solutions contracted Kurt as the project manager for the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATPCTP) course creation. While at L3, he also served as their manager of curriculum development and quality control, redesigning their training curriculum, streamlining their training process and establishing a quality control process. In October, 2015 Convergent Performance contracted Kurt to serve as a certified instructor and quality assurance subject matter expert for courses taught during United Airline’s Leadership, Excellence and Professionalism (LEaP) Training Program that was given to every United pilot. 

A portion of this program focused on Convergent Performance president Dr. Tony Kern’s books “The Blue Threat” and “Going Pro.” (Both excellent books, that I highly recommend.) Most recently Kurt was a lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University in their professional pilot concentration. While serving at Middle Tennessee he made significant contributions to the revitalization of the Crew Resource Management course. 

Kurt Reesman brings a wealth of academic, 
flight and industry experience to the Department of Aviation


Calling All Pilots (and Non-Pilots)

I am a graduate student in the Department of Aviation at Auburn University, and I invite you to participate in my research study entitled Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce: Does Generation and Gender Influence Curriculum Development? where I seek to answer the following three questions: 

1. Do non-pilots and pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

2. Do pilots in the Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z generations have learning styles or preferences that differ from each other? 

3. Do male pilots and female pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

You may participate if you are 18 years or older. I am asking that you take 5-10 minutes of your time to complete an anonymous, on-line survey that asks you to provide basic demographic information and then answer 44 questions that only have 2 possible answers each. These questions are from the Felder and Solomon Index of Learning Styles questionnaire. If you are interested and eligible to participate, click the link below to begin the survey. If you would like to know more information, or have any questions about this study, you can send an email to Kurt Reesman at

Thank You
Kurt Reesman
Ph.D. Candidate
Auburn University

Thank You for Your Participation!

Enjoy the Journey!
OX Karlene

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Become Unconsciously Competent

Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise vs Rote Memorization

Automaticity and adaptive expertise are essential for airline pilots to improve Situational Awareness (SA). Without automaticity and adaptive expertise, decision-making ability is limited, reducing the pilot's ability to deal with the unexpected. 

What is Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise?

Automaticity is when a pilot’s knowledge is at a level where he or she does not have to think about what to do and their response is automatic. Automaticity is achieved by over-learning to the point where the pilot becomes unconsciously competent, in that they can perform tasks without conscious thought. Adaptive expertise is where understanding and contextual-based knowledge, combined with motivation for problem solving, creates adaptive and flexible strategies for unexpected events. 

Performance in a changing environment demands a deeper level of understanding that will adapt to unique situations. Rote memorization, however, limits the pilot's ability to transfer task at hand duties tconscious thought that would be necessary to adapt to changes in the environment. The distinction between automaticity, adaptive expertise, and rote memorization is the level of understanding. 

Rote memorization does not guarantee the pilot understands the automatic response. Knowledge-based automaticity and adaptive expertise, however, imply a deeper level of understanding than simply memorizing. Adaptive expertise requires precise knowledge, in both quality and content, to be structurally organized in the memory, as well as required for metacognitive skills necessary for planning, monitoring, and memory. 

Becoming unconsciously competent is where knowledge is at the highest level of understanding. Automaticity and adaptive expertise further differ from rote memorization because rote memorization is associated with routine experience, whereas automaticity and adaptive expertise improve performance during novel situations. Rote memorization could result in limited understanding of memorized procedures that may not transfer to the aircraft or emergencies beyond events practiced and anticipated in the simulator.

Time And Place For Rote Memorization

With all this said, there is a time and a place for rote memorization. Practicing flows for example. I am an advocate of memorizing the procedures we call flows, or the processes, to configure the plane for flight during the many phases---preflight, before start, taxi, before takeoff, taxi, shutdown.... While we memorize where to go, understanding what we are doing while there makes the difference. 

This week I have memorized my flows and procedures, but I'm working to that higher level of understanding to achieve automaticity and adaptive expertise in order to become unconsciously competent. The best thing about this goal is that everyone can work toward it as it's a moving target because in aviation, it's not possible to know everything. Just when you think you're there, you get to learn something new. 

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene 

Saturday, October 2, 2021


Forward Movement Toward a Destination!

The MCDU even has a button for today!

The good news is, after all the flashcards and studying myself to the bones I finished my electronic test. While I was striving for 100% I missed four questions. In business they say, 

"It isn't what you know that counts,
it's what you think of in time." 

When your'e taking an electronic test, it's not necessarily what you know, but how you interpret the question.

Success is being done with the electronic test, having a through understanding the aircraft, and moving forward to the next phase of training. Before I do, I thought it would be a great idea to explain one of the most nonintuitive instruments on the Airbus: The brake pressure gauge.

The A330 brake pressure gauge does not directly monitor normal brakes, it monitors the blue system alternate brakes and accumulator pressure. Normal brakes use green hydraulic pressure. Therefore when you see the break indicator sitting at zero pressure, this means you have normal brakes. While the top indication identifies accumulator pressure, if the indication on the bottom of the gauge increases it's either due to the parking brake being set (by blue accumulator pressure prior to engine start, or the blue system after the number 1 engine starts) or the loss of normal brakes.

Now, back to studying! Today is procedures training. Let the fun begin!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

31 Ways to Position Your Bones

While in Training...

