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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, November 30, 2015

Leaving the World

Better Than We Found It
"We are the guardians of generations 
that will follow in our footsteps
- let us ensure that we are fit to lead them."

~ by Eleesha,
Author of The Soul Whisperer
I am often asked why I'm going to school to get a PhD., writing, flying, and working so hard.  What will I do with my education? What are my goals? While I have a mission to fulfill with my one wish for aviation, and why I am writing thrillers, and wrote the motivation book, etc... There is definitely something more pushing me forward.  I believe we should...
Leave the world better than we found it. 
When my friend Eleesha sent me a daily inspiration about being the guardian of the next generation, I smiled and said, 
"ah... this is it!"

We are the Guardians of Generations to Come.

Finals complete! I'm back on reserve for a week starting Wednesday, and today my office is being organized and ready for then quarter of school! I'm also compiling my notes to help change the world. And Darby, Kathryn, Jackie, and Linda are all in Flight For Survival, and we are up to chapter 30!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, November 27, 2015

Aviation Evolution....

Evolution of the Cockpit

1903 Wright Flyer

Spirit of St. Louis

Douglas M-2

Bellanca C.F.

Fokker D.VII

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VII

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8

Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a

Bell X-1

Boeing B-29

Grumman G-21

De Havilland DH 106 Comet

General Dynamics 
F-16 Fighting Falcon

Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird

Douglas DC-7

Sud Aviation Caravelle


Boeing 747-8

Boeing 787

Airbus A320

Airbus A380
History Question... 
when and why did the cockpit 
change to the flight deck? 
Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Today and Always!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Today I will be dining with two or three hundred of my favorite people, passengers,  on my way to Amsterdam. Yes, passengers are my favorite people, as they make our thanksgiving day feasts possible, and without them, there would be no reason to fly across the ocean. Passengers are all of our families and friends, they are our readers, doctors, scientists, artists... they are you!  And while I will be missing my family on this day of thanks, I am grateful they are happy, healthy, safe, and have each other to celebrate with. 

I am also thankful that I am finished with finals for this quarter of school! (almost. Two final edits remain). The studies have been challenging, but eye opening. With further resolve to give back to my passengers on a mission for continued improvement, and to create an opportunity for the future generation of pilots. My classes this quarter took me one step closer to each goal!

Creation: I am so thankful Darby and I will be spending the month of December together in hope of bringing Flight For Survival to you by the first of the year!  And, my middle daughter illustrated my first children's book: I am Awesome! coming soon too!
For now...

Time to Fly!

Enjoy the Journey!! And a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Suddenly I Could Fly!

Come From Away

The most amazing gift you could give, 
or receive, 
this holiday season!

Last week I had the great opportunity to attend opening night of Come From Away at the Seattle Repertory Theater with the lady pilots of ISA+21. While dinner at the space needle was delicious, and the ladies were great company...

The Best Part of the Night 
was the show

September 11, 2001 is day that will be etched in every pilots' memory forever. But the flight crews who diverted to Gander have a story all their own. But not anymore. This story belongs to everyone now.
The people of Gander found room in their hearts and homes for the plane people who landed at their little rock in the Sea. The good people of Gander will find a way into your heart too, once you take the opportunity to see most fabulous musical this holiday season, Come From Away. 
The Story: 
When 38 planes landed at Gander, and 7000 "plane people" found their way into the town. It's hard to imagine that many people dropping in from nowhere. Nobody in the town slept for five days, as they cooked and cared for their guests. Lives were changed forever. Lifelong friendships made, soulmates connected and people learned the power of compassion and gratitude. 

As the Islanders said, 
"We did nothing that you wouldn't do."  
The message of the season... 
What would you do to help someone in need? 
The Play: 
This is a musical like none other. Written and choreographed by the talent couple, David and Irene.  I was amazed at how they pulled this off. I cannot tell you how many stories were wrapped into 90 minutes of fun, laughter, and yes... tears.  
David and Irene spent a month in Gander, living in the homes of the towns people, and interviewing them. They both attended an event at the Seattle Museum of Flight over the weekend, and when David said, "We had 5 hours of content, and we hadn't got them off the plane yet," spoke volumes.  But they pulled the stories together into one show. 
How they did this, I'm still not sure. 

David Hein and Irene Sankoff 

I wish I could find the words to explain the power of this show, how heartfelt this stories are, and how incredibly well David and Irene pulled it all together, into one inspiring show. I'm blaming my lack of brainpower due to finals week.  However, I will tell you that I loved it so much, that I am going again, and taking my mom and sister with me on December 8th. This is something that must be shared!

Enjoy this song from the musical
Me and the Sky 
You must see this in person! 
And the inspiring pilot this play was written about... 

The show runs only runs through 
December 13th at the
Seattle Repertory Theater

I hope you can make it!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Sunday, November 22, 2015

FINALS Week...

