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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, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year 2021~

"Run With Purpose"
(1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

There is power in a number... 
and next year it is all about 21! 

On December 21st an extraordinary astronomy event occurred, that has not happened in over 200 years. The Jupiter and Saturn conjunction, when these planets were only 0.1 degree apart. As a friend stated, "this was the day heaven and earth were moved."  On the 21st a monumental AIR 21 case ruling came to fruition that will impact airline safety for the better. Ironically, one of my resolutions for 2021 is to reform the AIR 21 law in order to better protect the traveling public. Too many lives were lost in the last couple years because employees were afraid to speak out, and justifiably so. But these times, they are about to change!  On a side note, 21 is also my favorite number while playing blackjack. With that said, the one thing that we should never gamble on is safety. 

2020 is a year we will never forget, for many reasons. However, I choose to focus on the good things that came within the year. I learned to play golf, became a stronger bridge player, learned to swim  across the lake, earned a type rating on the A350, helped to rid the medical profession of one dirty doctor, fought injustice, watched Joel Osteen's daily program that gave me perspective, hope, restored faith, and helped me through the tough days. But now we go into the new year and it's time to Run with Purpose. 

2021 Resolutions
  • Reform the Air 21 Law
  • Finish Writing Flight For Justice 
  • Take down the Christmas Decorations before it's time to put them up again 
  • Exercise daily 
  • Eat pie for dinner at least once per month
  • Fly my New Plane every chance I get 
  • Smile often. Laugh loudly. Feel gratitude
  • Improve my Golf game 
  • Play more cards 
  • Forgive more, judge less and accept. 

A friend sent me a poem that one of his daughter's wrote. The ending is perfect to close out 2020 and bring in the New Year...

"As we at last turn the page
With a ready hand 
Although we’re six feet apart
Together we stand!"

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Bless You With a Christmas Heart

My gift to you this holiday season is a reminder that even during your darkest nights a light will shine bright at the perfect time, so don't ever give up your fight to do the right thing. The little wins along the way may just be lighting the path to your ultimate destiny. Know that there are people of integrity in our world, and they will come to you holding a light when you need it the most. But don't be blinded. That light may not be illuminating a victory, but simply guiding you to your destination. Have faith, and follow your true north with a Christmas Heart.

This Holiday Season, 
Believe in Miracles!

I wish you the Happiest of Holidays!
Peace, Love and Joy
Throughout the New Year!

Happy Holidays!
XOX Karlene

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Pilots for Kids

Help Pilots “Deliver” Smiles to Kids 
Who are Alone in the Hospital 
This Holiday Season!

From now until December 22nd
 Gifts & Virtual Santa Visits
are being delivered! 

Volunteer pilots have a holiday tradition of delivering donated gifts, with a visit from Santa, to the children of Ronald McDonald House through Pilots for Kids. The excitement and joy is electric and heartwarming. The event keeps growing, and 100% of all gifts go directly to the kids. I had the opportunity to visit the kids in Seattle's Children's hospital during a Seattle Pilots for kids event, and there was nothing more gratifying than bringing smiles to the children who are ill. But I simply cannot imagine they are alone due to Covid. 

This year pilots are prohibited from that personal visit. However, heartfelt thanks to Captain Christine Dunning the Portland/Vancouver area Pilots for Kids coordinator who is not allowing COVID to get in her way. She is making the spirits bright despite the challenges. 

Christine said: 

This year each family is restricted to their rooms, so we will bring our Holiday party to them! During the week of Dec 15-22, each room will receive a "North Pole Aviation Adventure" package which includes: A Nasa Activity book, A PFKD's color book, crayons, balsa wood airplanes to build and design, challenges and prizes. In addition, each room receives a holiday tree, and home cooked meal, North Pole themed stuffed animals, and  a five minute virtual visit from Santa, direct from the North Pole! All "PFKD Adventures Week" items and meals will be delivered to each room by the amazing Elf Staff of Ronald McDonald! 

"I Appreciate You All and thank you in advance for your donations, to once again bring Love, Joy and Smiles for these very special Kids and Families during a most Challenging year!!" Christine 

All the best and Merry Christmas 2020!

Tis the Season to bring smiles 
to children of all ages! 

