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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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trick or Treat?

Happy Halloween

The night is full of creeps and ghouls
yet I'll be spending the day with fools.
There will be no tricking, and no treating
But if all goes well, a little beating! 

I hope however you spend your Halloween
there is candy and smiles involved!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Aviation Safety Update

The Research is Complete. 

The data has been analyzed. 
The report is being written. 

Yesterday, a pilot sent a message with following photos from the Lion Air crash stated:

"One you might look at in 
reference to your research."

Equipment will break
But Pilots should be able to fly an aircraft 
with faulty equipment in VFR conditions.


We must never jump to conclusions as to what happened, Boeing and the authorities will figure this out. Boeing builds an excellent aircraft and pilots should be trained to fly them, despite onboard failures. Christine Negroni wrote an interesting article on the subject: Not enough time for Lion Air to Save Flight.

Wait until you see the 
results of my research.

Thanks to all the pilots who participated in the study We ended up with 7400 surveys. You are amazing. And the results will be coming your way soon. 

Prayers sent to the families and friends 
lost in this accident. 
I hope that the answers come soon. 
They won't return your loved ones, 
but they might make a difference for the future. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Nathan Koch

Friday's Fabulous Flyer! 

 Nathan Koch 
Qantas Captain 

Nathan Koch: 

"My beginnings in aviation are probably no different to most of you reading this post. As a child, I was fascinated by aeroplanes. A noise overhead had me looking skyward, (it still does, sad isn’t it?) 

Birthdays were an exciting time as I would be less than subtle about my gift wish list. A plastic model aeroplane kit was all I wanted. But enough is never enough and I needed to send something into the air. A control line model was the next step up. Hours of building painting, running in my new little engine and soon the big day arrived. Off I went to the flying field. And within a few short seconds, I was on my way home with a pile of balsa fragments, some larger hardwood pieces and bits of broken metal, not to mention, a broken heart. 

So, back to the drawing board. Mark II was bigger, stronger and, just like The Titanic, crash proof. I had many happy hours of going round and round in circles following an airborne buzzbomb. 

The next step was not far away. All the earnings from my weekend job ended up donated to the local hobby shop, and in return they gave me my ticket to aviation freedom. I was no longer attached to my pocket rocket by braided wire, and aviation entered the third dimension with my shiny new radio controlled model. 

That was in the mid-1970’s, the same time as the advent of CB radios, the “Breaker, Breaker, this is the rubber duck,” kind of 2 way radio. In Australia, they were illegal, and unfortunately were operated on the same frequency band as our little airborne fireflies. This was my introduction to electromagnetic interference and automation surprise. It was like carrying a knife into a gunfight. No contest really; a slight crackling on the radio, versus a little aircraft with a catastrophic loss of control, and another episode of “Balsa meets earth.”

The end of High School was nigh, and career choice time. Unlike the US, Australia doesn’t have a College system, we go straight to University. Here’s where I take a 90 degree turn. I was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have two things that interested me greatly. Aviation and veterinary medicine. My problem was, at decision time, aviation was in one of its slumps. I knew no one in the industry to help guide my decision and tell me that by the time I was qualified, they would probably be looking for pilots once more. So Plan B became plan A. (All the pilots reading this, never underestimate your ability to mentor future colleagues, it’s invaluable.) 

I didn’t achieve the scores required for veterinary science, but I managed to squeak into a general science degree. Fortunately, towards the end of my course, I had learnt the not so subtle art of placing butt on seat and I completed my degree in human pathology (the study of disease,) and pharmacology (the study of drugs, the good ones, that is,) at the pointy end of the results list and into veterinary school I went. Another 5 years of assuming the position and I was the proud holder of a veterinary degree, about to be unleashed onto a blissfully unaware animal population. 

I started working in a mixed large and small animal practice on the edge of Melbourne. Just up the road was a small country airfield and plenty of opportunities to look up. I was now working fulltime with money burning a hole in my pocket, so it was time to convert looking up at flying machines, to looking down from them.

At that time, airlines had strict age cut off limits, so I didn’t believe I was destined for an airline career, but I needed to fly nonetheless. An ancient Cessna 150 was my springboard to the heavens (well, a couple of thousand feet anyway.) The first magic moment of solo flight was not far away. I don’t think it matters how long you’ve been flying, that first solo flight is NEVER forgotten. A Private Pilot Licence then followed and the battle to make new friends had begun, not because I wanted to break Facebook (I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg was even born then,) but because everyone was a potential cost sharer to feed my need for speed, (well, 105 knots, anyway.) 

Then came a chance meeting with one of my old university lecturers. He had owned his own aircraft for many years and possessed a Commercial Pilot Licence. Over a cold glass of beer, he convinced me I should study for my Commercial Licence. (Convince is too strong a word, he had to hold me back and stop me from running to the nearest theory school and signing up before we’d even finished our drink.) 

With the world’s newest Commercial Pilot License in my pocket, I needed to make a decision and see where I could go with my flying, and the adventure began. 

1989 saw a bitter domestic pilots’ dispute in Australia and the pilots from the 2 major domestic airlines resigned. I had resigned from my full time Veterinary job a month before it began. Work was difficult to come by. Fortunately, the flying school where I had trained had a maintenance division and I became involved in the restoration of an ex-Air Force DC3. The company also had a contract with the local power line authority carrying out low level power line inspections, looking for trees that were too close to lines and potentially sparking bushfires. Risky tree were identified from the air and ground crews went out and pruned them. 300 flying hours at 200ft above the ground and I was on my way. 

My instructor rating followed, even more closely followed by a major recession in the early 1990’s. No one was learning to fly. By a long string of chance meetings and good fortune, I became the aerial traffic guy for Melbourne’s top rating radio station. As “The Traffic Doctor” I now had a steady (but low) income which allowed me to hang around the flying school during the day and pick up a few students, (for lessons, not….)

Some 4 years later, I bumped into an old client from my first veterinary practice. I knew he had several aeroplanes and he offered me a job in Broome, in far north Western Australia. A Cessna 180 and 185 (tail draggers,) and a Piper Aztec and Navajo were at my disposal, TWIN ENGINE TIME!!!! There is extraordinary countryside in that part of the world, well worth a visit. A 6 month stint there, and with a deep suntan I returned to Melbourne. 

Quiet times and back to veterinary work, but I had a target. Given the distances between major centres in Australia, one of the aviation opportunities for pilots is flying “bank runs.” No money, just cheques, contracts and also priority mail and parcels to be delivered by a whole gaggle of couriers. It took me 6 months to convince the powers that be to give me a job. They have a fleet of Aero Commanders, one of which was used by the late great Bob Hoover to perform his incredible aerobatic routine. (If you don’t know who he is, the YouTube clip of him pouring a glass of iced tea whilst performing a barrel roll is something to behold!)

18 months later, I was in a position to apply for regional airlines and I scored a job with the regional branch of the now defunct Ansett Airlines. I flew Metro 23’s. No autopilot as the then boss of the company said that if there had to be 2 pilots on a single pilot aircraft (a requirement for carriage of passengers,) he wasn’t going to waste money on an autopilot. I spent 8 months as a First Officer then was promoted to captain. 

During all this time, something had changed. Equal Opportunity legislation meant that it was illegal to discriminate on age. Airlines started opening up their recruiting to all. I think it didn’t take long for them to realise that having a broad base of life experience in their ranks was actually a good thing. 

After a wait that seemed like an eternity, I was offered to opportunity to undertake the selection process with Qantas, and I WAS ACCEPTED! I couldn’t believe it. My first fleet was the Classic Boeing 747. We Had -200’s, -300’s and even 2 B747-SP’s. We all join as second officers, and not only was I qualified to sit in either the captain’s and first officer’s seats, but I also earned a flight engineer’s licence and occupied the sideways seat when they were on a break. The world was mine. 

I spent 3 years seeing the world and the opportunity came up to become a first officer on the Boeing 737 fleet. We had -300’s and -400’s, eventually replaced with -800’s. GFC’s came and went and eventually I was offered a command on the 737, which I have been commanding for the last 4 years. I’m happy as a pig in whatever pigs are happy in. 

Along the journey I also completed a graduate certificate of management, as well as a graduate certificate of aviation human factors. I have become a passionate advocate of human factors principles as countless lives have been saved since we have started working “together.” And I have been fortunate to take some of the lessons we have learned back to other professions. I have started speaking at both medical and veterinary conferences and I hope to plant a few seeds amongst these good doctors and hopefully we will see improvements in patient safety, for all creatures. 

Qantas also has a Pilot Assistance Network, or PAN. We have been trained as peer supporters and provide a sympathetic ear for our colleagues to discuss any issues, be they work or non-work related. We have psychologists available to offer further assistance if we feel there is more that can be done for those who have sought our help. If your company has something similar, I urge you to get involved. If not, try to get one going. The mental health of our colleagues is of paramount importance. 

I now facilitate our Fearless Flyers courses as well. It’s a great thrill to use some of the lessons I have learnt over the journey to help people overcome their fear.

And my tonsils are being exercised over the airwaves once more with irregular spots as the talkback radio vet, a four legged Frasier Crane. 

My story is perhaps a bit different to many, but if there’s any message I can pass on to you, it is that anything is possible. Thomas Edison said that genius (and I would add that it applies equally to success) was 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Dream your dreams and put in the effort to turn them from “I wish” to “I did.”

Thank you for sharing your story Nathan!

Enjoy the Journey
OX Karlene 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Aviation Videos

For the Love of Aviation 

Patrick is a professional pilot, who operates a Learjet 35A in ambulance configuration, based in Munich, Germany. His passion for aviation started 10 years ago, and since then he has flown to 70 countries and 370 airfields around the world. 

Patrick wanted to share his YouTube-Channel and passion for aviation with those that are like-minded.  

Below are a few of his videos.

A great way to visit the world!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Kevin Miller

Flying Strong! 

Kevin Miller

One of our Friday Fabulous Fliers is back! Kevin Miller has published his third contemporary and authentic novel of aircraft carrier aviation, this one entitled Fight Fight. It takes place today, in the dangerous South China Sea. Sound familiar?

China is exerting control over this vital sea, areas of which are claimed by seven countries, and only last week a PRC naval combatant challenged and maneuvered aggressively against a US Navy destroyer conducting innocent passage in international waters. China believes the South China Sea belongs to them. The rest of the world does not, but China is building and equipping outposts and patrolling the sea - and waters beyond - with its increasingly muscular navy.

In Fight Fight, a spark off a disputed fishing ground ignites the region into war, a full-blown Air-Sea fight such as the US has not engaged in since WWII. Kevin's characters of Flip, Weed, and Olive deploy on the fictional carrier Hancock with no notice, and must fight their way across the Pacific. Known for his character development, Kevin introduces the reader to Chinese antagonists from four-star commanders to a brash fighter pilot on an outpost spoiling for a fight, and he gets one. Through their eyes we gain a sense of Chinese sensibilities and what motivates them, as we did with regional enemies in Kevin's previous novels Raven One and Declared Hostile.

Fight Fight was published last month through Braveship Books. Kevin's style is to not only put the reader in the cockpit of a supersonic fighter, in his case the FA-18 Hornet, but also in the ready rooms and command spaces to determine strategy as all deal with the fog of war and enemy countermoves no one expected. Want to know what it's like to fly a high-performance aircraft off a ship and into combat? Kevin Miller's unforgettable trilogy lays it all out, including the interpersonal dramas that evolve when thousands of men and women are at sea for extended periods in close quarters.

Fight Fight is Kevin's latest epic techno-thriller and by the initial reviews arguably his best. Download it today on Amazon Kindle.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Happy Birthday to Our Baby

33 Years ago today
Krysta made the world a better place 
by joining us!

Happy Birthday Krysta!

We Love You!
XO Mom and Dad

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

We Fly to Serve

British Airways Video

That forgot the women!

If we want to inspire the next generation of pilots
we have to at least acknowledge the lady pilots.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Aviation Law and...

The Eastern Airlines Kitchen Talk Radio! 

A show you won't want to miss...

Episode 386
October 15, 2018

Call-in number is 

at 7:00 P. M. EDT 

or listen in by clicking the hyperlink:

Aviation Attorney Joins the Show! 

Edward M. "Skip" Booth

"Board Certified Aviation Law Attorney since 1996, Edward M. "Skip" Booth. He is also a partner at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. in Jacksonville, FL. and serves as Vice-President of the Jacksonville Historical Society. 

A vast resume that is outstanding in Aviation Law. His background encompasses a myriad of valuable knowledge. Mr. Booth is an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Legal Services Plan panel attorney. He is a past chairman of the Florida Bar’s Aviation Law Certification Committee and Aviation Law Committee, and a past president of the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association. As an experienced pilot, he holds a multi-engine Air Transport License and has over 3,000 hours of flight experience. 

Mr. Booth is also a past member of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors and received his undergraduate degree from Emory University in 1978 and his Juris Doctorate from The Florida State University College of Law in 1981. He is also a member of The Florida Bar."

This should be an interesting night
of legal discussions... 

Call in: 

at 7:00 P. M. EDT 

or listen in by clicking the hyperlink:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Carry On!

"I am carried
forward by my own
willingness to learn,
and my determination
to fulfill all that - I have
set out to do."

Monday, October 8, 2018

You're Invited to Join the talk. 

Eastern Airlines 
Kitchen Talk Radio 

Breaking News...

  • "Boeing CEO Muilenburg on Flying Car, Hypersonic Plane and Working with NASA.Boeing Co. says the age of air taxis is getting closer.... "
  • "For all the noteworthy progress United Airlines had made over the last year, it just takes one bad story to sink the ship. We may have our story…Imagine you are a young mother and step onto a 14-hour flight from Sydney, Australia to San Francisco and find your seat in business class. Your eight month-old is crying and you do your best to calm him down. But he won’t stop...."
  • "Sixty years ago, British Airways, then called British Overseas Airways Corporation, became the first airline to fly a turbo jet engine aircraft between Europe and New York, reducing the journey time from 18 hours to around seven...."

"When 31-year-old Douglas Groce Corrigan took off from Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field on July 17, 1938, in a modified Curtiss Robin, he carried two chocolate bars, two boxes of fig bars, a quart of water and a U.S. map with the route from New York to California marked out..."

A show you won't want to miss...

Episode 385
October 8, 2018

Call-in number is 

at 7:00 P. M. EDT 

or listen in by clicking the hyperlink:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Making Paradise out of Life

Amazing People doing Amazing Things!

Will & Aleeka

Friday's Fabulous Flyers! 

William Morgan is an enlisted aviator with the U.S. Military, and his wife Aleeka is a financial advisor.  I met them at the ERAU graduation in Seattle last month. Will was graduating, I was the keynote speaker, and Aleeka was the support system for both of us. They found me after the event, and I learned what an amazing couple they are! They have also been extremely patient with my schedule in posting this. What's also amazing is that Aleeka is from Guyana, and we probably walked the same streets. It's a very small world. 

Will is one of those people who doesn't allow adversity to defeat him. He faces life's challenges and then keeps pushing forward. The fact he walked across that stage after earning his diploma speaks volumes. And Aleeka could not have been more proud. 

Will Morgan

The story goes, that they were looking for ways to stay connected while Will was away on his missions. Then they thought of a story plot and decided to write a book together. They created characters through international messaging apps, and emailed each other chapters. This act of partnership resulted in their debut science fiction novel- THE VOG. 

"A politician's attempt to increase tourism and "Make Hawai'i Beautiful Again" involves killing the homeless by injecting micro-robots into the volcanic fog. This altered cloud is top secret. It is more deadly than smoke inhalation. And thanks to advancements in nanotechnology, it even has the ability to detect when it's near homelessness. It also might have caused the death of the NOAA bioengineer who programmed it." 

Vog (a portmanteau of "volcanic" and "fog") has never been written with such humor and so poignantly. The couple parallels their narrative to the current political climate, making it easy for readers to detach from current events but also validates everything they've been feeling over this past year.

Aleeka and will are also the founders of Honolulu Sea Hawkers (HSH), a non-profit organization that works with NFL players to produce community events that promote mental and physical health. Aleeka, an immigrant from Guyana, graduated from Brown University with a degree in Economics. Prior to HSH Inc., she was a television producer (Today Show, Peter Jennings Documentary Group). She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Business & Communications at Chaminade University. William Morgan, a Seattleite, graduated from Emry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a 15-year military veteran. He currently serves in the Air National Guard. They live in Hawaii where they are contributing writers to Honolulu Magazine.


I have been submersed in my dissertation and life, and last night was the first opportunity I took to read something fun in the tub. I had ordered the VOG and it arrived while I was away at training. So, I climbed into my tub with this book. Wow! Amazing writers. They say you can judge a book by the first 10 pages... I read the first 7 (chapter end) and I was hooked. Their writing is exceptional. Character development, dialogue, and voice are fantastic. These are two incredible authors and I hope they keep this aspect of their bonding going. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene