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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gratitude in the Attitude!

This morning I awoke to a number of emails and messages. One inspiring message was from David Gehman, @dflyguy, who said, “How blessed you have been. On the other end of the runway...”

How true! An incredible family, three healthy, intelligent, and beautiful daughters, the best son-laws that any parent could ever hope for, healthy and happy grandchildren, a wonderful husband who has put up with this aviation lifestyle….and an incredible career that continually navigates new possibilities.

I have actually had people tell me they’re sorry for my multiple airlines, but contrary to their empathy I feel gratitude for the many opportunities and the education each have provided, and for the many people I have met along the way. This could be a glass half full concept, but every job that went away… a better opportunity presented itself. And while I loved my Boeing 744, I am looking forward to learning a new plane.

I am also looking forward to following the careers of the many new pilots that keep arriving in my life, to learn from the experiences of those of you jetting through the skies, and to supporting all of you in your endeavors in our aviation industry. And very excited about publishing my novel, Flight For Control.

Will post a glimpse tomorrow.... stay tuned.

Now I have 344 pages of A330 Navigation, and 118 pages of Flight Instruments to read! Anyone ever fly this plane that can add some words of wisdom? Thanks!

~ Karlene

Monday, March 29, 2010

Change of Hats

Today I tossed the pilot hat, put on my grandma hat, and picked up my two-year-old granddaughter, Kadence, and we drove to the UW campus to pick up my two-month-old grandson, Miles. With both kids in arms, we visited the University Village and played in an undercover park in the middle of the shopping center, where I met a wonderful young lady, Allison.

Allison told me that she had always dreamed of becoming a pilot, but due financial reasons was not able to pursue her dreams. She is also married to a pilot who had worked for Horizon Airlines, but quit to make a full-time career in the military. Allison told me her husband’s concern of supporting a family as a pilot. He is now in Iraq, and not in a flying position.

To Allison and her husband... follow your dreams! We will get this crazy industry turned around. If we want quality people to fly our planes, then we have to provide them an opportunity to support their families. Allison, you are right, it is expensive to become a pilot, and you should be able to see a reward at the end of the sacrifice. We all know how much we are away from home and our families, the stress, responsibility, and health sacrifices.

One day the wind will shift in the direction of re-regulation, the only way to fix the current status of our industry, and then you and your husband can both afford the flying careers that you are passionate about.

It was great to meet you Allison! And tell your husband thank you for his sacrifice!

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Commitment and Connection

Someone once asked me, “Do you always get what you want?” My answer was no, but after a moment of reflection I said, “Yeah, I guess I do. But that’s only because I am willing to ask for what I want.” More importantly, I am willing to commit the time, energy and resources necessary to achieve my goals.

Commitment is a common trait among pilots, not only to reaching their goals, but commitment to performance and safety.

A 1300 page A330 systems manual, flight crew training manual, flight ops manual, and quick reference handbook (QRH) lay on my desk…22 lbs of information that I will be required to know when I spit out the other end of training. (I weighed my manuals.) My goal is to read all materials before I show up to training, and make a study guide. My goal is to arrive prepared. I am almost there, not quite. 7 days and counting down.

This summer I had the opportunity to meet another group of people: Authors. I learned that agents receive 200-300 queries weekly, that most people at one time or other say, “I’d like to write a novel,” that there is natural talent, and there is learned talent. I also know which authors will be successful, strictly by their level of commitment.

Heather, Heather's Odyssey, one of those authors who will be successful, introduced me to blogging and twitter. Some may think that these activities are a social network waste of time, but they are actually places to meet and connect with people with the same interests and levels of commitment as you.

Yesterday I met Nicole Saulnier via twitter. She is a pilot, the owner operator of Georgian Bay Airways, and the mother of three young children. She has achieved her goals due to a high level of commitment, and will be my next Friday’s Fabulous Flyer. Interesting enough, at the end of March I will be in training in Montreal, a few hours from her home.

I have also met numerous student pilots on twitter, and am excited to watch their successes, help them any way I can, and I look forward to bragging about them on my blog. Not only are they studying, flying and working hard to achieve their goals, but they are committed to connecting with other people doing the same thing.

Power in numbers has been proven throughout history!

Today’s commitments:
A330: Pneumatics, APU, Windows, Emergency Equipment, Engine and warning systems, and memory items.
Network: Visit email, and twitter to see how my tweeps are doing.
Health: 90 minute yoga class.

Figure out what you want to do in your life, connect with others and get committed!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Marilyn Dash: Love Affair With Ruby!

Marilyn Dash is the Pilot, Owner, and Racer for Ruby Red Racing. Today's Fabulous Flyer.

As a successful sales and marketing consultant, Marilyn was drawn to the skies to pursue another passion. She earned her Private Pilot License in 1999, and moved quickly through the ranks flying in IAC contests by 2001.

In 2003 Marilyn attended Pylon Racing School to compete in the National Air Races at Reno. Unfortunately a mechanical issue sidelined her, and Ruby. But nothing could keep her down, and she returned to the circuit in 2004 and has been racing ever since.

In 2007, Marilyn was asked to take on another role, this time as columnist and editor for In Fight-USA magazine. She has since built a great following with her column, The Pylon Place.

A multi-tasking woman, Marilyn works as a management consultant by day, writes by night, and spends her weekends up in the air.

You can follow Ruby Red Racing and Marilyn Dash on Twitter and Facebook. I met Marilyn on twitter, and was intrigued by her bio: Reno Air Racer, Pitts Driver, Consultant and Writer/Editor.
A woman after my own heart! See you in Reno Dasher 4!
Ruby Red Racing Fan Page on Facebook

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Preflight Complete!

All pilots know the importance of a thorough preflight. Time spent before the flight to assure that our aircraft is airworthy, and ready to go before we depart.

This morning, my alarm rang at 0500, but my computer told the truth: 0200 in Seattle, and a 22 hour day ensues. Looking forward to an airplane nap this evening… good to be a passenger tonight, and a positive space at that.

Preflight items for my day: Yoga, email, twitter,, 30 minute bike to read A330 systems, shower, pack, and preflight complete!

Cleared to catch the van for the last day of pilot indoctrination. After class, I will be on an 1845 flight to Seattle.

Arrival goal: Bed.

Friday, I am featuring the first of many Fabulous Flyers: Marilyn Dash! The pilot, owner, and racer for Ruby Red Racing. She’s awesome!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Small World

The world of aviation never ceases to amaze me, as to how small it truly is.

After years of working with another instructor at Northwest, I discovered that we had been in the same new-hire class at Braniff twenty years prior. During a training event, I learned that the captain was married to my babysitter. Not my children’s babysitter, but mine when I was seven. On a Tower Air flight, the flight engineer and I discovered that my daughter and his granddaughter were playing a soccer game, together, 3000 miles away. The stories and examples are endless.
And today was no different.

My first day in class I sat at my desk, ready to start indoctrination, and who should walk in but my 744 ATI (Aircrew Training Instructor) from Northwest Airlines. Chris Phinney. What a pleasant surprise, and a wonderful start to the new career.

During my 744 training two years ago, I had developed a pilot flow study guide to assist in learning both the captain and first officer procedures. When my type rating was complete, Chris was just beginning his 744 type rating course and I handed him my materials. Today I learned, not only did Chris finish his type rating with great success, of which I had no doubt, but that those materials were helpful, and he was able to use them with his students.

There is magic surrounding the aviation industry. For all new pilots, who have this flying bug, know that the world will continue to shrink. Take the time to help your fellow pilots, one day your paths will cross again. There is a secret pilot handshake. So secret, that I cannot tell you what we learned in class today.

Fortune surrounds me to be part of this industry, and the people. But my fortune never ends, and I am looking forward to the many stories that will result from the marriage of both my careers: writing and flying, and the wonderful people I meet along the way.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Enroute: 4 hours and 21 long minutes

I haven’t started school yet, but memories of the commute came flooding back!

At the airport I received the special massage treatment as I navigated security, compliments of the new hip. I realized, as I stuck my leg out, that my new uniform pants are lint collectors. As the woman slid her rather large wand over my legs, I told her that they really need to get lint rollers on the wands... We could be safe, and clean! And when security upgrades their x-ray scanners… those that take a peak under your clothes… to do our mammograms too, women travelers will be set!