Christine's contact information if you have any questions:
Cell-360-921-2266 Email:

None of this comes free. Christine is doing the work, but she needs your support. Imagine if every pilot gave just a little bit of themselves.  If you can help please click the button below.

To learn more, please visit the Pilots For Kids website HERE

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Captain Mike Simkins

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Captain Mike Simkins

Not too long ago Captain Simkins reached out across the Atlantic and asked if would read his book, Pulling Wings From Butterflies, and write a blurbMy response was, but of course.  However, this request came at a time when I was flying to and from Incheon during OE, immersed in learning the A350. I figured I could do a quick read while commuting home. However, I read the first chapter, and realized a quick read was not possible. I instantly knew that his book was not something I wanted to read after being awake all night. I wanted a fresh mind to devour each word on every page. This is one of the most phenomenal books I've read in a very long time! 

Pulling Wings From Butterflies begins in a courtroom, on the last day of a week-long legal case with Captain Simkins going head to head against the might of Thomas Cook Airline. He will tell you that this was not about him, but, "Ultimately the judge's decision would resonate within the entire pilot and flight crew community throughout the country, possibly even the world."  He could not have been more correct. 

Leaving the reader hanging in the courtroom on that final day, we travel back in time to the beginning of his career. Tenacity, focus, integrity, and the unwillingness to accept no, carry him through an adventure of a lifetime.

A young man with a passion for music and the desire to fly, was well advised that neither of those options would be viable career paths for him. Little did they know. If you're going to be exceptional at one career, why not two? 

Photo above: 2019 at the end of a 30 date EU tour with Mark (Queens of the Stone age) Lanegan at the London Roundhouse with founding member of The Clash and Public Image Keith Levene

A central theme throughout Captain Simkins' aviation life, and his book, is his overwhelming commitment to safety. There are some people who can't be bought, and he is one of them. You'll find yourself shaking your head at the senseless deaths and incidents that could have been avoided, had those regulators and managers listened to him. When you know that people can die because of a decision make, you should make that decision wisely. That is exactly what he did.

It's hard to imagine that a Captain who had an impeccable career without any performance issues, could lose his job because he fought for safety. But it's true. Captain Simkins took a stand for pilots worldwide and did not bend with the threat of job loss, but instead stood for passenger safety. 

Not only is Captain Simkins' journey compelling, but his writing is witty, sharp, creative, and engaging. Having never met him, I did have the opportunity to chat with someone that knows him quite well. I was told, "He writes how he speaks, he's direct, but has a wicked sense of humor. He doesn't suffer fools, but there's this line for justice and humanity."

The best news is, that this is the first of the trilogy. I can hardly wait for the next two in the series. 

If you have the desire to read an exceptionally well written book, by a Captain who took a stand for your safety, at the loss of his career, this is the book for you! Aviation history at its best. 

Get your copy on Amazon today: 

You will be thankful you did! 

If you would like to read more about the book and the author 
please visit:
Captain Simkins website: Pulling Wings from Butterflies

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene PhD

Saturday, December 5, 2020

No Child Sleeps Outside

Thanks to Mary's Place!

"Home is where one starts from"

T.S. Elliot

During the previous year of the COVID lockdown, everyone has experienced a multitude of feelings because they were sequestered to their homes. Locked in with internet, television, heat, food, and family. Bringing life back into perspective... many people do not have homes. Many kids will be sleeping on the streets this Christmas. It's hard to imagine.

A year and a half ago my husband I were moving into our little cabin on the lake. No room for our stuff. I began searching for a location that would best benefit. I found a place---Mary's Place---that became the recipient of my business attire, coats, shoes, and clothing that could be warn for an interview, to help give someone a start. Then there was furniture, dishes, and more. We gave them anything they could use. Today Mary's place is striving to ensure no child sleeps outside.

Mary's Place is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. This Holiday Season, Mary's Place is conducting a no child sleeps outside campaign, in the form of an at-home scavenger hunt, to reach a 2 million dollar goal. 

Giving the Gift 
that Gives So Very Much! 

Christmas gifts for family and friends this year will be a $50 registration into a scavenger hunt to benefit Mary's Place in order to help a family find shelter. This will be a gift that can't be exchanged or thrown away. Recipients can participate in the scavenger hunt and try to win the great prizes below, or not. Either way Mary's place will be one step closer to their goal, and tomorrow night we might have one less child on the street. 


All you need is your phone, an internet connection, your team (family members or friends), and your home to join their virtual home scavenger hunt the weekend of Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13. The interactive app will present you and your teammates with a series of challenges and questions. It's the perfect at-home activity for families and curious kids, and an opportunity to learn and talk with your family about the work that Mary's Place does in our community. The cost to register your team is $50 and benefits the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign! 

You can do what I am doing, 
and gift a registration to a loved one
and make a Miracle Happen

The organizer of each team that completes the challenge by midnight on Sunday, December 13, will have the opportunity to win one of these exciting prizes, including two round trip coach tickets on Alaska Airlines (a $2,500 value)!

Other prizes include:

$250 Microsoft gift card
$50 Macrina Bakery gift card (three gift cards are available to win)
Party Cookie Kit from the Pastry Project (two kits are available to win)
$25 El Camino restaurant gift card
$25 South Town Pie gift card
$20 Starbucks gift card
Mary's Place sweatshirt
Hand blown glass votive from Glass Eye Studios

Tis the Season 
to give shelter to those in need.

This Christmas, instead of buying stuff, imagine if we all gave a helping hand. Be the angel in the life of another. 

If you would like to register yourself or someone else:

If you would like to donate:

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Time to Fly!

To Sydney! 

There are many firsts when checking out on a new airplane. Tonight is another! My first flight after OE. Thankfully I was able to pick up an extra trip, beyond my regular schedule. Otherwise it would have been another month from the Line Check. Proficiency needs consistency, so I am going to do my best to make that happen. I also need to get consolidated. 

I am still enamored with this wonderful plane. During OE I slipped down in the E & E compartment and took some photos of her brains. Quite amazing! 

I am still digesting all that I learned, and so thankful for the training captains I worked with. An amazing amount of knowledge they had, and I felt as if I was in the A350 doctoral program. Loved every minute of it.  The other Captain on my line check was also an amazing source of information. But, it was his parting words there were best said... 

"Now comes the learning part... 
every trip!"

I'm off to see what I can learn tonight! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

 Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude is the Gift
You Give Yourself

A reminder of what we are celebrating

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in North America with the traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pie to commemorate the harvest festival the Pilgrims celebrated in 1621, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. But Thanksgiving is also gratitude expressed in Psalm 100: 1-5,

 "he offered prayers in thanksgiving for his safe arrival".  

New York State first adopted Thanksgiving as an annual custom in 1817. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln appointed the fourth Thursday in November as the official day of celebration, correlating it to the day the Pilgrims arrived in Cape Cod on November 21, 1621. Then each President set a proclamation to ensure Thanksgiving retained. However, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt,  in 1939, who made the fourth Thursday in November official, which was approved by Congress in 1941. Putting that date in perspective, 1941 was the year my husband was born. 

One of the few things you can control

Of the 102 passengers who made the journey to the new world on the Mayflower, only 57 survived that winter of 1621. Horrific conditions on the boat, scurvy, and then lack of shelter in the new world, in extreme winter conditions is an experience that we could never imagine. No hospitals. No food. No warmth. No medicine. No toilet paper. No hand sanitizer. Neither of which the latter two would have improved the survival rate. But those who did survive gave thanks for their safe arrival. 

Covid has done many things, but it has given me perspective:

Life is short, be kind. 
Life is unforgiving, but you can be.  
Life is not a guarantee, it is a gift.
Hand Sanitizer is killing Your Immunity System.
Toilet paper is a Convenience, not a Necessity.

I'm not sure how many understand the history of today.  Perhaps in the world of Covid, this Thanksgiving we could go back to the history and celebrate surviving the journey. Even at our absolute worst, we have it better than those experienced in 1621, and they celebrated. 

Personally, I'm not feeling the need or desire to gather in a large group in order to overeat and perhaps complain about the world and all the negative. Instead, I am going to make a traditional meal for my husband, and we are staying home together to celebrate our survival over the previous three years of legal and medical battles, and my finishing the A350 journey. We are going to celebrate what we have, not what we have lost. And we are going to finish decorating... 

