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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, March 31, 2017

Joe Burlas

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

Joe Burlas

"My name is Joe Burlas and I was born in an Army hospital in Germany on July 20, 1985. My father was a Soldier and met my German mother while being stationed on the border between East and West Germany. I took my first flight in an aircraft at 3-months old and continued traveling as an Army brat living in Oklahoma, California, and ending up in Maryland where my father worked at the Pentagon. 

I grew up the oldest of four children and had two great parents who really set an example. Since the age of four until well into my teenage years my favorite movie was Top Gun. I’m told by my mother that I would beg for it to be replayed as soon as it ended. I always dreamed of flying since I was little and as a child I wanted to be a Naval Aviator but it would be much later in life that I’d take my first flight.

When I was 16 years old, I was walking between classes when I heard someone scream. It was September 11, 2001, and an airplane had just flown into the World Trade Center in New York. I made it just in time to see another aircraft smash into the second tower and soon after heard that the Pentagon in D.C. had been hit. 

My father still worked in the Pentagon, now as an Army Journalist, and quickly found myself being picked up by my mother who herded us around the TV as we waited to for my Dad to call. The whole day into the evening we heard nothing. At 9 pm he finally walked into the house smelling like burnt fuel with a first-hand account of what happened. That day I decided that becoming a Naval Aviator was going to be put on hold and instead I would enlist in the Army.

Eleven months later, just one month after my seventeenth birthday, I enlisted in the Army (pictured above). It wasn’t long after basic and advanced training that I found myself with a set of orders for Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In November 2004, at the age of 19, I spent Thanksgiving with my family and before the month was out I was on a plane to Kuwait and into Iraq soon after. 

During my time in Iraq I found myself on what they then called “Ground Assault Convoys” or GACs for short. We supported the movement of engineers and equipment out of LSA Anaconda (just NE of Baghdad) to anywhere in Iraq that it needed to go. My deployment taught me a lot about myself, the world, and what you can get through with the right people. 

After the tour life happened fast and on August 12, 2007, I welcomed a baby boy into the world; his name is Joseph Earl Burlas V (pictured below). He is the greatest love of my life and one I am hoping to set a good example for. In August 2008, I left the Army and went to work on a government contract as an Information Systems Analyst for two years. 

At some point during that time I began questioning if this is what I wanted to do with my life since I always said I wanted to be a pilot but had never even explored that possibility. A week before I turned 24, an unprovoked feeling of discontentment came over me. 

As a boy I had always looked at the sky and wondered what it would be like to be up there; yet with every opportunity to answer that curiosity, came with it a self-imposed reason to wait. Yet this time was different. This time I found myself unable to find an excuse big enough to override what I knew to be true—if you really want something badly enough then you'll find a way to do it.

I went to the airport having no idea who to speak, but knew there was a person that could help. Sure enough, the first person I asked to point me in the right direction just happened to be a flight instructor. He became my flight instructor. The day he took me for a flight lit a fire in me. Prior to this day my focus was on self-improvement to find my next promotion. After that flight, all I could think about was flying. Aviation changed my life with one flight.

I committed to Lewis University’s aviation program and flight school. From 2010 to 2015, I earned two degrees in aviation, a pilot’s license, and met some awesome people doing it. I am also proud of my participation in the International Aviation Fraternity Alpha Eta Rho and the schools Flight Team where I won second place for the Men’s Achievement Award at the national SAFECON hosted by Ohio State University in 2014.

A week after returning home in May 2015, my family got the news that my father was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. We had just six weeks to say our goodbyes. Since then I have been blessed to have such a supportive family and network of friends. In honor of my late father, they helped me to co-found Burlas Aviation Inc., a Nonprofit aiming to “promote aviation to the general public” while using our aviation platform to “help other charitable causes that alleviate human suffering”. 

That is where I find myself today. A former soldier, Iraq war veteran, and now an aviator in love with flight. My future mainly includes preparing and carrying out one of Burlas Aviation’s larger projects, The Hope 100, an endurance flight scheduled to take flight in May 2018. The flight will attempt to fly for 100 days without landing to engage the public, encourage interest in aviation, and provide tools to begin that journey. In addition, we will be raising money to help fight cancer in honor of my father who I believe would be proud of the inspiration he bestowed upon me in wake of his tragic loss."

"Flying is Adventure right down the road.
Take a chance on yourself and 
open up your world."

Joe is the Wind Beneath the Wings of
Click on The Hope 100 to learn more

Follow Joe 
at @JoeBurlas on Twitter

Check out his Website:

Click on The Hope 100 to learn more

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Author of 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sharing Aviation Passion

Through Amazing Feats of Flight!

Inspired by Joe Burlas

"The Hope 100 is an attempt to break the flight endurance record by flying for 100 days. The flight seeks to promote aviation as a "flying adventure" and inspire the public to look into an adventure of their own. Tools to track and interact with the flight as well as an "adventure portal" with information on becoming a pilot will be accessible on our website.

We will fly for 100 continuous days without landing

The flight is planned for May 2018, in attempt to break the Flight Endurance Record established in 1959—64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes non-stop in a Cessna 172.

The Hope 100 project was originally intended to be a tribute to my father. It was not intended to set a record. I wanted to organize a simple flight in an aircraft named after my dad, and "take him flying" while sharing a message of courage in the face of pain and fear. So I organized a meeting with 40 friends from flight school and told them my idea.


It wasn't long into my explanation, that I began to see, and hear, just how much this flight meant to my friends too. I wasn't the only one who had lost someone that meant so much nor was I the only one who saw aviation as a method to inspire others to listen to a message of hope. That night the flight became something much different. It was no longer my flight but instead my dream became theirs. It was our flight, and even more so for those reading this, it is your flight.

Whether or not you look up at the skies and have a longing to experience flight, it seems we humans have always been moved by the act of flying. Some of the biggest stories of the 21st century were daring acts of pushing the perceived boundaries of what was possible by people. When we thought we couldn't fly, two brothers showed the world and proved we actually could. When we were told that flying across the Atlantic ocean was too great of a challenge, Charles Lindbergh did so in a single engine aircraft that had some laughing at the little plane. When some said women and blacks were inferior, Amelia Earhart and the Tuskegee Airmen took aircraft into the skies in defiance of that thinking. Together the world watched in awe on July 20, 1969, as man stepped onto another world, showing humanity that it could indeed go

Aviation has historically brought out the best in us. To go from our first flight to the moon brought out a passion in the human spirit. Still, times are changing. The romance and excitement of flying seems to be overridden with the economic climate of aviation. There's currently a shortage of pilots in America, and each year it sees less people are entering training. Most people today aren't entertaining the possibility of flight. While there are many explanations for this, the main goal of The Hope 100 has become one that intends to showcase the adventure of flight to share with the public the passion of flight. Most people’s contact with aviation is through an extremely limited lens of an airport terminal.

This flight is the realization that all these things are possible, and the recognition that there is still a flying adventure worth taking . The real adventure is inside each one of us and flying has historically been a conduit. The Hope 100 has slowly been pieced together over the last year and continues in the next. We are a small group of people who are in love with aviation and we believe it is our destiny to share this passion for the betterment of all of us.

Every person’s story is different and 
so too is each adventure into flight. 

The Hope 100 aims to inspire you. We invite you to take a chance on exploring aviation, by following a flight of Hope!

Flying is Adventure right down the road.
Take a chance on yourself and open up your world.

 Join us tomorrow and meet Joe, our Friday's Fabulous flyer! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Sin Of Flight


A man left home about 8:30 a.m. to do some work at his hanger at the airport with his friends. On the way out the door his wife asked, "what time will you be home?" 
He said, "About 1:30, I'll have lunch at the airport."

1:30 came & went, 3:00 passed, 6:00, still not home, finally at about 7:00 pm he rolls in the driveway, and presents his wife with a pizza, and begins the big story:

"I finished washing the plane about 11:30, had lunch, and was on the way home when alongside the road I saw this poor girl with a flat tire. I stopped and changed the tire. She offered money, but I refused, so she suggested that at least she could buy me a beer. She said there's bar just up the road, We had a beer, then a couple more, and I realized that this girl was not only pretty, she was very friendly, and before I knew it, we were in the motel next door having sex. And that is why I am so late getting home."

His wife looked him right in the eye and said, "You liar!  

Enjoy The Journey 
XO Karlene 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Atlanta Airport

History of The South Lives On!

EAL Radio Show, Episode 311 
Today, March 27, 2017 
Will start a series about the 
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  

I had an opportunity to read a bit of the script and this is fascinating information. If you love aviation history you will enjoy this show!

The Series starts 
“From its earliest days as an automobile racetrack, 
to becoming the largest passenger 
operations airport in the world”

They will also talk about the roll 
Eastern Airlines had in its development.

If you have a story about the airport 
we would like to hear about it! 

Call-in Today, March 27th 
at 7:00 P.M. at 213-816-1611 
to join us live…or 
Tune-in CaptEddie Online Radio by CaptNeal

 Captain Neal Holland  ♦ Jim Hart *Captain Steve Thompson *Chuck Allbright
*Captain George Jehn*Dorothy Gagnon*Don Gagnon
CaptEddie Online Radio by CaptNeal 

Drop by and wish him Happy Birthday~

Airline talk radio show for airline retirees, employees, pilots, mechanics, airplane enthusiasts

Enjoy the Journey!
OX Karlene 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jetting Through Life

Friday's Fabulous Flyer


Bringing a good thing to life! 

While we all know that Darby has been a fan of Starbucks in my novels, rumor has it in the next novel,  Flight For Justice, the fifth in the series, she will be switching to Jett Fuel Java. Why? Because it's awesome! Because Jeff is awesome. His Seattle-based, startup coffee company buys their coffee direct, and they give a portion directly back to the harvesters. He also donates profits to the URC foundation helping struggling students and single parent families. 

Jeff is a kind and giving person, and I am so lucky to know him. He has been supportive of my writing, and always has a smile to share whenever I see him. He loves aviation, and his passion has merged into his coffee company. He also has super names for his coffee, that make great gifts.

Blackbird Espresso

Photo from

Tomcat Household Blend

SOS Dolphin

Hidden Apache

Go Get'em Osprey

Life is Short... Stay Awake for it 
With Jett Fuel Java!

There are great people doing incredible things in life, and Jeff at Jett Fuel Java is one of them. Take a moment to click on the link and follow him on Twitter. He always has something great to share with aviation. And if you are a coffee drinker, you owe it to yourself try the best. 

Order Your Coffee Today! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Aviation Started in the USA

And the Many Connections 

This is a lengthy post, but something you should read if you want to learn how aviation started in this country and the many connections.  I received this from a friend a year ago. The information came Denham S. Scott, North American Aviation Retirees' Bulletin.  Enjoy an interesting read!

Photo From

"How many of you know that in 1910, mighty Martin Marietta got its start in an abandoned California church? That's where Glenn L. Martin, with his amazing mother Minta Martin & their mechanic Roy Beal, constructed a fragile biplane that Glenn taught himself to fly.

It has often been told how Douglas Aircraft started operations in 1920 in a barbershop's backroom on L.A.'s Pico Boulevard. Interestingly, the barbershop is still operating.

The Lockheed Company built the first of their famous Vegas' in 1927 inside a building currently used by Victory Cleaners at 1040 Sycamore in Hollywood.

In 1922, Claude Ryan, a 24 year old military reserve pilot, was getting his hair cut in San Diego, when the barber mentioned that the 'town's aviator was in jail for smuggling Chinese illegal’s up from Mexico. Claude found out that if he replaced the pilot 'sitting in the pokey,' he would be able to lease the town's airfield for $50 a month -- BUT he also had to agree to fly North & East -- not South!

Northrop's original location was an obscure Southern California hotel. It was available because the police had raided the hotel, and found that its steady residents were money-minded gals entertaining transitory male hotel guests.

Glenn Martin built his first airplane in a vacant church, before he moved to a vacant apricot cannery in Santa Ana. He was a showman who traveled the county fair, and air meet circuit as an exhibitionist aviator. From his exhibition proceeds, Glenn was able to pay his factory workers, purchase the necessary wood, linen, and wire. His mother, Minta and, two men ran the factory while Glenn risked his neck gadding about the country. One of his workers was 22-year old Donald Douglas [who WAS the entire engineering department]. A Santa Monica youngster named Larry Bell [later founded Bell Aircraft which today is Bell Helicopter Textron] ran the shop.

Another part of Glenn Martin's business was a flying school with several planes based at Griffith Park, and a seaplane operation on the edge of Watts where his instructors taught a rich young man named Bill Boeing to fly.

Later, Boeing bought one of Glenn Martin's seaplanes, and had it shipped back to his home in Seattle. At this same time, Bill Boeing hired away Glenn's personal mechanic. After Boeing's seaplane crashed in Puget Sound, he placed an order to Martin for replacement parts.

Still chafing from having his best mechanic 'swiped,' [a trick he later often used himself] Martin decided to take his sweet time, and allowed Bill Boeing to 'stew' for a while. Bill Boeing wasn't known to be a patient man, so he began fabricating his own aircraft parts, an activity that morphed into constructing entire airplanes, and eventually the Boeing Company we know today.

A former small shipyard nicknamed 'Red Barn' became Boeing Aircraft's first home. Soon, a couple of airplanes were being built inside, each of them having a remarkable resemblance to Glenn Martin's airplanes...that interestingly, had its own remarkable resemblance to the Glenn Curtiss' planes.

A few years later, when the Great depression intervened, and Boeing couldn't sell enough airplanes to pay his bills, he diversified into custom built speed boats, and furniture for wealthy friends.

After WW-I, a bunch of sharpies from Wall Street gained control of the Wright Brothers Co. in Dayton plus the Martin Company in L.A...a merger that became the Wright-Martin Company.

Wright-Martin began building an obsolete biplane design with a foreign Hispano-Suiza engine. Angered because he had been out maneuvered with a bad idea, Martin walked out taking Larry Bell, and other key employees with him.

From the deep wallet of a wealthy baseball mogul, Martin was able to establish a new factory. Then his good luck continued when the future aviation legend, Donald Douglas, was persuaded by Glenn to join his team. The Martin MB-1 quickly emerged from the team's efforts, and became the Martin Bomber.

Although too late to enter WW-I, the Martin Bomber showed its superiority when Billy Mitchell used it to sink several captured German battleships, and cruisers to prove it's worth. He was later court martialed for his effort.

In Cleveland, a young fellow called 'Dutch' Kindelberger joined Martin as an engineer. Later, as the leader of North American Aviation, Dutch became justifiably well-known.

Flashing back to 1920, Donald Douglas had saved $60,000, returned to L.A., rented a barbershop's rear room, and loft space in a carpenter's shop nearby. There he constructed a classic passenger airplane called the Douglas Cloudster.

A couple of years later, Claude Ryan bought the Cloudster, and used it to make daily flights between San Diego, and Los Angeles. This gave Ryan the distinction of being the first owner/operator of Douglas transports. Claude Ryan later custom built Charles Lindbergh's ride-to-fame in the 'flying fuel tank' christened: The Spirit of St. Louis.

In 1922, Donald Douglas won a contract from the Navy to build several torpedo carrying aircraft. While driving through Santa Monica's wilderness, Douglas noticed an abandoned, barn-like movie studio. He stopped his roadster, and prowled around. The abandoned studio became Douglas Aircraft's first factory.

With the $120,000 contract in his hand, Donald Douglas could afford to hire one or two more engineers. My brother, Gordon Scott, had been schooled in the little known science of aviation at England's Fairey Aviation, so he hired Gordon.

My first association with the early aviation pioneers occurred when I paid my brother a visit at his new work place. Gordon was outside on a ladder washing windows. He was the youngest engineer. Windows were dirty, and Douglas Aircraft Company had no money to pay janitors.

Gordon introduced me to a towhead guy called Jack Northrop, and another chap named Jerry Vultee. Jack Northrop had moved over from Lockheed Aircraft. All of them worked together on the Douglas Aircraft's 'World Cruiser' designs.

While working in his home after work, and on weekends, Jack designed a wonderfully advanced streamlined airplane. When Allan Loughead [Lockheed] found a wealthy investor willing to finance Northrop's new airplane, he linked up with Allan. and together they leased a Hollywood workshop where they constructed the Lockheed Vega. It turned out to be sensational with its clean lines, and high performance. Soon Amelia Earhart, and others flew the Vega to break many of aviation's world records.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with Ed Heinemann who later designed the AD, A3D and A4D. He told me how my dad would fly out to Palmdale with an experimental aircraft they were both working on. They would take it for a few hops, and come up with some fixes. After having airframe changes fabricated in a nearby machine shop, they would hop it again to see if they had gotten the desired results. If it worked out, Mr. Heinemann would incorporate the changes on the aircraft's assembly line. No money swapped hands!

In May 1927, Lindbergh flew to Paris, and triggered a bedlam where everyone was trying to fly everywhere. Before the first Lockheed Vega was built, William Randolph Hearst had already paid for it, and had it entered in an air race from California to Honolulu.

In June 1927, my brother, Gordon, left Douglas Aircraft to become Jack Northrop's assistant at Lockheed. While there, he managed to get himself hired as the navigator on Hearst's Vega. The race was a disaster, and ten lives were lost. The Vega, and my brother vanished. A black cloud hung heavily over the little shop. However, Hubert Wilkins, later to become Sir Hubert Wilkins, took Vega #2, and made a successful polar flight from Alaska to Norway. A string of successful flights after that placed Lockheed in aviation's forefront.

I went to work for Lockheed as it 26th employee, shortly after the disaster, and I worked on the Vega. It was made almost entirely of wood, and I quickly become a half-assed carpenter.

At this time, General Motors had acquired North American consisting of Fokker Aircraft, Pitcairn Aviation [later Eastern Airlines] and Sperry Gyroscope, and hired Dutch Kindelberger away from Douglas to run it. Dutch moved the entire operation to L.A. where Dutch and his engineers came up with the P-51 Mustang.

Interestingly, just a handful of young men played roles affecting the lives of all it initiated the Southern California metamorphosis, from a semi-desert with orange groves and celluloid, into a dynamic complex supporting millions.

Although this technological explosion had startling humble beginnings, taking root as acorns in -- a barber shop's back room -- a vacant church -- an abandoned cannery -- it became a forest of mighty oaks."

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Author of