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, December 3, 2014


Not many times I am sent such a riveting introduction to the book Inverted, and so close to my aviation post on General Aviation Safety...

Can’t move my right hand. My neck hurts. The June sun shone brightly as we hung upside down beside the runway of a small Pennsylvania airport.

Disoriented and dazed, I looked at my wife; her eyes were closed. Lord, no!

Bright spots of blood seeped from shallow cuts on her face.

Slowly she opened her eyes, touched her cheek, and noticed the blood on her hand. “Am I disfigured?” she whispered.

Trying to gather my thoughts wasn’t easy. “You’ll be okay…we have to get out of here.”

I hated myself for hurting her as gas fumes drifted into the cockpit.

Five months earlier, my new RV-7A experimental plane flew for the first time. What a high— the culmination of years of learning and hard work. The RV grin had been on my face for two days, and I was so proud.

Five weeks earlier, I completed the testing phase, and took a flight instructor friend flying. We were both grinning and I felt even prouder.

Five hours earlier, my son Nathan went up with me for his first ride in our new plane. Good pictures, big smiles, shiny plane, and shiny pride.

Five minutes earlier, Gail and I were on final approach at Altoona-Blair County Airport. Family members waited; we were anxious to show off the plane.

Five seconds earlier: gusting winds, moment of distraction, flared high, bounced, landed hard, bent the nose-wheel, skidded off runway, hit the dirt, and flipped the plane. This can’t be happening. My beautiful plane is wrecked, Gail and I are hurt, and my shining sense of pride is suddenly tarnished. 

Years of dreams shattered in an instant.

Everyone talks about the highs and lows of life…the mountaintops and the valleys. Rick Warren prefers to compare life to a set of train tracks. The tracks run side by side; one rail represents the good in life, the other represents the bad, and there are no highs where everything is all good, just as there are no lows where everything is all bad. Good and bad things run parallel, and both are always present—they vary only in degree.

We would all prefer to avoid the trials, but they’re always there—challenging us, trying to steal our joy, discourage us, or worse. Every day we assimilate the good with the bad, and our lives are molded through a combination of experiences and attitude. Viktor Frankl contemplated this while suffering the horrors of a WWII concentration camp, and he concluded that in order for life to make sense, we must first find meaning in our tragedies.

Through the process of building an RV-7A experimental airplane, learning to fly it, and then experiencing a life-altering crash, some extreme highs and lows were compressed into a relatively short span. This book was written because I endured nine months of inactivity and recovery, and putting the story on paper has been my way of dealing with those challenges.

I wouldn’t have chosen to go through several of the things I’m about to share with you, but that’s not the way life works. The “train” rolls on, and the following pages celebrate my discovery of meaning. 

Read the entire story! 
Found at

Enjoy the Journey and fly safe!
XOX Karlene

1 comment:

Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!