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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, August 13, 2019

First Solo!

The Amazing Charles Jacob Young 
Takes to the Sky! 


"On August 11th at 1620 PDT, on his 16th Birthday (actually we cheated by about 4.5 hours since he wasn’t born until 2100), Charles Jacob Young, did alone, and completely unassisted, safely defy gravity in our trusty Cessna 172, N94CA and solo with 3 takeoffs and 3 landings (no bounces) at Seattle’s Boeing Field."

"This now makes 3 out of 3 of the Young household that are pilots. His mother and I are beyond thrilled (and I didn't know she could hold her breath that long while he went around the pattern). That 172 felt like a fighter on takeoff without Dad in the right seat, as sure was quiet too without someone talking the whole time! Too bad that same plane floated half way down the runway on landing!"

First approach to landing! 
It will be cool for him in the future to look at these pictures as he Captains one of those 787s

"First landing. Right in front of the Boeing Flight Test center where his mom and dad met over 25 years ago - leading to this day, That airplane that leapt into the air on takeoff sure seems to float forever on landing!"

Losing his shirttail 

"He will take his car drivers license test next week - 
you have to have your priorities."

His father says, "I would really appreciate if you could relate to him what your first solo meant to you. This is a very special group of people he is joining." 

Congratulations Charles!!
I'm looking forward to flying with you!

(8 years ... you can do it!) 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. My first solo was on 3/14/09. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream. I remember it vividly. I was in N4171X, a piper archer. It was a beautiful day at KOXC and I taxied out behind a G2 and remember hearing "Archer 4171x, runway 36, caution wake turbulence from departing Gulfstream, cleared for takeoff". I remember the wake turbulence avoidance procedures flashing thru my mind, lining up on the runway, advancing the throttle and, just like you, feeling the empty plane rocket off the runway without my instructor sitting next to me. I immediately asked the tower which way they wanted me in the pattern to which they responded "right closed traffic" (the G2 had turned left). I remember thinking the easy part was I have to land! 3 full stop landings later and off came the shirt tail.

    Since that day, I went on to get my PPL, Multi, IFR and have spent a lot of time doing cross country flying to as far away as TX. I've had some incredibly fun experiences and I've had experiences that have scared me and reiterated the gravity of what we do (no pun intended). Never have I stopped looking up at the sky every single time I hear a plane fly overhead.

    I've recently decided to complete my commercial and multi commercial because I know that my true calling has always been to be a pilot and I plan to at a minimum start flying charter and teaching. I have to give my dream a shot. If that is how you feel right now - do not ever, ever, every lose focus and conviction and do not let anyone every dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Your dreams are priceless and can't be bought. When I learned to fly it made no financial sense at all. I just felt compelled to do it. So I did. Remember sometimes that's how it's going to feel. It won't make logical sense but keep going anyway.

    Know that you are surrounded by a community that will not hesitate to help you because we all want to see you be successful and safe. It is a brother/sisterhood in the truest sense. One day I lost a cylinder while flying a Cirrus a long way from home. Another Cirrus pilot heard me declare an emergency, and he diverted and landed with me, helped me and shuttled me in his plane to BWI to get a commercial flight back home. I was just about to miss the flight home because the plane was moving the jet bridge back when I got to the gate. I flashed the "X" hold sign with my arms to the pilots and, knowing that probably meant I was a pilot and knew how to ask them to stop, they, moved the jet bridge back, opened the door and let me on. Once they heard about my day, the crew offered me a drink on the house and took care of me. That's the kind of community you are part of. I can tell you countless stories of the same kind of altruism and selflessness to show you what a great fraternity you are now part of.

    Charles, now that you have started, don't look back. Keep the throttle full forward. Realize you have taken a step very few people take and realize you are on a path of which most people will be envious. But most people will never see the hard work and sacrifice it will take along the way. Do not ever be dissuaded. That will make the accomplishments all that much sweeter.

    We all look forward to great things from you from here on out. Welcome to the club!

    Be safe. Blue skies and tailwinds.

    1. Jeff, Thank you so much for the comment. I am most certain great things will come from him.


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