It's only just begun!

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A350 Thrust Levers

 Position Not Movement

Years ago I wrote a post about the "Non-moving" thrust levers on the A330, and how they took some getting used to when transitioning from the Boeing to the Airbus. But the truth is, they are simply thrust levers. If the autothrust is not engaged they operate like any other thrust lever. Forward for more thrust and aft for less.  With the autothrust engaged, they are placed into one of four positions and the operation is equally as simple. 

The four positions:
  1. 0 ... Idle.
  2. CL ... Climb.
  3. FLX MCT ... Flex and Max Continuous
  4. TOGA ... Takeoff and Go-around

How They Work: 

If you plan to use full power for departure, set the thrust levers to TOGA. If you want a reduced power takeoff, set them to FLX MCT. Moving the thrust levers to one of these two positions will "arm" the autothrust. This means during initial climb you will either receive Max Power  in "TOGA" or a reduced power setting, derate or Flex, when in the "FLX MCT".  The thrust is still in manual, because it's armed. 

When you reach the thrust reduction altitude, you will bring the thrust lever back to the climb detent, CL.  Placing the thrust levers in CL "engages" the autothrust so the airplane now has the ability to give you the power necessary from idle up to maximum climb power. 

They stay in the climb position  "CL" for the remainder of the flight until landing. Yes, even on approach. Conceptually it may appear odd to have a Climb Power setting for arrival and approach. But you don't. It's only available should the aircraft need it. What you need to remember is that in the CL position, when the autothrust is engaged, is simply enabling power "up to" climb power. Whatever the plane needs for a given speed and/or power setting is available. 

If you lose an engine, then the operating engine thrust lever will be placed to MCT, which enables power on the good engine anywhere from idle up to max continuous.

The red button on the side of the thrust lever is the autothrust disconnect pushbutton. If you were to push the button with the thrust lever in the climb detent, the power would go to maximum climb power. Why? Autothrust was disengaged while the position of the thrust lever was calling for climb power.  Manual thrust you get the power that corresponds to the position of the thrust lever. Therefore, prior to pushing the disconnect button, it's important to pull the thrust levers back to match the position with the actual power setting, and then disengage them. 

If autothrust is  engaged and you pull the thrust levers aft to touch the idle stop, you will disengage the autothrust. Bring them back up to whatever power you want, and you now have manual control. 

There is not a lot of mystery about these thrust levers. Initially I thought I would miss their movement as they found their way into my peripheral vision. But not a big deal. There are many more indications  as to advise you to your power setting than the need for thrust lever movement. 

Training update

The Plane! 

I waited (not so) patiently for my operational experience (OE), and then vacation rolled around, backed up to my days off. So, I gave up on the hope of OE and headed south for a 10-day road trip with my husband, to visit my Dad and sister in Palm Desert. The plan on the return trip was to stop in SFO to share what I know on the A350 with my friend who will be attending training soon. Then, heading to Sunriver Oregon to visit two of my grandkids and middle daughter, prior to our return to Seattle. We'll be rolling into Seattle on the evening of the 8th and I leave the very next day, for an 8-day adventure of another kind. 

The day we headed out the door on the beginning of this adventure, I happened to look at my schedule and learned that I had been  assigned an OE trip to depart on the 9th, the day after I returned. My schedule: Deadhead to ATL for a 31 hour layover, then fly to ICN for a 63 hour layover. Which I'm not sure if I will be able to share my first flight because I might be in social media lockdown. However, after my extended delay in Korea, I will be the PF to Detroit for my first takeoff and landing. Six weeks from check-ride to the plane... but I have a plan! 

Enjoy the journey!
~ Karlene

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween!

 Tricks or Treats... 

Thirty one days and 31 ways 
you can position your bones!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and this year I am spending it with my sister and my Dad in Palm Desert playing bridge. Traditions worldwide have been altered due to Covid, except for one: The Roaming Skeleton. 

All through the month of October my sister and/or her boyfriend move the skeleton throughout the house surprising the other. This year he took charge while she was at work. Creativity and humor never cease. This is a tradition that I will be adopting for next Halloween. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene