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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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Morning Update!

  • I faxed a flier to my favorite radio station: 106.9! 
  • Audio supporting our Centennial event is now live on Flight Podcast for your listening pleasure. 
  • Austin from BEFA contacted his broadcasting friend at King 5 News! 
  • My granddaughter and I are heading to the Boeing Museum of Flight! 

And ladies... I would contact  Marty Khoury--- he's offered to take you for a free flight. Leave a message on the FlightPodcast site if you want to join him for an experience of a lifetime!

What have you done to support the  today? We would love to hear about your Centennial of Women Pilots support events.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Monday, November 29, 2010

Momentum Is Building

Renton Centennial of Woman Pilots December 5th Event-- Update:

Today was a busy day passing out fliers to my community, in support of our Centennial Of Woman Pilot's event---  FREE FLIGHT $100 Give Away

GREAT NEWS! Two more pilots volunteered. Tom and Joyce.

Tom has been flying for 19 years and instructing for 16. With a first word "Birdie" he was born to fly. He works for a non-profit company in Seattle and instructs in the evening and on weekends. As he says his "fun side job."

 Tom and his Cessna 182

Tom's flown about 28 different airplanes and gliders over the years, logged 4,600 landings, soloed 30 students, and has been airborne for about "91.6 days based on a 24 hour day." He lives 5 minutes from the airport, which is a good thing--- we know he'll be on time. Thank you Tom!

Joyce... became a pilot in 2003 and has over 1000 hours in Cessna aircraft... 150, 172, and a 182!
She says, "flying and sharing my love of aviation in my passion." Her passion and compassion are evident--- She's flown over 100 Young Eagle Missions and 2 Pilots and Paw Missions, too.


Joyce encourages anyone who shows an interest in flying. She's made several solo flights to Utah, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California. Thank you Joyce! We're so excited to have you join us.

Today I visited the Aviation High School, South Seattle Community College, Northwest Aviation College at Auburn Airport, and supported the economy by doing a little Christmas shopping. Amazing how many fliers I gave out along the way. So much interest.

Karla Antelli wrote a Press Release for us.
Karen Klebs forwarded the flier to her office staff at Kiro News.
Sheila Lane contacted the vice principle at Holy Names and invited all students
Ryan Zulauf got the city to post our event on their FaceBook page.
The BEFA Guys are busy advertising. We're on their webpage too! Click Here
Jean Denis at wrote an incredible blog!

I have emails rolling in as the women who want to participate. And... rumor has it that there are "December 5th" Events popping up all over the world. Amazing!

And tonight, we discussed  on  Flight Podcast  

So much support. Thank you all! 

And today 600 women have taken to the skies! Numbers are soaring...

Fly Safe and ...

~Enjoy the Journey!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Miracles Happen When Pilots are Involved

With only a month until the Centennial of Women Pilots comes to a close--- I wasn't sure if we could pull off an event on such short notice.

The event: December 5th FREE FLIGHT in honor of the FLY IT FORWARD campaign.

Then miracles began to happen--- thanks to pilots. 

Dick Smith
I called Dick Smith, a pilot I'd worked with at Premair training center and told him about this event. I asked him if he'd like to fly. Dick owns a Cessna 182, and he said, "Of course I'd love to fly!" I asked, "how many times around the pattern?" He said, "As many as it takes." He's bringing his granddaughters, too.

Wow! We had a pilot who had a plane, and we had an event in motion. 

Jay Sakas
Then I called Jay Sacas, a retired NWA captain. He, too, has a  Cessna 182, and spends a great deal of his retired time in the air, flying corporate. He also works with the  boys and girls clubs up in Sequim and enjoys taking the kids for flights. When I asked if he could fly this event, he said, "I'd love to!"

I visited the Renton Tower, and met with the Airport Manager, Ryan Zulauf, who was instantly excited to have his airport become the most woman friendly airport in the world He proceeded to find names and numbers for people who may be willing to help.

The calls I made were anything but successful. Then I received an email from Santa Claus --- alias Austin Watson, a Boeing Engineer who's on the board of directors of the BEFA--- Boeing Employees Flying Association.

