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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, July 6, 2012

Alex Wood:

Friday's Fabulous Flyer: 


“I woke up electric because there was this loud noise over my window at 1600ft apparently, it was a GOL B737NG. I ran to the terrace, which is located next to the living room where my mother and sister were sitting, and I started to cheer at the airplane like a crazy person. My hair was a mess, so was my face, and my mother and sister laughed at me. Poor AvGeek teenager, he was still a sleep.” 


This love of aviation has grown over the previous 12 years. Alex first fell in love with aviation when he was only 4 years old. Imagine thinking that a visit to the airport was more fun than the park or playing with your toy cars at home. To some this may sound crazy, but to those with a passion for aviation... the sky becomes your life. Nobody knows this feeling more than Alex.

How do planes fly?

Alex believed they were lifted by magic until he was about six years old. But it was Alex’s father that impacted his passion to this aviation world. Alex tells me his father often traveled by air, and his return had always been a significant event for him.

Alex said, “Every time that he was about to arrive, I started to get euphoric. Once at the airport, the sound of airplanes arriving and my uncle saying: see that? Another flight has just arrived! And that airport flight chime made me realized how fantastic aviation was. I went many times to different airports. My entire life had this connection with aviation. My first flight was with Emirates when I was coming to Brazil... I recognize through photos that it was a A300-600R operating between DXB and LHR. The sound, the aircraft itself, and the smell of pressurized air have always seduced me.”

While his extended family never had a connection to aviation, they were an industrious family connected to trains and farming. His attitude and work ethic were born. Alex's family gave him more than an example to live by—they’ve given him support of his dreams. They even told him he looked like a pilot. The fact they all love traveling by planes doesn’t damper the enthusiasm for his chosen profession. 

It’s hard for me to remember that Alex is only 16, because he thinks beyond his years. When I asked where his future will take him professionally, he said, “We don’t choose what airline company we will work for, they choose us. They invest in us. An aviator must follow his dream and with this dream he will reach the key to success.”  

I have no doubt that Alex will be a captain of a wide-body modern jet, working for a major airline. Despite his wisdom on the airline picking the pilot, he does have a plan.

“If I get to live in the US, maybe for Delta or United. The B777 (all variants) is on the top of my list. If I stay in Brazil, GOL is my main choice because of the fleet and later TAM for its B777. But time will decide where my destination is going to be. My mission is to catch up non-stop flights until I reach my career.”


His greatest struggle was finding a way to become involved in aviation. When he was 9 years old he grew frustrated because his only connection to aviation was through magazines. He needed more. And he's been finding that through connecting with others.

Alex has been writing to me for over a year. He’s a brilliant young man. Take a moment to read his words of wisdom on college. Most pilots don't understand the reason a pilot needs to be educated.
Alex is a different story.

Torn between colleges, Alex’s academic choice hangs in the wind. ERAU in June 2013, or São Paulo to begin flying lessons. Life is different in Brazil for education and flying than it is in the US.

Alex says, “It’s a good time to study aviation in Brazil, but education in aviation is a problem. And on the other hand, we have companies announcing that a college degree is recommended. But I believe airlines can't start asking for a degree because the Olympics and the World Cup are coming, and they need pilots to expand.

Deciding which school has been a difficult challenge. Costs and fees and location were the main factors, but what I did was write down the pros and cons, how was the market's situation in each country, what airlines were looking for, than compare quality and popularity. If the university’s prices were fairly good to what they offered the student, then that would be the chosen one.”

Alex has read Flight For Control twice. I laugh because I have told the Aviation High School students they have to wait until they are 23 before they can read it. I asked Alex what made him read it twice—

Alex: “Because in this book, fiction mirrors truth. The fact that you are an aviation insider, you knew what you were writing about the market, and because of that, I got really interested. The situation is shocking. The story is complex and amazing. Even the last line surprises the reader. I would say this is a complete book. It shook my emotions, and again, it's a brilliant guide that's shows our aviation world.”

At the end of the book, I had posed some questions for our future aviators. Alex has created an interesting blog, Aviation Center, and he asked if he could post them there. My response—of course, but what was it about the questions that struck a chord with you?


Alex: “They are objective, and I don't find those questions anywhere. I don't see anybody discussing something related to them. Seriously, they do need to be discussed and I felt the necessity to post them. Those questions were written on the right time.”

One of the most amazing things about Alex, besides his brilliance, is his interest in safety. So many students want to fly with the illusion that we make the “big bucks.”  I had to ask, “Alex, where did you passion come from?”

"I only discovered that being a captain earned good salaries two years ago. Where did it come from... The cockpit. Navigation, meteorology, weather, flying through the clouds, the sensation of freedom and infinity, takeoffs, landings, smell of pressurized air, systems, engines, turbines, the loud noise... I don't know even what to say, it goes beyond of what I think, and there are no words to describe what I feel. I am capable of screaming and cheering like a crazy person when a plane flies over. I feel very emotional. It's magical, it's beautiful.”

And there you have it—our future of aviation—Alex Wood.
Please take a moment and click Aviation Center, and join his website. This is one young man that deserves support. And one day you will either be flying with him, or on his plane. When you do, take a moment and congratulate him on a lifetime commitment to excellence. 

Enjoy the journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. Alex, welcome to the great club of Friday Flyers! You have a wonderful sense of what it takes to succeed, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will go far, flying the big jets one day. Are you thinking of ERAU in Daytona? If so, we will definitely meet, as I am planning on attending a school near ERAU, located on the airport as well. Keep in touch!

    1. Hi Cecilie! Thank you so much for your support, I will take your words inside me. I do have you on my contact list, and I will indeed contact you for a meeting if I get there. Well... I hope I'll be there. Talk to you soon, have a wonderful weekend! :)

    2. Thanks Cecilie! I couldn't agree with you more. Wouldn't that be fun if we could all meet down there? One day.

    3. Oh yes! That would be fantastic! can't wait for that to happen!

  2. Alex! Parabéns! Congratulations and welcome to the Friday Flyer Club! Yes, being in the clouds is a wonderful and free feeling and I am rest assured that you will be flying our Boeing 777 in no time. Keep up the great work and you should only see success. If you ever visit the U.S. please let me know.

    1. Jeremy! Obrigado! Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, the cockpit has the best office view in the world... Imagine clouds coloring at sunset... Man, that's awesome! Love my triple-seven, that photo of me in the plane is inside a B777-200ER. I will let you know when I go to the U.S, if I don't go to ERAU. For sure I will meet Karlene in Seattle. Thanks bro, have a lovely weekend! :)

    2. Thank you Jeremy! I agree... he will be flying the 777 in no time.

      Alex, you definitely will be coming to Seattle for sure. Actually... wherever you show up in the US I will find you. :)

    3. Small and humble recommendation, Alex please join us in NYC in November...

    4. NYC? Oh my goodness! that would be great! I'll check if it's possible here, will contact one of you for more info. ;)

  3. Karlene, if you can email me and copy Alex, I will connect him to one of students, D2 (the name I use for him on my blog ( D2 is also Brazilian, living in Dallas, and the owner of a beautiful Cessna 172. His cousin still lives in Brazil and owns a Cessna 140.

    1. Hi D.B! That sounds great fun! You can find me on twitter (, and you can find me on my blog also (click: About Alex). Have a great weekend! Thanks man :D

    2. DB... this is fantastic. Thank you so much!!! Alex, great opportunities to fly in Brazil. The one thing about aviation ... we are a family.
      This is really nice D.B.
      Thanks so much for your comment.

    3. Yes, great opportunities. The future is going to be positive, just follow the dreams with commitment. Karlene, you are right, that's one of the great things in aviation. Some people say that we get to be alone, but it isn't. Thank's guys. :)

  4. Ah, energy, passion, and focus plus the magic ingredient: work ethic! Alex, hold on to all those. You are already ahead of so many, and you will go far. Great interview, Karlene. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I will save your words inside me and keep them, and safety always on the first place. Once again thank you for your comment! Have a wonderful weekend! :)

    2. Thank you Linda. You will have to meet Alex when he comes to Seattle. Yes... energy, passion and focus. He has them all.

  5. K-I really enjoy the Friday blogs, it helps me recall in my somewhat jaded mind why we do it-or as I say "Who am I, what am I doing here, who dressed me in THIS outfit" (always gets the FO laughing when hanging over the Atlantic in the wee-hours of the night).

    Alex (& Cecilie), "Where did it come from... The cockpit."

    ALWAYS remember it isn't where you are but WHO you are, THAT is where it comes from. Keep developing yourself, you abilities. your passion, compassion and get great Situational Awareness. At least for me that has been the key in getting an office with a great view.

    I'll be retired by the time you get here-but I'm happy to pass my seat to one who "get's" aviation.

    Oh, and fly Boeings if you get a choice (ducking)

    Tim 8DME_W_ORD

    1. Hi Tim! I totally agree with you. I believe there's a big difference between a Pilot that flies for passion, and a pilot that flies thinking on the big bucks. And yes, developing abilities, skills and proficiency are also really important, but Situational Awareness has direct relation with safety. There are some Pilots in our world that don't even think on safety, it's a shame.

      I love Boeings! I'm still studying Airbus, my favorites are the A330 and A380, but I have expectations for the A350. Can't wait to be on a B777, but like Karlene taught me: One step at a time, no rush.

      Thank you so much for your advice, Tim! I will indeed take them with me also. Have a great weekend! :)

    2. Tim, Thank you for this great comment. There is no better advice~ develop who you are. It's not the plane. The seat. The company. It truly is who you are that matters.

      Alex, I agree..."Keep developing yourself, you abilities. your passion, compassion and get great Situational Awareness!"

      I vote Boeing too. I think every commercial pilot should learn how to fly one. Then you can go learn how to push buttons. :)

      Thanks so much for your comment!

    3. By the way, I had a gift waiting for my return. :) Thank you Tim!!!

    4. Welcome home K-

      Glad that it finally arrived-you should do a blog on what books you read/have read/recommend on aviation and why. Be fun to compare notes.

      When you get a chance like to hear what you think of the one I sent you.

      You vote Boeings (shocked look)?!?! Coming over from the dark side are you? I'll save the seat next to me.

      Let me tell you what happened while you were gone...

      Well that about covers it.

      Tim 8DME_W_ORD

    5. I will definitely do a blog on this book! Patience is going to be the key... three months of chaos ahead. Oh... and yes, I'm a Boeing girl by heart. So... off to study. Recurrent coming up! :)

  6. Karlene, thank you so much for this wonderful Friday Fabulous Flyer, thank you so much for being a great person and supporting me all the time, thank you for being a great friend! I'm so honored and happy! And I am sure that everyone that visits your blog is happy to have someone inspiring them. You are an inspiring person and helped me A LOT. Have a fantastic weekend! Wishing you all the best in life!

    A sincere hug,

    1. Alex, you are so very welcome. I know how much you appreciate all the comments from everyone. I also know that you just keep up the great attitude and your studies, and there is nothing you can't do. You're an amazing young man... keep heading the right direction!


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