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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, September 28, 2012

Kirby Chamblis

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Photo compliments of Red Bull.

Red Bull Air Race Superstar World Champion!

This adrenalin junkie, motorcycle riding, skydiving, and once upon a time surfer dude from Arizona holds six career wins and we might say he has more than a passion to fly—It may be close to obsession.   

Photo compliments of Red Bull.

“Chambliss has been flying since age 13. He became the youngest commercial pilot at his U.S. air carrier at 24. By the time he made it to captain at 28 he was already polishing his aerobatic skills, an interest acquired during aerobatic training for his job flying a business jet. Chambliss has won five U.S. National Aerobatic championships. He is married to a fellow pilot. They live on the “Flying Crown Ranch” with their daughter between Tucson and Phoenix – with a hangar and runway in the backyard.” Red Bull Air Races
When asked what he’d do if his daughter wanted to fly aerobatics he said,  “Try to push her gently away from that. But if that’s what she really wanted to do, of course I would be the one to teach her.”

And I got to meet him at Oshkosh. He dazzled the young ladies at Women Soar, and guess what he’s reading? You go Kirby!

Oh, and I asked him how much Red Bull he drank daily? I think he said, ‘6’ cans.  Yes, he’s well fueled for his shows.

For anyone who has never seen a Red Bull Air Race, check out this animated 3D video as Kirby explains the finer points of the race. Is this something you might want to try?

12 G’s! 230 knots max! Meters between wingtips and posts! Amazing.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Fly Naked or Not...

Due to a very challenging few days, and a special guest arriving today.  I've taken a reroute...

With a message from your sponsor:

We need a vote. 
Fly Naked or Don't Fly naked?

What do you think?
Creativity counts.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Race Car Drivers Take Flight

Alvaro Parente and Marco Bonanomi

 “If our racing careers don't take off, 
we're already training to fly the A330!”

At Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir, Marco Bonanomi  and Alvaro Parente, the two drivers for QI MeritusMahara have been given the opportunity to fly and land a A330 Airbus at Bahrain Airport.

This is as a result of an invitation from Gulf Air, the title sponsor of the Grand Prix. The flights were carried out in the simulator at the Gulf Air Flight Simulator Center, located at Gulf Air's headquarters in Muharraq on Wednesday  April 22, 2009—“a state-of-the-art facility, incorporating the latest technologies, modern infrastructure and a unique design, the first of its kind in the Gulf region.”

Simulator Flight:


Captain John O'Loughlin, one of Gulf Air's simulator instructors said: "The drivers will get to check the speed down the BIC pit straight before landing the Airbus A330, the largest member of the twin engine A300 series, having a maximum takeoff weight of 275 metric tons. It is a large capacity, wide body, twin-engine, medium to long-range commercial passenger airliner."

What do Race Car drivers think about flying the A330?


Alvaro Parente: "The flight training was a great experience. We simulated a take off and followed a flight path over the BIC. It was really fun to race down the pit straight at over 400kph. Afterward we lined up for the final approach into Bahrain International Airport. I did not realize a pilot had so much to deal with. He has so many responsibilities compared to a racing a car.  

When I was in command,  I had to correct the pitch, maintain correct heading, mind the air speed to prevent stalling, keep the ball on the horizon. So much work and so much concentration, but there is always the computer advising you and preventing errors. For example, when I was low on final the computer told me to drop the landing gear. It looks easy compared to a racing car because a plane is heavier and reacts slower to each command input, but in emergency or technical situations it's the experience of the captain that counts. However, we should leave it to well-trained professionals."

Marco Bonanomi: "I landed twice in day time and night time conditions. What a feeling! We also had some difficulties and one time the front tires blew out when landing and on takeoff we lost an engine but the captain was focused and acted with natural moves and I never felt in danger."

Enjoy the Journey!

XO Karlene 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Somebody Ate the Plane!

Happy Birthday Kohyn!
 She's 2 today

Today is the day that my Granddaughter, Kohyn, turns 2-years-old. She's been having Birthday weekend. Saturday her friend's party. Sunday night was left over cake and the family party. Tonight is dinner with the family and great grandma. Kind of fun having four generations of women alive to celebrate.

Tip for constructing an airplane cake---It's best to use a white cake and have a kitchen. But other than that, get creative and buy lots of frosting. And make sure you hide the engines so little fingers don't accidentally eat them before their time. That's one way to lose an engine. 

Enjoy the journey and remember...

STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Motivation: Learn To Fly.

"Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there's a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!"

— Richard Bach,  Johnathan Livingston Seagull, 1970.

Enjoy the Journey
XOX Karlene

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kitchen Project

I loved my kitchen... cozy, with a feeling of warmth. But there was one problem. My family grew and the size of my kitchen did not. 6 very tall adult children, 6 grandchildren and 1 husband...there just wasn't room for everyone. 


So we decided to grow our kitchen too. I forgot to take a photo of my deck before, but you can see the footprint of the ripped out deck below. This is the new kitchen in progress....


And then there is the backyard. 

By moving the kitchen and deck farther into the backyard, the backyard shrank. Not only that, but I have large windows facing that direction. The cherry blossom trees are beautiful in Spring, and make a great barrier to the house when the tree is in bloom, but soon all leaves will fall. So I am planning to grow a wall of Ivy. First stage: set posts and put up wire.

A huger feat than one might think when you're afraid of heights.

Zoning rules says we can't have a fence higher than 6 feet, so I built an "Ivy holder" to block the house that is far too close to our property line. Now we'll see if I can get it to grow. Hopefully next year I can show you growth.

The backyard plan: A secret garden, courtyard. More to come after the remodel is done. The Ivy was  harvested from our daughter's yard. The area built up with good soil by two feet.

Now I have more to do. Half the exterior house to paint. A floor to tile, interior walls and ceiling to paint, a fireplace to build and counters to tile. 90% of my kitchen will be stone. When I say I'm doing it, means that I am physically doing it, myself. Delayed cabinets are causing a bit of a problem now, but we'll get there.

If anyone wants to know how to tile the fast and easy way... or how to work with slate, or tricks of working with stone building a fireplace, let me know. There is one way to learn, and that's by doing. The other way is to ask someone else who has done. I am the regular tool-time girl on my days off.

Enjoy your weekend. And hopefully we'll see you at BookFest

XO Karlene

Friday, September 21, 2012

Northwest Bookfest is this weekend!

In addition to flying, remodeling my house, writing books, enjoying my family, I’m a proponent of supporting literacy, and part of the  

This weekend the WNBA is part of something spectacular.

Join Seattle Chapter WNBA members along with thousands of book lovers to celebrate the literary arts at Northwest Bookfest, where readers, writers, publishers and authors connect for a jam-packed weekend of workshops, panels, classes and author readings. This year’s festival will be held:

September 22-23, 2012 in Kirkland, Washington. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

See the schedule and details at

Several of the women involved with planning and overseeing Bookfest are also members of the Seattle WNBA Chapter, and many are on the program for the weekend, including:  

How Much Truth Is In Fiction? – Sunday, September 23, 2:30 – 4pm

I, Karlene Petitt will be joining authors, Linda Gray, and LouiseMarley, moderated by librarian Judy Solberg, to discuss truth in fiction. We'll have quite the interesting discussion and hope you can join us.

How much truth is in Flight For Control? How much truth do readers expect? Where do our responsibilities lay as authors, and how much responsibility does the reader have in knowing the difference?

Louise has been writing a variety of genres. You will have the chance to meet her along with many other local authors.... like one of my favorites: Robert Dugoni.

Additional workshops by Seattle WNBA include:

Sheryn Hara who will be offering two workshops:
  • Covers That Sell -- Saturday, September 22, 11:30am – 1pm
  • Exploring Publishing Options – Saturday, September 22, 2:30 – 4pm
Barbara Kindness is offering a workshop for authors on how to publicize their work:
  • Breaking Out of Your Cocoon -- Sunday, September 23, 10 – 11:30am
Louise Marley is a panel focused on fantasy novels:
  •  Living in a Fantasy World -- Saturday, September 22, 10 – 11:30am

Drop by bookfest, and support the love of reading.  

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Qantas Airlines: Repair Division

Captain Jack sent me the following email, and it made me smile. So, I'm thinking we should all smile. And... put a little plug in for Quantas for their safety record.

Remember, it takes a college degree to fly a plane but only a high school diploma to fix one.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a 'Gripe Sheet' which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft.
The mechanics correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the Gripe Sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humour.
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.

P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny............
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.

S: Took hammer away from midget.

Laughter is the best medicine, and when you can find it at work... you've got to embrace it!

 Enjoy The Journey!
XO Karlene

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NextGen Trial

We are moving to the next level of aviation with NextGen:

What is NextGen? 

Compliments of the FAA.Gov:

"NextGen is the transformation of how airplanes traverse the sky. It affects all of us: from the pilots that fly the planes, the passengers who enjoy the flights and the controllers who ensure the safety.

The thousands of planes overhead right now are flying indirect routes over radar towers. For close to six decades we have used this World War II era technology to transit the skies. NextGen is an upgrade to satellite-based technology.

Piece by piece we are installing this new system. It is a consistent and persistent effort to bring airplanes and airports online with NextGen technology.

Satellite navigation will let pilots know the precise locations of other airplanes around them. That allows more planes in the sky while enhancing the safety of travel. Satellite landing procedures will let pilots arrive at airports more predictably and more efficiently. And once on the ground, satellite monitoring of airplanes leads to getting you to the gate faster.

Already we are starting to see benefits. By the year 2018 we are expecting to see savings of hundreds of dollars per flight. Multiply that by the millions of flights that occur in a typical year and savings become extraordinary.

But most importantly, NextGen enhances the safety of what is already the safest airspace in the world. And it ensures our stellar safety history will continue in the same tradition.

What is NextGen? A new era of flight."

Wow... a new ERA of flight.

But I have to ask... Is this new era simply moving down the path to eventually remove your pilots from the plane?

NextGen is the wave of the future, and one of the key factors is the use of two-way electronic messaging. I'm the first to say this is a fantastic way to communicate while flying across the ocean. We communicate, but the pilot still has the power to accept, deny, and is responsible for programing the FMC. (Flight Management Computer)

However... Concerning FedEx and the Memphis airport for implementation as a test market, Wayne Risher says, "The new system will feed electronic messages directly into flight management computers, eliminating the step of manually typing information into the computer." 

What this means, is someone on the ground will be programming my plane from the ground. This goes far beyond communication.


What do you think? 

Do you want someone else programming your plane?

I'm wondering what security systems they will have in place to prevent ground infiltration of our planes. Who will have access to compromise our flights and program them from afar? Being so close to the memory of 911 last week, and being a thriller writer, my mind is wandering. But I have to ask... "What if?"

I suspect this is the first step in removing the pilots. Once they prove they can be programmed without us, we'll be history. Of course... think of the savings!

What do you think? Do you want someone on the ground programing your plane? Would you rather have your pilot responsible for your life, or a programmer sitting on the ground? Before you answer, remember... the pilot is on the plane with you.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love of Flight

What do you Love? 
For those who love the sky... 
there is nothing that will compare.

Spread your Wings. 

There is nothing you can't accomplish...

Enjoy the Journey!

XO Karlene

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Motivation: Strength

Paul, Thank You for the beautiful message!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fridays Fabulous Flyers

Honoring the Heroes of NWA Flight 85. 

This is what training, CRM, and the ability to fly your plane beyond automation can do when your plane breaks. And it will break... despite the non-breakable parts.

When you have 45 minutes to spare, this video is well worth the view. I'm proud to have known and worked with all these pilots. Way to go guys! Make sure you watch to the very end. 

The last comment is priceless. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Spectacular Woman Doing Amazing Things…

Holly Lipschultz, not only shares a passion as a lover of books (she’s a librarian, and an author in the making) but she is taking wonderful care of our condo in Chicago. More than that, she’s doing something to better the life of animals. Adopting cats, and running her butt off for them too.

Sunday, October 7th
Holly Lipschultz will be running 
the Chicago Marathon—26.2 miles!

What is so amazing about this is, she has only been running since March. Okay, she actually started running January 2011 as she trained for the Couch to 5K program, which was held the following April. But she stopped running after that, until this year.  

Why does Holly run?

“Initially, running was just a way to force me to get off of my butt, since I was having a hard time getting motivated to exercise when depression was making me lethargic. However, if I have a goal, I'm more likely to overcome the psychological hurdles. Being the overachiever I am, I decided to try to run the Chicago Marathon. It was a bucket list item that I was certain I would never do, but my husband Jeff was encouraging, and so registered for the marathon. And also being an overachiever, I thought, if I'm running, I might as well do the full experience, including the fundraising."

But she’s running for more than the health of it. She’s running for the health of her feline friends at PAWS Chicago.



“For one thing, we used to foster kittens for them, and they were fantastic to work with. For another, they are very efficient with their money, compared to a lot of charities. They don't have a lot of "bloat" at the top, organization-wise, meaning that they actually do spend the money they get on the animals.

I really like how they have a cage-less environment at their adoption center, as it makes the dogs and cats less stressed. Secondly, I like how they truly are no-kill. They don't euthanize any animals simply because of physical impairment or illness--they actually try to heal the dogs and cats. Red, the pit bull, isa good example. He was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot, and most other places would euthanize big dogs like that. They, however, gave him physical therapy and a mobility aid, and absolutely doted on him while he waited in the shelter until the right adoptive family came along."


PAWS has a special place in my heart especially because of my youngest cat, Joe, who started out as one of our fosters. He was sick for quite a while (mostly a prolonged kitty cold) and was "failing to thrive" in his previous foster home. PAWS just kept on treating him, and we fostered him until he was large enough to be adopted. I absolutely fell in love with his cuddly personality during that time, and WE ended up being the adoptive parents! 


While there are many shelters in the US, I had to ask Holly, “Why Paws?” What makes them so special and why should we donate to them?

“People should donate to PAWS Chicago because of their status as a no-kill shelter, their efficiency with money, and their effectiveness in curbing the animal population in the City of Chicago while rescuing the homeless animals. Through their comprehensive spay/neuter and adoption program, the number of euthanized unwanted pets throughout Chicago has drastically dropped from approximately42,000 in 1997 to about 17,000 in 2010, saving many lives that way.

 Holly is not alone in her efforts...

What is one Person Doing In Cyprus 
to prevent numerous Cat's from wandering the streets?

Frank Created the Cat Sanctuary with over 200 guests.


How can you help support Holly's efforts?

By clicking HERE to donate

All donations will go to Holly’s favorite charity: PAWS

Holly says, “People can also donate their time and love by helping out at the shelter or by fostering--not just for PAWS, but also for other reputable animal clinics near their home.”
And if you’re reading this after the race, you can always support our friends by clicking HERE.

Enjoy the Journey, and take a moment to show Holly Support as she flies through the City of Chicago on October 7th!

XO Karlene