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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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

San Diego: It's all about the Pitch!

Date: January 28th. Arrival: San Diego Airport. Time: 1300.
Purpose: San Diego State University, College of Extended  Studies: 27th Annual Writers' Conference.

What drives you to stay up when you're exhausted? Opens your eyes at 0230 after five hours of sleep?  Has you sitting in a chair for endless hours?  Crew scheduling-- the first thought that comes to an airline pilot's mind.

The real answer: Passion. Determination. Drive.

This weekend I was involved in a different kind of work. Pitching my novel, Flight For Control.

Not unlike pitching your plane to the perfect attitude--- enabling her to climb to new heights, soar above the world, fulfilling all your dreams by taking your career the next level, or your body to worlds that were once but a dream....

Pitching your novel is all about taking those endless hours of work, commitment and dedication, wrapping them up in a nice little package, and presenting it to an agent. Hoping they'll open this gift and scream with joy, "This is the most incredible piece of literature I've ever read!" Then share it with the world.

This weekend I attended the San Diego Writers convention.  I pitched my novel to three agents and one editor. But this conference, unlike others that I've attended, enabled us to mingle with these agents and editors beyond our ten minute pitch.  Everyone, on both sides of the table, got to know each other just a little bit better.

The mystery of the Agent/Editor/Author relationship is nothing unlike a partnership in business. The question for both parties: Would you go into business with this person? Do they have the same energy, work ethics, attitude, and willingness to do what it takes to make you both a success?

I attended this conference with my Critique Corner Sisters, Linda and Heather. My friend Darby joined us with laughter and humor of what she's been up to, and her future plans. And then I met a fabulous woman, Syd Blue. Syd and I smiled at each other from across the room, and when we spoke to each other, we both said, "You're a pilot too!" I guess pilots find pilots. Syd is also an author.

These incredible ladies found their success in this conference, too. Perfect Agent/Author matches have been made. How could they not? Talent. Commitment. Beauty. Energy. These are women that I'm proud to call my friends, and would love to call my business partners any day. I wish them all the luck in the world. Luck: When hard work, commitment, dedication and focus meet opportunity.

Syd, Linda, Heather, Karlene
I'm excited for their future success. I, too, made connections, and have multiple submission requests. But in my heart, I know who I connected with. We work on the same energy level. Hold similar world views. Never say never.

"I am an Airline Pilot! I wrote a Thriller similar in style to Robert Dugoni with a strong female presence, and an Aviation Theme. Flight For Control is complete at 95,000 words, has a unique plot, and a powerful female protagonist."

I'm also a perfectionist. This is why I awoke at 0230--- I'm going to do one final read today and send my novel tonight.

Mark your calendar for the 28th Annual Writers' Conference:
January 27-29, 2012

~Enjoy the Journey!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Captain YAW, alias Jonathan Porter

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

Captain Yaw changing lives in Ghana

Where did Captain Yaw come from and what does he do?

Born Jonathan Porter, sometime in the 1960’s to a farming stock mother and a Cockney salesman father, grew up dreaming about working in the developing nations on food security issues. At the age of 11 he was the victim of a brutal case of school bullying, leaving him partially paralyzed on left side and both legs. Determined to overcome--- he left the wheelchair behind and eventually regained full motor control.

Scoring high in academics, he dreamed of becoming an Agricultural Botanist, and was making great strides. Sadly, an accident just before completing his pre-university qualifications left him physically compromised with a broken vertebrae and two ruptured disks. Five surgical interventions later, he was told that he would never work or carry more than a kilo or two. His belief that the mind controls the body more than the body controls the mind, coupled with a strong faith and belief in miracles, this young man, who was obliged to leave school for financial reasons, took a job in engineering.

A natural feel for mechanical things was quickly discovered, and he eventually became CNC robotics trouble-shooter, working on a variety of projects--- Aerospace, motor racing, HVAC and even parts for the production of Rolex watches. Whether it was the computer side, design, machining, or inspection, his insatiable appetite for all that works together drove him onwards.

In 1988, while working in the UK, he took a trial flight at Sywell Aerodrome, in a Cessna 150, G-AWUN, and it opened a door deep in his heart. Once swung open, that door refused to close. And Jonathan began to suffer from ground sickness--- the condition experienced by spending too long on the ground.