FALL 2015! 

Finals are due November 29th, but I have been racing the clock to finish everything early before I fly. I've been on reserve for five days, and they have not used me yet ...  but my day is coming. So for now, enjoy this video. Yes, I do get some fun emails! And this is one of them. Enjoy... It's awesome!! 

Ever Been to Teterboro?  

 You just gotta love pilots!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Come From Away

The most amazing play I have ever seen!

And check out the lady pilots who flew in for opening night. 


Space Needle for Dinner, 
and then the show!  

September 11, 2001.  38 planes landed in Gander. Turning the town of 9000 to 16,000.  These kind people took care of the "plane people".  
Love. Laughter. Compassion. 

Irene Sankoff one of the authors!

Just when these amazing actors had you close to tears, they made you laugh, and pulled you back up.  Tears or not, the smile never left my face the entire play.  This was the story of the amazing people of Gander, and the guests they had visiting for five days, with humor, fun, laughter, and was nothing short of heartwarming. 

And then the music was incredible! 

If you have the chance, I would put this play on the top of your priority list!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Become a Leader!

Realizing Leadership Development 

with Irene Becker 
"Leadership today is not about learning to lead better, it is about learning to think, communicate, collaborate, and lead differently..."
Mark your calendar and join my friend Irene Becker as she presents the webinar: Three Competencies That Make the Leader. I just registered! And I have finals and a couple pilots staying with me for a few days to attend the Come From Away play the night of this event.  If I can make time, you can too!
Leadership belongs everywhere. If you learn just one thing then the hour will have been a success!

Host: Laurie Wilhelm, Editor of Realizing Leadership magazine
Date: Wednesday, November 18
Time: 1:00 pm EST (duration: 50 minutes)
Cost: $36* per person

Enjoy the journey and I hope to see you at the webinar!
XO Karlene

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dick Verburg

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Dick Verburg is CEO of Multi Pilot Simulations (a simulator manufacturer for A320 and B737 Fixed Base Simulators for FTO’s and TRTO’s) as well as Chairman and founder of EPST (a pilot selection and training institute in Holland)

Dick Verburg

After his education and a tour with the Dutch Marines specializing in radio communication, Dick studied Software Programming (now we would call that IT). Having worked in the IT area for such companies as Shell International, Control Data Corporation, Amdahl mainframe supplier (now Fujitsu) and Candle Corporation he run his own IT company.

Not being happy with the program around the pilot training of his son Richard, he decided to do it better and created European Pilot Selection & Training (EPST). Originally Richard was involved but he moved on and is now a Captain at Dragonair on the A330.

EPST has become one of the key pilot training institutes in Europe and not only that, as a result of not being happy with the pilot aptitude selection tools available on the market, Robin Acton (the EPST Selection Manager) designed COMPASS for EPST.

This turned out to be a very good and efficient pre-screening tool, which is now used world wide. From day one in EPST, Dick developed an interest in pilot and candidate pilot selection and he now has 15 years of experience in that field.

In the meantime, Dick has created a new company Multi Pilot Simulations (MPS), which company is creating Fixed Base A320 and B737-NG simulators. The main aim of MPS is to provide AFFORDABLE simulators to FTO’s and TRTO’s as it is important that the final part of pilot training (MCC and Jet Orientation Course) is done on a complex jet which at the moment is not available in the price range for FTO’s. MPS has changed all that. The MPS device is also excellent for the Basic and Intermediate phase of MPL.

I'm hoping we'll see an A330 in the future! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quality Pilot Training

EPST: Training To Airline Standards... 

Ab initio training...part three...
 (Part one, and Part two)

From Need to Vision to  Reality

As EPST had committed itself to train its students to airline requirements, a search for a B737 Fixed Base Simulator (FBS) was conducted only to come to conclusion that they were not affordable by a flight school. Obviously a FBS device was more than sufficient and could replace the King Air for the MCC and would allow adding a Jet Orientation Course (JOC). This JOC course was not defined as an JAA requirement but the industry (wiser than the authorities) defined that a requirement to be acceptable, at least many airlines did such as BA, KLM, Lufthansa etc.

An and Karlene visit to EPST

There are two type of “simulator” suppliers, the providers for the professional industry and the “game/event” producers. This last category had their devices looking very good but with using Microsoft Flight Sim, the functionality was way off compared to a real B737. In fact there was a lot of “negative” training. As an example, an engine failure did not require any rudder input. The device kept going straight. These problems in addition to the lack of robustness (switches breaking, pedals not working, yoke/column breaking etc.).

EPST therefore decided to look at a professional training device. These devices are only supplied by simulator manufacturers who primarily produce Full Motion Simulators (FMS). They are usually called Full Flight Simulators (FFS) but that really is the wrong name as it has nothing to do with the availability of motion.

The problem with these FMS suppliers is that the margin on the FMS device was much higher than the FBS device. As result they made the FBS artificially expensive and often put cheap parts in the FBS in order to improve the margin somewhat. The price for an FBS B737 device quoted at that time was 1.8 to 2.0 million Euro’s. Even if EPST could afford that, the price per hour to the student (who already paid for his/her complete license training) would be far too much. The training should be competency based and not be money limits based.

Time to Build a Simulator! 

Frustrated again (seems to be a good motivator) EPST decided to have a go and build a simulator itself. The initial approach was using the game/event material as they naively believed they could fix/tune that to work correctly. After about two years that turned out to be false so in 2007 a small group of people started a new company called Multi Pilot Simulations (MPS) in the believe they would make very good FBS devices for the new Multi Pilot License (MPL), hence the name. A proof of concept was performed in a corner from EPST and in 2009 it became clear. Yes we can do it, yes we can get it certified by the local authorities for MCC and yes the price was considerable lower, being € 600.000 (about 1/3 of the competitors price) and the device was made by using a fully licensed Boeing data-pack.'

Now that the proof of concept was successful, Dick Verburg sold 90% of his shares in EPST in order to setup MPS as a FBS simulator manufacturer.

To get the first device MCC approved was a major step; however, the approval of an JAA FNPT-II/MCC is a more or less “generic” approval in which the performance of the simulator was defined as having to follow the CT&M (correct trend and magnitude) of the represented aircraft model. The next step, to make an FTD (FAA Level 5/6) device, turned out to be a major challenge. Now the simulator had to perform exactly like the B737 flight data graphs and the IOS failures and the effect of these failures had to be accurate. The first FTD client found more than 400 errors in the systems logic and MPS had to go back to the drawing board while keeping that simulator going, however, they never give up, so they got there.

Now MPS produces all FBS levels (MCC, JOC FTD, etc.) for the B737-800W and the A320-200.


Why are these simulators so important? Actually the FTD would allow (as per the EASA rules) to perform about 50% of the Type Rating. Most of the Type Rating training is aircraft systems and failures related, which can be trained and performed on an FBS device the same as on an FMS device. The result, however, of the combination of FBS and FMS will save a considerable amount of money for the simulator time for such training and it is the MPS advise/believe that this money should not become a saving in cost but should be used to give the young and often new pilot (first Type Rating) more and therefore better training.

Get away from the “tick in the box” Type Rating training and provide a competency based training system which requires more training as First Officer (not only how the systems work in this aircraft).

This combination can now be done as result of the quality of the FBS devices (technological development, mainly in the visual and PC/Network area). The MPS FBS devices are performing exactly like the Level D FMS devices with the exception that they have no motion.

This training concept is now adopted by several airlines and a big example is the Ryanair order of initially three (3) of the MPS devices with many more to follow in a ten year agreement between Ryanair and MPS.

Now, 2015, we have installed 18 devices and a mix of MCC and FTD as well as mix of B737 and A320.

The next step is to prepare to upgrade the B737 to the MAX and the A320 to the NEO as well as producing A330 and A350 for conversion training.

But the story does not end here...

Meet the man behind the success tomorrow! 

Enjoy the Journey!!
OX Karlene 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day!!


This week someone sent me a quote.... And then I found this photo on my friend Rob Aker's blog. Yes, it is the same quote! Is there a message here?

This is the difference between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.  Photo from yahoo. 
To all those who stood, died, and made a difference.....

Thank you!!! 

Happy Veteran's Day. 

And now... please read a heartfelt blog from 
Author. Pilot. Veteran. Good Guy.

Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pilot Selection Process

Can anyone become a pilot? 
Part one: Ab Initio training.
One of the greatest concerns about Ab initio training is taking anyone and turning them into a pilot. But, EPST does more than take anyone. They select the best. I'm thinking anyone who has money could go out and rent a plane and eventually learn to fly. Take hundreds of hours to grasp the basics. But the process with EPST is a bit different...

"The selection turned out to be the least of the problems, although considerable effort was required to solve that challenge. The much bigger challenge was the fact that the approved aviation training syllabus was about 40 years old and absolutely did not produce the training required by the airlines. In Europe there was no GA anymore at this time, so pilot students completing their license training where typically required to go to a B737 or A320 operation.

There were many problems to make this big step from Cessna to a B737, not the least that the training which they completed was for Single Pilot (SP) only. In 1999 the European JAA demanded an Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) course to be conducted, however, they forgot to define the outcome of the course (exam demands) and also the MCC course good be provided on any multi crew simulator, causing most of the schools to perform this on a King Air simulator, which obviously did not contribute to the flying of a jet such as a B737 at all.

With the MCC on a King Air simulator the gap between the training and the airline demand of the new pilot remained very large.... 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

EPST Ab Initio

Pilot Training 

Ab initio
Ab initio is a Latin term meaning "from the beginning" and is derived from the Latin ab ("from") + initio, ablative singular of initium ("beginning"). c.1600, from L., lit. "from the beginning", from ablative case of initium "entrance, beginning", related to verb inire "to go into, enter upon, begin".

This week we will experience the journey of how EPST came into service, and the power behind the success of their operation, creating the next generation of pilots.

My friend Dick Verburg is the founder of a European Flight School: EPST. He's taking applicants from the beginning, and turning them into pilots. This all began out of great frustration with his son's training. Dick's son Richard, wanted to become a pilot. But his schools made false promises,  wasted time and money,  and required re-training for a local license etc. They got the run around. Dick and his son decided to start their own flight school.

EPST Objective:

"To only train high level potential pilots and all the way to the job requirements of an airline."

European Pilot Selection & Training (EPST) was born and opened its doors on December 1st, 1997. It was much later that the name turned out to be wrong as EPST became a Global “player” rather than just European.

To take an individual from zero experience and train them to fly airliners, began with the candidate selection process. Dick Verburg said:

“If a flight school is not performing a comprehensive selection to see if a candidate not only can complete the training but also has the capacity and personality to move on to a First Offer job at an airline, the flight school is stealing from its students”.

Setting up a selection system turned out to be a challenge which was eventually solved by developing their own Handling Skills:

Eye-hand-foot coordination, multi tasking, spatial orientation, short memory, mental arithmetic etc., and adding a psychometric test from the Dutch Institute of Aviation Psychology (IAP) (which was only available as a paper test).  Jointly they moved that test into a PC based test, from which reports could be made for aviation management's interpretation.

But the selection turned out to be the least of the problems....

Join us tomorrow, and the rest of this week to see the process of creating an airline pilot. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, November 6, 2015

NTSB and TWA 800

Friday's Fabulous Flyer:

This week I had the great opportunity to meet some incredible people. And a few of them worked for the NTSB, and were involved in the TWA800 investigation. During the course of these days I was able to put something into perspective. 

While we often refer to the NTSB as an entity, the reality is that the NTSB is an organization composed of hard working, ethical, responsible and focused individuals. The NTSB is not an entity, but the people who work there.  I met a few of these incredible people at the IASS conference.  There is no possible way they would ever cover up anything.

I know I suspected a missile blew up TWA 800, for what I perceived as small fix because the plane was not grounded. Perhaps I also did not want to believe a perfectly good plane would blow up on its own. But the reality is, after meeting the people behind the investigation, I was able to put the human into the equation of the investigation, and not the entity. I also learned some things about the investigation, that I did not know. One of the inspectors said that if anyone has any questions he would be willing to answer them.

While there are often unethical people in any organization, that does not mean the organization is bad in itself, nor does it mean the other employees are disreputable by association. Besides, the NTSB is one of the most transparent organizations there is. In my assessment of the people I met, there is absolutely no way that these individuals would conspire a cover up of any kind for any reason. 

The power of perspective is awesome!

Join me in thanking the employees of the NTSB 
 for the outstanding job they do!
 I'm not sure how they do it at times. 
But I'm thankful for the detailed reports I use often.

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Time To Fly...

Day Three of the Flight Safety Foundation
International Air Safety Summit is complete.... 

But memories will last long...
  • Safety Management at the State Level.
  • Managing Legal Risk in a Just Culture.
  • Navigating the edge of risk. 
  • Numerous Analysis modules which was awesome to show the practical application of my stats.
  • ALTA/IATA Safety Team Update
  • Cost Effective Technology Architecture ...
  • And Using Safety Data to improve Training and Ultimately Safety. 
This required data to improved flight training might have been the highlight, most definitely the grand finale... as there are recommendations coming down the chute, for exactly what I hypothesize as an issue with current training practices, and the essence of my dissertation. Also the support for the paper I am in the process of writing this month. 
Well, my intel from the NTSB on TWA800 might have given me the greatest perspective. Coming tomorrow. But for now... 
Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Flight Safety Day 2!

Just keeps getting better!

Today was another informative and busy day. A few highlights as to what we discussed:
  • The Need for Near Real-Time Runway Condition Reporting
  • Resilience in Simultaneous Approach Operations
  • Top 5 Eurocontrol Operational Safety Priorities
  • Managing Automation or Managing Flight Path  

  • Go Around- It's all about decision making! 
  • Enhanced Low Vision Operations
  • The dragon in the Cockpit 
  • The Kebnekais Accident from a Human Factor Point of view

It's late, and the first alarm rings at 0500. More discussion to come.

Fly Safe!!

Enjoy the Journey!!
XOX Karlene