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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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Aviation Challenges...

Take Commitment to Solve! 

"The World is a Dangerous Place, 
Not because of those who do Evil, 
But because of those who look on and do Nothing."

Quote found in Flight For Sanity, by Albert Einstein

Photo from Mark Restorick

Whenever an accident occurs, the industry blames the pilot. However, if we continue to blame the pilot then no one needs to be accountable for necessary improvements. In 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified that pilots lack flight skills and have problems monitoring their instruments. Incidents and safety reports have identified confusion, lack of understanding, and mode awareness issues. However, I hypothesize: 

Pilots are not to blame, 
but a larger system may be accountable. 

Photo from Mark Restorick

As you know, I am working on my PHD in Aviation with a focus on Safety. This adventure was fueled by my One Wish For Aviation. The purpose of my research is to identify the relationships between safety culture, pilot training, understanding, aviation passion, and the impact on automation usage, in order to identify the root cause of performance issues, beyond pilot error.

Photo from Mark Restorick

Today I am getting on an airplane headed to Austin, for perhaps the last time in a very long time. My youngest daughter, and three of my grandkids, are moving to Seattle! I'm heading down to help with the final packing, and then we'll have house guests for a couple weeks while their new home gets settled. 

In the mean time, I am working diligently on my research. And, to no surprise, one of my characters in the novel Flight For Sanity, Kathryn Jacobs, is conducting the same research for the FAA, that I am conducting. In the novel, some people do not want this research to happen. Why wouldn't anyone not want research conducted to support pilot proficiency? Sounds like a mystery... and it is! 

Photo from Mark Restorick

I am looking for commercial pilots 
to participate in a survey. 
Your name will not be taken, 
Ensuring complete anonymity!

To qualify, you must be a commercial pilot (airline, charter, corporate), with a crew compliment of at least two pilots. You may also be retired, or between jobs, if you were actively employed under the above conditions within the previous calendar year.

Please spread the link to this post on your social media sites and provide my email address to the pilots you know, who want to join the effort. Email me at with the subject Survey Participation, and when this project has been reviewed and approved by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Institutional Review Board (IRB), I will email you a link to anonymously go to another site to take the survey. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


  1. A system approach to the problem is more than necessary. As humans we tend to look for the simplest explanation - the shortcut - and it is so easy put the blame on the pilot; but, the systems we work in and the problems that they present are complex, thus the solutions which we will require to solve them will be difficult and messy, too! Millions of interactions, influences, etc. shape our performance, and we should not look for the easy way out, simply highlighting one element. My question is: Are we diligent enough to work through the murkiness, and come up with the creative solutions necessary to solve complex issues, and be in it for the long haul, or will we continue to look for the easiest way out? Kudos to you for exploring this!

    Now, that is not to say that our behaviour as pilots should not bear part of the "blame". I do think that some of us fall short in airmanship (using Kern's definition / model which includes everything from discipline to knowledge to judgment), and could do more to improve; however, as the systems we manage become more complex, and the amount of information we are responsible for grows exponentially, the 'system' itself may be putting us at a disadvantage. Or, maybe I'm just a-rambling. :)

    1. Chet, you could not have said this any better. That question of what is happening to our professionalism is interesting and i have to believe it's the culture (poor culture) that new pilots are coming into. This is definitely going to bring interesting results. Thank you so much for your comment!


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!