With the economic challenges of the ICT and related operations at the end of the 1980’s in the UK, Jonathan and his family moved to France. Not long after settling into the French Alps area where he worked on small diameter machining systems, multi-axis flexible manufacturing operation and related software development, he was involved in motor accident, skidding out on black ice on the mountains – again leaving him physically compromised and unable to walk or lift things
French Alps

Furthermore, it was made clear by the medical professionals that he could not, at that time, retain a French Aviation Medical.
After long therapy, and more pig-headed stubbornness, he regained working strength. The doctor treating him being a fan of gliding and the LSA class of aircraft, encouraged him to consider ‘sub-ICAO aviation’. In France there are thousands of small birds, flown with a passion, they are called ULM (Ultra-Léger Motorisé or Ultralight), but that is a very different classification to FAR Part 103, it is rather much closer to the LSA rules their friends from over the pond are familiar with.

As his terrestrial strength grew, the desire to be in the air grew stronger than ever. Being limited on the ground is easily overcome by being free in the air! Ever gaining physical strength, and able to fly the ULM without an aviation medical, he purchased a Weedhopper, landing in fields and flying around the French Alps, Jonathan gained a lot of experience in low-inertia flying machines, mountain flying and how to get out of challenging conditions, not to forget the obligatory engine completely off landings on a regular basis!


In 1994 some would refer to it as a ‘calling’, others a ‘yearning’ and some ‘coincidence’, but for Jonathan, it was destiny. Jonathan took his family to Ghana in West Africa to work on a contract with USAID relating to data systems. Of course the household belongings and the Weedhopper were sent in the same container. As much as flying in 1988 opened the door to Jonathan's yearning to fly--- going to Africa blew open the side of the building revealing the need and opportunity of Africa, and it stole what remained of his heart. Thus, flying and Africa joined hands driving the beat in this man's chest.


On one particular flight out of Ghana, Jonathan ‘hitched’ a ride in a cargo DC8 ... Ah, the days before 9/11. He spent enough time in the cockpit to realize that flying heavy metal could never provide the same feeling and satisfaction of the lighter aviation scene. As he says ‘why drive a bus when you can drive a racing car?’.

Named ‘Yaw’ meaning Thursday born in local parlance, by the Paramount Chief of the Osuduku area in 1994, and the name sticking ever since, the stubborn pilot insisted on flying more and more, even though he only had a 2-stroke engine up front. 2-strokes consume fuel and are less reliable than our 4-stroke engines, but when you know you can land on a pocket handkerchief, and you have not had an incident, you do not always appreciate that fact.

One day, flying from Accra to Kumasi, the weather deviations consumed too much fuel – and the thirty minutes extra soon became ten. So a precautionary landing in a village, surrounded by tall trees and hostile terrain, not only developed a new set of skills, but it also created a new train of thought.


Moving back to the UK in 1997, the Weedhopper was left in the hands of a friend, and Jonathan lectured in college and university course subjects, despite never having undertaken a university course. When he applied for a degree, he got asked to teach on it instead! Experience is of far more use than certificates!

During his teaching time he flew both at Shoreham in Sussex in the PA28 and Cessna family, and with the Tiger Club at Headcorn in Kent, enjoying the Piper Cub, Jodel Mascarat D150, Tiger Moth and other wonderful aircraft. Although flying, the call of Africa was still pulsating in his chest.

In 2002 he returned to Ghana, with the determination to create a flying school and engineering centre of international standards – to be operated by Ghanaians.

Supported by a group of international shareholders, WAASPS was born, but not without a few administrative struggles! Wining friends to a new industry is not always easy, but it can be done with a large dose of determination. So, in November 2005, Kpong Airfield opened its doors, with only 300m of usable runway.

In January 2006, meetings held, discussions ensued, and letters sent to the missions in Ghana about the opportunities available to use aviation to reach the hard to get to places in the country--- without success. They were told that ‘rural aviation is not possible here’.

Then in March 2006, Matthew, the 21 year old son of Jonathan , a keen agricultural enthusiast, was returning from taking soil samples to the city. On the way back, a small bus crossed the white line and hit Matthew head on. The vehicle was destroyed and the passers by put Matthew with the other ‘dead’ in the back of a pickup truck to send to the mortuary.

At the hospital, as they were about to send the broken and bleeding limp form to be laid out, a nurse heard shallow breathing. About the same time Jonathan arrived at the hospital. Matthew received massive injuries, bone was protruding from his leg, feet wrapped around into balls of flesh and his left fore-arm cleanly broken, creating an apparent second elbow. The hospital had no splints, was running out of stitches and other supplies. The doctor looked at Jonathan and asked ‘ What should I do – I have never seen somebody with so many injuries still alive.’

Calling on the support of an Air Force friend, they were directed to go to the city, but by road. At the hospital in Accra, Matthew was stabilised and then flown to the UK where 4 surgeons worked for over 8 hours to put him back together. His body weak, but his mind strong-- just like his Dad.

From that hospital bed in 2006, Matthew decided that it was not possible to wait for the Health Authorities, missions and others to make the first move on Aviation Medical Solutions, and so he created the charity Medicine on the Move from a hospital bed in the UK. Click here for UK News
 Despite the setback, and anguish, it was clear that progress had to be made if Humanitarian Aviation was to succeed, at least from the light aviation, affordable aviation solutions perspectives.

Matthew spent 6 months in hospital and insisted on returning to Ghana ahead of the doctor’s advice. His mind set on ‘doing something to change minds and perspectives’.

They knew that sponsorship of young people has always been the only answer to long term solutions in every industry. Thus potential laden young men were sought out and given opportunities. Sadly, as soon as they gained a little knowledge they would wander off, seek their fortune elsewhere, become frustrated at the length of time it takes to learn aviation or be caught indulging in practices dangerous to aviation.

Employing exclusively young men at the time, it was a surprise when a young lady walked out of the bush in mid-2007, and asked for a job. At that time, we had no work other than clearing bush-land, and in an attempt to put her off the idea, she was given a machete and mattock and told to clear stumps.

Patricia with Emmanual Bedzrah

Patricia took to the task like a beaver, practically chewing the trees out of the ground. She arrived early to work, walking several miles from the mud and thatch home, without power and where water was fetched from a standpipe, stayed late when needed and turned up on days she was not working to watch the planes. For this young lady the concept of learning to fly, becoming a pilot and become an engineer was an impossible, 'unallowable' dream. It was never envisioned that she would be a long term part of the operations because ‘the focus was on the wrong set of people’, explains Jonathan.
One day she was clearing shrub-land around the workshop when the engineering assistant was caught stealing, and so, as he was sent to the police station, Patricia was called to hold a wing. She quickly took to the task in hand, and learned by watching and asking questions. In the next month she asked more questions than all of the previous staff combined. Thus she learned, and then on a ferry flight was given control for the first time. ‘She took to flying like a natural’ and did not look back. 

Flying 97 women and Girls 2010

Her efforts and determination changed the face of the whole operation. Young women were now given opportunities, and they did better, tried harder and were demonstrably better investments of time, energy and finances. Even those who did not last the course, still provided a better return on investment, leaving only to return to school to further their studies. Thus the focus changed for WAASPS and Medicine on the Move, the workshop personnel focus shifted for the better.

Of course, mistakes are part of learning, and so it was decided early in 2010 to start a small school by the end of 2010, taking in just four girls per year, training them in aircraft building and maintenance, flight training, airfield operations, robotics engineering (for part production), and computers. A big commitment from a small company, powered by the pounding in the chest created by aviation and Africa combined – a very powerful force indeed!

Patricia Teaching

In 2004, people laughed at the idea of building planes in Ghana – or even setting up a private airfield. In 2009 they laughed at the idea of a school to train girls. But both have occurred, and it is now considered that ‘laughter at a project is a good omen’…

In fact, the team has already built seven aircraft, including two CH701’s, two X-Air Falcons, one crop-sprayer, one amphibian trainer and an X-Air Falcon, which is currently being re-clothed and upgraded to the latest specifications. In the workshop the four seat CH801 nears completion, awaiting avionics, stretcher bay and finishing touches. Their workshops are well laid out and their ambition larger than that of organisations many times their size.