We were a little late departing due to a very full flight, but we landed on time. Snuggly set in 39B, I ate my cookies and peanuts, and read my Flight Operations Manual. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, I lost 3 hours of my life. Time zones will do that every time. But for someone who doesn't have enough hours in her day, this is a pressing challenge. My wake up is in five hours.

Welcome back to the work a day world! More to come after my first day of Airline indoctrination.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Give Away

Once upon a time, seven times to be exact, I had arrived at my new airline job and sat through a two week company indoctrination class… before the fun airplane stuff began.

This time however, I am at my desk performing on-line training in my living room, and tomorrow I fly to destination for only three days of classroom indoc. Times have certainly changed. I now have the opportunity to download all manuals, and study the airplane before I arrive to the school house.

So here it is, Saturday night and I was supposed to be at Dan’s birthday party. My sister's significant other. But from the sound of it, they’re doing just fine without me. Instead I am giving my weekend away to learn top secret airline stuff.

Tomorrow the next adventure begins. The effort, commitment and sacrifice, is definitely worth it!

~ Karlene

Friday, March 19, 2010

About Karlene

A wife of 31 years, mother of 3 gorgeous daughters, grandmother of Kadence, Miles, Khoyn, Carter, Ellis and Anthony. A pilot for 8 airlines, 7 type ratings, 2 masters degrees, and my 1st novel, Flight For Control, is published!
I recently closed one chapter of my career, flying the 747-400 with Northwest Airlines, and have opened the next three chapters...
  • I am now flying the Airbus A330 for a major airline.
  • My writing career has taken off.
  • Flight For Control is published.

Works in progress:
  • Flight For Safety ... The sequel
  • Flight To Success: Be the Captain of Your Life
  • A330 Study Guide
Aviation Experience:
  • Evergreen FO 727.
  • Braniff SO 727.
  • America West Simulator Instructor 737 and 757.
  • Guyana 757 Director of Training/ Check Airman/ Instructor.
  • Tower Air 747 FO. Northwest Airlines 747 SO/Instructor/ Check Airman and 744 FO.
  • Currently flies an A330 for an International Airline.
Premair simulator instructor… for a little over 21 years. I'm looking forward to coming full circle and begin flying small planes again.
Typed: A330, B744, B747, B757/767, B737, B727.
Seaplane rating too.
Writing Experience:
  • Airline training manuals, company procedures, LOFT scenarios, many term papers, and a thesis or two.
  • Hawaii Writers Retreat 2009, I studied under award winning author, William Bernhardt.
  • PNWA Writers Conference July 2010. Worked with award winning author, Robert Dugoni.
  • Finalist in PNWA literary contest with Flight For Control
  • BS Business
  • Master of Business
  • Master of Human Services
  • Ph.D. of life
My corporation has just changed names to Jet Star Publishing.
CIO, the original corporate identity, was named for my belief system: 'Crisis Is Opportunity.' Doing Business As Contract Aviation Services. I create flight training programs, write manuals, and work with pilots to help them achieve their dreams in aviation. Simulator instruction, tutoring, coaching, prepping for an interview and ultimately help them connect with employment opportunities.
While I'm still available for teaching, training and manual writing, and the previous year of my life has taught me once again that I can turn any crisis into an opportunity, I have expanded into helping new authors give wings to their dreams through Jet Star Publishing.
Home life:
Days off you can find me writing or playing with the grand kids, at the movies with my husband, beating him at scrabble, painting, reading, cooking, dreaming about living in the mountains, up-side-down in a yoga class, taking long walks, or working in the garden.
  • The release of my second novel: Flight For Safety.
  • Study Guide Complete.
  • The release of Flight To Success. 10% of profits will go to Aviation High School, Women With Wings.
  • A happy healthy family, that continues to grow, learn, love, and embraces life.
  • Good friends to share our successes and challenges with.
  • Giving back to the Aviation industry, by supporting and inspiring future pilots.
  • Giving back to the writing community by supporting and inspiring writers.
  • Flight For Control on the big screen.

"Anything we can dream, can become a reality.
You just have to believe."