Austin not only is willing to fly his 172 on floats, but he's opening doors that are making this event spectacular. This weekend I had the honor of meeting not only Austin, but Wes McKechnie, operations manager, who is allowing us to use the BEFA facility, and Shad Pipkin, one of their flight instructors who is donating his time to help with the float plane loading. This is our Boeing Team and they are working their magic finding more planes, pilots, and news coverage.

Shad, Austin, Wes

The BEFA--- Boeing Employee Flying Association--- is located on the west side of the airport, North end. 840 W. Perimeter Rd. Renton Washington, 98055. I had previously said that I learned how to fly at Renton Airport 31 years ago, but the story continues--- I studied in the BEFA building. I earned my pilots licenses at Renton Aviation, the predecessor to BEFA location.

Boeing Employees Flying Association

The room we'll be using has a birds-eye view of the runway, with radios to listen while the pilots talk to the controllers. And a classroom for aviation questions and safety demos. Coffee and Cocoa too!

But the story doesn't end there. We need people willing to help on the ground. Two of my friends, both retired female NWA Captains are coming up to help. They'll be available to answer questions what it's like to be a female pilot, take pictures and help with organization.  And my Mom, Pat Kassner, offered to help too!

 Karlene with Captain Kathy

Captain Jean Jones

Pat Kassner my "Mom"

Now we need women to join us to make history, and give Ryan his title of the most female friendly airport. As this event proceeds, I know we'll get more people to join us in this quest. We only have one week. Can we fly 1000 women in a day? Stranger things have happened.

Enjoy the Journey! 

~ Karlene

Friday, November 26, 2010

Patrick Suess

Friday Fabulous Flyer

Born and raised in Germany, Patrick began his aviation journey, as a baby. He traveled across the Atlantic with his parents to visit his relatives in Brazil. At the age of three he wandered the aisles, hung out in the galley, and became friends with the Flight Attendants. I think they adopted him.

Patrick in his Fuji Aeorsubaro

Patrick's first cockpit experience was on a trip from Frankfurt via Dakkar to Brazil. He sat on the first officers lap in the Concord 707 and talked on the headset with the captain and ate cookies. The pilots showed him a little green dot on their screens, then lifted him up to window and said, "It's the city down there." Apparently he stayed in the cockpit for hours and his mother was worried until she realized they were over the Atlantic and there was no where for him to go. After this first cockpit experience, there were many more cockpit adventures in his future. DC-10, Lockheed TriStar, B747, B7676, B777 and A340. He became familiar with many different flight decks.

Robin 3000

One evening in the cockpit of a Varig B747, the captain played with him a bit by setting off an alarm. They switched autopilots. Showed him how the thrust levers moved by themselves. Changed flight levels. All while the passengers slept unexpectedly behind the door.

 Mooney M20

The stories that Patrick shared are endless, and fascinating. I was about to say, "the good old" days when passengers were allowed in the flight deck, but his most fascinating of his stories was from February this year.  He was admitted to the cockpit, and the pilots made jokes about the fuel. But they soon realized that planes were diverting due to weather and communication and fuel concerns became a reality. Then operations told the crew it was their decision if they should go for it. Flights had been going around. Their fuel was limited.  They decided an attempt to land, and made it in. Patrick learned that flying was far more than switching on the autopilot, ordering coffee and reading newspapers. Reading news paper? Allowing people in the flight deck? The good old days are alive in Europe.

We wonder why Patrick has a strong desire to become a pilot. Unfortunately at the age of 36, he's still not an airline pilot--- not from lack of desire. His father  had died at the age of 52 from cancer, and the  three years before that, he hadn't been able to work. At the age of 15 Patrick became the man of the house, and grew up quite fast. Due to lack of funds and adult responsibility, his dream to become a commercial pilot is just that, a dream.

After his obligatory stint in the German military he joined Siemens AG, and made an apprenticeship as a commercial manager, earned a double degree, studied abroad and finished best in his class. He earned his private pilots license along the way. His career has been progressing in management positions with various companies, and he has not given up on his dream of flying. These pictures posted are just a taste of what he's flown over the years.

2011 goals: Obtain his ATP!

Then he'd love to join an international carrier, or work in the Business Jet sector.

Patrick has graciously offered to fly women over Bonn Germany, in honor of the Fly It Forward campaign for  Centennial Of Women Pilots Don't forget to sign up on Fly It Forward. Tell me how many women you actually fly, and I'll enter you in the contest that number of times.

You can find Patrick on FACEBOOK and see more amazing photos of the many planes he's flown, and sites he's seen. He's also on twitter X2921294H

Patrick, thank you for supporting the Centennial of Women Pilots. I know all your dreams will come true. You have the determination and commitment, nothing will stop you. I'm hoping you'll respond to this post and tell us what inspired you to fly women and when your event will be held.

Enjoy the Journey!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for my three happy and healthy grandchildren. My beautiful, intelligent, and caring daughters. For the best son-in-laws a mother could have. For my incredible husband who has put up with this airline industry and me flying off without complaint. Thank you Mom for telling me I could do anything I wanted. And Dad, for always working for me and my sisters. 

I'm thankful for the incredible people I've met over the previous year. My writing friends who have motivated, supported and held my hand along my writing journey.  My blogging friends who've taken the time to read, respond, and leave me the greatest messages. My twitter friends who I can always count on for a tweet, a smile, and support with whatever I'm doing.

And to my friends, young, old, past, present, flying and retired--- Thank you all for being part of my life, and always making me laugh! Thank you Kathy.

For all of you who are flying today, the traveling public thanks you for giving up time with your family, so they can spend the holiday with theirs. I'm on short call, the snow is falling, and I'm hoping all pilots make it to work in Seattle today so I can stay home. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Enjoy the Journey~ 
~ Karlene

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We have Pilots!
We have Planes!
We have a Date!
We Need Women!

Fly It Forward is full speed ahead. Now all we need are Women and Girls to join us for an incredible event! And passengers have a chance to win $100! 

On Sunday, December 5th, from 10:30 to 3:30, we are inviting ladies of all ages, young and old to join us for a Free Flight around the pattern at Renton Airport.  Only rule, you can't hold a pilots license. We'll be meeting at...  BEFA. Boeing Employees Flying Association.  840 West Perimeter Road. Renton Washington. Take the West entrance off Perimeter road -- North end of the field. The building is directly in front of the entrance, but you'll take an immediate right, and an immediate left into their parking lot. Each flight will take about 10 minutes. Let us know what time you'll be there!

We invite you to take flight and become a part of history!
Your picture, in front of the plane, will set your place in history on the Centennial Woman Pilots website, and you'll receive an electronic certificate of the event. As a passenger participant in the Fly It Forward campaign on December 5th, you'll be entered into a $100 drawing, honoring the 100th year anniversary of the first woman pilot, Raymonde De Laroche.

We are attempting to make Renton Airport the "Most Female Friendly Airport in the World!" But we need your help. After last nights winter snow storm, we'll need mother nature to cooperate too. You'll also have the chance to talk to retired female airline captains, and women currently flying.
All you need to do is:
  • Click on the white button that say's,"Follow" to follow this blog.
  • Leave a comment here and tell me your interested in the event, and what time you're planning to arrive. (And how many friends will join you.)
  • Email me at if you have any questions
  • Pass this message to all the women you know.
  • On the December 6th blog, leave a comment and tell me, in one or two sentences (more is great), what you thought about your experience flying. 
  • Then, I will enter your name in a random drawing held on December 10th, for one lucky woman to win $100 just in time for Christmas.
Women under 18 will need a letter from their parents stating they give you permission to take a the flight.

Today I fly an A330 for Delta Airlines, the largest airline in the world. 31 years ago I took my first solo flight at Renton Airport.  History continues-- be a part of it.

About your pilots read: Miracles Happen When Pilots are Involved!

"We are women, watch us soar!" 

 Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

If you have any questions email me at:  And... Check out the Centennial of Women Pilots Website by clicking HERE  Remember to check my blog the morning of our event. The only thing that will stop us now will be the weather.

Monday, November 22, 2010

AIRMENTORS! The Best Way to Learn

31 years of flying. 8 Airlines, 7 Type ratings. New procedures. New planes. That's my flying life.  When I got my 727 type rating I had under 500 hours total time. I'd been a second officer for 12 years, but easily transitioned  to the Boeing 744.  I'd been off for 22 months with a hip replacement and upon my return I jumped into the A330 with a brand new airline. Different technology than I'd been use to, and new procedures, too.  Not only have I been learning new planes, flying International, starting over with  new companies, and teaching throughout the years, I've been raising a family, and working on multiple master's degrees in the process. Most recently I've been writing a novel, blogging and tweeting.

How did I earn a type rating in the 727 with so few hours? How did I manage to successfully transition between aircraft with ease, so often, and with such a hectic life? Today I share my secret--- I got lucky.  Lucky that I met someone early in my career who created a foundation of basic flying skills, that I've carried with me throughout life. 

I'd just finished college, and was building my resume.  My plan was, that when my daughters were in school full time, I would start flying professionally.  Someone recommended I go to STI-- Simulator Training Incorporated-- get some sim time and a Flight Engineer rating. That's where I met Bo Corby. The owner, operator, and one of the instructors at STI. Bo was also a pilot for Northwest Airlines at the time. 

2009, NWA B747 Retirement party

When I arrived at the STI, a group of men sat in the lobby. I'd later learned they'd been training, and were on break. As I opened the door, conversation stopped and all heads turned. I asked, "Is Bo Corby here?"

One of the men said, "Yes." My eyebrows raised, anticipating more of an answer than yes. But then one of the men stood, and strutted toward me. He turned to the group and said, "Boy, I like my women tall." Everyone laughed.

I didn't laughed, I smiled.  Then I put my arm over this man's shoulder, wrapped it around his neck, put him in a head lock and said, "Great. I like my men short, that way I can keep them under control."

Bo and I have been friends ever since. I did get my FE ticket at his training center. And during the evening, while my babies slept, I would return to the simulator and observe other carriers' training events. One night, the second officer for Evergreen's training didn't show up. I offered to work the panel for them. I proceeded to help out for the next three days. A couple months later I received a call from Evergreen offering me a job--- Contingent upon the fact I could fly. They knew I'd pass their ground school. I had a brand knew engineer ticket. Flying? We'll see. Evergreen booked a simulator session with STI and scheduled their senior line check airman to come up, and give me a check ride to see if I was "teachable" with so few hours.

For the next three days, Bo spent two hours a day in the simulator with me, teaching me how to fly jets. He taught me how to scan properly, and not waste time on instruments that weren't going to impact the outcome. If my vertical speed wasn't moving, I certainly wasn't climbing or descending. He taught me the concept of phugoid oscillations, and stability. He taught the importance of and how to effectively trim to a hands off state.  And then he taught me how to manage the speed with the thrust levers, without diverting my attention for power settings, enabling me to fly any plane.  Now all this may sound basic, but the core concepts he taught have carried me through an amazing airline career.

Bo's life and experiences have taken in to multiple airlines including Northwest.  He's flown close to 19,000 hours, and I suspect taught as many. With that many hours, a pilot has stories. 

Bo and Mr. Akbari
DC-10 Leaving Tehran
We recently had the great pleasure interviewing him at FlightPodcast about his divert into Tehran. Bo proved that CRM goes far beyond the flight deck in his incredible feat of getting his DC-10 out of what he was told to be hostile territory. Apparently they even woke up the President of the United States. Once on the ground, Northwest dispatch told Bo there was nothing they could do for him. They were on their own.  How many pilots do you fly with speak Farsi? Bo does. If you haven't listened to Bo Corby's episode on FlightPodcast, click HERE you'll be enthralled.

Bo is now retired from Northwest Airlines, and STI has been gone for a few years. But Bo has not slowed down. What is Bo doing today? He's teaching again. His new program AirMentors is the extension of what he's been teaching for years to thousands of commercial airline pilots. And what he taught me so many years before. This course is perfect for anyone starting their career, to learn primary skills of flying jets.  But it is so much more than that...

Bo teaches accomplished pilots who are transitioning between aircraft, taking their first captain upgrade, or preparing for recurrent, how to fly more efficiently. Efficiency means the ability to divert your attention in the event of an emergency. It means flying the plane smarter, and safer.

Bo, it's still four days until Thanksgiving, but I want you to know that today, and everyday, how thankful I am that I walked through your door 24 years ago, and have had the opportunity to know and work with you over the years. I know that your telling the ladies at NWA that I was flying the Whale for Tower is why they pulled my application out of the archives, and invited me for an interview. Thank you! You gave me a foundation to fly, and you opened many doors for me, too. You truly have been my mentor. And what a better name than Airmentors.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Patrick Wiggins

Patrick belongs to the sky--- He's either studying it, falling through it, or flying in it. 

His first flight with destiny was at the age of 11 in the right seat of an Aztec that he called Snoopy because of the big nose. Around that same time he also attended a Boy Scout meeting--- of course that would be the natural progression since he'd been a cub scout for years. At this meeting he learned that the boy scouts slept in tents on the dirt. Then he learned of the Civil Air Patrol--- "They let you fly planes!" Tough choice? Patrick never attended another scout meeting. 

He started taking flying lessons in 1969, at Mt. Home, Idaho. He was in his first year, of what ended up being a 26 year career, in the Airforce, stationed at Mt. Home AFB. He didn't have a degree so he couldn't fly in the service. But that didn't stop him. He just went off base to fly. It wasn't until Vietnam when he found the free time to take ground school training. Begging for flights, he managed a few right seat rides. Not much flying happened during that time, but he did complete his ground school--- a huge accomplishment.

When released from active duty he moved to Tulsa and spent a year and a half at Spartan School of Aeronautics getting his private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine and CFI --- Thanks to the GI Bill's generosity toward flight training. He used it well. 

Patrick has been skydiving since 1965. He's also a proud member of SOS--- Skydivers Over Sixty!

Skydive Utah KTVY

When asked what his most memorable flight was, he shared a beautiful story. It's clear that his family is blessed with a sense of humor. Even after passing.

"I was taking my mother and two half brothers up to drop my grandmother's ashes out over the home ranch in Bullion, NV. Weird thing about that flight, when we opened the window and tossed out the ashes wrapped in newspaper, (in newspaper to keep them from blowing back into the cockpit) the whole package flew back and hit the horizontal stabilizer. It popped open so the ashes flew off but the newspaper stayed until we go back on the ground. Mother said it was because grandma was a way ahead of her time environmentalist and there was no way she was going to let us litter the ground with newspapers."

An amazing man, he's also spent a couple decades working at the the Hansen Planetarium in SLC, and now volunteers for NASA. Word has it there is an asteroid recently named: 4009 Wiggins.

Patrick and the telescope that he donated 
to the local astronomy club

What is Patrick doing now? He's helping support Centennial Of Women Pilots.  When I asked Patrick what his driving force to support women and honor this 100 year anniversary was, he said, 

 Catherine and Abigail

"I can answer that from different levels. One is that I think it sucks that only 6 percent of the pilots in the US are female. Mother raised me to believe in equality of the sexes. So maybe I can do something small thing to help remedy that. And then there is the bachelor in me that keeps hoping he'll find some aviatrix out there willing to spend time in the sky. Not that I've had much luck with that considering the only the double X chromosomes I've taken up for the "Centennial of Women Pilots" this year have either been married or too young. C'est la vie."

Not that I profess to be a dating service, but ladies, I don't think you should let this guy get away.

Patrick, thank you for encouraging women, supporting the future astronomers of the nation, and for demonstrating to men that it's never too late to jump out of a plane! 

Don't forget to FLY IT FORWARD  We need your help. Time is flying.

Enjoy the journey! 

~ Karlene

Thursday, November 18, 2010

View from the Flight Deck: Priceless

Enjoy the view from the Flight Deck out of Milan. The rain had stopped, and a blanket of clouds drifted about the city. But once we popped out of on top-- the view was spectacular.

Words can't do possibly do this beauty justice. Enjoy the view.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010


    The life of a pilot is sometimes filled with exhaustion. Three Atlantic crossings and one more to go. Yesterday's rest in New York was a challenge-- but that happens at times. We just suck it up, wheels up, and we fly.

    Milan arrival was great. Unfortunately rain showers covered the area. Tomorrow I'm hoping we'll have a great view of the terrain in the area. The sky on top was incredible.

    An hour to the hotel, a 2 hour nap and we were off to see the sights-- yes, in the pouring rain. A subway to Duomo, a walk through a Cathedral, browsed the finest shops-- all was beautiful, and worth the walk in the rain. Rain is a good thing. More people should go out and play in it.

    Indoor market, that appears outdoor, very cool.

