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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, April 5, 2019

Health and the Pilot

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Charles Harris

Charles is nothing short of a private pilot extraordinaire. He has been a pilot for over 45 years, and used his two planes, a Mooney and Conquest II, in his law practice. When an attorney is a pilot, they they have the knowledge and understanding of safety, and the importance of quality parts,  tools, maintenance and training. He is now focused on training, but the education is on maintaining optimum health, in or to be safe. 

Charles retired from his San Francisco legal practice, with a degree of Juris Doctor from the University of California, about 20 years ago. Life does not stop after retirement. He is now a healthy lifestyle consultant for the Medical Center at the Parliament of Thailand.  

"Sometimes, I give seminars to pilots about how to stay in shape. My topic is "Getting Your Insulin Rating" ... focusing upon controlling insulin levels in the body and preventing "hyperinsulinemia" (otherwise known as chronically elevated insulin levels). As it turns out, modern medical research shows that hyperinsulinemia is the leading cause and unifying factor in all chronic diseases."

(For the Thai Readers) 

Training and education is focused on such topics as metabolic health, improved cognitive function, attitude, and judgment. He now lives in Chiang Rai where he hosts seminars on healthy lifestyles and preventing diseases of old age, including weight control, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's, cancer, heat disease, macular degeneration, and other chronic diseases. 

In support of a healthy lifestyle, he owns an organic farm, a chemical-free drinking water filter and chlorine-free exercise pool research facility, a healthy lifestyle center featuring chemical-free swimming pools, and an organic whole foods bakery. 

(For the Thai Readers)

How does healthy living apply to pilots?

"As pilots, we are surrounded by electronics in the cockpit. Sophisticated instruments apply the latest in engineering and quantum mechanics. But, pilots rarely consider that they, too, are highly complex electronic systems called upon to function at peak proficiency, too. Safety depends on it. Staying alert and proficient - staying safe - are the goals of every pilot."

"In the end, safety comes down to pilot health."  

"My training progressed in the usual fashion: multi-engine, commercial, instrument, and ATP. But, there was one rating I never got, even though looking back, it would have been the most important one; i.e., my "insulin rating." 

Charles states: 

When it comes to pilot safety, proficiency, and attitude, nothing adds more to the equation than understanding insulin. Getting an "insulin rating" improves pilot performance. Teaching senior captains for American Airlines and private pilots alike, I have learned that nothing addresses fatigue, drowsiness, mistakes, lack of awareness, etc., like a healthy well-tuned pilot. 

Pilots usually do not think too much about their metabolic function, inflammation, circulation, nutrition, etc., until, perhaps, their flight physical shows early signs of hypertension or metabolic syndrome. Subjects like molecular biology, energy production, mitochondrial function, the production of ATP (yes, the other ATP) never crosses their minds. But heart and brain function are at the core of pilot safety."

If anyone is interested in pursuing their health to the next level
you can reach out to Charles:
Stay Healthy!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. Amen, Karlene! Like so many things, we often wait until our machine (the body) begins to show signs of wear and tear before having to acknowledge the effects of living. It's rarely too late to start improving however, we need to do a better job of educating about prevention and maintenance. Thanks for sharing this story in hopes of helping all pilots improve proficiency and performance, in all aspects of living!

    1. Thank you Dr. Larry! Education is everything. I wish he taught courses in the US too!


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