Jonathan, known more commonly as Captain Yaw, leads the crew of girls as they build the planes, run the flying school which is patronised by business men and women from the city and has flown over 40 different nationalities over the last five years. Matthew, who despite the on-going pain from his injuries, leads the male team on airfield maintenance, construction, etc. Together the Father and Son Team, assisted – or perhaps led – by Patricia, operate the busiest private airfield in West Africa--- the only Humanitarian Aviation Logistics operation using light aircraft and the building of a specialist of school that helps young ladies with potential to reach new heights.

This team has lots of energy, enthusiasm and an ability to overcome the odds, and so it is not surprising that Medicine on the Move is about to move into a very exciting phase.

Through a competent team of volunteers and support from around the world, MoM is so very close to completing that Zenith CH801 4 seat air ambulance, that will then go on to be mounted on Amphibious floats. This 801 is only the first in an envisaged fleet that will take health education and support to an estimated population of over one million people, scattered in thousands of villages and homesteads around the Volta Lake in years to come… The main aim to reduce and eliminate Bilharzia, the second most socio-economically devastating parasitic disease after malaria.

Of course, if that makes you laugh and say that it can’t be done, considered that a good sign.

Jonathan, Matthew and Patricia have overcome massive odds – and if the odds are stacked up against somebody who can succeed, this is the team to back!

If that makes you want to do something to help them, then please contact Captain Yaw at and visit the website at .

Captain Yaw

Jonathan, thank you for sharing your story with us. A true man with a mission for making the world a better place. I've had the opportunity to visit Ghana, and cannot wait to return to meet my new friends. I'm going to speak to the girls at their school--- what could be better than that? Okay, I might make Captain Yaw take me for a flight. :)

Please visit their website.
Captain Yaw is changing lives one flight at a time!

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flight For Control

Just when I'd thought I was finished--- Best Selling author, and my first writing instructor, William Bernhardt, read my novel. Not only did he read it, but he edited it--- a story and line edit.  We discussed character issues, and motivation. He'd said, "This is what I see... I don't know how to fix it, but you'll figure it out."

And figure it out I did! I finished the final rewrite Sunday morning at 0200. Now my hubby is reading it to capture grammar, punctuation, and all those little extra words that don't belong.

Tomorrow I'm hitchhiking on Alaska Airlines and heading to San Diego with my critique sisters. We will be attending the San Diego Writers Conference.  Not only will I spend time with my girlfriends talking about writing, characters and plot---I'm sure there will be a little wine involved--- but I'll have the opportunity to meet with agents and editors, too.

My novel is about to take Flight! 

And for all of you who have won a copy--- hopefully the wait won't be too long.  For all that helped me find a new name--- For now I'm sticking with what I have: Flight For Control.  It fits the story so well.

Wish me luck! 

Enjoy the Journey~


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TSA and Terror

Yesterday Lauren sent me some interesting data on TSA and Terror.  The picture is a little difficult to read--- so click Here to take you directly to the page. Thank you Lauren!

What do you think?

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

All About Atlanta

I'm so glad I'm based in Seattle!

This is for anyone who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, has ever lived in Atlanta, has ever visited Atlanta, ever plans to visit Atlanta, knows anyone who already lives in Atlanta, knows anyone based in Atlanta, might be based in Atlanta, or knows anyone who has ever heard of Atlanta.
Atlanta is composed mostly of one-way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Atlanta is to turnaround and start over when you reach Greenville , South Carolina .

All directions start with, "Go down Peachtree" and include the phrase, "When you see the Waffle House." except that in Cobb County , where all directions begin with, "Go to the Big Chicken."

Peachtree Street has no beginning and no end and is not to be confused with:
Peachtree Circle
Peachtree Place
Peachtree Lane
Peachtree Road
Peachtree Parkway
Peachtree Run
Peachtree Terrace
Peachtree Avenue
Peachtree Commons
Peachtree Battle
Peachtree Corners
New Peachtree
Old Peachtree
West Peachtree
Peachtree Industrial Boulevard

Atlantans only know their way to work and their way home. If you ask anyone for directions, they will always send you down Peachtree.

Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola. Coke's all they drink there so don't ask for any other soft drink unless it's made by Coca-Cola. Even if you want something other than a Coca-Cola, it's still called Coke.

The gates at Atlanta 's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are about 32 miles away from the Main Concourse, so wear sneakers and pack a lunch.
The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The 5 p.m. rush hour is from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm. (Don't forget the lunch time rush hour!)

