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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Question of the week!

Last night I received a wonderful question for Martin, a student who is planning his career.

Martin says....

I am still in high school, still lots of choices can be made. What should I take for high school or University/college? Should I go directly to pilot school?

Also, is near sightedness (glasses/contacts) a big no no for pilot these days? My father always uses that excuse to discourage me from being a pilot. I have well, kinda bad eye sight, not blind, but kinda bad, is there a limit where many airlines dislike hiring those pilots, or do they hire anyone as long as they can see 20/20 with glasses/contacts?

Martin, these are an excellent questions.

First, as long as you can correct your vision to 20/20 you can hold a first class medical certificate and are legal to fly.

Historically, airlines varied their hiring based on supply and demand. When we had a lot of pilots coming out of the military, more than there were jobs to offer, the airlines could be very strict. However, as the pilot supply diminished they lowered their standards.

There was a time when airlines wouldn’t hire a pilot with glasses. Not today. I’m thinking American Airlines has always given the most attention to medical. However, I will ask my AA friends to comment on that. Actually, we’ll ask all the airlines to chime in.

And what should you study in school? Take what you love! Actually, math and science classes are a good match for flying airplanes. However, I am a firm believer that there are many other ways to go too.

I recently finished my MBA, and a solid business program will teach you management and communication skills. Flight deck management is a key to flying airplanes today and in the future, and exceptional communication skills are the core of CRM. Crew Resource Management.

Psychology is also an excellent degree. The one program that will provide the greatest insight to human nature… and could help with the psychology of the interview process, and understanding people.

If I could go back to college, my undergraduate degree would have been in writing, as I discovered later in life this is a new passion that I plan on continuing while I continue my aviation career.
Now that I have confused you...

The question is … what do you love? What would you do if you decided you no longer wanted to fly, or all the aviation jobs dried up? I recommend you take classes, and plan for a degree with a ‘back up’ career in mind.

Most major airlines desire their pilots to have a degree. They don’t require the type of degree. They want to know that you have the aptitude and ability to start, finish, and excel in your studies. As they will know you can fly by your aviation experience you bring to the interview.

As pilots, we always have an alternate if the weather is too severe to continue the approach. Meaning, educate yourself with something you love, that you can fall back on, while you pursue your aviation career in the process.

Trust me, you can have it all!

Have a Great Day! ~ Karlene

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jean Jones: Friday's Fabulous Flyer

When Jean was 16 years old, Air Force Dad taught her how to fly a Cessna 172, and a pilot was born. Unfortunately back then, timing was everything. Actually timing continues to be everything, but at that time women weren’t allowed to fly in the military.

With no option to fly in the service, Jean headed into the medical field. Three years in Nursing College, followed by graduation in 1975, Jean found herself working in the operating room at St. Joseph Hospital. While working, she continued her education and one year later finished a 4 year degree in biology at University of Puget Sound.

Jean realized that nursing wasn’t for her. She wanted to fly, but options were still limited and she did not want to be a ‘token’ woman pilot at the airlines. Great news! 1976 the Air force announced they were going to allow women to fly! She applied, they accepted, and in 1979 Jean joined the Air Force reserves… apparently the best duty an Air Force pilot can have!

1979 Jean soloed in the T37 and, as with most solo traditions, she was appropriately dunked. And October 1980 she graduated flight school.

141 McChord 2nd Lieutenant in her T37

She flew both a T37 and T38 in the Air force. The great thing about reserves in the Air Force is that she could also work for the airlines at the same time, and decided to venture that route carrying her military experience with her.

Look at Jean Now!

She was only a 727 Second Officer for 6 months! Somebody had placed a paper on Jean’s table and they told her that was a ‘dream’ sheet. And dream she did. The wonderful thing about dreams is they often come true. She bid and received a Second Officer position on the Boeing 747 in Seattle! And there she stayed… in Seattle… flying the 747 in all positions until they closed the Seattle base.

747 Second Officer

After Seattle closed, Jean commuted to Anchorage for four years. She finished her career in 2005 as a Boeing 747 Captain. She retired from the Airline early due to a family situation, but she hasn’t retired from life.

747 Captain

While I never had the opportunity to fly with Jean, she has recently become a huge part of my life. Since Jean's retirement she's found another passion… alternative medicine.   I was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis of the spine. The medical treatments, and associated side effects, were not an option for me… hardening of the bones, potential femur snapping, and crumbling of the jaw bone.  And Jean has stepped in to helped.

She studied as a nutritional therapy practitioner, continues ongoing education, and has been muscle testing for years. She is now advising me on my treatment through vitamin therapy. Muscle testing is the offset of Kinesiology…and a fascinating field. The body is an amazing thing, and given the right environment will heal itself.

Jean does not perform this treatment for payment, or as a profession. She studies alternative medicine as a passion and helps her friends and family in need. She is certainly helping me.

The challenges of women in aviation continue, and the stories from the early years would amaze you. But nothing has stopped Jean. She continues to learn and share her education with others. And word is…she is still taking to the sky; this weekend to help a pilot who is working towards an instructor's license. 

An incredible lady who just keeps giving, Jean Jones is a Fabulous Flyer and then some!

If you you would like more information on the work she is doing, please email her at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drafting Guys Over 60

A busy day ahead, so I decided to share with you a bit of military humor. This is funny & obviously written by a Former Soldier... and remember, I have nothing against the old guys... I'm married to one. :)

New Direction for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys.. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters,

Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds.. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.
Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier... 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry.' We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for awhile.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10am. Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell. Besides, like I said, I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys.. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and never saw a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any push ups after completing basic training. Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.
Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons, who know that their best years are
already behind them.

HEY!! How about recruiting Women over menopause!!! You think MEN have attitudes??
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh my God!!! If nothing else, put them on border patrol. They'll have it secured the first night!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Do You Fly?

Question of the Day:

Did you always know you wanted to be an airline pilot, or did something make you decide that you wanted to fly for a career?

The answer to the question has fascinated me for years. As I studied human nature during my Masters in Counseling, I realized that human behavior is impacted by many things. The age old debate... is our behavior based on our personality or by our environment? My contention is it's both.

At nine years old I was sitting on my bedroom floor playing a game called 'careers' with three girlfriends. This board game enabled us ability to spin a wheel and move around the board in search of a career. Stewardess was the desired job by all. We could also become a school teacher, nurse, secretary or librarian. 

My friends landed on the much desired stewardess spot, but luck wasn't on my side... or was it? I finally said, "I don't care. I don't want to be a stewardess, I'm going to be the pilot!"

Colleen Moore said, "You can't be a pilot. My dad is a pilot ... girls can't do that!"

The ensuing argument was directly related to, whether or not girls could fly.  I ran to the kitchen and asked my mom. She said, "You can be whatever you want to be."  And then she told me to get out of her kitchen. The days that followed I told everyone, "I am going to be a pilot!"

My sisters made fun of me. My friends doubted me. And I decided I would prove them wrong. But the first time I stepped foot on an airplane, now I know it had been a 727, I remember looking in the cockpit and thinking, "There is absolutely NO way I could do this!" There were so many buttons and dials and instruments. We were flying to Disneyland with my dad, and my sisters' minds were wrapped around the enchantment of the happiest place on earth, mine was wrapped around how my life was going to be filled with failure.

I never shared that fear with anyone at the time. But deep down, the conflict prevailed. Fear of what I didn't think I could do... and the pride of doing what I had told everyone I was going to do. Pride won.

At the age of 16 I bought an introductory flight.  Taking to the sky felt natural and I loved it. The thought of, 'I can't do this' shifted to... 'And they're going to pay me to do this?'  I was hooked, and every paycheck from my high school job went to the airport on the weekends.

Through the years there have been many moments of doubt and fear. And thus I learned a few things about success through the process of life:
  1. Tell people your goals and you have a higher chance of follow through.
  2. Pushing through your fear stretches you and your ability.
  3. There is really nothing that you can't accomplish if you are willing to try.
Was it the stubborn Taurus in me that I had to prove people wrong? Was it that I was a middle child and felt the need to be someone, and do something special to break free from mediocrity? Was it the fate of a childhood game and a friend that pointed me in the right direction for my life? 

My advice for life: If a door opens... go through it. If you don't like what you find on the other side, don't be afraid to jump ship and do something else. Life is too short to not do what you love.  I happened to be directed to the sky, and discovered I loved it.

On a side note... Colleen's dad was a pilot for Delta. Now isn't that a small world!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aviation Thriller: Flight For Control

A series of recent airline accidents have been occurring across the nation.

“These recent accidents appear to be due to complacency of known threats… primarily inclement weather and maintenance. Over the preceding twenty-four months we’ve experienced seven major airline accidents, three of which transpired within the previous year… this is the worse home grown disaster our nation has faced in years…”

Nothing is as it appears...

Revising my novel today ... 

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Weekend of Success!

I spent a 4 day weekend with my fellow Scribe Sisters in Seattle at the PNWA writer's conference. Great news...  an agent and an editor are interested in my novel, Flight For Control! Yippee! 

I now have a deadline... September 1st. Many long days and nights of writing ahead. Is it possible?

Oh yeah!

Beyond the many incredible takeaways from the conference, there was something that resonated with me more than anything else. That was the fact that anyone can become a writer if they don't give up. Perseverance is the key to success. How true is that with flying!

The difference in finding our personal success depends up the level of commitment and the willingness to never give up trying. I knew I would become a pilot. Why? I wasn't going to give up. I also know that I will become a published author. Why? You got it... I have that innate stubbornness that some call the Taurus in me...I will not give up. But more than that, I have a belief system that I know I can do it.

You too can create that success in your life. Someone once said 90% of success is showing up. I believe that extra 10% of success is not only showing up, but sticking to your passion despite all odds.

Keep flying. Keep writing. Keep doing what you love and you too will find your personal success!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pilot Needs Advice...

The greatest thing about new pilots is they have the best questions! And the greatest thing about the old pilots... we have all the answers... just ask us.

Julia Bury is preparing to launch into a fantastic aviation career and is planning her career, she asks:

As you know, I'm going to ERAU, and had planned to study Aerospace Engineering and minor in Flight. Lately though, I have been contemplating majoring in Aeronautical Science (Flight) and minoring in something like Math and Physics, or dual majoring with ATC. Do you think majoring in Aeronautical Science as opposed to engineering would be not the smartest move? I know I need a backup, but hoped I might be able to get that through minors instead. Especially since my true ultimate goal is to work as an airline pilot, not an engineer. Any advice or thoughts you might have on this would be great! Thanks

Julia, this is a great question. And from a person of long term planning, I'm going to vote for the Aerospace Engineering degree and minor in flight.

But the most important question is... while your goal is to be a pilot, what feeds your soul when you look at the classes offered under each degree? College will be so much more fun embedded in classes you love. The flying will be the icing on the cake. Do you find interest in the engineering classes?

Remember... first goal of a life, love what you do and everything else will fall into place. This goes for college too. While there will always be a couple prerequisite classes that the inside of your eyelids are more inspirational than the books on your desk, you need to love and have a passion for your classes to get the most out of them.

With all that said, I'm guessing you're saying, "But if I do that, then I should major in Aeronautical Science not engineering!" Perhaps.

Long term planning ... Engineering is a strong degree, and with all things equal, when you go for that interview and there is one job, and the only difference is the type of degree...yours will prevail.

Second, not knowing what the world will hold when you emerge on the other end of your education, with an Aeronautical Engineering degree, you will open a door to Boeing. And Boeing is a fantastic company! An engineering degree will enable you to walk into multiple departments, and the flexibility to move within the company... test flight, training, etc. and back into a plane.

Either way, you have a incredible opportunity at ERAU, and whatever you do... learn and build those flight hours along the way and you'll set yourself up for an incredible future. Either degree will be impressive!

This first year is going to be filling the prerequisite squares, I'm thinking to leave your options open on the major and take your first classes that could go either way. You could get into school and shift mid-stream.

I hope this helps. And if any other pilots have any advice to cloud the skies... please let Julia know what you think.

~ Karlene

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rich Flanagan: Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

Nestled at the base of the base of the Rocky Mountains, Rich Flanagan calls Fort Collins, Colorado, home. With his wife Kerrie, and their three children, he not only enjoys the outdoors skiing, hiking and camping, but you can find him playing golf, basketball and racquetball.  And then there’s work… if you call your passion work.

Rich Flanagan

One third owner/vice president of a flight school: Leading Edge Flight Training, Rich is also the owner/president of an aviation maintenance shop: Gates Aviation.

The Leading Edge!

In the flight school, he instructs and co-manages the business with his partners, and in the maintenance shop he leads a team of seven employees. But what he enjoys the most is flying, and working with fellow aviation enthusiasts, customers and students. 

A lover of airplanes as long as he can remember, he lived just four blocks from the Denver Stapleton Airport until he was five years old, and remembers those days fondly. His father had taught him to ride a bike, and together they rode to the airport to watch the planes take off. 

 Opened 1929, Originally Union Airport

As a young boy he built many types of models, but planes had always been his favorite. Fascinated by how shaping the folds differently he could get them to climb, turn and descend. Rubber band airplanes made many test flights on his makeshift plywood runway.  Little did he know that this would be his first introduction to aerodynamics and one day he would be working on the real thing. 

Life happens and sometimes dreams trail behind reality. Flying had become one of those unaffordable dreams that drifted wayside, as did Rich’s life. After high school he found himself in construction and not until he was on his way to Navy boot camp did he have the opportunity to fly in a plane for the first time.

“Every plane trip thereafter, no matter how insignificant, was exciting” 

 Rich and Cirrus Trainer

After discharge he found himself back in construction, this time specializing in drywall. 24 years in construction, 12 years of owing and operating a drywall business, he was ready for a change. With the encouragement from his wife to find his passion, his mind began searching. Somewhere along the road of life, he’d lost sight of that.
When he realized that airplanes and aviation was what he'd always loved, the questions of doubt filled his mind. Could he start flying at the age of 44? Was there enough time? Was there enough money? Was it fair to the family? Once again Kerrie stepped in with encouragement and support that she was willing to take the risk with him. 

4 years later, his dreams have come true. He earned his commercial pilots certificate, instrument and mulit-engine ratings and flight instructor certificate in 18 short months. He flew in the Key Lime Air First Officer program where he was typed in a Metroliner.

In 2008 when the stock market plunged and pilots were being laid off, finding a job with 600 hours was a challenge. Rich’s flight instructor, Patrick Hinton, asked him if he wanted to start a flight school. They toyed with the thought for over a year, and then were joined with Nick and Joseph LoRusso as their third partner, and by November 2008 they were incorporated as Low Pressure Aviation LTD, DBA Leading Edge Flight Training. 

 Rich with his partners

Rich bought his first airplane in December 2008, a Diamond DA-20, and in November 2009 he purchased a 30 year established aircraft maintenance business, Bob Gates Aviation Maintenance, Inc., now Gates Aviation. 

 Diamond DA-20

The power of a childhood dream pulled Rich home, and with his and Kerrie’s courage to take a huge risk they have conquered all odds. 

Rich continues to dream, this time to grow into a fractional airplane business as well as provide aircraft charter. His plans are to train and do recurrent for their pilots. Students in their flight school will have a chance to be better trained in more types of aircraft and will have a chance at becoming 1st officers in the fractional and aircraft charter planes. The maintenance shop will maintain the planes. Sounds like a perfect plan.

His ultimate goal: “to help the less fortunate, needy, and those in crisis.” 

Contact Rich at:
 Leading Edge Flight Training 

 And visit Rich on Twitter @GatesAviation

Rich is an inspiration that it’s never too late to follow your dream, and never give up on your passion. When you’re in the Colorado area… drop in and say hello. I suspect for all you new pilots, Rich will be an excellent support system.

Happy Flying!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to Build Flight Hours

Of all the aviation challenges we're faced with today, one of the greatest is how new pilots will build their flight hours.

Times have changed and aviation jobs have shifted. No longer are banks flying checks, fewer people are taking flight lessons, and with technology and teleconferencing the corporate world is spending more time at home on their computers. With the sinking of any economy, the corporate luxury items go first... yes, the aviation department.

Today I am dedicating this blog to helping our new pilots.  Please help them with ideas on how to build those golden hours.


  • I ferried aircraft for Renton Aviation from the Cessna factory in Wichita back to Seattle. flying. They bought me a ticket there, and the gas to bring the plane back.

  • I helped instrument students, who owned their own planes, work on their training. Yes... I was a CFII but I did not charge them to fly... I just donated my time, put them under the hood and flew approaches with them so I too could log hours. 

  • I hung out at the airport and asked people where they were going and if they needed a support pilot. 

  • I began a business... "Champagne Tours" ... providing romantic sightseeing flights around Seattle. Piper Aztec, middle seat removed, leg room and privacy. Yes...champagne was served.

  • When attending college at Central, I found other pilots to share gas so we could fly over and back. 

