Contract Airline Services

"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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Darby Falls in Love...

Today is another first ~
 A Darby Bradshaw first ...

For all of you who fell in love with Darby in Flight For Control, wait until Flight For Safety is released. Flight For Safety is Darby's story. But today is the story of her first love, at sixteen-years-old.

In addition, this post is in honor of the Rights of Spring Blog Hop where you can win a couple great prizes! Wait... you can win a lot of prizes. 

75 Blogs are each giving away a prize! 
1st Place: Kindle Fire
2nd Place: $50 Amazon gift certificate


In addition for a chance to win the grand prize, you can enter a chance to win a copy of your choice: Flight For Control or Flight For Safety. It depends if you want instant gratification, or can wait a few months until Flight For Safety is released. 

For now... all you have to do is enjoy a Darby first...

Darby thanked the driver for the ride, slammed her door, and spit her gum on the side of the road. She stuck her hands deep into her jeans' pockets and wandered across the parking lot toward the chain link fence. She glanced back once, and then pressed on.

Perhaps hitchhiking in Los Angeles was not the brightest of ideas… but she had lived in New York City for the first fifteen years of life and somehow the streets on the West Coast felt safe.

She jiggled the gate, but a lock kept her out. She raised her sunglasses and pushed them on top of her head. Then laced her fingers through the metal links and peered beyond. She squinted into the distance. Dreams of another life called to her in the form of engines buzzing. What am I thinking?

Everyone had told her she was an idiot to think that she could fly a plane.  She would prove them wrong. Looking toward the sky, she smiled. Not a cloud in sight ~ a sign that this would be her day. The sky would be hers, and nothing would stop her. 

Taking a deep breath, she dropped her hands and headed for the front door of the FBO. A Fixed Base Operator was the place to rent little airplanes, and these guys offered introductory flights.

“May I help you miss?” A blonde standing behind the front desk asked the moment the door opened.

“I’m here to take an intro flight,” Darby said, trying to sound cool.

“You’re totally going to love it. I went for a flight last week,” she said, smacking her gum. “When I get out of school for summer, I’m totally taking flying lessons.”

Darby pulled a ten-dollar bill out of her pocket and set it on the counter, hoping this would prompt her to get the show on the road and Darby's plane into the sky before she chickened out. 

Blondie took the money, opened a drawer and stuffed it inside. She slid a finger down a list of names taped to the counter, then picked up microphone. She pressed a button and said, “Brian, I need you to take an intro flight.”

Within seconds a voice broadcasted over the radio. “Can’t you get someone else?”

Valley girl winked at Darby. “Brian, I don’t give a shit if you are an airline pilot! Get your butt up here or I’m telling daddy to hold your last paycheck.” She set down the microphone and blew a bubble.

“I could come back,” Darby said. Maybe pissing off her pilot before they flew wasn't a good idea.

“No you don’t. You’re going flying,” she said pointing a finger. “Don’t worry about Brian. He’s just been hired by American Airlines and thinks he’s hot shit. He’s really good, and you’ll have fun.” She leaned in and whispered, “and he's totally hot.”

Darby stuck her hands into her pockets, and grinned. Hot or not, she wanted good. But if an airline hired him, he had to be good. Her heart beat rapidly. She was nervous as hell. Hitchhiking, and sneaking out at night… that was one thing. But to fly a plane? She was not sure if she had what it took. Glancing at the door she digested how fast she could get there if she bolted, but the breeze and the slamming of another door grabbed her attention.

Brian. He was about two feet taller than she was, and Blondie had the cute part right. He was actually super cute. And he couldn’t be more than nineteen. She chewed on her bottom lip, and stared. 

“You ready to fly?” He asked, waving her to follow him down a hallway.

Darby sucked it up and hustled to catch him. He opened a door and held it for her. But she stopped short, stood in front of him and looked up. “How old are you?”

He laughed. “Old enough. Why?”

“Valley girl back there said you were hired by American Airlines. You just look kind of young.”

He laughed, “Valley girl? I like it.” His gaze held hers, and then said, "twenty-three. Now you ready or what?"

Good enough for her. Darby ducked under his arm and sprang onto the ramp. “This is so cool.” Her nerves had shifted from fear to pure excitement.

Brian closed the door with a bang and yelled, “Slow down champ. No running on the ramp. You go running through a prop and turn yourself into sushi, it’ll be my ass.”

“I wouldn’t want anything to happen to your ass,” Darby said. It was kind of cute. “But can we just get in a plane and fly?”

