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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.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women Of Aviation

This week is all about Women Of Aviation

Pilots worldwide are opening their doors to women of all ages and exposing them to the Aviation Bug. The only way to know if you will catch this bug, is if you take that first flight. If it bites... your life will be changed forever.

With less that 6 percent of all licensed pilots being women... men and women everywhere are helping to up those numbers by starting their engines, opening their doors, and taking women flying. We are turning the skies pink. 


Why are there so few women flying planes?  

Many young men get into a plane with the intent to fly for a living. Many women believe that it's too hard, or impossible, to have a family and work, too. I'm here to tell you that it's possible to be a pilot and a mom.


The challenges are many. Especially if both parents are pilots. Whose career comes first? Who takes care of the child? What happens when Mom Pilot has difficulty letting go of the control of her baby? Yes... pilots seriously do have control issues. How can we leave our baby? The guilt. The stigma. The missing our little ones while we're on the road.

The point is. Nobody will take better care of your baby than you. But we must have faith that Dad or the child care provider will take exceptional care of our children.  Flight attendants have no stigma attached and travel with kids at home. 9-5 working women have weekends only with the kids. Airline pilots have stretches of time off. We can expose our children to the world by taking them on International trips. 


Pilot mom's give their kids something special... the power to believe they can do anything.

Is is possible to do the family thing and fly? Absolutely. The key is to work together with your spouse, and make a plan on how you will handle the obstacles.

Yesterday I was talking with a dear friend who is facing the challenge of balance and her career. She made it to captain at a regional, but her schedule sucks. She's commuting to a job that gives her two days off between trips. Not a doable solution with the commute and caring for her baby. Her husband has his career with a major airline, and commutes to a different base. She was thinking about leaving to find a different job...Hoping that the next airline will be better. But starting over is not the answer. Sometimes we have to wait out the storm. 


There is going to be a pilot shortage. In a few years all pilots who have held stable jobs, built their hours, proven themselves in the industry... there will be a job at a major airline waiting for them. 


And women, think about after kids. If you want a career as a pilot, you can do it. When you're kids are off doing their high school, college, and life thing... you can have your career. There is life after kids. Then you can have the fantastic opportunity that I have to fly for free to visit the grandkids. 

Besides... women make excellent pilots. We don't kick the tires... we touch them to see how they are feeling. We can multitask and deal with an engine fire, talk to ATC and the passengers at the same time. We don't get lost... we ask for directions!

Have fun, and if you know a woman who wants a free flight, living in the Seattle area click HERE. If you're looking someplace else in the world... click HERE. There is a plane waiting to take you into the sky to spark your dreams.

What are your thoughts on women being mothers and pilots at the same time? Any tips and suggestions?

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Karlene, I love the term "Mission Impossible" because it stands for taking on the impossible and conquering it and that nothing is impossible.

    Congrats to your friend's Captain upgrade and even though the schedule isn't the prettiest perhaps through showing her determination that struggle will turn into a blessing. Not only a blessing, but twice, if not triple the blessings.

    Fear is fearing the unknown. The only way to overcome it is to wait the storm out. And of course, you always have the most adorable photos to share! (Especially the one pointing at the nose. ;)

    1. Thank you Jeremy!
      Yes... fear is the unknowing. If we can surpass that and go with faith... we can do anything. Thank you so much for your comment!

  2. Thank you so much for these encouraging words Karlene. As you probably know, this is one of the issues I have been debating before entering the industry. But I'm determined to make it work. We just have to, right?

    At work today, a guy came in to my store and asked me some questions about mopeds because he wants to buy one for his son. Before he left the store, he started to talk to my dad/boss. Turns out this guy is a captain for the biggest regional airline in Norway. He flies the Dash 8 and enjoys every day. He told me to be determined and build my career step by step. Think about the next challenge, and not the one after the next one. For me, that is to concentrate on commercial and multi-engine rating rather than ATP or a type rating. He was very encouraging.

    With his words today, and your blogpost, I am even more determined to make this a wonderful career.

    1. Yes... you are right....we have to!

      Nothing happens by accident. He walked into your store, with you there for that guidance to push you where you have to go. Inspiration is everywhere, we just have to see it when it stands in front of us.

      You will do it. I have no doubt!


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