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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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why do you fly?

The inciting incident of my life occurred when my girlfriend said,  "You can't be a pilot ... Girls can't do that!"  At the age of nine--- those were fighting words.

Sisters who teased me and said, "you'll never be a pilot," fueled my determination. The challenge was on.

The first time I took to the sky in a Cessna 172, I thought...

  "Wow! They're going to pay me to do this?" 

I was hooked, and the journey began.

Why do I continue to fly?

Yes, it's my job....but it's more than work. Flying shrinks the world. My career enables me to learn, grow, and explore cities and countries that I otherwise wouldn't have had the chance. I also get to fly really cool planes--- for free! I'm not going to complain, on reserve there are times when I have lots of time off, too, and they actually pay me.

Without a doubt, I have the more gorgeous views out my office window.


Moving into the second half of my life, I've discovered another passion--writing.

Once again I'm told,  "You won't get published, it's far too hard." More fighting words. Besides, living in a fantasy world is nothing short of magical.

How can we not be successful when we find what we love and do it? 
It's all about the passion. 

Why do you fly? 
Why do you write? 
What makes your life magical?

Make each moment count--- Do what you love and find your passion.
Enjoy the Journey



  1. Hi Karlene, loved this post - and wrote recently about the power of words to evoke feelings. For me it was about John Gillespie Magee Jnr's High Flight. When I think of it:
    I am instantly six years old and excited-breathless in the Cessna with my mother at the Lusaka Flying Club. She has brought a cushion for me, an improvised booster-seat, so that I can see everything just as she does. She calls me the co-pilot, and teaches me the pre-flight checks while my friends are learning nursery rhymes and being coaxed into stiff-petticoated Saturday afternoon party dresses...

    Sadly I can't fly any longer due to middle-ear balance problems, but I still love being up there whenever I can

  2. Getting published IS hard, but I have no doubt you'll do it. If you can learn to fly those giant hunks of heavy metal through the air, you can learn to put together a compelling book, and you have!

  3. Serendipity put me in a seat next to you as a passenger. You are my example when people say, "Can't." I wish more people would say and do, "Can." :)

  4. Karen, I love your story. Your mom gave you a great gift. I'm so sorry you can no longer fly. I suspect you are--- just not in a plane.

  5. Thank you for your confidence Linda! I think something Syd said... it's a confidence builder. If you can fly, it takes the fear out of all else.

  6. Hi Eva! What a great surprise. Yes... serendipity for sure. I use to think can't was bad. Now I eat it for lunch. Fewer calories than chocolate!

  7. Them are fightin words! I love it! Karlene, you are such a huge inspiration to so many people. You're right, we have to turn that negativity into inspiration and let it push us even harder!

  8. Thank you Karlene, great post. As a not current private pilot and glider pilot I long to share aviation with my two young kids and let them experience the magic I have been a part of and miss.

  9. Hi,Karlene san.I love your picture from sky.especially ALPS,Greenland!!
    Thank you Karlene san for giving opportunity to share why I want to be an airline pilot.Let me share why I want to fly.
    I dream of becoming airline pilot.

    I have 3 reasons to be an airline pilot.

    1. Since child,I felt excited when We arrived at destinations.
    Also when I board airplane.I thought pilot is cool because
    they can operate such a big metal.So First reason is if I
    become pilot,I can deliver these kind of feeling to

    2 When I board airplane, I am very proud of pilot's
    responsibility. They should have huge amount
    of responsibility to fly safety.Because passenger has
    their life, family,dream,many things.In real
    life,almost all pilot can fly safety.That is why I proud of
    pilot's responsibility.

    3 Why not the Self-Defense Force pilot?
    Although I do respect self -defense -Force pilot,I do want
    to fly with passenger.This is my dream. I think dream is
    depend on the person.But My dream is to be an airline
    pilot. I can say proudly that.

    Never give up to be airline pilot:D

    Have a good day
    Best regards,

  10. Thank you Heather. Don't we love those fighting words! Nothing will keep us down. YOU inspire me! Thank you.

  11. Hi Kevin, I am sure you will find a way to share something you love with your children. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment.

  12. Jun, after watching your video....

    I know you will achiever your dreams! I actually knew that would before the video based on your writings. You are focused, have strong values, and are an inspiration. Keep doing what you're doing and you will go far. You will become an airline pilot, because you follow your dreams.

    Thank you for an incredible comment.

  13. Thanks for nice comment Karlene san. I know I cannot achieve my dream without family ,friends and my endeavor. I will do my best to absorb many knowledge and do experience.

    Meeting passion people all over the world is very nice:D
    Have a good day:)
    best regards,

  14. Hi, Karlene!

    Seems like the "Why do we fly?" question keeps coming up. Our friend Tori asked it lately on her blog and provoked me to write THIS.

    Keep the shiny side up,


  15. Jun you are very welcome! Have a beautiful day!

  16. Frank what a beautiful post! I love this. Isn't that a great question? Tori is a special lady! We all have reasons... Friday is another from my Fabulous Flyer. She's incredible.

  17. I love your photos and the passion you have for flight - fabulous!

  18. What can I say? Thank you Minister! So kind.


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