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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, June 29, 2012

Lori Brown

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Assistant Professor and Researcher at Western Michigan University, College of Aviation. “Committed to recruiting and retaining the next generation of aviation professionals through education and mentorship.”

Lori learned to fly in Honolulu in the 1980s while working for Continental Airlines. Her first flying jobs were more unique than most – located in the Micronesia islands of Guam and Saipan.

“My favorite flying experience was flying in Saipan when the World War II veterans returned for the ‘Court of Honor’ on the 50th anniversary in 1994, and I had the honor of flying them to the island of Tinian as a new Captain on the EMB 110 Banderiante (Bandit) for Northwest Airlink. 

One honored veteran said, ‘In all of my years of thinking what it would be like to return to these islands, I never thought I would have a female flying me back to Tinian.’ They told me stories of memories of watching the Enola Gay take off from North Field Tinian to Hiroshima, Japan. I wanted to take the entire day just listening to their fascinating stories just I had listened to many islanders in Tinian share their stories and embellishments of ‘soldier ghosts’ around North field Tinian.”

Free time on the islands meant finding something to do, so Lori would go hiking on routes through dried riverbeds and find remnants of the war. She has amassed quite a collection of bullets.

Got Bullets Anyone?

After six years flying in the islands, Lori returned to Seattle, married, and continued to fly based in Chicago, Miami, and Dallas.

“After getting married and starting a family, I found it difficult to commute from Miami to Chicago and have a baby at home, since both of us are pilots. In an effort to be home with my new family, I started instructing at Flight Safety International with interesting clients such as the government of Mexico, DEA, FBI, and NOAA, before my husband’s FAA Flight Check job transferred us to Battle Creek, Michigan.”

The transfer began a new chapter in Lori’s life as a professor at the Western Michigan College of Aviation in September of 2001. At the end of her first semester, a student volunteered to be a teacher’s assistant in order to both help himself learn and to help her make the transition from cockpit to classroom.

“I have never forgotten that student who left such an impression on me after all these years: Ryan Humphrey. Ryan has always had such a true enthusiasm for aviation. It is because of students like Ryan that I have continued to feel passionate about teaching and sharing aviation with the next generation of aviation professionals. 

In addition to teaching, I present my research at international and national conferences, with research projects varying from pilot/flight attendant wireless communication devices and high lux lights to mitigate pilot fatigue to the use of tablet technology in flight training. A highlight was at this year’s World Aviation Training Conference as 46 of my students accompanied me to make a presentation about engaging the next generation of aviation professionals.

We all know this industry is all about networking and it was a tremendous opportunity for students to network with industry. We started the linked-in group ‘The next generation of aviation professionals’ to continue this discussion and link up current students, alumni, and industry.”

Although Lori does not fly now, she continues to share her passion for aviation with her students and her daughter, Christina, who just took her first flying lesson.


“Flying will always be a part of me, my first real love. I am preparing to depart for Shanghai to present at the Aviation Outlook China 2012 conference. As I travel to China, I will bring my true love of aviation, passion for teaching and Ryan’s enthusiasm and courage with me! His inspiration will truly be the wind beneath my wings.”

Blue skies and tailwinds, 

Thank you Christine for another fabulous post. 

Lori, you didn't give up your passion for flying because of your daughter... because of your daughter you've been able to spread your wings and share this dream to the far corners of the world. We never know what life will throw our way, but if we always follow our heart, good things will come. Your daughter must be so very proud of the incredible mother you are. 

For all of you who don't know Ryan... the young pilot she mentions in this post... please take a moment to click HERE, and become inspired.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

 Flight For Safety: 55,175 words

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Aviation Writers ...

1st Annual WNBA National Writing Contest.

This could be an easy way for some of you incredibly talented pilots to earn money for school, flight lessons, or fund your passion of flight!

The WNBA...Women’s National Book Association is a dynamic organization of women and men across the broad spectrum of writing and publishing. Membership includes Editors, Publishers, Literary Agents, Professors, Academics, Librarians, Authors, Book Sellers and many others involved in the world of books.

After years of celebrating published authors, extraordinary book women and others in the field, we have decided it is time to celebrate emerging writers. I'm just fortunate to know how many talented aviation writers are out there who could use some extra dollars to fund their passion. 

Who has more time to read than pilots on the road?
I know you have a story to tell. 

GUIDELINES: Submission Period: June 1st – November 1st, 2012

  • Fiction 2,500 word limit – may be a short story, or a stand alone excerpt from a novel in progress.
  • Poetry: 35 line limit – or one page double spaced
  • Previously unpublished work only.
  • Your entry must be uploaded without your name, address, or contact information on the actual document. Your contact information will be collected on a separate form when you submit your entry.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older  
  • You may submit more than one entry, however, each one must be separately submitted.
  • Acceptable formats are: Word Document 2007, Word Document 2003 or earlier version, RTF (Rich Text Format) 
  • Winner will be announced April 1st, 2013. Contest results will be posted on line

PRIZE: $250 cash prize and will be published in Bookwoman, the Official publication of the Women’s National Book.

Association, with 10 chapters nationwide. 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention prizes in each category, please see website for details.

Proceeds of the contest will go to support scholarships for writing conferences and other professional development training.

What will you write about today? Have you read any good books lately? 

Yesterday I finished reading Outliers The Story of Success. And it was fantastic! Last night I started my good friend, Heather McCorkle's To Ride A Puca.

Enjoy the journey!

XO Karlene

Flight For Safety: 53,918 words. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Flight For Safety: 52,522 words  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Help Wanted: You're Hired!

Flying Job Link Below...

Since Flight For Control has taken off, I have met many wonderful people along the way who have purchased, read, and continue to support my novel. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Many of you are working hard to earn money for flight lessons and or college while you're working toward your dream of flight. I would love to give back to you in your support.

Would you like to be part of the sales team? 

If you've read the book... please leave me a message below if you would like to join the sales team. Then send a message to: Type in the subject line: Sales Team. I will need your address so I can send you a box of cards--with your name on them-- to hand out. Then, for every book you sell, I will pay you $5. 

How will we track sales?

Two options:

1.) You'll take orders, collect money, send me a check with the names to be autographed in the books, and I will ship them to you to distribute.


2.) Send people to my blog to purchase there, and tell them mention your name in the notes. I'll keep track sales in your name and send you a check.

  • Would you like to be part of the sales team? 
  • Do you have ideas how we can get Flight For Control in the hands of everyone? 
  • I would love to hear your suggestions. 

Enjoy the Journey.

XO Karlene 

Flight For Safety: 50,185 words 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Motivation Appreciation

"I am given the opportunity to express my appreciation, each and
every day. Let me never miss the opportunity to do so, giving rise to
all I want to unfold - throughout my day."


Saturday was more fun that I can express. As you know I flew back to Bensenville, Illinois, to Aviation Universe  for a book signing and talk.


We will be seeing more of Aviation Universe, but for now let me tell you what a fabulous store this is. How do you find them? Fly into O'Hare, and they're just on the west side of the airport. 10 minutes away. I think you should add a visit to Aviation Universe on your bucket list. And follow them on Twitter @AviationUnverse

Mike, Lora, and Richard

 Lora, Richard, and Mike... thank you for the great time and support. And Tim for the ride back to the airport and my gift(s) too.

I also got to meet Twitter Favorites! Andrew Smolenski, who introduced me to Lora and Aviation Universe. Thank you Andrew! Mike Miley from the dropped by and said hello and picked up a couple books. And Rob Marc an official Airplane Geek from joined us. He had a very big microphone that he kept sticking in my face. I suspect we may hear more from him. Oh.... and he gave me my official, "I'm a Whiner!" button.

Let me tell you a little about this store. If you want anything aviation... they've got it! If they don't, they'll get it. They are also in the process of creating an on-line store, so you can shop from home. I will be shouting about that when they go live. 


But here's the deal... imagine the coffee shop from Friends, filled with really cool airline stuff. That's the feel. This is a community store and a place you could hang out all day while you're transported through aviation history. There were so many cool things. 


For all the crazy things we do in our lives, I am forever grateful for the opportunities that are given to me to reach out and meet new people. Travel 3500 miles in two days for a two hour talk? Who would do such a thing? I would. And I would do it again, because there are some really great people in this world that we should meet. Lora and Richard are two such people. 

Despite the adversity thrown their way, they embraced it and took off on their own adventure... Aviation Universe is a place to visit, and support.

Oh... and if you're an airline employee, during the summer months you can get a crew rate at the Airport Hilton for $59! What a deal. Then catch a cab to the Aviation Universe store!

By the way, you missed a great show. I did a little striptease choreographed with the adventure of the industry from the moment the aviation bug bit, followed by the effort, expense, and energy spent in pursuit of our dream to fly. The setbacks along the way. The shift in the industry. Furloughs. Bankruptcy. Mergers. Lost pensions. When could drama be so much fun? It's all about the visual.

How much fun did you have this weekend?

Enjoy the journey and every moment in between...

XO Karlene

Flight For Safety 47,701 words 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ryan Humphrey: Passion to Fly

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

When I asked Ryan to write about flying, he named his work “Passion to Fly,” and I cannot think of a more appropriate title.

The magic started on his first airline flight, a trip that began in fear and ended in joy. None of the passengers on that flight would have imagined that the crying ten-year-old boy holding up the plane would one day be up front flying it. Ryan recalls that the moment the wheels left the ground left him in a feeling of awe like nothing else.

“I was no longer part of that world we were leaving. It was as if all the stresses and problems were left behind, and we were attempting something amazing. I could see for miles upon miles that night in the air. It was a perfect situation to fire a passion.”

Instead of solely focusing on becoming a pilot, Ryan chose to become a “well-rounded aviation person,” someone who knows what happens on all sides of the industry. We all play different roles in a giant, ever-changing puzzle. He earned all of his ratings up through his CFII and instructed for his college, Western Michigan University, until he was hired by American Eagle Airlines.

Ryan learned to work as part of a team, both during flight school and while flying for an airline. Pilots have to be confident in each other’s skills, even if their personalities may not necessarily mesh. One of his best flying stories taught him about how to work with people instead of against them, especially when the safety of the aircraft is at stake. Thunderstorms popped up more severely than expected during a flight, and Ryan, though a low-time FO, did everything possible to help the captain fly and land successfully.

“Upon final decent, we had to change runways 3 times in order to have the safest possible outcome. I changed radios, spoke with ATC, dialed in new approaches, set up both FMS’s, configured when prompted, and even remembered that by turning my radar off, it would allow the captain to have a quicker radar update, which was crucial. I was able to allow him to relax and just be concerned about flying the airplane. We finally made it to Green Bay without incident. After we performed our parking checklists and the airplane was dark, the captain turned to me, shook my hand, and said, ‘You are worth your weight in gold.’ It is a moment I will never forget!”

In July of 2009, Ryan began to experience health problems that finally resulted in medical grounding by the FAA. Regarding his illness, he chose to speak on what can be done to lessen the blow of a serious health problem.

“We all know how important health is, especially in aviation. In our younger years, we often take our health for granted because we feel it cannot happen to us. We have a false sense of invincibility. It is normal, but you should always have a protection plan in aviation; always have a way out.

I don’t mean to give up on the industry if it gets tough. I am talking about aviation disability insurance. It is something most of us do not think about being so young in aviation. However, it is your lifeline when in the industry. As entry level pilots, most of us do not make much money, and we would like to save as much as possible. Do not cut out this lifeline. It is a very unique insurance honed and tailored to the aviation professional, and it will help and aid you in your most trying times when you lose the coveted medical.

 I cancelled my insurance in March of 2009. I was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma in August of 2009 and lost my medical. I still have yet to get my medical back as I write this, and, unfortunately, I am fighting for my life as the sarcoma has surfaced again. I love my life, and everything about it. I am not unhappy in the least bit, and I enjoy every day to fullest extent with my wife and two young sons. However, let my life lesson be a wakeup call for anybody entering the industry. Finances are the last thing you want to worry about in any situation, but especially when it comes to health. Do not make the same mistake I did because it can happen to anyone.”

 Ryan, Andrea, Landon and Logan

Ryan’s thoughts on flying best summarize his advice to his fellow aviators:

 “You have been given the gift of flight. It is a truly remarkable and awesome gift, and it should always be thought of that way. Do not get stuck in politics of the airline, negative people, or negative tones, and do not take what you now have for granted. You have an office view like no other. You have an extended family that will be with you and help you through the rest of your career if you allow them to. You are leaving the confines of land, each and every day, to ultimately explore the sky above. If you always worry about the next airplane, next flying job, or who has it better, you will miss some amazing people and breathtaking experiences.”

Blue skies and tailwinds!

Christine H.

Thank you Christine for a great interview. 

With that said, the Humphrey family is in a bit of a financial bind, as you might imagine. New baby. Two kids. Medical bills. Life. 

You are about to be introduced to Team Humphrey Wearables
100% of the proceeds go to the Humphrey family. 
The quality is excellent.
Ryan, I had not known you cancelled your disability insurance. What an unfortunate twist of fate. Sometimes life plays tricks on us. But thank you so much for sharing your story and giving the advice to others. Your message is priceless.

 Kadence-- My 4yr old Granddaughter 
She's part of the team!

Ryan... for you and your family, 9 members of the Petitt family are now part of your team, as is Christine. More photos to come! Until then, I'm asking all readers to buy a shirt, hat, something and send me a photo for the Team Humphrey post. 
Coming soon. 

"Nobody Fights Alone"

One of the greatest things about Aviation is we support each other. If you don't have the financial means to purchase a wearable yourself, just send this link and the message to your friends. Spread the word... that will help.  The more people we can gather on the team, the more we can help a family during a critical time. 

Will you be part of the team?

Enjoy the Journey! 
XOX Karlene

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cessna.... a bit of History

 Cessna 172

I've got a warm spot in my heart for Cessna. Like many of us, these were the planes we learned to fly in. Usually the 152. The leg room wasn't much, and with a 34 inch inseam, I quickly moved to the 172 for comfort. The the 182RG came into my life. My multi-engine rating was in a Cessna 310. 

Cessna 310

Cessna has come a long way....
Thanks to Clyde Vernon Cessna, 1879-1954, founder of Cessna Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, the aviation industry has had a plane that continues to fly strong. A bit of Cessna History.

 With his aeroplane at Burdett, Kansas: 1914 ....

Clyde Cessna & his 1916 airplane; First built in Wichita, Kansas. 
Photo taken at Beaver, OK with part of the Beaver Boosters: 1916

"Silver Wings," Cessna monoplane in flight. 1911

Clyde with is plane... wouldn't he be proud to see where his company is today?

Have you flown your Cessna today? 

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

These Are the Good Old Days...

Last night I attended a night of Aviation History.... And I was one of the guests. You know you're getting old when you're part of history. Note to self: We are all making history every day... live it.

Standing between the greats...

Jean NWA Flight Attendant for 40 years!
Betty (93 yrs old) First United Flight Attendant!

John McEvoy put on a Great event! We heard stories from the ladies about the good old days when all this glamor started in the back of the plane. From cleaning up "burp cups" to flying for 7 hours from Seattle to Chicago. Dining with Clark Gable, and mandatory dismissal when you turned 35. You couldn't be married. There were height limits. White gloves had to be warn when they left the plane, and high heels were on the end of those weight restricted legs.

Then I talked about my journey through all my airlines, which was followed by a book signing for Flight For Control.

We had a great night. And so many wonderful people took home a novel. 

 We all miss NWA

Tomorrow... more Aviation History....

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aviation Universe

This Saturday June 23rd
Ever wonder where inspiration comes from? Why this book? Why now? Where is our industry going? How much truth is there in fiction? 
Talk and Book Signing!

I hope you'll join us for a fun talk, 
and get your copy of Flight For Control

If I had known how good this book was going to be, I would have started it on a day I could finish it!” Captain McCullough  

“It's about time that a good aviation novel was written by someone who knows something about aviation and has the literary talent to keep a reader on the edge of his seat. 
Barry Schiff

“If you like political intrigue, mysteries, suspense novels, romance novels, books made of paper, electronic books or even if you don't like books at all, this one will rock your world!”  
G Crowder

"It is as if Tom Clancy wrote a novel based upon commercial airline crews." John Stanhaus
“In several dimensions, the world of Flight for Control is our world…. Is this world some intriguing alternate reality - or our own future?”  Frank Van Haste
 13 W. Main St., Shop #6 Bensenville, IL
(Main St. & York Rd., at the west side of O'Hare Airport

This is going to be the event of events all year.

"If I have the courage to do what I'm planning, 
Darby will be so proud of me...where's the Tequila?

Hope to see you there!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Flight For Safety: 46,494 words

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Motivation...

You have two choices in life...
1. Make an effort to get on the plane, or
2. Take the easy way through life

While the effort part of the equation takes a little more work than taking the easy route, the rewards are so worth it. How else can you play in the garden with your Granddaughter one day...

 Depart Seattle the next morning ...


Attend a Union Meeting and Fly an A330 simulator in Minneapolis the same day... 

Walk the shoreline in Chicago the following day... 

Attend a book signing, and meet fantastic people. If you haven't been to the Garmin store in Chicago, you must attend. The people are fantastic. Thank you Kristine.


The world is small and keeps shrinking. I met an incredible woman and her four week old baby, who took flying lessons once upon a time. I'm thinking she just may become a pilot, and hope to keep in touch with her. An A330 pilot from Brazil, who flies for TAM, also happened to walk in the Garmin store... the first day of his 30 day vacation. What are the odds?


 I got to spend 3 nights with my grandson Carter, too. 


Then we flew back home in time for our Granddaughter, Kadence's first ballet recital. Life has been busy will continue that way for many more months. But trust me, the effort is so worth it. 


Life is full of adventure. But sometimes you just got to get on that plane to make it all happen.

Enjoy the Journey. 
XOX Karlene 

Flight For Safety: 46,300 words

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

What Makes a Good Father?

I've heard it said... "Taking good care of the mother so you don't drive the kids nuts." 

Anyone can be a parent, 
but it takes someone special to be a Daddy. 
Happy Father's Day!

What makes your father special? 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Flyer Challenge

Today I'm posting a question from a young lady who is going to be a pilot.  Despite her fair share of challenges in Malaysia, she is working hard to make her dreams come true. 

Yesterday she sent me a great question. Something that I have been asked on numerous airline interviews, in one form or another. I will pose this question to you... 

You don't have to be a pilot to answer...

What Would You Do?

JuJu asks,

How should the first officer respond if he knew the captain is making a wrong decision…e.g flying into thunderstorm cloud / ignore the decision height / having conflict idea to proceed or return back to base and mostly the answers I got from the sites will be: First officer should be assertive in voicing out his concern..., but they left it hanging there…

What IF the captain ignore the First officer. First officer continues to nag at the captain? hahaha
I know physical violence is not allowed in the cockpit.... so what should the FO do?? some people said, FO should report to the management about the captain's behavior after arrival (ONLY if they make it down safely)

So during the mid flight crisis, how should it be done? Trust the captain's decision because of his vast experience? FO worry/think too much so he should listen to the captain? 

Also I know it is all depends on the severity of problems… for e.g, what if FO think it is a big deal but captain is confident that the problem doesn't affect the flight…

Interview Question

I was asked on an interview ... "The weather has gone below minimums, and your captain is going to continue. He say's, 'I've done this a million times. No problem. Besides, I have a hot date tonight.' What would you do?"

These are good questions. Not only for an interview, but to think about how you would respond, prior to being in a situation that could mean life or death.

Please tell me your thoughts... then I will share mine at the end of the day.

Be safe, and enjoy the journey.
XO Karlene