Last year on Halloween I posted a series of photos that my sister had taken daily.  "Where is the skeleton today". I had planned on doing the same thing this year at my house. However, early this morning I will be headed to Atlanta to begin training (Florida in a couple weeks) and then back to Atlanta to finish, with my checkride scheduled on Halloween night. I will be living out of a hotel and on a plane for the entire month of October, with only a few nights in my own bed. 

All best laid plans
Can still come to light
Especially in honor of
Halloween fright

I'm all about flexibility, which is also a secret to success. Besides, it's not the size of your bones that count, it's how you use them. Therefore, I have a mini skeleton that will be traveling with me on my journey. I will be posting words of wisdom regarding business strategies, flying, and A330 lessons learned throughout the month of October, and you get to guess where we will find the bones next. 

One of the most important keys to learning anything is to remove stress while doing so. Stress impacts the brain to a dangerous level of forgetfulness. During my A350 training I read a novel, and slept 8 hours each night. I was also in bed by 1400 my body clock to accommodate an 0200 body clock report time. How can anyone learn during those ungodly hours? Answer: Prepare ahead of time, and then make sure you get a good nights sleep. My strategy is to awaken early and exercise my brain while reading at the gym before I go to the simulator no matter what time the fun begins. It works. I'm also planning to read another Terry Pratchett book. Perhaps explain flows and systems to my traveling companion. 

Now I have to run... I have a plane to catch, and six hours of studying to accomplish on the flight. Systems evaluation tomorrow, and we'll see how much I retained after my hundreds of hours of studying.

Enjoy the Journey 
XO Karlene

Friday, September 24, 2021

If I Can't Walk I'll Fly

 CAF Giving Wings to Challenged Athletes 

Returned Kayla to her Passion

Kayla is my middle daughter, who has faced challenges that most of us could never imagine. We are so proud of her attitude, commitment to life, her appreciation for all she has and not focusing on what she's lost. She also has an overwhelming gratitude to those who have given her a new opportunity at a life she once loved. She went from being an athlete to being told she would never walk again, after scoliosis surgery. She proved them wrong.... for awhile. It wasn't "if" but "when" she would end up in a wheelchair. Now she is competing and embracing her best self, not being limited by her challenges. She is able to do this because of the Challenged Athletes Foundation

This is Kayla's story so I will let her share it.... 

Hi all, my name is Kayla and I’m a para athlete who has directly benefited from CAF.  When I suffered spinal cord injury in 2005, as a 21 yr old DIV I track and field athlete, my world was changed in an instant. At that time, I had no idea that parasports was a thing, or that there was a way to compete at an elite level.

This was one of the most difficult times of my life, and while in retrospect I’m so grateful for many of the things that have come out of this world shift, in the moment knowing there were groups out there to support athletics for those with disabilities would have been a game changer. 

After 10 years as a high functioning spinal cord injured individual – still on my feet and competing in triathlons, backpacking, surfing, etc. – I was diagnosed with a secondary issue called Syringomyelia. This is a cyst that is on the spinal cord, where spinal fluid accumulates and compresses the cord. My condition is degenerative, and the two spinal cord surgeries since 2016 have not been able to stabilize my condition. Its not MS, but manifests very similarly and that’s the group of people I relate to most regarding symptoms and symptom management. 

When I found myself as a wheelie, a local paratriathlete told me about CAF. A few meetings later and CAF had granted me funds to purchase my own hand cycle and had a racing wheelchair on the way to me.


It is because of CAF I got to compete in my rookie season of the paratriathlon in 2021. I’ll be there racing in October in full support of CAF and their programs.

What I ask of you today...

Please join me in empowering individuals with physical disabilities around the world through sports. The mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is intricately tied to the challenges of our time - a global health pandemic, a devastating financial crisis, and ongoing social injustices. These challenges create even greater barriers for individuals with physical disabilities. To change this reality, it will take all of us.

Your donation to my fundraising goal will help provide challenged athletes in financial need with adaptive sports equipment, coaching, and training expenses. Additionally, your gift will support virtual and at-home resources that help challenged athletes of all ages and abilities stay active and motivated, at a time when sports and physical activity are needed more than ever.

Our efforts will help ensure that the most vulnerable population won’t be left behind. We’ll be creating opportunities for challenged athletes to be involved with adaptive sports, fitness, community connections, and inclusion in society’s health and wellness activities.

As a CAF supporter, I believe in the power of sport to empower lives, heal individuals and unite the world, especially in these times of crisis and conflict. My fundraising goal is $10k because that is just under the amount they've donated directly to me for the handcycle and racing chair I'm getting this winter. So I'm very much trying to replenish funds they've given me to date.

Please join me in helping Kayla to change the world. and inspire those who have had their lives altered. They are living their life to the fullest, despite daily pain and limitations. I'm asking for you to please donate to CAF, via Kayla's fundraiser, where all proceeds go directly to CAF. 


I know that these are challenging times for many. If you are facing hardship and can't donate, you can still help by sharing this post on your social media sites and with our friends. We can educate everyone about the wonderful resources available to help our challenged athletes. CAF is doing amazing work by giving a life back to those who may believe theirs was over. 

Thank you! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene