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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, December 29, 2017

Captain Kathy McCullough

Retired and Still Flying Strong! 

My Friend Kathy McCullough is retired, but she is working harder than she ever has. But then again, I heard that about retirement. Pilots go to work to get a rest! 

Well, she's also enjoying life on the farm, still traveling the world, writing books, taking photos, and being an advocate for the lady pilots. We met Kathy as a Friday Flyer not too long ago. I asked her if she would join us today, and share her recent adventures.  

Kathy and Hubby Kevin


"Retirement is supposed to be relaxing, right? I joined a woman airline pilot group (ISA +21) because they were traveling to Rome, and I wanted to go. It was perfect, because now I had friends to go places with and they needed a photographer. Fast forward seven years.

Yes, I went to Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, Canada, and Italy with a great group of women. But I also learned that problems in the airline industry for women are still as bad as they were in the early eighties, and back then it was pretty bad. Oddly enough when I was hired, I had excellent maternity leave. However, women today are being forced back to work six weeks after having a baby, even when the baby is ill. They have to make a choice between the baby's health and the means to pay for medical bills. Come back, or quit. I also know female captains who have been punished for assertiveness in the flight deck, speaking out about female concerns in private forums, bruising a male pilot's ego,  reporting safety issues, and many more ridiculous reasons they use to destroy a female pilot's career.  Times need to change. 

Kathy with Joe Sutter, Mr. Boeing 747 

I opened communications with the New York Times and a major airline in attempt to make a difference. Some policies were changed. Many US major airlines adopted a better maternity policy, and that was a start. But the fight continued as ALPA (a pilot union) didn’t want to push for “special” work rules for a "small number" of their members. That’s right, small. Because forty-plus years after the first women were hired (Emily Howell, Frontier, 1973) less than 5% of airline pilots are women. 

Come From Away (with ISA)

All that talk about diversity and hiring more women pilots appears to be rhetoric. The reason that less than 2% of the women pilots (at a particular major airline) make it to retirement, in my opinion, is due to this inappropriate treatment. There are many real problems that go unnoticed in the aviation industry. 

One of the worst offenders in my era was an instructor (also head of the union’s sexual harassment committee!) who put three degrees of rudder trim into a 747 full of passengers on my landing.  For non-flyers that would be like your kid reaching over and grabbing your steering wheel on the freeway. The landing was scary, to say the least. I couldn’t figure out what had happened until I started procedures while taxiing to the gate. I pointed to the rudder trim, and of course he denied it. And flunked me. I had to have a “final” ride with a hatchet man, an instructor known for busting out more pilots than anyone else with the airline.

Thankfully the hatchet man buried that hatchet and passed me. This decision would be career changer. We all knew I could fly, but the hatchet was out for one reason only, and my flying performance had nothing to do with it.

Want to know why he passed me?  
It’s all in my book:  Ups and Downs

That book is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. (My travel book, To the Edges of the World, will be out in 2018).

"To the Edges of the World— Piloting a Boeing 747 around the world we joked about flying from layover to layover. Two and three days off in foreign countries seemed more like a vacation than a job. The other pilots I flew with laughed as I “hit the ground running,” and often came sightseeing with me.

As you sit in your living room reading a travel book, it should take you away. This one does. From Europe to Asia, Alaska to Antarctica, come fly with me!"

 You can check out my photo gallery HERE.

Kathy with Donald McMonagle (retired astronaut)

I tried to make Ups and Downs a positive account of my life’s adventures. My Novel, Breakfast in Narita, is on my editor’s desk. Novels are fiction... right? Well, let's just call this one "True-Fiction." It is a no-holes barred account of the harassment women airline pilots face. Stay tuned… I intend to blow the lid off what is still going on in this industry.

Speaking at Raytheon, Tucson
to a group native American kids

I talk to schools, juvenile facilities,
 teach STEM, etc. 

Without diversity this field continues to be headed downhill, 
like a snowball. 

At one airline the women don’t have to wear ties. Rumor is the men are incensed. Another airline has a restrictive hair policy. Yet if young women going into this field can’t look attractive, that’s one more reason less will choose it. Harassment, not family friendly, different standards, why would they fly? 
We must stop allowing our society to harass anyone. 

Women doctors who want to become surgeons face the same barriers. I’m sure many fields where women are working under bosses with sociopathic tendencies are the same. Men in positions of power are experts at bringing people down. There is no one to police them, and they seem to revel in it.

This is not men bashing, I'm just acutely aware of what is still happening in the aviation industry today. We should have moved forward with this. It's time to change the culture of some of our airlines. 

Commencement Speaker at
University of Florida Laboratory school
Kathy with mom, brother, and sister-in-law!

I also help to raise scholarship money for a 501©3 charity, ISA+21. The money goes to women who want to be airline pilots. They are the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, and these women have given away over a million dollars in ratings. Last year we gave over $60,000 out! I made them my Amazon Smile charity, and we have a silent auction each year at our conference to raise money. We know of at least 75 women who have won and gone on to be airline pilots, so that’s a start. Obviously it isn’t enough. How do we get to 50/50 in this career? Maybe we never will. But there is always hope!"

Happy Flying! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

B777 Trivia Challenge

For all you B777 Experts...

"What is the system that if you 
turn the switch to OFF, 
that you will actually 
turn something in the aircraft ON?"

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Go Fund DB

Not to be confused with Go Fund Me. 

This is an All out Effort to Clone
Or Sell some books. 

Please help in this all out effort 
to keep Darby out of the loony bin 
and remain gainfully employed 
as an Airline Pilot. 

Darby is suffering from a serious illness of accomplishing too much in her attempt to fight for safety. Yes, she had recently been making doctors nervous due to her condition, in that she continually accomplishes what she sets out to do. This could be problematic as the New Year is approaching and resolutions are being created. 

Unfortunately these doctors have never seen such a disorder, and there is no prescription to reduce her functionality without side effects such as, but not limited to, hair loss, heartburn, ulcers, nosebleeds, heart failure, hearing loss, mood swings, and inability to operate heavy machinery.... or just a really bad hangover. Thus...we need your help! 

Please purchase your copy of 

With your help we can save Darby!

How your purchase will help: 

All proceeds will go into the cloning project. If we could make a few more Darby's we could reduce the concerns of sociopathic doctors that don't understand how one person (a pilot no less) could have high performance and be a pilot too. Clones would also confuse management, who may trying to take her out (not in the dating aspect). With many Darby's flying around the system, they wouldn't know which target to hit, and doctors could relieve their stress with concerns of her over achievement. Besides, everyone loves Darby... so why not a few more? 

Your help is needed to 
Clone Darby today!

Or buy perhaps just buy the novel
and leave an Amazon comment. 

This way you'll be ready for 
(coming soon... but not soon enough)

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Pilots' Photos Still Needed

Over the Rainforest!

Two weeks ago Miguel posted a requested to help him with his Rainforest Research by asking pilots to take photos of his research area.

The great news is he had a private pilot, Rob take some photos while he was on a recreational flight with his family while flying on UA552. 

Unfortunately Miguel tells me "the flight was during a typical tropical sunny day. However, low altitude clouds were covering up the zone. Despite the 7500ft he was flying, he could not spot the area of the study behind the volcano towards the coast. He could spot the zone 23.5mi away heading South-East. 

Miguel sent me the coordinates once again so hopefully one of you flyers out there can get some photos for him: 

18°39’13.57” N – 95°10’46.57” W
18°41’47.91” N – 95°07’00.07” W
18°34’27.64” N – 95°01’28.17” W
18°31’52.92” N – 95°05’02.11” W

Miguel says the perfect route would be flying: UAJ12, UA552 and UL655 airways and possibly UJ28 and UJ5. 

Thank you for your help! 

You can email the photos to:
Miguel A. Trinidad

Please share this with the pilots you know 
who might be able to help. 
Thank you so much!!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

 Wishing you the Joy of 
the Holiday Season
and a very Merry Christmas 

Seattle Snow and Holiday Smiles!

From my Family to Yours
May the Blessings of Life 
Fill your Heart

May all your days be filled
with the love of the season,

And the Wonder of the Holidays
Bring a Smile

No matter what the holiday brings, 
may you find joy in the littlest of things.  

Merry Christmas! 

XOX Karlene 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas From Heaven

The Candy Bomber Story 

Gail "Hal" Halvorsen

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

Tom Brokaw tells Gail “Hal” Halvorsen’s story of how he shared candy with children of Germany during a time of war, at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, Temple Square, in 2012. Get your tissues ready for this story of Christmas spirit. Watch this to the very end and you won’t be disappointed.

Gratitude Will Melt Your Heart

The Spirit of Christmas 
Lives in the Heart of Giving
Even in the most Challenging of Times!

"From little things come big things" 

May blessings fill your heart 
this holiday season

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Captain Ashley Klinger

Female Flyers are Navigating the Skies! 

"Let the steps I take towards my destiny 
be bold ones - 
for I know I am bold enough to
walk this path."

Inspiring the Future
this Holiday Season! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene