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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.

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


  1. Best if luck with this amazing event! Wish I was there!

  2. I wish you lots of luck ... such an event at such a special place. Hopefully people there will notice what chance they will get.

  3. It's amazing how miracles come together when they need to! I wish I could be there for this but at least I can get the play by play on your blog!

  4. Thanks Patrick! This is a special place, lots of memories. I hope your event is a success too!

  5. Thank you Heather, you will read all about it. But you're going to be in a special place creating miracles yourself! We'll read all about your success!


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