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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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve!

My celebration will be spent...

Babysitting. Sleeping. And waiting for my granddaughter's arrival. We've been waiting all week, and reality is, this little girl has a mind of her own. I'm hoping she makes her grand entrance this morning. Perhaps she will be the first baby of the New Year. Hopefully before this Grandma has to fly out. The other Grandma is standing by.

 Big Brother Carter has been practicing reading to his sister.

My New Year will be on a plane as I'm heading to ATL. Then I'm off to Honolulu, Osaka, Honolulu, Atlanta and back to Seattle. Life is all about the adventure. Something tells me 2014 is about to bring it on. Of course I've got a ton of New Year's resolutions. Come back tomorrow and see what I'm up to.

What Are You Doing Tonight? 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Monday, December 30, 2013

Heather McCorkle's an Inspiration

Today is a special day that often gets lost in the holiday shuffle. Christmas is over and the year is coming to an end. Presents have been opened, trees taken down and everyone is preparing for their New Year's Eve parties. December 30th is one of those days that is often forgotten.  Not this year!

Today is my friend Heather McCorkle's Happy Birthday. She is an inspiration to so many authors. She writes Urban Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, and Epic Fantasy. If you want to give her a gift, check out one of her many novels...

Heather also designs covers for other authors 

Happy Birthday Heather!
I hope today and special and your party carries through to the new year. 
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


T.H.ursday's with Tom Hill
I retired from the Air Force almost nine years ago after serving in the pressure-packed worlds of tactical aviation and experimental flight test. One of the last official duties I had was to say a few words to those gathered at my retirement ceremony. I chose two topics to talk about. The first I've spoken about already, "Who is going to replace you?" The second was about "downtime." 

Some of you might wonder why I would spend some of my precious last few minutes in the Air Force talking about something we probably all do. Unfortunately, it's my experience lots of us DON'T take downtime. I know many high energy folks who haven't had a real vacation in years. It's almost a matter of pride that they turn in vacation time at the end of the year. 
For many of them, it's work, work, and more work. Symptoms of the lack of commitment to downtime are circumstances taking over and ruining tenuous plans for time off. This especially happens at the end of the year, the Christmas holiday season. Even though we might be on "vacation" at the end of the year, it may not be a recuperative time. The holidays can be a pain, in other words.

Why do I think it's important people take downtime? Because if all you do is what you do every single day, then all you'll ever be good at is what you do every single day. And, you're probably not getting any better at what you do. Taking downtime gives the opportunity to experience or at least diligently think about something other than work. Not only is it refreshing but it also opens the mind to horizons you might not see if you never took the time off. 
A tiny version of downtime is day dreaming. Recent studies suggest day dreaming is a great opening to creativity. And creativity is a great opportunity to solve problems that otherwise wouldn't be solvable. Unlike some people, I do not believe downtime is optional for a healthy life style. It is of the utmost importance for the best and brightest of us.

As with everything, there's a balance. Downtime to an extreme is definitely not productive. It might even be called laziness by some. But, if you're constantly juggling schedules, with people pulling you in one direction or another, you're probably the person who needs downtime the most.

The holidays are always a struggle. Between travels, hosting families, feasts, and social gatherings, it's really hard to make personal downtime a priority. But, if you're looking to be regenerated after the holidays I suggest you make downtime a priority in the same way you would prioritize exercising, eating, and sleeping.

This is a funny suggestion to the most productive and workaholic folks we know: take time off. Take a breather and smell the roses. Sleep in for a while. Put your to-do lists away and enjoy the privilege of just being. I think you'll find you haven't lost ground at work or have been disowned by family and friends. You may even find yourself more satisfied and centered. That's not bad at all, is it?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

From my family to yours, 
We wish you a Merry Christmas 
And a Happy New Year! 


Happiest of Holidays to all, 
And to all a goodnight. 

XOX Karlene 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Forgiveness, A Gift...

"I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It is a gift you give yourself." 

I received a special request to write a Monday motivation on forgiveness. Since I too believe forgiveness is a gift, what a better time than on Christmas week. 

There will always be people that have harmed us, taken advantage of, done something we didn't think they should have, etc., but holding resentment for them does nothing to them, and everything to the person holding the anger.

We are all human. People make mistakes. Nobody does everything right. I am willing to bet that every person reading this has regrets for their past mistakes. Thus the first person on your list to forgive should be yourself. Then add to it all those people you feel anger for.

Anger and resentment for anything is like a poison running through your veins. Perhaps this holiday season we can spend a little more time opening our hearts and giving the gift of forgiveness. To your health and happiness...give it a try!

Happy Holidays!
XO Karlene

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kathy McCullough...

Today is your birthday!!!

Kathy is another day older, more beautiful, wiser, greater, artistic, talented, and the list goes on. She knows how to laugh loud, live large and is a friend to the world. I'm so glad to know her!

Happy Birthday Kathy! 
I hope today is as special as you are!
Which is going to be a hard order to fill.
XO Karlene

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa Really Does Fly!

 Friday's Fabulous Flyers...

Twas 5 days before Christmas 
Your shopping's not done...
No need to worry, no need to run..
They fly and they write. 
They are all full of joy. 
They've got something special..
for every girl and every boy 
If you don't know what to get that special aviator this year, pictures speak louder than words...

A special mention for a great book! Yes...Pilots do read other books besides Aviation. This one is Fantastic!!!

For all your other Aviation gifts there is...

Holiday Special:

Spend $50 or more with us between now and Christmas Day and receive a coupon for $5 off any purchase between January 1st and February 28th, 2014. Shop in-store, online at, or call us at toll free at 855-252-8864 (855-25AVUNI). We have extended store hours between now and Christmas, and our online store is open 24/7. And we will gift wrap for free!


Thurs 19th & Fri 20th Open Late! 10am - 8pm
Saturday 21st 10am - 6pm
Sunday 22nd 11am – 4pm 
Christmas Eve 24th 10am – 4pm
CLOSED December 25th – 27th, 2013
New Year's Eve 31st 10am – 4pm
CLOSED January 1st, 2014

When you thought life couldn't get any better... I have some great news! Coming in a 439 pages... she's done!
Flight For Safety is complete!   

I awoke at 0200 on Wednesday and did that final read. 16 hours later... I gave a Whoo Hoo! Compliments of the holiday, it may take two (three) weeks to bring Flight For Safety to market, but now I will join you in the waiting game.

Then I celebrated by writing Christmas cards. They may be late... but they are on their way. 

Have a GREAT holiday weekend!!! 
XOX Karlene

Thursday, December 19, 2013


T.H.ursdays with Tom Hill

Sometimes it’s easy to forgot how lucky I am doing some of the things I do. It’s particularly easy to discount what I do nowadays when you look at what I HAVE done. In terms of numbers of “epic” events, I might look longingly to years past when I flew more advanced aircraft. Fortunately, the universe is kind enough to remind me that not all is what “was,” and that what I’m doing now might be someone else’s epic adventure.

We have many great relationships with other aviation agencies at the USAF Test Pilot School. One is with the USAF Academy. This institution is easily the source of a third of our officers and many of our pilots. It’s a very difficult educational institution in which, not only are you graded for your academic excellence, but also for your military abilities. The course load they have at the academy is impressive for anyone.

They have a course for seniors that’s all about flight testing. Aero 456 teaches students the basics of designing test plans, collecting data, and analyzing the data for a report. One of their final projects is a team exercise reporting on the performance capabilities of the T-38. Sure, it’s a great academic exercise. But, the best parts and most important objectives aren’t measurable on a simple scale. It’s the pure experience of flying in a supersonic jet trainer.

That little tidbit is easy to forget when you are flying hundreds of such missions a year. When the most recent class of Aero 456 students descended on Test Pilot School just a few weeks ago, I was reminded that not all I do is run-of-the-mill. Actually some of it is quite epic.

Every six months a group of Aero 456 students come to Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB to finish their final project, which is writing that report. They learn emergency procedures for getting into and out of the T-38 safely. One by one, they fly with a TPS instructor who is supposed to fly the given test conditions and do the right maneuvers while the students record what they see. It is all very scripted and old hat for us old-head instructors.

When I was teaching one group of these students how to egress the T-38 safely I asked if any had flown in a tandem—i.e. frontseat/backseat—cockpit aircraft before. Most had not, which surprised me, because in years past most had flown advanced fighters during orientation trips to other Air Force bases. This group of cadets where experienced glider instructors or flew Cessna 172’s on the Flying Team. They were familiar with the classic General Aviation world but had little experience with high performance aircraft like the T-38.

Like all aircraft, a T-38 flight begins with a takeoff. When you’re used to gliders and Cessna’s, the T-38 takeoff with its afterburners can be quite impressive. It might even feel like a “kick in the pants” on a cold day when the afterburners kick in just after the brakes are released. The takeoff can be memorable, at least until you fly something with real power, like an F-15 or F-16.

On this day, I get on the end of the runway with my cadet safety strapped into the backseat. The kick and speed rush associated with escaping the runway at 165 KTS is all there. I make a slight turn out of traffic towards the fat part of our airspace, which for me is all pretty normal stuff. As we climb away from the ground at a good rate, my backseater pipes up, “Sir, this is probably the coolest thing I have ever done in my life!” All he needed to add was a cursory, “Yee haw!” to really state what he was feeling.

We finished the mission. His grin was a mile wide the whole time we walked back to TPS. Afterwards, he and a couple other cadets I flew with that week gave me a little memento of their visit—the patch you see here.

I’m glad I have reminders like these. They ground me. There's always the risk of being overly full of oneself. Also, just when I might think my best days are over, there are little events like this to show me that’s not so.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

North Pole Village!

Eight Days Till Christmas...
the countdown is underway!
May Santa's Sleigh be programmed...
A glass cockpit sort of way...

If  he misses the approach, he gets to go to Mistletoe, then right into kissing with a little holding. 
 Sounds like a good night to all
and to all a good night....
Happy Holidays!
XO Karlene