Friday's rush hour starts Thursday afternoon and lasts through 2 a.m. Saturday.

Only a native can pronounce Ponce De Leon Avenue , so do not attempt the Spanish pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you. The Atlanta pronunciation is " pawntz duh LEE-awn."

And yes, they have a street named simply, "Boulevard."

The falling of one raindrop causes all drivers to immediately forget all traffic rules. If a single snowflake falls, the city is paralyzed for three days and it's on all the channels as a news flash every 15 minutes for a week. Overnight, all grocery stores will be sold out of milk, bread, bottled water, toilet paper, and beer.

I-285, the loop that encircles Atlanta which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph but you have to maintain 80 mph just to keep from getting run over and is known to truckers as "The Watermelon 500."

Don't believe the directional markers on highways: I-285 is marked "East" and "West" but you may be going North or South. The locals identify the direction by referring to the "Inner Loop" and the "Outer Loop ."

If you travel on Hwy 92 North, you will actually be going southeast.

Never buy a ladder or mattress in Atlanta . Just go to one of the interstates and you will soon find one in the middle of the road.

The last thing you want to do is give another driver the finger, unless your car is armored, your trigger finger is itchy and your AK-47 has a full clip.

Possums sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Georgia .

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Georgia , plus a couple no one has seen before.

If it grows, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites. If you notice a vine trying to wrap itself around your leg, you have about 20 seconds to escape, before you are completely captured and covered with Kudzu.

It's not a shopping cart, it's a buggy.
"Fixinto" is one word (I'm fixinto go to the store) - also can be pronounced "Fixinta".

Sweet Tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're 2 years old.

"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning "Did you eat?"
"How's Momma-nem" means: "How's Mother and all of the other children and other members of the family doing?"

If you understand these jokes, forward them to your friends from Atlanta , Georgia , and those who just wish they were....  

Note: Author unknown. But I think they live just off of Peachtree.

Keep smiling and remember... 

~Enjoy the Journey


Monday, January 24, 2011


Last Thursday I had the great honor of speaking at the Everett Golf and Country Club to the local Zonta chapter.  Each year their club celebrates Amelia Aerhart by inviting a woman flyer to speak at their January luncheon. This year--- it was me! Such an honor. And yes--- Amelia was a Zontian!

Amelia Aerhart

Judith Strand, the Program  Chair for the Zonta Club of Everett, opened the door to an amazing organization that I never knew existed. They were a delightful group and made my first speaking engagement such a pleasure.

As these women introduced themselves they said, "Hello, my name is.... and, "I am...." I am a doctor. I am a writer. I am a CPA. I am! Their strength, wisdom, and intelligence filled the room.

Then it occurred to me that because of these women, and the 31,000 other Zontians worldwide, that there are women in the world today who can say, "I am!"


Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. With more than 31,000 members belonging to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 65 countries and geographic areas, Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects, as well as scholarship programs aimed at fulfilling Zonta's mission and objectives.


  • To improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy.
  • To work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions.
  • To promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • To be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, to implement service programs, and to provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations, and the world.
Zonta International, its districts and its clubs are nonsectarian and nonpartisan.

"About Zonta International" and "Objectives" were cut from their website, and pasted to this post. To learn more about Zonta, please click  Here

I'm excited to say that my new friend, Jean Ann French, invited me to join the new Kirkland chapter. Yes, I am going to be a Zontian!  Thank you all for a fantastic experience, I'm looking forward to many more! Life is all about giving back, and you're living strong. 31,000 strong!

But first I have to perform RTGS - Recurrent Training Ground School today.

Announcement: This weekend I finished the final revision of my novel, Flight For Control. My grandson slept and I stayed up all night, but it's done! Tomorrow I can start on my series.

Have a wonderful day!

~Enjoy the Journey

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gail Schipper

Friday's Fabulous Flyer~ 

Gail Schipper
Yesterday I was honored to speak at an Amelia Earhart luncheon with the women of  www.ZONTA.  Monday I'll tell you more about that--- But today's Friday Flyer resonates the importance of mentors, and the power behind encouragement.

Gail never gave up and today she soars... because of the words of a role model who made her believe she could. 

Buckform: Formation with  husband, Blakesburg Antique Airplane Flying, 2009

Gail has been flying since 1993--- licensed since 1995--- and the day before her wedding she took her  check ride for her private "power" license. A great wedding present to both the bride and groom.

She said that she wanted to fly ever since her uncle took her flying as an add-on in the back seat to a ride for her father, when she was around 10 years old---  

"He flew some parabolas so I could experience zero g's and float a can of oil in the back seat. I loved it! However, with zero role models for women flying I was quickly discouraged by my 'lack of ability' diagnosed at lesson #2 and gave up on getting my license." 

First Flight: After first test flight in the Jungmann with a new engine
After she graduated school Gail met a Swiss woman at a workplace wine-tasting party and discovered that she was about to get her license. That's when she realized,  "I could try again to be a pilot."  At her new friend's celebration party for her private license Gail met the man who would teach her how to fly gliders--- and more than thermals were in the air, but love, and they became husband and wife.

GaildoedoAPA: With my husband, Doedo
"Since then, aviation has been a big part, and the best part, of my life. It was a great pleasure that I was able to take my uncle flying just a couple years before he died."

Gail and her husband worked their way through owning a share in an Aeronca Champ, to owning their own Cessna 170, and now, their current airplane, a Bücker Jungmann.

Field orientation at Bartlesville

"Having terrible eyesight and an unfortunately long learning curve for psycho-motor skills I never considered having a career in aviation. Flying is my hobby, my sanity and my only saving grace from being an unrelenting introverted nerd. My husband, with endless support and patience, taught me to fly gliders, then power, then to fly aerobatics."

Flying home from Blakesburg over NE with a nice cloud layer

"That said, I truly love the way being a pilot empowers me. There is nothing that makes my day more than going flying. 20 minutes of aerobatics can resolve the worst mood, shrink a bad day to nothing and put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. And believe me, if I can learn to fly a reverse cuban, anyone can!"

Jungmann pikes peak

"I've been a member of the 99s for 14 years and the ladies I've met there, as well as the fabulous ladies who flew in the early 20th century have inspired me more than I can say. Bessie Coleman, Beryl Markham and Pancho Barnes are heros to me. I have a small collection of books by or about women aviators of the last century. There are so many inspiring stories. Ann Welch, Amy Johnson, Gladys Buroker, Cornial Fort... "

"There are so many women who had such wonderful courage and amazing stories. When you read the story of the 1929 Women's Air Race, aka Powderpuff Derby, (Gene Nora Jessen's book) you can't help but marvel over what incredible women these were. Yet what they experienced is still there for anyone to find. Louise Thaden wrote "There is nothing nicer than flying in a good airplane over pretty country on a beautiful day--you just feel so good, so exuberant, so, oh, I don't know but there is a feeling that you would like to beat yourself on the chest and emit several howls a la Tarzan, pure joy of being alive." 

When I fly, I know exactly what Louise meant. I think everyone should experience it, even just once, to break free from the earth and celebrate being able to fly!"

Best Flights:  Acro to start or end the day, flying formation with my husband, trips to aviation events flying formation with friends.
Gail is the example of why mentors are important, and believing in the power of women in large groups... 99! Encourage and support someone to fulfill their dreams today. You, too, will make a difference! She made a difference Flying It Forward during the Centennial of Women Pilots events. 

Enjoy the Journey! 

~ Karlene

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week

During the Centennial campaign, pilots worldwide introduced 1,647 girls and women to flying in 29 countries on 4 continents--- that’s 2% of the current worldwide female pilot population.

Renton Airport introduced 407 of those 1,647 girls and women to become the most female-pilot-friendly airport in the United States and 1st runner up in the World.

“Forever new frontiers”

In 1910, Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot license worldwide. To celebrate the Centennial of Women Pilots (, Mireille Goyer initiated a campaign encouraging pilots to introduce a record number of girls and women to flying. 

We Are At it Again! 

As we build upon last year’s successful campaign, we are celebrating...

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week  

March 7th -13th 2011
The celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week includes several challenges. Prizes are offered to participating pilots and passengers.  

While the percentage of women doctors, women lawyers, and police women went from nearly 0% to around 25% in the last 100 years, the percentage of women pilots has stagnated at around 6% for decades. Recent studies have shown that some of the greatest hurdles for girls considering flying as a career are a lack of role models as well as a lack of marketing effort targeting girls and women.

You Can Make a Difference! 

What can you do to FLY IT FORWARD?  

Click HERE to see what Victoria Neuville is doing on March 12th!

And prepare for the launching of....

 "Women With Wings"

Katie and Lauren

Do you think Renton Airport will be planning something? I'm feeling it!

If you want to help with our event, please let me know.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Furloughs... what's the impact?

Tom from NYC writes...

I read your blog website and you are a lucky person to fly and do what you like best. Could you write something about furloughs that a pilot goes through on your blog?

I read many blogs and others don't recommend this career to their kids. Pay no job stability etc. Airlines merging etc. Don't know if you will be hired by an airline and if you are hired how long will you work there etc. Were you ever furloughed in your career?

I found this website maybe you read it already about Commercial Airline pilot best career in 2011.  Please read the comments of others what they say in this field.  True

Click Here to read the article.

Tom, Thank you so much for the great questions.

Yes, I have been furloughed. But that furlough pushed me out the door to attend my interview with Northwest Airlines. The best thing that could have happened.

Had I stayed, I would have been on the street when Tower Air officially closed it's doors for good--- Behind a few hundred other people. I would have given up a couple thousand seniority numbers with NWA--- if they hired me a year later.

I wasn't furloughed at Braniff, but I ended up on the street after they shut down. I'm thinking the furlough was better. Furlough--- Job competition is fierce. Supply is much higher than demand.

Can a furlough be a good thing? Sometimes. It provides the opportunity to get another job before the business goes away. You get a jump start in the job market, before the thousands of pilots ahead of you.

What does a furlough really mean? It means you don't have a job. You aren't sure if you should go somewhere else--- what if they call you back? You'd hate to give up that seniority. But you need to support your family.

For some it means--- time to move on. To others it means--- life is not fair.

Is it different to be furloughed as a pilot than any other job? Perhaps. Flying not just a job for some, but a passion. It's a career that has taken a ton of money, time and energy to achieve. For those who've never called in sick, gave their heart and soul to their company, and gave up time with their families to cover trips--- a furlough becomes very personal. A betrayal. It hurts. It's frustrating. Fearful for most.

And then we ask--- What job is stable these days? Tomorrow, today's technology is already obsolete. What company will be around in thirty years? The publishing houses are changing as I write. Will our great grandchildren have books they can touch? We don't know the future.

The angst of pilots who don't recommend the job to their kids, who are against it, and fear mergers--- what can I say? They've obviously been betrayed by their career of choice. For those of us who still love it--- why? The answer to that question is personal....
Freedom. Control. Accomplishment. The view. Time off. Travel....

No doubt times have changed. I'm amazed in the thirty-one years that I've been flying how much is different. I still think it's a good job. It could be a great job if TSA didn't have to touch me before every flight. Seriously...

What would I tell my children to do?
Exactly what I've always said, "Do what you love."  

One of My Rules:
  • Never do anything only for the money.
If you do -- be prepared for it to go away. And when it does, you'll be bitter that you "sold" your life to the highest bidder.

Money is great... but first you have to do what you love. Flying is a passion. A way of life. The job provides so many good things. Sometimes it's exhausting, frustrating, and I wonder what in the heck I'm doing. But then--- I'm in the sky, and somehow it all makes sense.

Is the article correct? It's all about perspective.

Thank you for the questions Tom. 

How about you? Have you ever been furloughed? What's your experience?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Most Female Friendly Airport in the United States!

 Renton Airport
March 8 1910, Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot license in the world. In September of the same year, Bessica Medlar Raiche, a Wisconsin native, became the first woman to solo an airplane on the American continent.

One hundred years later, to celebrate the achievements of these trailblazing women, pilots worldwide took to the sky. We introduced 1647 girls and women to the joys of flying in 29 countries on 4 continents, thanks to Mireille Goyer --- Centennial Of Women Pilots sponsored event. 

On January 30th everyone posted their current numbers. On January 31st, we were 75 people in the lead for the world title. But despite our best efforts, we at Renton airport were unable to bring home the award for the Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the World. That title is now held by Oshawa Canada with a total of 475 flights. 

Congratulations Oshawa and all that flew--- You did great!
  • Renton Airport is 1st runner up for the world record
  • Renton holds the title of Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the United States
  • We flew 407 flights.  Remember... we didn't begin our campaign until December 5th. The rest of the world began on March 6th. I'm thinking we also hold the record for the most women flown in a given month.  
  • Renton set the current World Record for most girls and women introduced to flying in one day, at one location--- standing at 173 flights. 

Kpong Field in Ghana earned the title of Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in Ghana and 2nd runner up in the World with a total of 97 flights.

The Most Dedicated Woman Pilot in the World is:

Amanda, a helicopter pilot and instructor in Seattle, WA, United States--- Classic Helicopters at Boeing Airport--- conducted a total of 119 flights. 67 of these flights took place at Renton Airport, on New Year’s Eve, thanks to  Greg Baker and  Classic Helicopters

Amanda and  Greg Baker
Allie Dunnington of Bristol, England, the 1st runner up, introduced a total of 65 girls and women to flying throughout the year in 3 countries... In a Balloon.

Flying her own Cessna 172, Lesely Page, of Oshawa, Canada, the 2nd runner up, overcame her aversion for taking passengers and introduced 54 girls and women to the joys of flying. She and her husband, Jeff Page, conducted a total of 76 introductory flights making them the most dedicated couple.

The Most Supportive Male Pilot in the World in 2010 was Andrei Floroiu of New York, NY, United States. As a part of Andre's Fly For MS campaign, with the help of Keith Siilats and their entire FLYforMS team, he introduced 157 girls and women to flying. He allowed them to leave their medical conditions on the ground, if only for a moment, as they took to the sky.

During our record setting event at Renton, on December 5 2010, Peter Morton of Renton, WA, United States, flew a Cirrus SR20 tirelessly and continued to introduce more girls and women to flying for the reminder of the year. 

Peter Morton
Peter conducted 45 introductory flights to become the 1st runner up for Most Supportive Male Pilot. 

Also, in Renton, WA, United States, Dick Smith onboard his Cessna 180, flew the first and last flights during the Renton Airport's record setting event on December 5th,  to introduce 43 girls and women to flying and is the 2nd runner up for Most Supportive Male Pilot. 

Dick actually flew 54 women. But some of our women took an airplane flight and a Helicopter flight with Emily, so he didn't get credit for all he flew. But he was our last man standing. And he was the first person who said, "Sure, I'd love to help."

Dick Smith

In the Most Unusual Introductory Flight category, people voted and selected a winner. 

With 184 votes, Clark Morawetz of Oshawa, ON, Canada conducted the 2010 Most Unusual Introductory Flight, a flight that included a marriage proposal that almost went wrong. 

183 people selected Sharon Ttinkler of Tullahoma, TN, United States. Sharon introduced her best friend to flying in a vintage Luscombe 11A and ran in some problems with the tachometer. 

103 people chose Sharon Theodorelos of Dayton, OH, United States, who conducted her most unusual introductory flight in 1930 WACO RNF.

“The ultimate winners were the hundreds of girls and women who discovered flying thanks to this campaign. May they fly forward the gift they received,” says Mireille Goyer, the Centennial of Women Pilots campaign organizer.  

“Flying gives me the feeling of being carefree and all worries seem to disappear while in the air. Kind of like a piece of heaven looking over everyone. Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” said Meredith, a lady introduced to flying in Oshawa, ON, Canada.

“She's not even two. She blew kisses to the other airplanes on the way down, and talked about the flight the whole way home. I know the experience will stay with her, and with us, for a long time to come,” said Nikki who flew with her daughter in Renton, WA, USA.

All our pilots are winners!

Your contribution is etched in history and in the minds and hearts of the women you flew. In addition to our pilot winners from above, please meet the rest of the flying team. 

Emily Winter Hiller
Doug DeVries

Amanda Sargent
Mark Gaponoff

Glen Wooldridge
Tom Gwilym
Jay Sakas

Joyce Rust
Karlene Petitt

I only flew two people on the 31st -- but that gave me status to be on the pilot list. 

Thank you everyone! If you haven't already done so--- click on the names in blue to read incredible stories on these amazing people. My prize was to have the opportunity to meet you all--- and remember what it feels like to fly!

Enjoy the Journey~