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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, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Today's Color Alert: RED, WHITE and BLUE

In memory and honor of all those who have sacrificed 
in the name of freedom... 

Thank you!

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christine Hollingsworth Friday’s Fabulous Flyer!

“Alias Sherlock”
I'm a Private Pilot!
And fabulous this lady she is. She flew into my life on December 5th 2010, which also happens to be her birthday, when she joined us at our first Fly it Forward event in December. She was down at the dock flying in our famous Beaver… while a birthday cake awaited up at BEFA headquarters. Yes… she got a piece. 173 women flew that day. I didn't have time for cake or the opportunity to get to know Christine, but that certainly has changed.  

That was her 20th birthday, but you would never know it. She has the youthful look and exuberance of someone quarter her age, and the skill, talent, and wisdom of someone twice my age. She is funny, passionate and loves planes and anything to do with aviation. 

She was born in Henderson Nevada, but has lived in Las Vegas her entire life. In the fall of 2009 she moved to Tacoma, Washington, to attend UPS, and has lived on campus until May of this year.

She started out majoring in English with a minor in communications, but recently changed her major. Why? Well, sometimes plans change when you realize its time to follow your passion.

“I was planning to be a book editor. ‘Funny how that worked out for me.’ It didn’t take long before I realized analyzing older literature didn’t appeal to me, and after taking a class in communication, I knew I would never be able to go any further in it. It was my least favorite class that semester. This January I officially made English my minor and switched my major to computer science, hoping for a big change, and I got it. It’s tough, but I like the logic of it, and there is actually a lot more creativity involved in programming than there appears to be on the surface. My real career plan is to be a pilot, but if for some reason that doesn’t workout, I would like to be able to work on the navigation and glass cockpit systems of airplanes. Anything related to airplanes.”

Funny how her initial career as a book editor worked out for me, too. I’m smiling all the way to getting published. She is a fantastic editor! She’s got it figured out, and knows what she's doing. And her writing… wow. How did Christine ended up being my editor? I read her blog and told her she should be a writer... her words sang on the page. That's when she told me about her training, and I asked if I could hire her to edit my books.

Editing is a perfect job for Christine because it works with her life and schedule. Attending college full-time and taking flying lessons while working is no easy task. She needed a job that could be flexible. She's currently taking other manuscripts too.

More talent...

Christine has been in the band since fourth grade. She plays mainly the clarinet, but her “real baby” is the bass clarinet. She says, “It’s under-appreciated for how stunning it sounds.”

Where did she get the nickname Sherlock?

“My best friend, Kristen, and I were both in the pit orchestra for a musical at our high school. We had nothing to do while our teacher was working with the brass section, and she told us to look for parts that weren’t being played and figure out what to do with them. For some reason, thinking of going on epic searches for missing musicians, the first thing that came to mind was, “You mean like Sherlock Holmes?” and Kristen yelled, “I want to be Watson!” So ever since, then we’ve been Sherlock and Watson. It was before the movie came out, too, so that was ten times more exciting for us.”

May 14th... deep in thought... what is she thinking?

Back to Flying…

Christine’s dad is a pilot too, though not professionally. He holds instrument and multi ratings and flies high-performance and complex aircraft. You could say her dad inspired her and taught her good study habits. When Christine was learning to read her dad was getting an instrument rating at the same time, so she ended up helping him study by reading "huge" words that she didn't understand. That would be short lived. 

Christine with dad Jim

One of Christine’s first flights, with her mom and dad, she remembers her mom accidentally opening a window while they were in the clouds and it started snowing in the plane. "I screamed because I thought I was going to drop my stuffed Simba out of the window, and secondarily that we might die. That kind of leaves an impression on a child.

She remembers her dad taking her to Oshkosh in 2001, when she was ten years old. The first plane she really noticed was the C-17, Globemaster, parked in the middle of the ramp. She pointed to it and said, "I want one!" 

Flying in these early years wasn’t something that she thought she could do. In fifth grade glasses found their way to her face, and she thought pilots had to have “perfect” eyesight. She also said, “I was told fairly often that girls didn’t fly airplanes, and so it didn’t grab my attention for a long time. I turned to horseback riding instead. This is Velvet, my Czech Warmblood and sweetheart.”

In 2009... back to Oshkosh they flew, and this time it opened Christine’s eyes to another world.

“The airshow on Saturday was an all-woman pilots show, and it was one of the greatest things I ever saw. I wanted to start flying once I got home, but since it was just before we were about to send me off to my freshman year of college, it got pushed to the back burner once again.

P51... another dream plane

This year I decided to go for it. I started at Northwest Aviation College at the end of September, flying out of Auburn Airport. Everything started out smoothly, but my training hit some turbulence so to speak, because I ended up scaring a total of four instructors away into new jobs in just seven months. If you want a new job inside of three months, just go flying with me. The only catch it has to be related to the word “Alaska,” whether it’s moving there or flying for them. Or being from there and moving to Vegas like Emily Hiller did. One of my classmates in commercial ground just got a job in Alaska, so apparently just sitting next to me long enough has the same effect.”

Her future!

What is her favorite thing about flying?

“Being in control of everything. I can go out and preflight a plane, get the weather, figure out the weight and balance, fill it with fuel, fly it to the coast, eat lunch, and come back with time for a touch-and-go at SeaTac without somebody needing to tell me what to do or how to do it.”

“I’m not naturally a confident person, but flying and spending time around other pilots in general have helped me relax and learn what I’m really capable of doing. My instructor, Jesse, and I are in an ongoing race to see who can land at SeaTac more often. He’s ahead of me by two now since he was going with me, but I’ll catch up.” 

Not the hugger, but Jesse made an exception for his favorite student!

The funny thing is… I have been based in Seattle for 10 months… and I’ve landed at SeaTac twice. I think Christine is up to five landings now, and she just got her private license! I'm losing the SeaTac landing race.

Her biggest struggle?

“Convincing people I’m a pilot despite the fact that they just watched me land smoothly, nail the first taxiway, and park outside the restaurant at Hoquiam. I’ve heard a few instances of guys having issues with girls who fly, but I haven’t really been around it enough to experience much of that personally. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge. I’m planning to become an instructor, and I’ve seen a few guys who have problems taking lessons from girls, but really, if you can’t show them you know what you’re doing, they’re not going to change their minds about it just base on your gender, well, do we really want more people like that flying anyway?”

First Flight as a licensed Pilot with Karen

No! We don’t. And… in general aviation, I don’t remember ever flying with any pilot who didn’t want to fly with a girl. In addition, I’m meeting more men who say their best instructors were women.

Christine is a member of the Ninety-Nines, an association made up of women pilots. The Seattle 99 chapter has been incredibly supportive and understanding of Christine's attempts to accomplish flight training while in college. They recently awarded her a $2000 flight training scholarship. How did she get this? She made herself stand out. Which I attest is an understatement in Christine’s case. Her suggestion for other people to get scholarships is continue with your training beyond the private license. "You'll have a better chance if you can prove you want to use the money to reach your goal and then start giving back to the people who made it possible."

Emily Biss, Boeing Test Pilot and 99 honored Christine

What does a woman who is passionate about planes do? She hangs out at the airport! She joined me to watch our friend Hannah take to the skies in a B-17~

Hannah and Christine

She also volunteers to help out when she can. She joined me at our fly it forward events. December 5th she flew a Beaver on floats. A Happy Birthday it was.

December 5th Christine flies my favorite plane~

Our May 14th flying event was a filled with fun in the sky for her. She flew the Cirrus… when she wasn't kissing it. Seriously I think they’re having a relationship. 

Yeah, she says she was testing the stall warning... but I know better.

She did some aerobatics in the Citabria… her suggestion: "Definitely try to find an instructor with a good aerobatic plane and do some spins at a point fairly early in your training. It's good to be able to recognize what they look like so you won't get too disoriented to save yourself if you do end up in one unexpectedly."

Christine with Rochelle... she didn't even puke when they went upside down

She helped out friend Amanda Sargent take a helicopter to Paine Field for General Aviation Day. Christine got to fly the R44 for free as long as she helped load people all day while she gave rides. "It was totally worth it."

Ready for Take off!

Christine is an only child, but her family appears to be growing."After being at flight school for seven or eight months, I felt like I have a whole other slightly dysfunctional family. I've started to understand that my time with them can be rather limited, though, as people cycle through the school on a regular basis, so I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can."

Dysfunctional family did this to her shirt when she soloed.

You will always be a part of my family, Christine. I’m so glad to know you and work with you. Soon we will be flying together, too. I see a purple plane in our future. Thank you for keeping the passion of flight alive, and motivating me. Last night I did 4 landings in a Cessna. :) 

If anyone wants to discuss flying, being a woman pilot, or anything plane-related in general, leave a comment on her blog: Sherlock Holms Flies Planes Too 

Also... for any writers who want that polishing touch on your manuscript,  please email Christine at  She will edit your book, too. Trust me, she is outstanding.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Medicine on the Move... Coming to the U.S.

Medicine On the Move
is changing lives one flight at a time!

Jonathan Porter and Patricia Mawuli-Nyekodzi will spread their wings and touch the lives of people across America July 18th - August 18th. My friends from Ghana, who are making a difference, are coming to the U.S. I hope you will have the opportunity to meet these motivating and inspirational people. In the mean time, I'm trying to get to Ghana.

Medicine on the Move is changing lives.... one flight at a time.

Join Patricia and Jonathan on their Journey:

Jonathan sharing the gift of reading

Driven by a calling, Jonathan Porter built an airport, started a school to teach girls how to build aircraft, and he's teaching them how to fly. He gave life to Medicine on the Move "MoM" to help West Africans survive, learn, and grow, by flying doctors, nurses, and medical supplies into rural areas. He is giving the gift of education to West Africans and has dedicated his life to helping others. He is a man who is following his calling.

Patricia... Inspiring and educating others

Patricia heard that call drift with the wind. She wandered from the bush looking toward the sky as she followed a plane to her destiny. Before Jonathan had realized that the young women of Ghana were intelligent, dedicated, and hard working, he had her cutting down brush and moving stones. It wasn't long until his eyes were opened wide and Patricia was be teaching other young ladies how to build aircraft. Patricia learned to fly, literally and figuratively, and she is paying it forward.

Their Journey:

July 18th: Accra to Atlanta

Ben and Michaela open their home in Atlanta.

Ben and Michaela

Michaela tells me she spent the majority of her life in Ghana, and about 6 months ago Jonathan asked her if she'd return and head up MoM in its Health Education and Community Health efforts. With her Ghana connection, and a Masters in Public Health, she was an excellent choice. She recently took her fiance, Ben, to Ghana to introduce him to the culture and explore how he felt about moving there.

In Atlanta, Michaela will be assisting Patricia and Jonathan in knocking on doors and meeting organizations in Atlanta who might be interested in what they're doing in Ghana. Their plans are to visit the Carter Center, and drop in on folks Michaela knows within CARE, Emory University, and Global Health Action, to discuss their efforts to reduce poverty by investing in women and girls, which parallels their activities with WAASPS and MoM.

July 21st: Atlanta to Cedar Rapids

Their destination is Wilton Iowa, but Cedar Rapids, or Quad Cities international in Moline Illinois will work. Who will they meet? Clay. The man with a great sense of humor.

Clay Hollenback

Clay Hollenback tells me he's excited to meet Jonathan and Patricia since he's worked with them for over a year and has yet to meet them in person. This visit will also give them a few days to rest after their long journey before they head to Oshkosh.

CH 750

Patricia and Jonathan have also offered to help Clay work on his CH 750. Apparently Patricia is anxious to get her hands on the new CH 750 kit. I think Clay is working on getting them a ride in a home-built high-performance aerobat, and he's scheduling a meeting with the local 99 chapter. I hope the 99's find it in their hearts to provide a scholarship for one of the Av Tech girls... I wouldn't put it past them. Clay is also working on a visit to the Control Tower.

Patricia was the first woman and the first black African to obtain the “coveted” Rotax Aircraft Engines certification, after her training and assessment in Austria with Rotax Aircraft Engines at the Regional Innovation Centre, near Linz.

They, too, will be at Oshkosh and have invited Patricia to be a Guest/Motivational Speaker in the RFSC booth.

Last but not least... Zenith Aircraft Company is high on the list of the Oshkosh Adventure. What would they do without Sebastien's hospitality? Patricia and Jonathan will be based at the Zenith stand at Oshkosh, and Sebastien Heintz, the man behind Zenith Aircraft, is also providing their housing.

Sebastien Heintz, owner of Zenith Aircraft Company, has been supplying the design and materials, and semi-finished parts, for the aircraft the girls build in Ghana. He's a key factor in their continued success, and I am looking forward to meeting him, too.

Thanks to a GREAT company. Click HERE if you want to purchase an airplane kit from Zenith. I'm thinking about it.

July 25-July 31: Oshkosh 2011 AirVenture

July 25th is also my grandson's due date. The fact that my daughter lives in Chicago, may leave an opportunity to sneak up there and meet these wonderful people.

Oshkosh will be an awareness raising event as well as research. They're looking at amphibian solutions and working on supply chain issues. They also hope to get some sponsors. I'm hoping they have an incredible time. They need a little fun!

August 7th: Cedar Rapid to San Francisco

In San Francisco Patricia and Jonathan will be meeting with the incredible couple: Rex and Melissa Pemberton. Rex and Melissa spent five weeks in Ghana speaking and encouraging students, and Melissa flew about 28 children in their "Fly Me Day."

This woman is truly the "sports gal." She climbs mountains, flies planes, and skydives. Melissa is also donating revenues from her airshow. If you missed it... click on her name and check out this awesome woman.

Rex Pemberton created the trailer to Medicine on the Move's documentary. This is a must see!

Please click The Calling

This will touch your life as it did mine. Then go back and click on Rex and check out this inspiring man. I do believe that Melissa and Rex are a match made in heaven.

Rex Pemberton motivating others

Jonathan and Patricia's California visit will enable them to discuss future flight training for their girls with the flying school associated with Rex and Melissa. Patricia is also scheduled to speak at the Ebusua Summer Ball. I think for those in the San Francisco area you must attend.

August 14th: San Francisco to Atlanta

August 18th: Atlanta to Ghana

A few days with Ben and Michaela to follow up on their previous contacts and they'll return to Ghana.

Their trip begins in less than two months... and they need help. While they're working on Patricia's passport, they are gathering financial support. Travel is their biggest expense.

Patricia and Jonathan need help with travel. They give their lives unconditionally to the people in Ghana ... if anyone can help them with travel on this important journey... YOU would be doing a very good thing!

Please visit: Medicine on the Move

And take a moment to see the impact Jonathan has made on these young ladies:

Patricia Mawuli Nyekodzi
Lydia Westi
Nyekodzi Emmanuelle Mawunyo
Ciara Thompson
Juliet Kuruwaa

To have a calling, has to be the greatest feeling on earth. Imagine... knowing why you're here.

Those interested in supporting their exciting projects, financially, through volunteer work, providing air-travel, or in other ways should contact:

Patricia Mawuli on +233 28 501 8028 or
by e-mail to

If you would like to contact Jonathan Porter you can e-mail him at

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nyekodzi Emmanuelle Mawunyo: Why I Want To Fly

Nyekodzi Emmanuelle Mawunyo is my name. I am a girl of 18 years old. I come from a town called Mepe in the Votal Region, Ghana. I attended Kpong Evangelical Presbyterian School. I got to know about WAASPS, an aviation company through Mr. Porter who came frequently to visit my father. After my education, I decided to join WAASPS. Whilst in WAASPS, I removed stones and tree stumps on the runway. I worked with WAASPS for a while. 

Nyekodzi Emmanuelle Mawunyo

Why I want to fly

The first time I was asked get into one of the planes to experience what goes on in the air; was a memorable day for me. It was the happiest moment in my life.   

Whilst we were flying I saw a lot of towns, villages and other structures. It was so interesting to view the earth from above. At first I was so scared because the aircraft in which I flew did not have doors. But this didn’t discourage me at all I always yearned to have another special time in the plane.

So, luckily for me, not long after I developed the interest to fly, Aviation Technology Academy a flying school was introduced and I was enrolled in this school.

I really love flying because I enjoy it. Every time I get a ride in a plane it gives me joy. I get pleasure from my lessons. When I am scheduled for a lesson I am filled with a desire to learn which stems from my love for aircrafts. 

In Ghana most of the villages in the Volta region where I come from are located very close to water bodies. The rivers serve as their source of drinking water and it is also used for other domestic activities but it is well maintained.  I would want to fly to these villages to help educate them on the harmful effects of bilharzias. And talk to them about how to prevent it. 

I would like to help people from backgrounds like mine, to improve aviation in Ghana. This would be through working with my school after I complete, to train more girls. 

I would also travel around my country to expose many more students across the country to aviation.  I want to fly to help sick people and villages by joining Medicine on the Move to give them first aid.

I want to educate my people on the various ailments that plague us. I teach my people to keep their surroundings clean so that they can live in good health to contribute their quota to the country. I want to fly to help fly sick people who cannot receive medical attention in my country to other countries where they can be treated.

I would like to train to be an aerobatic pilot. I would like to experience the forces of gravity in spins, rolls and maneuvers that constitute aerobatics. This will bring a lot of achievements to bring a lot of achievement to Ghana.  

I also want to fly to encourage young Ghanaians through my flying to set goals for themselves and to make them know that they can do more than I can and they can make a difference too. As a pilot engineer I would like to help the aviation sector with my skills in engineering to help improve aviation in Ghana as a whole.

I would like to fly to explore many countries and visit the famous places in the world.   

Emmanuelle I have no doubt you will accomplish all your dreams...Travel the world, help the people of Ghana, soar to new heights. You are an inspiration and are making a difference.

Keep dreaming big and always remember to say, "I can!" 

If you can fly, you can do anything. 

Thank you ladies of Ghana. Your passion of aviation, your love of your country, and care for your neighbors have already made you a great success.

Keep smiling. Keep dreaming. Keep flying. 

I'm looking forward to meeting you all soon! Lydia, prayers are with you and your pending surgery. You will be spreading those wings to fly again real soon.

 Ciara - Juliet - Emanuella and Lydia with a CH701 copy
Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene