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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.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fly It Forward 2012

255 Women Fly at Renton Airport

Saturday March 24, the clouds parted and we finally found a beautiful weekend in the city of Renton. Hard to believe it snowed a week ago. Jenny Gao, our Aviation High School Senior, event coordinator extraordinaire, made miracles happen. Did Renton Airport make the world record?

We'll find out March 31st when the Women of Aviation results come in. How did we do this? With a few last minute angels.

We started the day before the event with one plane short... and too many scheduled flyers. Then two of our planes fell out. One due to Jay getting called out for a charter, and Daniel's brakes failing...we were three planes down. But an emergency email went out, and support showed up.

Karen Stemwell

Karen Stemwell rented a Beaver from Kenmore and flew down to save the day. What a super star she was, and how cool is it she flies a Beaver on floats. Beauty, brains, and a life saver. Karen will also be at AirVenture, as once again she will be supporting the kids as she participates in the Women Soars program. Thank you Karen!

Doug DeVries brought his Beaver and smiles to all. Not until the evening did Doug discover that Karen had been flying the Beaver on floats, and then shared the story how she had been Doug's instructor prior to his Arctic adventure and didn't charge him anything. This is also the famous Beaver from the movie Six Days and Seven Nights. Today she was on wheels. And of course my friend An got the first flight... as it should be. Thank you Doug!

Then Doug DeVries called his friend Bunky who brought his Stinson to the rescue and what a gorgeous plane she was. Thank you Bunky!

Bunky, and as the kids said, the "really cool black plane."

Bunky and the ATC ladies

And then who should show up but Dick Smith. Dick has flown each event and he saved the day once again taking time to give the gift of flight. He was a valued surprise. Thank you Dick!

Dick Smith

And down at the Lake, Austin was doing his thing flying the ladies...despite the choppy waters.

And of course Shad Pipkin was as the dock helping out as always. Thank you!
Gary Pipkin was also flying... but somehow he escaped the camera.


Peter Morton flew the Cirrus again and added beauty to the sky and smiles to the girls.

Peter and the Cirrus

Tom Gwilym

And Tom, our super star... showed up at 9, took the first flight and then he flew the last. He loves to fly and it shows. Thank you Tom!

And a whole lot of fun...

James from Istanbul joined us to buy a book for Faith. Faith is the founder of Aviation Institute of English, and I met her on LinkedIn. The world continues to shrink.

Norah and Karlene... Get your book here.

Zonta team, Jean Ann, and Sue... giving women wings

My 99 team... Christine, Norah, and Andrea... supporting general aviation.

An and Dick hard at work

More photos compliments of Tom....

An flew in from Holland to join our event, but she wasn't the only International or long distance visitor. We had from India, Mongolia, Texas, Uganda and Hong Kong.

We also sold 48 books and Jet Star Publishing bought 9 t-shirts, and was able to donate $420 to Women with Wings. But we couldn't do this without your help. Thank you all for your support and donations to the ladies program!

Lauren and Jenny

Jenny and her team of workers were fabulous. I wish I had all their photos and names. You know who you are...and thank you all! Hopefully Jenny will leave a message below with a shout for them all.

Thanks to Bobbie and everyone in the registration room. Thank you Rochelle for stopping by to help. Thanks to Embry Riddle, Zonta, Aviation High School, The Museum of Flight, WNBA, and the Pacific Science Center for your participation.

Thank you BEFA, Renton Airport and the Tower support.

And then, the day was done...

Enjoy the journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. That last picture of Doug is my favorite. Flight For Control in one hand, glass of wine to keep the book from getting too exciting in the other. (And me flipping through my logbook. :D)

    1. My favorite too. Welcome home... and I forgot to say from Arizona too! Come back and see us again!

  2. Great event. Great job. Congrats!

  3. Another great flying day! Lucky break in our "spring" weather with no snow, rain, gusty winds, and just nice calm blue skies for flying in.
    I had some kids that had never been in a plane before and they were actually a bit nervous and scared. Once we got off the ground the fear turned to "oooooh!" and lots of smiles. I flew right seat and gave the pilot seat to my passenger. After leveling out, I'd nudge them on the shoulder and say "your plane!" and let them steer it around a bit, that worked out quite well.
    I have to thank our very patient friends up in RNT control tower. Our event combined with the first good weather day of spring made for some extremely busy skies. I don't think they expected this much action, but handled it well despite some delays that were unavoidable.
    It was a very satisfying and rewarding day introducing over 40 people to aviation in 14 flights. Put me on the list again for next year! :-)

    1. Thank you Tom! You have always been such a huge help and inspiration to each of these events. And you may have inspired yet another pilot. It always makes me smile knowing how much you love this. Thank you.

    2. Thank you Tom for being so nice to remember the Contollers.

    3. Yes... Thank you Tom for remembering the controllers! I know everyone thanks them. Far too often the people behind the scenes get forgotten. The wind beneath our wings.

  4. WOW! These pictures are awesome, and I am sure all of you had a great time. My favorite plane: The Cirrus of course :)! Introducing girls to aviation this way will probably make them life long flying addicts ;-) Great job to all of you!

    1. One year you will have to come and fly with us. Now that would make life come full circle. I'm looking forward to it.

  5. looks like the day was a huge success again! I was very disappointed that I couldn't make it this year!

    1. I'm sorry you couldn't make too. We missed you!


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