With 700 hours of flight time, my daughters were 2, 3 and 4, and I was working on my Flight Engineer ticket. Late at night after the babies were asleep, I would return to the training center to study. One night Evergreen was training and I asked if I could observe. They allowed me to, and this continued for three days.

Day four their flight engineer no showed. So I volunteered to work the panel. I could read the checklist and knew how they ran their procedures. This particular night happened to be a checking event for their Chief Pilot.

Three months later, Evergreen contacted the training center to see if I had received my FE ticket. Someone dropped out of class last minute and they needed to fill the spot. Their biggest problem with hiring, was finding pilots who could pass training due to a very 'nuts and bolts' ground school.

They sent a check pilot to give me an evaluation, and see if I was 'trainable.' Prior to this event, Bo Corby, flew with me in his 727 simulator and taught me how to fly a jet.  I still hear his words of wisdom, and they have carried me through many check rides.

Evergreen offered me a job as a 727 First Officer. This was 3 years prior to my plan... but my supportive husband said, "honey, you've got to do it!" A scary thing for a low time pilot and mother with three little ones at home. 

Question of the day: Does opportunity knock, or do you have to find the door and do the knocking?

Please show your support for our new pilots and help them find the answer to the toughest question: How do I build flight hours?

More on How To Build Flight Hours can be found HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Princess Fifi's Heart or her Brains?

On my last trip I climbed down inside the equipment center and snapped some pictures of the heart of the A330, or rather... her brains.  Quite interesting. And there is only one cable on the entire plane. Interestingly enough... it looks like it's attached by a bike chain. Probably because it is.

Amazing where technology has taken aviation. 

I'm seeing a great setting for a movie

The cable above is attached to the chain below, and is the only cable on the airplane.

Monday, July 19, 2010

FlightPodcast is Live!

FlightPodcast, episode one, with Eric Moody is up and running!

Log on, check it out, and let us know what you think!

The first of many..... FlightPodcast   

Back In Seattle!

At the end of my ten day trip I experienced something new: 30 hours without the Internet! Amazing how addicted we get to our technology. It all began when during our flight from Atlanta to Rome, the ACARS (our electronic communication with the company) went down system wide. Short lived outage... but not a good sign for things to come.  When we arrived at our hotel the cable was broken, and had been for two days!  Oh...but I got the landing so that was a good thing.

I survived computer withdrawals by napping, and dining with my crew. Pizza and red wine...yummy. Unfortunately time was of the essence, as I had to get online to select my "golden days" ... those days the company can't fly me. More importantly, I needed to get into the system to move my days off, as I was scheduled to work during the week before my daughter's wedding. Awake every couple hours through the night in hope that the Internet would come up. Finally, by morning it did. But I had only 15 minutes and not enough time to do anything. we come. My takeoff... another good thing!

The flight home was spectacular. The Swiss Alps were standing tall and we flew over Lake Lucerne.


Lake Lucerne

I arrived in Detroit, sat for three hours wating for my flight to Seattle, attempted to change my schedule to no avail, and then was assigned 14B. I walked on early, stowed my bags and dozed off. 5 minutes before departure a flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I needed to move.... to "3A". First Class on the flight home? Twist my arm.

Home...32 hours awake and I finally slept. An exciting week ahead... PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) conference and my friends are coming to town. I am pitching my novel... better prepare.

Happy Flying! Tomorrow... a glimpse of the A330 brains!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adam Saddington Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

FlightPodcast men have been born! Last, but definitely not least, we meet Adam Saddington. His story is unique as he climbed into the flight deck for a fascinating aviation career.

Born and raised in Newcastle Australia, Adam's career was non-stop to the aviation world. After high school he studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Sydney.
Once finished with college, he began flying at Combined Aviation Services in Bankstown, where he was trained though his Commercial Pilots License.

We knew Adam had brains earning an Aeronautical Engineering degree, but this was confirmed when he was smart enough to fly the plane and not jump out of it. Adams first flying job was at Skydive Gloucester, a small town in central New South Wales, where he became a senior pilot for the company which provided him the opportunity to fly for the national ‘four ways swooping skydive teams.’

His next position was senior pilot at Skydive the Beach, Sydney, Australia's 4th largest drop zone. At the time he flew the Piper Navajo. There he worked with the world base jumping champion.

It wasn’t long since he jumped himself ... not out of a plane, but from Skydive the Beach to Wagga Air Center, a charter and bank that flew priority freight. It provided him with his first exposure to FRMS and he soon became the company's senior base pilot at Bankstown airport. 

 Adam’s dream was to fly a Cessna Conquest II, and he followed that dream to central New South Wales and accepted a position with Corporate Air in Canberra.
Corporate Air’s main focus was the charter of Minister's of Australian Parliament. With that, he also flew search and rescue, aerial survey, executive charter and priority freight.

 Metroliner 23

He met Marty Khoury at Corporate Air when he was assigned to train him on the Metroliner 23. Adam and Marty decided two years later that Branson's new airline Virgin Australia was the next step to take their aviation careers. 

Marty and Adam

Adam was employed as a Cruise Relief First Officer on the 777-300ER. Marty introduced him to Ken Pascoe at Virgin, and together they have worked since it's inception in 2008.

Adam, Marty, Ken

Today the Marty, Ken, Adam and I are starting FlightPodcast. I'm looking forward to the day we can have a picture of four! We’re within a day or two of going live... and I hope you will all join us in our newest adventure: FlightPodcast!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Adventures in Accra Continue

I slept good... too good, and forgot where I was. But once my eyes opened I jumped out of bed, and after a quick workout and shower, found the lobby, my coworkers, and our tour guide. A group of us followed Mohammad to the market in Accra. I wish I had his picture... next time!

Entrance into Mobbing Chaos!

Market before the attack

We weren't actually attacked, but we were overwhelmed by the people swarming for us to buy their stuff, once they figured out we were shopping, and they have lots of 'stuff.'  Interesting walk ... but not as much fun as the drums.

Lessons in the market

Drum Maker... you too can have one for 40 CD's

A short walk through the market we emerged on the other side of town. Ocean front property with a recycling plant next door to the community, animals that roamed freely until the were used for the drums, and and an out door shower too! Sometimes we forget how good we have it at home. 

A gorgeous ocean if you can overlook the garbage and interesting odors


Just below the white bags  flows a stream ... filled with garbage moving out to sea. They collect the recycling, fill bags, and pile it high. A lucrative business perhaps. Behind the recycling are more homes. Behind those homes, the market. 

Home Sweet Home

Future Drums of America


Each of the preceding pictures, from ocean view to the shower, were all taken from the same location. I just stood and turned my camera. Amazing.
The walk to the town and the return to the hotel was swift, with more than enough time for a visit and supporting the economy.  On the way out of the market they 'all' came out to capture us before we left. Many people wanting to be our best friend, to touch us, to take our money, to sell their goods.

"Help Mohammad!"

We escaped and headed to the hotel. Ghana has many rules. Just as they don't allow any sexual deviates into the country, they also don't allow urinating just anywhere.

I refrained from taking pictures of the homeless who slept  face down on the sidewalk in the afternoon sun, and the massive people in the streets and food markets. We were walking fast, and there was no time, or a good idea, to stop and take pictures in some areas.

Once back at the hotel, we enjoyed the pool for a little bit until, an early nap and we were on our way.

 A nice place to relax...but no chlorine in the pool!

Pick up was 11 pm. And without taxi lights and only a tower to request the weather, and our clearance, we found the end of the runway and departed... headed for Atlanta.

Operations in and out of Ghana are very similar to the days of Unicom frequencies only.  Nothing is controlled and we all look out for each other and provide position reports as we navigate this challenging area. Except for the drug dealers who are keeping low profile ... they don't talk to us. 

A great trip. Glad to have experienced it. So glad to be home! Oh wait... I'm not home yet. Tomorrow another crew and back to Rome!

Before I fly.. Adam Saddington! One of the four engines in! Another great guy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Welcome to Ghana!

Despite thunderstorms over Atlanta that dumped rain, threw hail, flashed lightening, and rolled thunder... we left the city behind... rocking and rolling as we climbed south, and flew across the tops ut to Sea. With only 11 hours and 30 minutes to go!

5 Pilots, 9 Flight Attendants, 83 passengers... and we arrived no worries.

Glad they let my crew in the country!

A short ride to the hotel, with beautiful people everywhere.

Sodas at the pool, a quick shower, and off to dinner at an Irish Pub. I am not sure why, but I do believe there is an Irish Pub in every city of the world! At least the cities we're visiting.

Ryan's Irish Pub

Tomorrow... we're off to the village. Tonight...sleep!

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene