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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.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Aviation Heroes of a Lifetime

Joe Sutter and Bill Boeing Junior 


Bill Boeing Junior and Joe Sutter 

This week the world received the sad news that Joe Sutter passed away, at the age of 95. Less that two years ago, Bill Boeing Junior also passed, at the age of 92. 

These historical aviation legends 
will never be forgotten. 

 Karlene and Joe

If you want to truly understand the character of Joe Sutter, take the time to read his book, 747. This is an amazing story of how integrity and speaking up for the right reason, not because it was the political thing to do, created the aircraft of the century. We had quite the talk when I told him I was flying the Airbus and he shared his thoughts about automation...

"Airplanes are supposed to do what the pilot tells them not the other way around. The difference between Boeing and Airbus is the Airbus tells the pilot what to do. That's wrong! The pilot should tell the plane what to do. And you can tell those Airbus people I said that. What are they going to do to me anyway? I'm ninety years old."

Bill Boeing Jr.'s  career was vast and far-reaching, he always lived close to the roots his family planted in Seattle. Of his most important achievements was his saving, moving, and restoring the Red Barn... Where the first Boeing planes were made and is still the heart of The Museum of Flight. And we live in his honor every time we visit the museum, and share the gift of flight.

Bill Boeing Jr. and Karlene

We will Never Forget 
our Aviation Leaders! 

Bill and Joe 

The world is better place 
because you both lived.

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
Catch up on the series so you will be ready!


  1. Thank you for the wonderful recap of these men's careers. I never met Mr. Boeing, Jr., but I note that his initials made it in the Boeing line up multiple times and they still do a lot to promote the good Name. Ever hear of the BBJ ?
    I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Sutter twice. A very serious man, he also had a sense of humor - and he rarely forgot a name. More than two years after our first encounter, we met again and without name badges. After a brief moment of thought, he called me by name, first and last - and with no hesitation. At the time, he was well past 90 and as sharp as they come. Both gentlemen will be missed. -Craig

    1. Craig, I had never thought of that. I wonder if... BBJ. Makes sense.
      I was so honored to meet him. He was sharp, and did have a sense of humor. What most impressed me was his integrity and not willing to play the politics, and do the right thing. He never over promised, always told the truth. Also, after reading his book, and talking with him, I suspect he and his wife played bridge with my grandparents many, many years ago on Hoods Canal. But, sadly they too have passed so I was unable to ask them.
      I hope you have having a wonderful holiday weekend!

    2. Fun memories and thank you.

  2. Great article Karlene ("Doc"!) and awesome photos! What a treat to hang with these two heavyweights!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. Oh... it was such an honor to hang with them. Incredible people, and I felt so fortunate to have an opportunity to talk to them. Thanks again for your comment!!


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