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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, August 16, 2013

Bill Palmer

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

 Captain Bill Palmer

Bill started flying lessons when he was fifteen years old in a Cessna 150 on a small grass strip in central New Jersey, and soloed on his sixteenth birthday. He earned his pilots license when he was seventeen. His mother actually drove him to the airport because he did not have a drivers license.

He received his commercial, instrument, multi-engine, cfi and CF-II, while attending Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach. During the summer of his junior year he instructed at that grass field where it all started. 

Bill graduated from ERAU with a BS Aeronautical Science in 1979, and went to work for a Beech dealer in Pontiac Michigan where he earned his milti-engine instructor certificate. He put that ticket to work... but also flew charters in Barons, and was an FO on King Air.


He also flew cancelled checks around at night, single pilot, single and multi-engine. He says it was a great experience, and at one point flew eight hours a night, four nights a week in an Aerostar. Talk about building time and experience.

In 1982, he found himself flying BE-99's for Air Kentucky airlines, an Allegheny commuter (the USAir regional at the time). More than flying, he wrote a computer program for processing the airline’s tickets, and created a passenger information brochure. When the first printing could not be used because of copyrighted art of the airplane for the cover, he made a pen & ink drawing of the airplane himself.

Then in February of 1984, he was hired by Northwest, and his career took off. He started as a B727 second officer, then second officer OE instructor, and first officer. And so it went...

He was a 757 first officer instructor, classroom instructor, fixed base simulator instructor, and wrote training articles. He also created the ventilation schematic that remained in use for over twenty years.

A320. He was a simulator insrtuctor, flew the airplane, was an line instructor, an FAA designee, and wrote articles and made training videos. 

DC-10. He was the lead on DC-10 systems manual rewrite, and learned FrameMaker. He was an instructor, flight test pilot... delivery and autoland systems, and worked directly with engineers on a simulator rehost project.

A330. Development team, lead on systems manual, taught FrameMaker. Was a simulator and OE instructor, and a FAA designee. He authored various training materials, an created an ACARS simulator. He also flew formation with a lear jet for the photo flight against the rocky mountains. Most importantly, he was my simulator instructor on the A330!

787 development team, he was the lead on systems manual creation and development tasks. He was also type rated in the 777 while working on a 787 project. And then during the merger he worked on joint training projects between airlines.

As if all this wasn't enough... In 1991 he began flying gliders in Minnesota, and earned his commercial certification in 1992. He stopped flying gliders in 1995, but picked it up again in 2012 and now flies out of Warner Springs CA. He developed and programmed an on-line store for his glider instructor. Check out (Where I bought my books.)

He also created a written-test preparation program that was sold for glider & airplane FAA tests, the glider bronze badge written test, and as a study guide for DC9, 727, 757 and A320.

Bill is a webmaster and video producer DIYplumbingAdvice, and several other web projects. He is a house corporation trustee for his college Fraternity’s house corporation (ΣX) and developed and programmed his chapter’s website and on line database. He is the developer and programmer of, a soaring classified ad website.

Bill and his lovely wife Mary, live on a small horse farm in rural southern California where he drives a tractor, taught himself how to torch weld, and likes playing the drums.  He's got two horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots, 3 chickens & feeding about 200 hummingbirds.

As if you thought I was busy~ So what is Bill up to now? 

He just wrote a book, Understanding Air France 447.  The title speaks for itself. But join us next Tuesday with an interview with Bill to hear the story behind the story. We'll learn more about this book and why it came into being. There is always a story behind the story. For now... check it out. You will not be disappointed! 

And if anyone has an technical question ask Bill. 
There nothing he doesn't know about the A330.

It's kind of funny the things that impact our lives. Bill shared something with me that was interesting, and definitely impacted his. He said, "When I sent one of my first primary students for his check ride, and I went to meet the examiner (so this is 1978) he told me that if I gave my students limits (e.g., 100 ' 10°) they'll exceed them, but if I demand perfection, I'll get it.

What words of wisdom have impacted your life? 

You can follow him on Twitter @wfpalmer 
And follow his blog at TrendVector

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Impressive guy! Makes the rest of us -- combined -- sounds like slackers!

    I'm glad the DPE's advice was helpful to Bill, but I'm not sure I "get it". If there's one thing I've learned about aviation, it's that perfection is impossible to attain. Doesn't mean we should strive for it, but if that examiner found a way to get perfection out of students, he's a far better CFI than I'll ever be! :)

    1. Ron... I know what you mean on making us feel like slackers.
      Also... perhaps perfection is nothing more than doing the absolute best you can. Which... we can all strive for that P word for sure.

  2. Bill... This is impressive. Is it called love for what you do?

    I like the very beginning of the story. It makes me feel his pursuance for his dream. He just needed to get into an airline to soar in his career.

    Karlene, your blog is epic. Did you know I bookmarked this Friday Flyer too? Hahah! I'm loving all this!

    Bill, thank you so much for sharing your story. Examples like yours gives me inspiration to become a Pilot and do more than flying.


    1. Alex, Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comments! And... this is a definitely a bookmarking post if there ever was one.

      I'm wondering if this is part of your desire to study. Kind of cool when we get motivation to be the best we can be.

      Thank you so much for the great comment!

  3. I would like to thank my wife Mary for her endless support, encouragement, advice and for handling all the things I wasn't around to handle over the years.

    1. Bill, I'm looking forward to meeting Mary. It's those who are the wind behind our wings we should always celebrate for sure.

  4. Ron,

    I think that the idea is more along the lines of not being satisfied just because something is within the allowable margin of error.
    Is plus or minus a hundred feet good enough? - If you can read the altimeter within +/- 20 and have the skills to keep it there, I think not.
    Land on the runway - or on the centerline?

    1. Absolutely... always striving for the best. I always thought it funny someone could do a steep turn and consistently main 100 feet off. Why not on altitude?

  5. Bill, as A330 in-training-to-be-guy, I have been wondering how round motor guys like me wound up in a flying computer game like the Airbus. Time and Tide I suppose. Still, us steam gauge guys can use all the help we can get! Mahalo Nui Loa brother!!

    1. Tony, you're going to do great. There is a huge support system if you have any questions. You're going to have fun with the plane. And remember... disconnect and just fly it!

  6. Anonymous,
    Remember, it's still an airplane. Sometimes you have to take over and fly it. Never forget you have that option.

    1. Ha. Ha. And you should exercise that option as often as possible, too.

  7. Great #FF Karlene. Bill you've definitely had an awesome career thus far.

    I need to pick up a copy of the book --looks fascinating! It's great that we have experts like Bill that care enough to put the time and energy it takes to create a book so we can all learn from this tragedy.

    Brent over at

    1. Thank you so much Brent. Yes...I know it was a ton of energy, and effort. And everyone will get something out of it, too. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Thanks for much for this great post Karlene. Bill, it sounds like you've has quite the career and have been enjoying it!

    I'm curious, what were some of your favorite routes on the A330?

    As a student pilot, it's fantastic to be able to read something like this and see how you got to where you are today. There isn't any "standard" path in aviation, as everything is so dynamic, but it's still good to see how others have really "done it."

    Thanks again Karlene and Bill,
    -Swayne Martin

    From Private to Professional Pilot (the Website):

    1. Hi Swayne, I'll let Bill tell you his favorite. But for me... it's all about layover. Well, really my favorite would be Asia short south flights, and lots of them. More turns verse longer hours.

  9. Thanks for sharing a wee bit of Captain Palmer's hostory with us, Karlene. If ever there was a man who is in love with his profession... Best wishes to your both, -Craig

    1. Thank you so much for the comment Craig. He definitely has a passion for flying, for sure.

  10. I have been giving some thought as how to reply to this incredible story that both Bill and Karlene have brought to the world.

    Bill - you have proven that even though there are never enough hours in the day, there are. You are proof of this through your dedication for achieving and training others with every faculty you have. I am amazed at the stories, your photos I see online and the vast wealth of information you have to offer on your website. Your care and devotion you have given to the industry is a pure example of what every pilot should be no matter if sport, rec, PPL, or ATP.

    I am ever so thankful to Karlene for having brought you to my attention and I am thinking I want you as my glider instructor less alone the one to give me my Airbus and Boeing 777 check ride as I only wish to train with the best pilots. (ELAL/NW)

    Thank you for all you have shared with the world you've spread your vast wings over!


    1. Jeremy, thank you for the great comment! I know that one day you will be able to fly with Bill, and I am looking forward to the day we can fly together too!

    2. Karlene, for sure we will fly together! I need a great 747-400 instructor and I know you're the best in town. That way you, Natan, and I can all fly together! (Also looking forward to an Airbus A330 trip with you as well.)

  11. Great example to follow Bill is. I am reading his book on AF447, and it provides a great perspective from a pilot's view that anybody can understand.
    Marlene, can you please provide info on where to find his guide for the A320? I am flying/instructing the line, and it woul be a great reference.
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Thank you so much Jimmy!! Excellent book isn't it! Keep up the good work on the line. We're counting on you!

  12. I am Bill's Great Uncle, his Mom's bro, so I've known him since he was a babe. From my view, his success in life is not from a desire for wealth, or fame, or to impress anyone. He does what he loves, and does it to his own desired level of excellence. It does help to be very smart, and have good genes. Good going Bill.
    Uncle Warren

    1. Uncle Warren, Thank you for a wonderful comment! Bill was my initial instructor on the A330... and I knew that instantly. He was all about the concern and passion for teaching and learning. Nothing more. I'll make sure he comes back and reads your comment. :)


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