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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, 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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

First Flight

Giving the Gift of Flight... 

This weekend a great group of people pulled off an amazing feat at The Museum of Flight Seattle! They shared their love of aviation by giving their time at a great expense to the young ladies of the Seattle area. We had an incredible two days, as did the girls. I'm thinking we flew close to 300 young ladies. 

Women holding a certificate for hire (commercial) account for 5.15% of the pilot population, the truth is that only about 4.3% of women are actually working as a pilots. Yesterday we heard someone ask how are we going to increase those numbers? We do it by exposing the young ladies to the joy of the sky and sparking their interest. 

It takes airplanes,
 and people with big hearts! 
If you are dropping by to find your photos (links will be at the bottom of the page), take a moment and see if you can find your pilot. A message to them would be so much appreciated.  
 Nicole Straavaldson from Galvin!

 Tom Harberg From Galvin

 Bill Ayer

Carly Richardson From Galvin 

Jim Lilje from Galvin

 Amelia Hilsen from Rainier Flight

 Dino Vallala

Linda Chism
 Richard Edgerton (Edge) 

 Peter Morton

 Kai Wang

 Dino Vallala & Tony Pierce

Then there were those working hard on the side lines making sure everything came together. From our beautiful scheduling staff who put in two days of endless work... their smiles never ending...

To my awesome ground crew. Day one Mark Berney joined us when he learned his airplane was down for maintenance. But he drove all the way out for ground support. And Sandy and Emma... what can I say, you ladies are awesome!

Mark, Sandy and Emma

And the second day Sandy and Emma came back for more. We were so busy on day two, that we were all in continual motion. I cannot thank these incredible women who were there from morning to night. They were on their feet from 830 to 530 two days in a row, running, scheduling, laughing, sharing stories and entertaining the kids (and me). And then waited for our last pilot (Jim) to bring our final flight in on Sunday night, as I slipped off at 5 p.m. for my granddaughter's 6th birthday dinner.

Emma, Karlene, & Sandy
We have to make a special mention for Dan. No... we didn't really keep him locked in a cage. He joined us on behalf of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, as he always does, to support the women fliers. Dan brought toys for the kids, information about flying, ERAU, water for the workers, solar battery chargers for our dying phones, and spent his weekend running, helping kids to and from the aircraft, guiding planes, and assisting the mission with anything we needed.

Daniel Hammes

A Special a Thanks to the folks 
at the Boeing Tower!  

Chris came over both days to brief our pilots, and then the folks in the tower were more than accommodating and helped to make this a huge success! We could not do this without you!


Some ask why we do this...

The Smiles Explain All

Our goal was to share the love of flight and spark a dream toward the sky. That First Flight can change a life. Thus, this time we were keeping track of how many girls came back from their flights wanting to fly. I gave a Flight To Success Be the Captain of Your Life book to each girl who declared, "I'm going to be a pilot". I gave out 30 books! Trust me there were dozens more that said, "I'm thinking about it." If I hadn't ran out of books I would have given one to all of them!

Thank you Pilots, helpers, 
and Boeing Tower personnel for 
making this event a huge success! 

Oh...and the one photo I keep forgetting to take is the man behind organizing this event. The mystery man is Cale Wilcox. We could not pull this off without him putting this day in motion too.

Now what you have all been looking for... Photos of your children! Click on the links below to find your child's photos. And please feel free to leave your pilots a comment below.

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

Motivation and Children too! 


  1. Thank you, Karlene, Cale, and all the pilots and crew who made this happen for our young women! Your generosity will make an incredible difference in their lives.

    1. Reba, Thank you! I'm extending the thanks to the pilots and volunteers. These great people are really what made this a huge success. It was amazing how much they all gave of themselves.

  2. This must have been an áwesome party again!
    I still can't forget the event we had at Renton AirPort a couple of years ago.
    I would so much to join another event like This again.
    It was such fun to see all these girls with their big smiles taking off in airplanes for their very first flight.
    And you Karlene always taking the effort to get This done!
    And the pilots that come with their planes to take the girls into the air.
    An experience to never forget

    1. An, you must come. And, you would have met many great new friends too. Sandy and Emma are awesome, and the pilots too. And Dan would have become your best friend. Yes... a great time had by all. We'll have to make this work next year!!

  3. Thank you so much! This was an incredible experience for my daughter to have on her 16th birthday, which was 9/25. She told me she would never forget it and is seriously considering taking flying lessons in the future.

    1. Lily, Thank you so much for sharing your daughter's experience! Please give her my email if she wants to pursue flying lessons. We will get her pointed in the right direction. Also, the Museum of Flight has an Amelia program to help her too. One thing about flying, it teaches so many skills that even if she doesn't become a pilot she will learn direction, discipline, and gain incredible confidence in herself. Such great life skills. Thank you so much for taking your time to write a comment!

  4. This was an absolutely incredible event. I came to the Museum of Flight for a visit, not initially to fly. We had no idea this was going on. We were directed to the wrong line and started talking to the ladies at the sign-up desk. Bill Ayers stopped by and looked at my two daughters and asked them "Ready to Fly?" It took us just a split second to agree to such a great opportunity. In less than 15 minutes my 13- and 8-year-old daughters were in the air with Bill. Mind you all without parents. You wouldn't believe the excited faces I saw when the girls got off the plane. My youngest, who's always been afraid to fly was beyond ecstatic. My older daughter couldn't stop chatting about the fact that she got to take the controls for a bit over the sound. She wants to fly again, hasn't stopped talking about it actually. Bill was absolutely wonderful with them. If there was any apprehension, he wiped it off their minds.
    Thank you Karlene and Bill for giving my daughters such a great opportunity that likely planted a seed in my oldest. I hope to get her more involved in such activities.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I had not realized how your daughters were exposed to this opportunity. The power of walking into the wrong line. It makes me think... perhaps that's what it takes in life is to ask the question, "Are you read to fly?" Sometimes we have apprehension, sometimes we fear...but when there are are people like Bill, holding out his hand to share an experience, the mind grows and the heart soars if we are willing to say, "yes!" Thank you so much for your comment, and the power of your experience.

      My first flight hooked me too. This is only the beginning!

  5. Hi there!! My daughter had an amazing time on her first flight last Sunday September 26th. She hasn't stopped talking about it and told everyone at school!! The link to the other photos doesn't seem to work for me..any help would be great! My daughter had the biggest grin on her face and her little brother was very jealous! Thanks again!! -The Buchans

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I am so glad she had a great time. That's how it all starts. For the link, go to facebook and friend request me. Send me an email when you do it. Then I can accept and unlocked. I guess facebook only wants my friends to see the pictures. :)

    2. I just got up to speed on facebook... you can see them now. They are now public!


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