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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.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Passed My Multi-Engine Ride!

 Airline Pilot in the Making...

Jake Cullen passed his multi-ride, and now he's moving onto his Certified Flight Instructors rating (CFI). I asked Jake to share with me lessons learned. Here is what he said: 

 Lessons Learned 

"The first thing I learned...and this holds true for any type of flying...was that no matter what the situation, your first priority should always be to fly the airplane. During an emergency, simulated of course, I was shocked by how quickly you can get behind the airplane if you make ATC, or running through a checklist, the first priority. As important as those items are, the airplane is far more important."

Fly the Plane First!
Know Your Memory Items! 
"The second thing I learned was the importance of checklists, and to memorize the emergency flows. This definitely saved time during emergencies and helped me stay ahead of the airplane. During normal operations checklist usage was still really important as well because even though the aircraft I flew was not that complicated compared to some, it still wasn't the Cessna 172 I first trained in. There was way more to it."
Be Prepared! 
"And the third lesson I learned was that it is important to be prepared for anything. Flying with two engines is fun, but things can go south fast and you have to be ready. At first I was frustrated with how often we practiced single engine operations. However, after many times dealing with a dead engine, I began to realize how important it was to not get complacent and let your guard down."


Jake, Thank you for your lessons. An interesting fact is, at that on top of Northwest Airlines emergency checklist were written the words: Fly the Plane. These are words to live by. Also, for anyone preparing for, or are in the middle of any airline training program, you can take Jake's words with you: Know your memory items and be prepared for anything (and everything). If you can do that, success will be yours!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Thank you Karlene! By the way, I am not sure if this is true or not, but I was told that Northwest helped develop our training curriculum at UND. Fly the plane isn't on our checklist, but it is heavily emphasized.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jake! I think there is a high probability that a NWA Pilot helped. I wish I knew who!! I'll keep my eyes and ears open to find out who! Thank you for sharing your lessons!

  2. Thanks for the update, Karlene. We've heard about/from Jake before and likely no one is surprised that he passed the latest of many checks and examinations with 'flying' colors. Take it from this old armchair expert; the next generation of flying professionals, including Jake and his peers at UND (and ERAU et al) will be the best educated pilots in the history of powered flight. Jake's short list of Lessons Learned is spot-on and golly-gee-whiz, how many times have we heard, "First: Fly the Airplane!"? When Jake joins the professional work force, my confidence level will remain as high as it is today. Perhaps his toughest remaining challenge will be building the hours necessary to become a meaningfully employed professional. (Currently, that arm of the certification process is fractured and need of major repairs. This armchair expert does not have the answers. IMO, the required hours should be fewer, but of *much* higher quality and far more relevant to commercial, revenue-producing airplane driving. I know that I don't have the correct answers, but the law makers did not, either. The current requirement for 1500 hours seems to have zero basis in fact and was a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate tragedy by law makers with even less knowledge... You spent many years as a trainer; what do YOU suggest as appropriate qualification for admission to the transport class of professional flying? The young Mr. Cullen will meet the standard - of that we are certain. How much precious time and money will he waste along the way, accumulating hours that are only remotely related to his professional objectives? A wonderful post, Karlene. Please keep us updated about Jake's progress. -Craig

    1. Craig, Thank you so much for the comment!! Yes, I have confidence he will go all the way with the greatest success, because he is passionate about learning and is working toward being the best he can be.

      That 1500 hour issue was a reaction, and must be changed. I wanted to work on this in my aviation law course, but the instructor (airline captain/attorney) vetoed that idea. I did manage to slip into my paper Systems Engineering paper that the four major accidents... Colgan 3407, AF447, Asiana 214, and UPS 1354... pilots had over 50,000 hours flight time. Time is not the issue. Especially in the automated world. Performance and Competency are the solutions.

      The metrics that should be met. I'm working on this too! We shall get things changed!

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Jake's lessons definitely can be applied to life as well. :-)

    1. Misha, Thank you so much for your comment. You know, the lessons I learned throughout my career all apply to life as well. You much read
      Thank you for your comment!!

  4. My first real flight instructor drilled into my head:

    Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

    Jack flew F4Fs (Hellcats) in the Navy at the end of WWII, became a music teacher for 40 years while being a CFI at a local airport near Memphis. His words still hold the truth at Jake has learned at NDU.

    1. Thank you Rob! I like the Aviate, Navigate, Communicate!


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