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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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mental Attack on Pilots


Last week I shared with you an email from a pilot who wrote about being removed from flight duty, and has been kept out for ten years with a false accusation of mental health, in a post titled Criminal Activity in the Airline World.  The week before that, I shared a portion of another pilot's medical report in a post titled Aviation Thrillers, That Read like Mysteries, where fact is stranger than fiction

Today I have yet another true story to share... 

But first I want to preface this with a little real life message we tell all pilots. We want pilots to feel free to come forward if they have an issue, not fly if they are tired or just know they are not fit for duty. We can't all be 100% everyday. But that doesn't mean permanent.... right? 

Well, let me tell you what happened to yet another pilot, a 15-year captain who has been flying for 38 years.  One day she got to work and realized she had forgotten her ID. This was the first time in her life she'd done something like this. But the truth was, this was not like any other day... she had just lost a close family member. But like all tough pilots we think we can do it all! She realized she could not. When she arrived at the airport, and learned what she had done, she realized that the death of her Aunt impacted her harder than she thought, and she called unfit for duty, for that trip. 

That call was three years ago. 

She was removed permanently. This pilot was being proactive for the safety of that flight, as we request every pilot to be, and has had her life and career turned upside down. Where she was initially challenged for her sick call, the company pulled her for mental health. Like the other two pilots she has never lost her first class medical certificate, either.  

Since then, false medical reports have been written and placed into her medical file, and submitted to an insurance company. Chief pilots have forged paperwork, and as it turned out, the doctor who played this game with her, is also friends and works closely with the doctor who wrote that horrific medical report in Aviation Thrillers, That Read like Mysteries, where fact is stranger than fiction

Apparently there is a group of doctors that can be purchased to down pilots. The scary thing is, if they can down mentally healthy pilots, what will stop them from being bought to release a pilot who has a problem? 

This tragedy my friends, 
is the theme of Flight For Sanity

But you should start at the beginning of the series 
and learn how we got to this point. 

Darby's Story is yet another real life story based on actual events. Research is a wonderful thing, but it's sad when you learn the truth of what a few really bad managers can do to pilots, because of ego, power and money. This tactic to remove pilots is only used because the airline has no performance issues to fire them. The Railway Labor Act allows it to continue. Something needs to be done. What happens if someone does need help? Will they get it? Will they be afraid to come forward? 


Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


  1. These tales are painful to read, yet we know that they are absolutely true. We also know that their are many more, most still undisclosed for a variety of reasons. This treatment of otherwise healthy pilots must STOP. What on earth to the major carriers expect to accomplish. We should also note that for the most par, the regionals do not play these games. Many of them are so starved for entry and mod-level pilots that walking and chewing gum (with the necessary hours) is enough to generate an offer. Please, keep reporting these cases; we need to know... Regards,

    1. Craig, that's excellent insight, because you're right. No regionals so far. I supposed when the pilots get to the majors, have experience and want to make change, or know better than when not to fly, they become a problem. Then somebody in power decides to use that power for evil rather than good.

      You know that I will do my part to fix this. And I will too. It's a slow battle, but one worth fighting for so many reason. It might mean after the PHD, a law degree is in order. But that too will be yet another experience.

      Thank you so much for your comment and your support!!!

  2. For years I thought that I was probably the only person this sort of thing happened to, but thanks to your blog, I now realize I am not alone. In fact it appears that this arcane game used by many of the major airlines to side line careers of pilots they seek to silence or discredit is common place.

    For thirteen years I have lived just such a nightmare. While I have an FAA First Class Medical Certificate, I am now less than one year from mandatory retirement age and have lost the best years of my career.

    Sadly, pilots this happens to most often goes undisclosed because they are suddenly isolated from their peers and often to embarrassed to speak out, for fear of being stigmatized.

    Unfortunately our pilot unions have allowed these practices to continue and provide little if any support to those affected by corporates misuse of the medical health system.

    1. Thirteen years! OMG. I am so sorry!! Thank you for sharing your your experience, as that, too, will help others. I think this is the silent killer of pilots for all the reasons you expressed here, and thus nobody speaks out.

      But, it's time to put a stop to this. I will be sharing more of what I learned in my next novel. Then when I finish my PHD, the non-fiction will be released and we will make the public aware, hold the doctors accountable and ask the FAA for support in this horrendous process. This will be fixed for our pilots not to be thrown away.
      Thank you for your comment


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