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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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

An Aviation Career....

Can be yours! 

Join me at the NW Aviation Career Forum! 

February 20th!

FEB 20 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Showplex, Puyallup, WA
Doors open: FRI @ 8:00 AM
First presentation: 9:00 AM

I am honored to be the keynote speaker 
for this incredible event,
and I hope you will join us!

A fun filled day with many opportunities await. Life and aviation are about connections, and you will find them here. If you are looking for a career in aviation, curious about opportunities, want to meet industry professionals and ask questions to Alaska Airlines Chief Pilots... I'm thinking this is the place to be. You don't want to miss it. I'm looking forward to seeing you all! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, January 30, 2015

Niven Sookhoo

Friday's Fabulous Flyer


For The Love of Flying: 

"In the mid 90's today, blue skies dotted with a few white cotton buds floating around and a gentle to moderate south-easterly wind made for a nice day in the circuits in the Southern Caribbean. Minimal traffic to contend with and some nice cross winds and thermals made for an eyebrow raising experience for my experienced student pilot! My guy handled it quite well and I'm so happy to see him reach this penultimate point of his PPL check ride. With dry lips and sweat off my brows and "headset" hair, I guzzle down a pint of apple flavor aminos/water, got his de-brief completed (with my trusty model Cessna 172 in hand) and ready to head out home. What a fantastic day!

My name is Niven and I'm a full time Certified Flight Instructor (C.F.I) and single/ mutli-engine commercial pilot at a flight school based on the beautiful twin island of Trinidad & Tobago. I was born and bred on the east coast of the island and even as a child, the deep fascination of airplanes started. I still rush out and stare heavenly whenever i hear an unusual rumble and I say in my Trini tongue" Ok that have to be huge.. that's probably a military heavy passing o somethin ". I am the eldest of two siblings, both being engineers by qualification and blessed with both mother and father being educators.

I feel so humbled and privileged to be asked by the amazing Karlene to contribute to this journey of her experiences and life in this whirl wind of a career. I am here for you as much as you are here for myself and many other upcoming pilots. I invite you to follow my experiences that brought me to this point in life and to experienced beyond the unknown.

When I'm not teaching flying, I'm either in the gym or learning something different. Whether it be quotations on Taoism, updates on general aviation or a new way to prepare a challenging entree. Every day is one that I choose to learn and challenge myself physically, mentally and spiritually. The pursuit of my gym training I translate into every aspect of my life and my flying career. 
Train hard, persistent, focused, 
analytical and importantly, 
smile along the way.

Tomorrow's morning is another flight and I am stoked! 

Happy and Safe Flying!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bob's Life Celebration

Join the Alexander Family...

"I have some very sad news regarding my father. This Monday the coast guard was notified of an aircraft in distress that appeared to go down in the Hood Canal. After an exhaustive search, the only thing that was recovered was a few small pieces of his plane along with his drivers license. The aircraft and my father have not yet been recovered. The cause of the crash is still not known. But our family takes comfort in the fact that he was an experienced and competent pilot. The NTSB is investigating, but with the depth of the water reaching 500' it is difficult to know if any more of the aircraft will be recovered." Curt Alexander
Curt and Bob

Family and Friends –

Below are the details for the upcoming memorial service in celebration of Bob’s life. Please pass this along to friends and family as we don’t have everyone’s contact information. As Bob would want, this will be a celebration of Bob’s life. How blessed each of are to have been able to be around Bob!

Date – February 5th (Thursday)

Location – Museum of Flight – Skyline Room

9404 East Marginal Way S, Seattle WA 98108, 206-764-5720

Time – 1:30 PM (Memorial will start promptly at 2:00 PM)

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate toward Young Life (Sammamish, Tacoma/University Place, or Hong Kong). We’ve included links below for each.

· Sammamish

· Tacoma/University Place

· Hong Kong

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Inn at Gig Harbor under the name Alexander. The room rates are $109.00 (+ tax) for a standard king or 2 queens, or they have the larger family rooms for $149.00 (+ tax) for 2 queens with an additional king in a separate room. Link to the or (253) 858-1111.

The Alexander Family

If you have questions, please call Curt 425-503-8392 or Laura 253-298-7355

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Project Sky Commute!

Project Sky Commute started about four years ago when I (Brian) was following the aftermath of the Colgan Air 3407 crash in BUF. After that event, some stakeholders were suggesting that commuting by pilots be banned, the U.S. National Research Council published The Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue and the FAA established new flight and duty time regulations. Since then, I have talked to innumerable airline commuters (both pilots and flight attendants) and have learned a great deal about sky commuting both in North America and around the world.