    The Cathedral was amazing. Ornate carvings. Detailed stained glass windows. Massive. Impressive. A must see. By the time we returned to our hotel, it was just before 5 p.m. and we were starving. But in Italy, it's a challenge to find dinner before 7 p.m. We ventured back into the rain and found a charming cafe and ate pizza. A fun day and night.

    Tomorrow morning an early wake up and we fly to New York. A four hour sit. Then I deadhead to Seattle. An exhausting trip-- but each day I'm thankful I have this fantastic opportunity to fly an incredible plane, work for a great company, and see a little bit of our beautiful world. Then I get to go home to a wonderful family. Life is good.

    Enjoy the journey!

    ~ Karlene

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Career Change? Should I Become a Pilot

    Oliver Schulz, programmer, passionate aviation amateur and private pilot sent me great question last week. Encouraged by inspirational blogs of people changing careers---Oliver says:

    "I have been debating whether or not to dare a career change at my age. I'm 43, unmarried, no kids, no debt, and pretty flexible. I have always wanted to fly professionally but somehow life played differently and I chose a different path. Now, at age 43, I see that my dream is still alive and always was. 

    I have been in the travel business before working as a product manager for a one of America's biggest adventure tour operator and IT manager, creating reservations-system, fleet management software. I think I have a relatively accurate picture of the realities in the aviation industry, know a little bit about working conditions and salary levels, and still would be interested in ultimately daring the last career change as I have always enjoyed my flying as a private pilot, loved travel, and somehow never felt that my desire to do this for a living would dissipate over the years--- 

    Would you think there is any realistic chance of ever being hired at my age after completing, for example, ATP's fast pace career pilot program and having worked as an instructor for some time? Though I think that even if I would be ready for a job with a regional at, say, 46, which would still give me about 15 years of service that I would offer to my prospective employer... I'm not sure if it is realistic to think that there is still a viable path. What's your take on that?

    Oliver, I say--- GO FOR IT!

    Retirements at American Airlines-- apparently they are going to have 80% of their pilots retire in the next 16-20 years. The growth opportunity for Delta airlines, with aging pilots, career potential is equally encouraging.
    • 2013 over 100 pilots age 65
    • 2014 over 850 60-65
    • 2016 over 2800 60-65
    Pilots can fly until the age of 65.  You could potentially have "20" years to dedicate to your second career. What I see happening is you going to a regional to build hours. Because all the young kids ahead of you are moving to the major airlines that you upgrade to captain quickly. You end up loving what you're doing and fly the last 10 years of your career as a captain. And if you choose to go to the major airlines, of course at the age of 46 you could get hired!  When I was hired at Northwest Airlines, there was a man in my class who was 57, and that was when the retirement was at 60.

    The most important thing in life is to follow your dreams and do what you love. If you've been thinking about this, and wondering "what if"--- you're searching for something new.

    Can you do it? Without a doubt!
    Should you do it? Why not?

    You have the perfect opportunity to invest in yourself being you are single without kids. Heck, I'm 48 and in 5 years we could be flying to Rome together.

    Follow your dreams, life is too short. Ask Lesley

    More questions from WES, 19, who lives in Las Vegas Nevada and wants to become a pilot. And from Hariz in Malaysia who is working on his private pilots license. How should they proceed?

    Wes and Hariz--- get your pilots license and earn a college degree. While you're attending college, build your flight hours. Flight instructing is a great way to do this. If you have parents who can help you, you're lucky. If not, take out student loans. You will be able to repay them all, and then some. 

    Whether you are beginning a career, or changing careers, you just have to decide that's what you want. Go for it. Don't quit. The best thing about an aviation career, is that journey is the reward. How can you lose by following your dreams?

    Anyone with advice and encouragement for Oliver or Wes, they would love to hear from you.

    Enjoy the Journey!

    Happy Flying ~ Karlene

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Lesley Page: Friday Fabulous Flyer!

    It's never too late to learn to fly-- all it takes is courage to change your life.

    Lesley Page

    A young wife. A mother. Lesley climbed the corporate ladder. A divorce. A new marriage. Nothing stopped her pursuit of the corporate dream. She proceeded to work 60-70 hours per week-- She was on a merry-go-round moving full speed. Watching her life go by.

    Something was missing.

    Her first inkling that life was too short, was when her mother died from breast cancer at the young age of 53.  But it wasn't until years later in the spring of 2005, a few weeks before her 50th birthday, that she realized that she was missing out on life. Her husband Jeff had the same feeling, and he used that motivation to get back in the air. Jeff held a pilot's license, but it had been years since he'd flown. Lesley's life continued on the fast track working far too many hours. 

    The changing moment in her life was when Jeff said he wanted to buy a plane. And that they did. When he took Lesley for her first flight in their Cessna 172, her life took off in a new direction. 

    Lesley and Jeff: The day that changed her life

    Jeff explained procedures and Lesley took controls for a few minutes and flew straight and level-- she was hooked. That one flight was all it took for Lesley to realize that flying would become part of her life. She said, "The thrill of flying is indescribable. It's exciting, definitely, but also there is a feeling of freedom and control." Over the next few weeks she and Jeff discussed the many adventures they could take with their plane, and Lesley realized that a very different life was about to emerge. 

    Two weeks after her life changing flight, Lesley quit her job. The day before her 50th birthday she told her boss that the stress, the hours, and the commute were too much. "Besides, we just bought an airplane and I'm going to learn to fly it." Two days after her 50th birthday, in her own plane, she took her first flight lesson. 

    Lesley's story of her solo flights and the nerves she felt brought back memories. Her realization during her solo cross country flight that she was, "expected to get into this airplane and fly it to yet another 'no-home' airport, then back to my home airport. Again, the 'confidence thing!" Made me smile. She was nervous and say's she lacked confidence. I say, she didn't quit. She continued to fly and exceeded her own limitations. She was awarded the 2007 Award of Excellence from the Ninety-Nines for her outstanding flight and written test scores. 

    Jeff was her first passenger as they took that "$100 hamburger" flight. But Lesley had a problem taking passengers without Jeff. 3 years later, she'd read about the CENTENNIAL OF WOMEN PILOTS

    Once again, she concurred her fears. She signed up to introduce women to the sky and posted a message on Facebook, inviting her friends. One friend, Michele, who'd flown years before but had quit after a car accident, was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Between the two of them they recruited 13 women. On March 8th, one of her passengers was Michele's 11 year old cousin, Jade. Jade's first flight in the right seat of Lesley's 172 changed both their lives. I suspect we'll be seeing Jade in the sky on her own before we know it. 
     Tammy, Christine, Casi, Lesley, Michele, Britanny
    Jade (in front)

    Igniting Jades passion was extremely rewarding for Lesley, and she looks forward to being Jade's mentor. Lesley also gained a "huge confidence boost" and she's not "as" nervous taking passengers.  Since that flight, she's taken several other women and girls for flights-- all by herself! 

    More passengers! 
    Lesley takes Jess, Heather (Niece), and Janice (sister)

    More Passengers: October 2010
    Sons: Chase and Curtis (Curtis' first flight)
    Lesley and Jeff

    Lesley flew Young Eagles last weekend! And tomorrow she has another Centennial Event planned. 

    Help Lesley celebrate the Centennial of Women Licensed Pilots. 

    Introduce non-pilot women to aviation by taking them to Edenvale for lunch on Saturday November 13th (rain date, Nov. 14) This event is open to all pilots. Reach out to your female relatives and friends, local women's groups, girl guides, etc. and fill up your plane with non-pilot women.

    Please call Lesley at 416-287-2975 or email her at for more information or to register. 

    Lesley now has almost 350 hours in the pilot seat and another 150 in the right seat with Jeff in command. Jeff and Lesley share the legs. They fly to Oshkosh for Airventure and to Florida for Sun'n'Fun, annually. Twice they've flown to the Bahamas. And for the previous two years they've participated in the Interprovincial Air Tour from (Ontario and Quebe) and the Michigan Air Tour. 

    Jeff calls himself "the luckiest guy at the airport" and he is. He's married to a woman who isn't afraid of to conquer her fears. They share a passion of aviation.  A passion for life. Lesley also returned to the same company for part-time work, with half the income, but a very full life.

    "Life is too Short to be a Passenger!"

    Who can you take into the sky?  Take time and  Fly It Forward! 

    Enjoy the Journey!

    Happy Flying ~ Karlene