“We will,” Brian said walking across the ramp, this time with Darby at his side. “But a solid preflight will determine if we have a safe flight.” He stopped and turned her way. “If you become a pilot… promise me one thing.”

Darby waited, his eyes locked onto hers. God they were gorgeous. They reminded her of chocolate chip cookies, and then her stomach grumbled. “Anything.”

“Promise me you will always do the work. Never short change the basics… especially the preflight.”

Darby saluted. “Yes sir, it’s a promise.”

They reached the blue and white plane, called a Cessna 152. She was the most beautiful thing Darby had ever seen, and she placed the palm of her hand on what Brian had called the cowling, and she slid it over the planes’ cool skin.

Brian took her step-by-step around the Cessna explaining the flight control surfaces and what they did. He talked about the wings, and ailerons, flaps, elevator and rudder. They looked at hinges, and the tires, and checked oil. It was all so cool. She could not believe this was truly happening and she hoped that she would remember every word he said. She watched him, so professional and confident, and wished that one day she would be just like him.

When Darby climbed into the seat for the first time, she thought she was going to pass out with excitement. If one could pass out for having their heart beat out of their chest and a smile split open their face. Darby pulled her glasses onto her nose. She was ready to fly and start the first day of the rest of her life. 

Brian started the engine, talked on the radio and then taxied the plane to the runway. He explained how to steer with her feet on the rudders.

Once on the runway, after the tower cleared them for takeoff, Brain said, “Okay, you got it.”

“Got what?” Darby squeaked, her heart lodged in her throat.

“The plane. You’re going to fly. Put your hand on the throttle, I’ll help you.”

She did as she was told and his hand covered hers. Together they slowly pressed the throttle in. The plane moved down the runway. Accelerating with the rush of blood in her ears.

“There you go. Just like that,” he said. “Keep the centerline between your legs. Now when the speed reaches 60-knots, I want you to slowly pull the nose into the air. Put that airplane symbol on that line,” he said, pointing to one of the instruments.

Darby glanced at the airspeed indicator, then out at the runway. She was a little to the right of the centerline, but was slowly moving the line back between her legs. He was helping her, she was sure. But that was okay... a first time for everything. She giggled as she looked back to her airspeed. 45 knots. 50…55…60. She looked at the instrument with the miniature airplane and pulled back on the controls, she immediately shifted her eyes outside. Then glanced back inside to make sure her little plane was on the line it was supposed to be.

She was flying. Darby Bradshaw was seriously flying a plane!

They climbed 2000 feet into the sky, and she looked out the window. I’m flying! Brian allowed her to turn, and bank… she danced in the sky. Then he laughed loudly.

“What’s so funny?” She asked, holding her attention outside the window. He had told her about the horizon and how she could maintain her altitude by just looking outside.

“Are you sure you’ve never flown a plane before?” He shouted.  “You’re a natural.”

“Thanks!” Darby said. She had no idea if she were a natural or not, but she knew she had finally found where she belonged—in the sky. 3000 feet, and climbing, above all the problems below.

“I was going to take the month off before I started with American,” Brian said. “But if you’re serious about this flying gig, I’d like to be your instructor.”

“Seriously?” Oh my God. Darby had no idea how she was going to pay for this, but she knew one thing for sure. She had fallen hopelessly in love for the first time—twice in the same day! She turned her attention to Brian and said, “I would love to learn to fly. With you.”


To Enter for one of the two Flight Novels...
  1. Follow this blog, and 
  2. Leave a comment below... with a "first" something.
To Enter the Grand Prize:
  1.  After leaving your comment here click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway link below

Happy First Day of Spring! 


To See who else is giving away a great prize
Click the Rites of Spring Blog Hop!
75 blogs! 75 prizes!
Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene   


  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure. Now trying to figure out how to hit 74 other blogs in two days. But I will!

  2. I'm in! The "First" thing I ever one in a contest. It was a KUPD "Bird Shirt,"...and the next day I was the coolest freshman on my high school campus! ;-)

    1. And that explains everything! It all started that freshman year.... Thanks for being in!

  3. ...and love Darby's first! :-)

  4. The first thing I felt when I saw an aircraft at 4 years old... I can still remember... My legs shook, my mouth opened, my eyes were fixed, my years were appreciating each engine noise detail, my soul connected with aviation. I'm still young to fly in the Brazilian laws, but I always feel that each time I see an aircraft and my arms gets hot and it turns red. Soul reaction.

    I love Darby's story. I can't wait for Flight For Safety and I have securely kept my money so when it comes out, Ha! I will get it!

    Karlene, you rock! :P


    1. Lol... then how can you win? I have a guaranteed sale! :) Thank you Alex. Love your first!!!!

    2. LOL!!!! I can hear your evil laugh from here!! :P Just trying to find a way of winning! But If I don't, I'll get it anyway! :´D Important is to participate and try. ;)

  5. G'day, Karlene!

    "But if an airline hired him, he had to be good."

    Hmmm... Going to have to think about that a bit.

    Looking forward to the pub date. I'll be first in the queue to buy a signed copy!

    Best regards,


    1. Lol.... She was 16... what did she know? Thanks for the laugh!

  6. OMG Karlene I have tears in my eyes... the first time I ever flew a plane... I was Derby!!!! I promise!!! Karlene, the story you're telling us here is so close to my story!!!! I always wanted to be an astronaut, but my very first time enjoying the sky in a Cessna above the Amazon will always be in my heart and my mind, and nothing will replace the cute pilot I have met when I discovered what flying really meant... Those stories sounds so unrealistic, that also what makes them even more beautiful!!!!

    1. This is so great! I always wonder where inspiration comes from, and we all have those stories... timeless. Now, I might have to write the next sixteen years. Oh wait... now she's all grown up in a story of her own. More to come! I am so glad we had happy tears! Thank you.

  7. Darby and her stories are new to me, but I am going to remedy that quickly.
    Thanks for being part of this fun blog hop.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

    1. You are so welcome! And yes...remedy that. Everyone fell in love with Darby in book one. Now she gets book two...and three I suspect.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  8. I love this first from Darby! I am a huge fan of hers ever since Flight For Control and am so excited that she'll have her own book soon. I can hardly wait!

    1. Thank you so much! On all accounts. I hope you love Flight For Safety too!!! I think you will.

  9. This is so awesome...can't wait to read more!!!.... Thanks Karlene..

    1. Thank you An! We both love our friend Darby. More to come!!

  10. Karlene, thank you so much for sharing more tidbits of Darby. It is a true honor to read everyone's story of their first.. Especially Darby. I am also glad that she found someone, that instructor that she was able to connect to. (Referene the post on my site Monday the 18th) I look forward to the second book and especially the list of Darby sayings. With all of the stress in life, I need Darby to add that color, that brightness. This post was yet another example of how color has been put into or given to my life.

    1. You are so welcome!! Instructors you connect with are so important, as you know. Darby will bring you much color soon!!!

  11. Sounds great! Thanks for the hop!

  12. Very nice Karlene, I enjoyed that. Go Darby!

    In my work, Eddie takes his future wife on their first date to the new Top Gun movie. They were both 16. I enjoy mixing love and aviation. Perfect mix.

    1. Oh... wait until Flight For Safety and see what happens during the Top Gum movie. :) Teaser alert! Love and aviation are a perfect mix!

  13. I love Darby as a character, you've done so well Karlene and I am completely impressed! It was a highlight of my day reading that.

    You're post makes me want to read so much more into Darby and what will happen with Brian. :)

    Amazing writing Karlene, you should be so proud,
    Swayne Martin

    1. Thank you! But now she is all grown up. And yes... will she and Brian carry this moment in time forward? We shall see....

  14. I can't wait for "Flight for Safety". I've just re-read "Flight for Control" again because I enjoyed it so much first time!

    1. Mark, Thank you so much!!!! I really appreciate that. I need more positive comments like this on Amazon. Must find others like yourself! And I have to say... I think I'm liking Flight for Safety better. :)

  15. Best wishes for success of both books, and thanks for the giveaway.

    I enjoy your e-mailed posts and share them with friends.

    1. Liz, Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate your support.

  16. I don't remember my first kiss. Guess it was that great since I don't remember. Hum? But I do remember the date of my first date with my hubby.

    Thanks for being in the blog hop.

    1. Oh.. and now that I know about emotion and memory... I know why. :) Don't tell him... I'm thinking no connection and it was not that emotional. lol. The hubby date...that's a good thing.

  17. WELL...Since there seems to be a lot of flying on this blog, I'll mention my first flight on a plane when I was 14 and my family traveled with my father on business to Puerto Rico. I did not enjoy the flight--there were lots of young children and lots of wailing. I didn't think it was a fun way to travel! LOL.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Catherine... now I know you need to be the pilot! We're isolated from that stuff. Quite honestly, I'm with you on the not so fun. It took years of practice in the back... Many years of commuting. Thanks for the comment!


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