The Community

It didn't take long to realize that their was a community out there. A community that would love to share ideas and strategies on commuting. Some commutes are easier than others, both on the commuter and their spouse or partner. I've been commuting for more than 15 years. Many factors have played into the equation over the years and now my sky commute is one of the most difficult in my airline's system. I've also learned that some airlines do not allow any employees to sky commute and that commuting is far more common in North America than in southeast Asia. Then, there is the expat who, for the most part commutes POS space. I could go on and on, but I hope that gives you a quick snapshot of what the project is about.

I have a cartoonist working on a caption that will put a sky commuter on a dangerous good label. Some folks have that certain look in their eye when they sky commute. I'm working on something humorous about that one too. I have several others that will appear in my book. I hope it will bring a few laughs.
I'm looking for sky commuting stories similar to the time I came back from Europe. We were about 30 minutes out from destination and the Captain asked me what time my commuting flight was. It was scheduled to depart less than 10 minutes after our arrival time and was the last flight out of town that day to my home airport. Well, when we were in-range, he radioed a "friend" at the company and arranged to have me pre-cleared through customs. I thought he was kidding when he said all I had to do was get off our airplane, walk over two gates and have a seat in J. 

He had arranged it all. Well, when we arrived, the door opened, an agent appeared at the flight deck door and invited me to come with him. The Captain said that he'd finish up and that I was to "get moving." I quickly gathered my stuff and followed the agent. No customs, just straight to my commuting flight. After I sat down in J, one of the flight attendants suggested, with a wink, that I change into my sweater. I was looking over my shoulder for a week thinking a customs agent was going to nail me for 'sneaking' into the country illegally. Lol. But, nothing ever came of it.

Want to be part of the team
And share a story?
Brian is also on Twitter @iSkyCommute

Monday, January 26, 2015

The 12th Lady!

Seatle Seahawks 
Watch the Hawks Fly to Success! 

SeaHawks Going All the Way!

Sunday morning found drums beating and horns honking as the party began at 630 here in SeaTac. Kind of fun living on the famous street for the SeaHawks! Front row seats.

Enjoy the photos of the Sunday Block party at my house. We all cheered the SeaHawks on as they drove past on their way to the Super Bowl!! 

And we have some pretty awesome neighbors! 

Patriots, be prepared to be
deflated legally!
Go Hawks!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Flight For Safety Comments


"Can you Handle the Truth?..

That question - loosely adapted from Jack Nicholson’s incendiary line in the movie “A Few Good Men” is an appropriate preamble to reading Karlene Pettit’s thoroughly engaging and lightning-paced new work, “Flight for Safety.” 

The truth is exactly what you get...

The truth of being a professional airline pilot in today’s stressed airline world, the truth about the major new threats to the safety of airline passengers from pilots who aren’t trained to fly anything but computers, and which political and personal agendas sometimes trump safety and sanity.

Can you handle the truth? 

Then this book is a must-read!"

John J. Nance 

Author, Pandora's Clock and Orbit
Aviation Analyst, ABC World News

"As a 20-year veteran of the Airbus-class flight deck, I can attest that the cockpit scenes are spot-on. An excellent follow-up to the harrowing, Flight for Control."

Eric “Cap’n Aux” Auxier

Captain-author, The Last Bush Pilots, Code Name: Dodger;


“A fast-moving aviation thriller that is ripped from the headlines!”

Chris Broyhill 

Retired USAF Fighter Pilot 
Author: Viper Contract and The Cabo Contract 

"This is a whistleblower drama where the stakes are played out with pilots’ careers as well as innocent passengers’ lives."

Captain Mark L. Berry - 

Airways magazine contributing editor, 
Author of the aviation memoir, 13,760 Feet--
My Personal Hole in the Sky


on Amazon  
 Autographed copies here! 

Flight For Control Comments

Read what the experts say:

Flight For Control is a fascinating debut and a truly terrifying insider's take on the airline industry by an author who knows what she's talking about. You will not want to get on an airplane after reading Petitt's book. 

Mike Lawson—Author of The Political Thriller of the Year, House Divided, House Secrets and House Justice

“A strong debut with a complex plot that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.”

Robert Dugoni—Lawyer and New York Times Bestselling Author of fiction The Jury Master, Cyanide Canary, and Damage Control

“Flight for Control is a powerhouse debut novel. Karlene Petitt combines her insider knowledge of the airline industry with her impressive writing skills to create a spellbinding thriller. Why did Flight 39 crash? Could there be more to these air disasters than meets the eye? And what can Kathryn do about it? I was hooked on the first page and never stopped reading till it was over.”

William Bernhardt—Over 10 million novels sold. Bestselling Author of Capital Betrayal, Nemesis, and Hate Crime

“I have a mental map of the book, and boy, is this one ever a labyrinth. Think three-dimensional Midwestern corn maze. It's quite a wild ride. A lot of it scares me, but it reveals a lot about the current state of the commercial aviation industry, stuff that most people don't even think about or can imagine happening..."

Christine Hollingsworth, Pilot

"I just finished reading "Flight For Control" and I've got to tell you that it is OUTSTANDING! Faster and more action packed than a 600 RVR Concorde takeoff! Highly recommended!"

Bill Boeing  


on Amazon  
Or Autographed copies here! 


Friday, January 23, 2015

David Brooks

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

I’ve been working in a secondary school in Liverpool, England for the past six years. My job is working with children across the behavioral and special needs spectrum in assessing their needs. I do this using standardized assessment... I won’t lie I have the best job in the world, I get a kick out of seeing my kids achieve (All 1554) of them!

I graduated University in July 2008 with a BSc in Psychology and Forensic Human Biology. During the course I studied various modules that included:
  • Foundations of Psychology and Research Methods.
  • Biological, Cognitive and Social Psychology as well as Research Methods & Statistics.
  • Evolutionary Psychology.
  • Applying Psychology to industry, Human Factors, Perception and Attention, Psychopathology.
  • Developmental Psychology, Personality and Individual Differences.
  • Research Project based around the Cognitive Neuroscience discipline.

For several years I have become increasingly interested in the field of aviation. During my time at university I majored in Psychology, many of my essays related to aviation and looked at visual perception and load on the human brain. My minor was Forensic Biology. In this part of my course I looked at how bird strikes affect aircraft engine performance, using a case study at Manchester as a base to carry out a forensic reconstruction of events leading to an aircraft encountering a bird strike. I also carried out a DNA analysis of the remains from the aircraft engine to find which species of bird had entered the engine. This related to cost, blame and adequate aerodrome bird control systems.

So why aviation?
Well I won’t lie to you...the first time I stepped aboard an A321 back in ’03 I was terrified! Needless to say the thought of hurtling through the sky at 500mph filled me with one word, dread. I was a tad scared. So when I returned home I resolved to learn exactly how aircraft work, the rules of the air, IFR/VFR and the principles of flight.

When I returned to the sky aboard a Thomas Cook Airlines Boeing 757-300 in the Summer of 2005, I knew exactly what lay ahead. A love affair was born. Since then I have traveled to continental Europe, the Greek Islands and Canada. Each time the passion for aviation has grown stronger.

I first started ‘spotting’ in August 2012 at Manchester International Airport over here in the UK. My first up close and personal encounter with an aircraft at the side of the runway was a 767-300/ER. I remember being in awe, seeing the two chaps in the front office, the flash of the anti-collision beacon and the white strobe flashing. Sat there on the taxiway, perched somewhat precariously between the ground and free flight. The two engines at idle, before the crescendo of spool up and departure.

The blog is my way of reporting, tongue in cheek about the industry as a whole, where is it headed and how it is perceived by those ‘on the ground’ as opposed to those in the air? Its light hearted and serves to remind us that aviation is a huge part of our lives.

For the future
In the short term, continue working with the best bunch of kids in the City of far as the future goes I’d like to end up a human factors psychologist...and yeah you guessed it, for the airlines!

Social Media - I can mostly be found tweeting my spin on the aviation world under the moniker @AirNewsX, compiling my blog for my ever growing list of readers and snapping aviation photographs at Manchester with my partner in crime and cousin @Mr09Los...

You can follow me on 
Twitter: @AirNewsX, 
Instagram ‘DavidA773’ 
and my blog

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Flight Line Service Monkey

Aviation Humor

A man was in a pet shop in Fort Worth looking at animals when a flight line supervisor from the local aircraft company entered and told the shopkeeper,

I want a Flight Line Service monkey, please.”...

The clerk nodded, went back to a cage and returned with a monkey. “That’ll be $1,000, Sir.” The supervisor paid and left. Surprised, the other customer said to the shopkeeper, “That was a lot of money. Why was that monkey so expensive?”

The shopkeeper answered, “Because a Flight Line Service monkey can park, fuel, and service aircraft, conduct required ground ops testing, rig aircraft flight controls, and is trained in in all flight line ops. He’s worth it.”


Now really interested, the man spotted another monkey with a $10,000 price tag. “What? A ten grand monkey? What can it do?”

“That’s a Maintenance Supervisor monkey. It teaches aircraft maintenance, supervises corrective and preventive maintenance programs, supervises crews of maintainers, and does all the paperwork. A very useful monkey indeed!”
Then the man found a third monkey with a price tag of $50,000. “Holy cow! What’s a fifty grand monkey do?”

The shopkeeper sighed. “I've never seen him do anything but drink beer and play with his banana, but his papers say he’s a Management Pilot."

Monday, January 19, 2015


They say we'll have days like this... but nobody said they would happen each week!

A week ago Monday my son in law, Dylan, was attacked with a baseball bat. ICU, surgery, rebuild his skull and staple it back closed. He's doing great, but he'd planned on taking his wife (My eldest daughter, Kalimar) to a romantic weekend for her birthday, and then they would go to the game. However, they had to miss last week's game due to the extended hospital stay.

Comedian attacked with bat in Renton bar photo

SeaHawks won, and another game was in store for Saturday, two days ago. They had purchased a non refundable hotel room for last weekend. However, not only did Hotel Monaco change their reservation to the following weekend, but they sent flowers with a card signed by the employees. So the date was on for this weekend, and then off to the game..... And then....

I flew in from HongKong, and we stayed with the kids for the night and Mother Nature's wrath hit. 50 mph winds and more rain than we've seen in a long time. Sunday morning came bright and early in hotel Monaco, with text messages to my daughter with pictures of their house after the tree fell into the roof. Dylan didn't feel well and my daughter needed to meet with the contractor and roofer to stop the leaking, so they headed home instead of the game. 

Just when they were wondering what could happen next... 

The SeaHawks Won!!! 

In overtime, no less!

Sometimes we have to wonder how much strength we need to get through the days. 2015 has been a challenge for our kids, but they are survivors!

When the stress of almost losing your husband, taking care of three children, the dog, the house, a flooding garage, and everything else that falls into your life at once, including trees, and you can keep smiling, and pressing forward.... you have strength! 
Kalimar... there may be a few more challenges 
on the horizon,
But I know that you can handle anything!

 And the SeaHawks 
are going to 
the Superbowl!!! 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dr. Kayla Wopschall

She Did it!

 Kayla Wopscall

Thursday while I was in Hong Kong, Kayla (my middle daughter) and University of Washington PhD student in Archaeology, defended her dissertation entitled “Akrotiri Aetokremnos and the Cypriot Pygmy Hippopotamus: An Interdisciplinary Look at a Late Pleistocene Large Mammal Extinction"

Working toward my own PhD program, I understand the effort and commitment that it took for her to undertake, and finish such a challenge while being a mom and working. Life has not always been easy, but it has always been full. In high school Kayla was on the track, swim, and dive teams. She was also a fabulous dancer, a club gymnast for years, a photographer and an incredible artist.

She went off to college at UCSB and continued in track and swimming. But she also found a passion in science, with an interest in Archeology. She crawled through caves that gave me the chills. She also began surfing while at school. Wish I had a photo of that!

During her college years, shortly after her 21st birthday, she had back surgery and was paralyzed. We were told she may never walk again. She did not believe them!  The photo below was taken on my 43 birthday, as Kayla took her first steps without being able to feel her legs. The best gift in the world. Hard to believe 10 years has passed so quickly. Strength, perseverance and a positive attitude is what it took for her to defy the odds of not walking.

While in the hospital a counselor came by and asked Kayla what her plans were. She told the woman when she left the hospital she would attend her track banquet (two months out), return to summer school, and then get back on the track team. The counselor told Kayla she needed to make more "realistic" goals. Unrealistic has been the essence of her life and she accomplished them all.

She made back to the track team, 
graduated college and walked up to get that diploma.

Today Kayla walks, but the journey down that path was not easy. Nothing worth having ever is. But if you're willing to do what it takes, you can do anything. She has also done some modeling too, and  was in a commercial for the Tulalip Casino. 

She designs the covers of my novels, too, and she is illustrating my children's book: I Am Awesome!  So this young lady operates from the right and left brain... and her talents amaze me.


Kayla is the mother of Miles and Ellis, has 3 dogs, 2 cats and will be pursing a career in academia now that she has her doctorate. I'm thinking...there is nothing she cannot accomplish. She will be walking with her class this Spring, and I will be there.

Join me in Congratulating 
Dr. Kayla Wopschall 
on her recent accomplishment. 

Something tells me there will be many more!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene