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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, April 25, 2019

Flight For Truth!

More Fact than Fiction?

Imagine the following message being left on a pilot's phone by their union medical advisor. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. But Flight For Truth is underway! Justice will be next!

Spoiler Alert! 

Flight For Truth

Chapter 10
January 8, 2018

Hi. It's Dr. Fourberie calling from the ALPO Air Medical office. Hey, I just got a little bit more correspondence on your situation and some information from Dr. Wood. I saw the back-and-forth with you requesting sort of his actual diagnosis from him and also a suggestion for a treatment plan that might get you back to flying, and he defers on the treatment plan because he's correct. As an evaluator he's not in the role of your treating physician, so he would not sort of determine a treatment plan. You would go to your own specialist or provider to manage any condition like that. 

The problem is, is that with— you know, the only way back to medical certification is to dispute the diagnosis of a bipolar spectrum disorder. That's disqualifying. And even if you were to say, okay, I'll do a mood stabilizer or some other thing and get into either pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatment or therapy, that's not going to be satisfactory to the FAA because all of the medications for it are disallowed. It's considered a condition that can be treated and managed but is not essentially curable and is always disqualifying, even if it is fairly— you know, effectively treated for the time being. So unfortunately, sort of getting treatment is not going— for a condition like that, I don't think we're going to have any luck with regaining medical certification. 

The one option to regain medical certification would be to effectively and completely and convincingly dispute the presence of the diagnosis to begin with. That's the— based on our experience with the FAA that's the one and only way that a bipolar spectrum disorder we can have any sort of success with. So we are, of course, standing by to assist you with this however and whenever we can. 

I am here until about 4:00 Mountain time today. I'm not sure if they're going to close the phones up a little bit and cut the staff loose a bit early because it is right before a four-day holiday for the New Year. We are going to be out of the office Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I'm back on Tuesday and then I'm actually out of the office next week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then back the following week. Dr. Max is another flight surgeon, will be filling in for me during the hours that we are here Wednesday, Thursday, Friday next week that I'm gone, so certainly there's someone else standing by to assist you with anything you need immediately. 

But that is our next sort of step with this as far as medical certification goes, which is my primary function in assisting you here, is to try to get an independent evaluation that would very, very effectively counter Dr. Wood’s conclusion of a bipolar spectrum disorder, and that's going to be tricky because Dr. Wood is sort of a big gun with the FAA. You'd have to convince the FAA that he's totally wrong and that you do not have any sort of bipolar spectrum disorder, and that would be a difficult situation. But I think I gave you Dr. Brody’s name and number. She's certainly a good person for you to talk to and explain your situation to, and she would probably be the best next step. As I stated, she would read your report for free and tell you if this is hopeless. 

But as I say, we are here standing by. I'm here for a little bit longer, at least, today and a little bit next week and Dr. Max is also covering for me next week. So if you have any questions or want to talk strategy on that, please feel free to give us a call. Thanks.”

Only the names were changed 
to protect the guilty. 
Hard to believe. 

Start the Series Now!
Be ready for the next two novels. 

Flight For Control 

The journey begins! 
How far can you break an industry 
before you break a pilot?

Flight For Safety 

Economics before safety?
Safety Management Systems is an FAA 
mandate designed to improve safety.
But what about pilot training?

How far airline management would go 
to destroy a pilot in their economic path.

The most sinister plot 
of all! The process to remove a pilot
who is attempting to improve safety. 

Flight For Truth

From diagnosis to discovery. 
The shocking truth of corruption!
(February 2020)

Flight For Justice

The courtroom battle. 
Truth? Honesty? Justice? 
We'll find out. 
(February 2021) 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. The Wright Brothers had it so simple!!!!

    So, if you were the Union Medical Advisor, I assume that you would have talked directly to the pilot: what, basically, would YOU have said?

    1. Dan, GREAT question! As a medical professional (or simply any human with an iota of compassion) I would never have left that message. First it was too long. The length and rambling combined with the negative content was enough to push someone over the edge if they had a problem. Who would do that?

      I would have left a message... but short and concise. Then I would have continued calling until I spoke to the pilot to see if they were okay. The only message I would have left would be a message of hope. Something to live for.

      Holidays, losing your career, your livelihood, your passion... a message such as this would come across as, "Go ahead and kill yourself. It's hopeless."

      Turns out that this doctor may have been part of the plot and the message part of the plan... but that will be left for the novel.

      What would I say to a pilot, who loves flying more than anything, that has been told she will never fly again, simply because "No woman could work, go to school and take care of children"? My message would have been....

      "Darby, this is Dr. F. from the ALPO Aeromedical Department. Please do not worry about this right now. Enjoy the holidays. I'm here today and tomorrow, but will be in my office next. week.. (date) and we will do everything to fight this. You are not alone and we are going to help. I have some ideas. This is not an end all. I will do everything I can to get you flying again. Merry Christmas!"

      Now... what did Darby do after receiving the message this doctor left? You'll have to read the novel to find out.

      The Wright Brothers did have it easy. I'm wondering if a woman would have made that flying machine if they would have called her crazy, :)

      Thanks for the comment and great question!

  2. I can’t believe Alpo doesn’t do a better job of representing us ...we pay so much in dues... they were no help with my loss of license insurance and would never use me when I volunteered for anything other than the scheduling committee which I was on for five years ...

    And knowing the backstory to this makes it even more blatant .

    1. Kathy, yes it makes it all the more sinister when you know the truth. And, all the more frustrating when you experience the mistruths and challenges. Nobody should be faced with fighting for their loss of license insurance, and nobody should be able to change the contract after it was written and signed, but it was. Who do you want to play you in the movie? :)


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