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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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fabulous Flyer and BOOK Giveaway

Sally Ketchum

Imagine a little girl born in rural East Texas, growing up on a dirt farm with a God-fearing, ranting, father who lived with a bottle to his lips for the mistake he’d made by spawning this child. Dragging her to tent revivals to kill his demons, he punished her for his sins. Picture a little girl who had nothing but rags on her back, who would punch a little boy in the nose for making fun of her for not owning a pair of shoes. Imagine the early life of Sally Ketchum.

She didn’t own a pet. There weren’t toys in her life other than Sugar—a rag doll a relative made for her. The few friends she met at school would never see where she lived. Her best friends would become the books that she snuck into her home that would eventually break her free from the prison of ignorance and poverty in which she lived.

Sally was a lot like me in the fact that she watched clouds and daydreamed of having wings. Then one day her dreams came true. Tex, and his Jenny, flew into town and Tex fell in love with the woman he saw standing in front of him— Strong, direct, honest, and intelligent Sally Ketchum. He saw past the dirt and poverty. To Tex, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Looking into her soul, he saw a pilot.

Together they took to the skies.

The Jenny

Sally fell equally as hard for the man, the plane, and the freedom they gifted her. Unfortunately her six months of heaven barnstorming with her two loves would end abruptly when their Jenny crashes and she watches the loves of her life burn to death. Why was she spared this fateful crash? Her life was over. But in reality, it had just begun.

Sally Ketchum became a WASP.

WASP: Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Nothing in life is easy, especially breaking into the world of aviation for a woman, especially during the time of war. I know of the many struggles that the Women Airforce Service Pilots faced, but can only imagine living during that time. Sally’s life was just a glimpse of those challenges. But she got to do what she was born to do—Fly.


“Sally made a slight correction of stick and rudder to keep the PT-19 pointed arrow-straight toward the runway that waited approximately a mile ahead…She forced herself to loosen her grip on the PT’s stick… She instinctively advanced the throttle a smidgen to keep up her airspeed and the engine’s oil temperature… Nothing could go wrong now.”

Sally did fly, until her life was ended once again—Or had it just begun?

That determination will be yours.


“More than 25,000 young women volunteered for training as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Of the 1,830 who were accepted, 1,074 graduated. Almost all went on to fly many types of aircraft, from the smallest and slowest trainers to giant bombers and hot fighters. Missions ranged from ferrying aircraft to dispersal points for shipment overseas, to towing targets for student gunners firing live ammunition. Flight occurred in all kinds of weather, sometimes in worn-out aircraft returned from combat, or in machines fresh from the factory and making their first hop. These missions were often as dangerous as combat, and in fact thirty-eight WASP died. By war’s end, Women Airforce Service Pilots had flown sixty million miles in seventy-eight different types of aircraft.”

Karl Friedrich

Today’s Friday Flyer is in honor of Sally, the image of all the female flyers who called themselves WASP, for those who lost their lives, and those who survived like my friend Betty Blake, one of the first WASP. To read Betty’s story click HERE.

Betty Blake

If you would like to share the dream of flight, live the life of a WASP, and find yourself wrapped up in the life of Sally Ketchum, you must read WINGS by Karl Friedrich, A Novel of World War II Fly Girls.

Author Karl Friedrich

“Karl Friedrich has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine and public relations writer, advertising copywriter, and photographer. His many friends who fly military or commercial aircraft, and his lifelong fascination with women who achieve great accomplishments despite the displeasure of men, provided inspiration and impetus for Wings.”

Karl's experience writing, combined with his passion for story and love of aviation explodes on the pages of his novel, WINGS. I'm looking forward to joining Karl and his aviation buddies, as I’m told they often have discussions about the planes of today. Hopefully they all can be a Friday Flyer one day.

Thank you Karl for sharing a great story. Thank you for the gift of WINGS.

Readers... now you, too, can have the gift.


Sign up to follow my blog and leave a comment below.

One name will be randomly drawn from the comments below.

Make sure you check back on Tuesday November 1st to see if you're the winner.

Good Luck!

For those of you who can't wait, WINGS is available for purchase by clicking HERE

Or visit Karl to purchase an autographed copy for those aviators in your life by clicking on WINGS

What a great gift to give to the men and women with a heart and soul to fly.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. What a great story! Woman can rise above anything!

  2. I love this storyline and the time period is so interesting. I would love to win and read this book.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  3. Add me to the lust to win the book! If I win, I'll read it then pass it to someone else to read. ;-)


  4. Wow, Sally Ketchum's story is heartrending and inspiring--the stuff of great fiction for sure.

  5. What a sad, amazing story, it brought tears to my eyes. I love hearing about someone who overcomes such odds and such a tough upbringing to become a fantastic person who touches others. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  6. Cool story! You never learn about these brave women in history class, and they were such an important part of the war.

  7. Would like to have this book. Thanks for the chance.

  8. Puts our own struggles into perspective. Amazing story.

  9. I follow.

    I would love to read WINGS thank you!!


  10. It's amazing what she had to go through since early childhood to become so strong and so inspiring. This is such a sad, but at the same time, a heart-warming story.
    Wonderful post, Karlene. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. At the AOPA Aviation Summit in September, I met Bernice "Bee" Haydu, a wonderful (and funny) woman who sent letters home to her mother describing her experiences as a WASP. Thankfully, her mother kept all those letters and Bee has used them in her book, Letters Home 1944-1945 ( I could not have more respect for these women. They were strong, challenged by what they faced, and did something really important.

  12. Thanks again Karlene for a great and informative read.
    This happens to be one of the books I gave as appreciation to one of the speakers this year at the 7th AWE Conference.
    I haven't read it myself yet ... am planning to.
    I have many books about WWII female pilots. These women certainly paved the way for future generations. I am grateful.
    Have you read Lettice Curtis' books, e.g. The Forgotten Pilots? or The Night Witches: The Amazing Story Of Russia's Women Pilots in World War II? or even Hanna Reitsch: Flying for the Fatherland? Only to name a few :-D

  13. Victoria, you are living proof of that. You're incredible.

  14. Thanks for the comment Marjori, and good luck on the drawing!

  15. Tom, I'm going to add you to the list... but read your comment and tell me that you were lusting after this book. :)

  16. Thanks Linda, the heart of great fiction for sure.

  17. Thanks for the comment Heather. But it's not too sad, just the stuff good fiction is made of. Thanks for the comment.

  18. Scote1992... I didn't read about these wonderful women in history class either. Thanks for your comment!

  19. Good Luck Liz, I hope you can add this to your library too.

  20. Theresa, for every struggle we face, I know there are more out there far beyond ours. Thanks for your comment.

  21. Thank you MaryBelle. Good luck on the drawing!

  22. Thank you Angela, and if you think this is special, wait until you read the book.

  23. Max, Thank you very much! I just ordered the book. On its way. I'm really looking forward to reading those letters.

  24. Michelle, Thank you for sharing some additional great reads. So nice you gave this book away. Giving the gift of wings is so special.

  25. I want to thank you, Karlene, for the wonderful review of my book. I'm so glad that you had a good time on your flight with Sally and Dixie and the rest of the girls. Happy landings. Karl Friedrich

  26. Thanks for featuring WINGS on your blog and for being a part of the tour!


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!