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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


  1. This blog discuss about all the detailed information of Aviation Pilot Supplies . Thanks for this blog

  2. Lori is doing amazing work, and it sounds like she's got the passion for it that is making a difference in the aviation world. Great interview, thanks. (I now own my own Humphreys tee shirt, btw. Love it)

    1. Linda, Thank you so much for the comment. She does have a passion, and she's sharing it with the world. Oh... I need a photo of you in your shirt!

  3. I love that Lori shared her passion for aviation with her daughter and inspired her, that's fantastic! And learning to fly in Honolulu, wow, just wow!

    1. Thanks for the comment Heather. I thought you would enjoy the Honolulu comment... but they we were flying in Hawaii not too long ago. :)

  4. Ryan has an amazing and emotional story. Lori, like Karlene said, you didn't gave up on flying, but you are giving tailwinds and lift for other airplanes, specially to your daughter. She must be a very proud daughter indeed. Lovely story. :)

    1. Thank you for your comment Alex. She is definitely a tailwind to her daughter and many. Such an inspiration!

  5. Go Get'em Flying Bronco's! (Or as we called'em as I was learning to fly in SW Michigan "Bronco High"

    Little more trivia of the old 747-200 you and I used to fly was donated by NWA to WMU and last I heard was sitting at Battle Creek. Another one is at Smithsonian Air & Space. (Wanna feel old, tell someone a plane we flew is in the Smithsonian)

    Tim 8DME-W_ORD

    1. Oh... I have a photo of me at the panel in that plane, and... was at the ceremony when we unveiled her. Yes, one day my grandkids will say, "My grandma flew that!"
      Thanks for your comment.

  6. I did not know that Karlene used to fly the 747-200 donated by NWA.I used to bring my advanced aircraft systems class onboard and we still have the FE panel in our lab. After NWA took the engines off, the aircraft started to list and became too dangerous for students, so we no longer have it. I would love to have some of you visit us as guest speakers and mentors! We have some amazing students- some of them shaved their heads for the COA graduation ceremony today in honor of Ryan Humphrey!

    1. Lori, Thank you so much for the comment. Yes... 13 years on that plane. I was an instructor for 12 on the panel. I miss her every day. You have inspiring students to shave their heads for Ryan. The team is growing. Anytime you want, I would love to join you and your class. Just let me know when we can make that work.

  7. What an amazing story! Lori, keep doing what you're doing - inspiring people just like myself :-) Thank you!

    1. Good morning and thank you Cecilie! Two of a kind you are.

  8. Karlie, I mean Karlene:))

    Regarding WW 2, in the Pacific Theatre, my
    father, as boy in the Philippines, witnessed a
    dog fight between an American fighter plane
    & a Japanese Zero:

    So close that he could see the pilots through
    their canopies. Dad said that the engines each
    had a distinctive sound. He & his siblings found
    the fight exciting. They were just kids; it did not
    occur to them that they were witnessing a life &
    death struggle - on their behalf.

    1. Isn't that amazing. Probably best they didn't know. A great story. Thank you so much for sharing.


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