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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 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, February 20, 2020

You're Invited to...

NW Aviation Conference and Trade Show.
FEB 22-23, 2020

Join me at booth 124. Enter to win your airplane model. Pick up copies of the newest books! This is a great Aviation Conference and fun times will be had by all! 

I hope to see you there!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Precognition or Research?

The Ability to See the Future...

Are authors prescient, or does research identify facts that when analyzed creates the story that eventually prevails? In 1981 Dean Koontz published a book, The Eyes of Darkness. This was a thriller about a mother's quest to learn whether or not her son had died a year earlier. Authors often write stories that come true. But how many come as close to truth as the specifics in this novel?

Below is a page from The Eyes of Darkness, that came to reality as precisely as the date.  "In around 2020, a severe pneumonia like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments..." He even mentioned that this virus was made in military lab in Wuhan and called his virus: Wuhan 400. 

Don't underestimate the power of fiction writing, and the truth within the novels. The Flight For series is one that the industry can look back upon and say.... how did she know?

My first novel Flight For Control  embraced the theme of mental health embedded within the aviation world where pilots intentionally crash their planes. Two months after this novel was released a Jet Blue captain was locked out of the flight deck by his first officer, after he suffered from a mental breakdown. Then four years later a Germanwings first officer successfully locks the captain out of the fight deck and flies his plane into the mountains.

The second novel Flight For Safety  Asiana crashes in San Francisco. However, I had a scene that mirrored that event. And then my pilots are flying an A330 to Singapore as a storm builds, they get caught ... and two years later Air Asia takes the same route and flies into that storm and crashes. 

The third novel is no different. Flight For Survival  embraces NextGen with multiple threats looming. Aircraft complexity, fatigue, and training issues leave pilots open to error. Unmanned aircraft systems—drones—are flooding the airspace, creating a regulatory nightmare. Safety Management Systems are mandated to be in place by 2018, but creating a safety culture is an essential ground floor requirement. The truth in fiction. 

The fourth novel, Flight For Sanity, Airlines are cutting training at the expense of safety. What is the FAA doing with industry issues of automation dependency, lack of hand flying skills, confusion, and lack of understanding that stem back to 1996? Nothing, yet these issues are more prevalent than ever. Not unlike what's happening in the world today.

The fifth novel, Flight For Truth, identifies the startling truth of how far airline management will go to silence a pilot for bringing safety concerns forward. The use of mental health as a weapon of control is not unique, but the reason in this case takes the connection all the way to the White House.

The FAA has known since 1996 that pilot training was an issue and would impact the future of aviation safety, yet nothing has been done. The industry has experienced hundreds of accidents and incidents because of this lack of response. The literature review in my recent book, Normalization of Deviance a Threat to Aviation Safety, presents that research and the knowledge. The data and results of my research proves that these events were not the pilots fault. The 2018 and 2019 crashes could have been avoided, had the FAA heeded their own warnings and mandated their SMS regulation and safety culture. 

What if the pilot shortage was induced to prepare for NextGen? Without the available pilots the FAA would have no option but to approve the reduction of pilots to ensure aviation economics. A crew of four would shift to three, three to two, and two to one. With ground based control, and a pilot to extend the gear, the industry would be much safer.... Right? The marketing of that plan would be the statistics of pilot error. However, what I learned in my research is that pilot error is not the cause of accidents, but the result of inadequate training and negative safety culture. Time will tell what happens with the industry, but until then, I will continue to write fiction and in 27 years, we'll see how much more of this becomes true. 

All the Novels are Available on Kindle
And on my blog, as is Normalization of Deviance


“It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense”

Mark Twain 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What the Experts are Saying....

Flight For Truth 

is a Fight For Truth!

What the Experts are Saying

"Would you knowingly climb aboard a pilotless airliner, flown from airport to airport by computers and promoted by airline executives who would stop at nothing to make a buck? After all, it makes economic sense. Computers don't need rest, equal pay, and vacations.... they also don't break ranks and expose weaknesses in an airline's safety system. Courage is reading this book the night before flying somewhere commercially."

John J. Nance 
Author, Pandora's Clock, 16 Souls, and 21 others 
Aviation Analyst ABC World News 
737 Captain, Rtd

"I loved this novel, and feel like I have lived it. Truth is scarier than fiction, but no pilot should ever face what Darby Bradshaw did for reporting safety concerns. There are a few characters in this novel that belong in prison."

Kathy McCullough, author of Ups and Downs, 
To The Edges of the World, and Breakfast in Narita
B747 Captain, Rtd

"There’s fiction and then there’s fiction written by an author who actually lives in the complex and sometimes terrifying world of aviation she writes about. Karlene Petitt’s Flight for Truth will make you think twice before you step on a plane again."

Mike Lawson
Edgar nominated author of House Witness


Corruption runs deep within the airline industry when Captain Darby Bradshaw is grounded and forced into a psychiatric evaluation in response to reporting safety concerns to senior leadership at Global Air Lines. What she doesn’t know is that her removal is nothing short of a conspiracy to silence her safety concerns. Privatization of ATC, approval of drone operated commercial aircraft, short-cutting training, and the untimely crash of a Boeing 737 MAX are all tied to Darby’s report. Her resultant research is about to uncover the truth. How high does this go? All the way to the White House. Not even her friends FAA Manager Kathryn Jacobs, DOT Secretary John McAllister, or Psychiatrist Linda Madden, can do anything to help her. The question is—can she save herself?

Order your book on this site today! 
Or you can find it in Kindle

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Aviation and the Law

What Every Pilot Should Know! 
(Airline Employee)

Statute of Limitations!

I am currently studying to take my LSAT to get into Law School. The numbers of employees who need help and can't afford it because the airline terminates their employment or removes them from flight status for an unsubstantiated mental health issue-- a tactic utilized in the military-- continues to grow. Everyone needs help. An employee without a job finds it difficult to afford an attorney and pay a mortgage, whereas an airline employs a law firm and delays the process. 

It's time to balance the scale. 

My Aviation Law Course at ERAU was fabulous. My law professor, who is an airline captain and attorney, was incredible. He introduced me to another attorney, Lee Seham, who specializes in Aviation Law, specifically Air 21 cases. Despite what I have witnessed of unethical and dishonest attorneys, and we all have heard the lawyer jokes. For example... Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and God? A: God doesn't think he's a lawyer. This is not the case for all attorneys.

There are good people in the legal profession who take pride in defending the person and the law more so than the billable hours. I will be one of those attorneys, because everyone in  the aviation industry needs support. The reason being, each aviation case is touching passenger safety. One attorney sarcastically asked me, "Is everything about safety culture?" The answer is YES

The challenges with aviation law include a statute of limitations and the railway labor act. 

First, if an airline retaliates against and employee, with the Air 21 law (whistle blower law) there is only a 90 day statute of limitations. You need an attorney immediately. Second, if the union is not helping you, there is a 6 month statute of limitations to file a DFR (Duty of Fair Representation). 

The problems with this process include a union that may tell you that you must litigate in the grievance process. However, when you don't get your job back, you have exceeded your statute of limitations in court under the Air 21 law. The union may tell you that your only resources are the grievance process. Not true. The Air 21 has different remedies than the grievance process, therefore whether your union is helping or not... get an attorney and start the Air 21 process. This will be your protection. 

If the union is working with the company to have you removed, there is not much you can do. While it's hard to believe that could be the case, the truth is... it has happened. As long as there is an open door from a union position to a coveted management position, there will be people who behave unethically.  The problem is, you only have 6 months to file a DFR. Unfortunately, having a union attorney who is going through the motions, pretending to support you, does not qualify for a lack of representation. Quality of your defense is not a defense for the DFR law. The only person I know who won a DFR case was because he recorded the union stating they would not support him. 

Truth in Fiction 

The points of this post 
are included in my latest novel,
Flight For Truth 

A must read! 
Available on Kindle
or you can purchase an autographed copy 
hardback or paperback 
on my blog. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene PhD

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Aviation Books!

Newest Arrivals in Print!

Flight For Truth is available in Hardback and Paperback. 
Normalization of Deviance is available in paperback!  

Add the books to your cart by finding them on the side bar. Fiction are all on the left and non-fiction are on the right. The two newest books will be delivered to my home on Tuesday February 18th, and your order will be in the mail by Wednesday. While they are available on Kindle, there is nothing like a real book.  Get yours today!!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Mental Health and The Pilot

What You Don't Have to Report...

Recently I have been asked if a pilot can get help with mental health without reporting that to the FAA. The answer is yes, if that help is counseling. As identified on the 8500 form, we are required to report all visits to doctors. However, if you read the last line of item 19 it clearly says, "The applicant should list visits for counseling only if related to a personal substance abuse or psychiatric condition."

If a counselor can't help you and recommends a psychiatrist, do not think your career is over. There are many conditions that can be treated and the FAA has identified certain medications that pilots can fly with. If you need help, get it. Work with your AME. But start with a good counselor and you do not have to report that on your medical certificate application. Sometimes talking to a professional who can provide life management strategies can help work through your difficult time. 

Mental Health 

While novels are fiction, most writers, like myself, write to educate and inform the reader beyond entertainment. What you can learn regarding mental health and the pilot in my latest novel Flight For Truth is:  
  • What to do if your airline uses mental health as a weapon. 
  • Read an actual interview with a forensic psychiatrist.
  • How to navigate a mental health evaluation. 
  • If your company forces you into a psychiatric evaluation, what to do. 
  • Learn the law that will protect you if your company uses your mental health as discipline.
  • Don't give up, you can persevere despite all odds. 
  • If you lose your medical, your life is not over. It will only be different. 

Get Your Copy of  

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How Far Will They Go

To Remove Pilots?

Corruption runs deep within the airline industry when Captain Darby Bradshaw is grounded and forced into a psychiatric evaluation in response to reporting safety concerns to senior leadership at Global Air Lines. What she doesn’t know is that her removal is nothing short of a conspiracy to silence her safety concerns. Privatization of ATC, approval of drone operated commercial aircraft, short-cutting training, and the untimely crash of a Boeing 737 MAX are all tied to Darby’s report. Her resultant research is about to uncover the truth. How high does this go? All the way to the White House. Not even her friends FAA Manager Kathryn Jacobs, DOT Secretary John McAllister, or Psychiatrist Linda Madden, can do anything to help her. The question is—can she save herself?

This is the fifth in the Fight For Series where truth is scarier than fiction. Flight For Justice coming soon, where it’s not about truth and justice, but what you can prove in court. 

Order thePaperback and Hardback 
on this site today!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Aviation Safety ...

Normalization of Deviance 

What happens when the deviant behavior is in 
the hands of management?

The things that airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and the FAA are not sharing with the public. This book is the result of my doctoral research—Safety Culture, Training, Understanding, Aviation Passion: The Impact on Manual Flight and Operational Performance. While the intent of the research was to learn what predicted manual flight, what was learned may have predicted and, if heeded, prevented the Lion Air Flight 602, 2018 crash, Ethiopian Flight 302, 2019 crash, and Atlas Air Flight 3591, 2019 crash. What was learned could also have prevented the Air France Flight 447 crash. 

We now have the data that proves we can’t simply blame the pilot. There is never one reason an accident occurs, but a chain of events. If you travel, fly, or touch aviation in any aspect, you have every reason to read this book. 

If you wish to read the actual dissertation, it may be found at

“If the problem can be judged to lie exclusively in the head and heart of an unworthy flight crew, then no one in the system needs to be responsible for changes and improvements. False comfort is gained when the irresponsible pilot is the only threat” Robert Besco PhD. Captain Retired. 

“Automation can be an improvement to safety. But at the end of the day, we still need pilots with a high level of flying skills and the ability to recognize when automation is being helpful, and when it becomes a distraction and a threat. Unfortunately, today’s training environment is too centered (in my opinion) on automation and discourages us from thinking like aviators.” (Anonymous Pilot) 

“Sadly most pilots don’t know how to fly anymore… People aren’t comfortable. Is it because the Airbus doesn’t feel right? Because the training we received, or the company policy, maybe a bit of all. One thing for sure, we got our wings clipped from the industry long time back and only those that do the extra mile to keep their skills risk sometime to be called in the office…” (Anonymous Pilot)

Available On Kindle!
Normalization of Deviance
Order the paperback version 
on this site today!

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Lack of FAA Oversight?

Employee protection and the Air 21 Law…

Image result for justice photo

The Air 21 Law is the Whistleblower law more formally known as: The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century.

This law was designed to protect employees from retaliation when they came forward reporting safety concerns to their employers. The name “Whistleblower” implies that the employee is blowing the whistle on their company to the regulatory agency. However, while the law would also protect an employee from reporting to the FAA, that's not what is happening. It appears that employees are receiving retaliation for reporting internally to their company. Mechanics are writing up maintenance concerns, pilots are critiquing substandard training or objecting to flying fatigued, and so much more.

Often, whether the employee wins their Air 21 case or not
is no reflection as to whether or not the company violated federal standards.

Even if the company violates regulations, the employee must prove that the reporting of that violation led to an adverse action such as termination, suspension, or forcing the individual into a psychiatric evaluation. Therefore, when the company alleges the termination was for another reason, the airline may win the Air 21 claim—regardless of the airline’s violation. There is one underlying principle between all Air 21 cases—win, lose, or settle…

Regardless of the results of the Air 21 case,
the company, or management involved,
are not held accountable to their actions under this law.

The administrative law judge (ALJ) rules on four aspects of the case—the substantiation of a violation brought forward in good faith that resulted in an adverse action, with a was a causal link to reporting an adverse action. An employee must win all four aspects. However, what happens when the employee can’t prove causation? What happens if they did not report in a timely manner? Regardless of win, lose or settle, the airline gets away with the action (violation) that started the litigation.

At the onset this is a joint FAA/OSHA investigation. One must wonder how the FAA could take two weeks to investigate the airline they oversee, whereas OSHA takes 2-3 years. OSHA still rules on behalf of the company for the Air 21, regardless if there was a substantiation of an FAA violation. The employee can appeal. Yet, during that appeal even if the ALJ rules on the substantiation of a violation brought forward in good faith that resulted in an adverse action, a lengthy trial may ensue for causation.

Unfortunately, the FAA still doesn’t take action against the airline for the underlaying violations. In contrast, the managers involved are often promoted, rewarding the inappropriate behavior.

Where is FAA oversight?

What can you do about the FAA? If the fox is guarding the henhouse—probably not much. However, if you are an employee who believes you’ve been retaliated against for doing the right thing in the interest of safety, time is of the essence. This law only has a 90-day statute of limitation. You need to know your rights and the law.

While passenger safety may not be protected when the company violates regulations, the employee can be protected. You need an Air 21 expert. If you need assistance, or want to know if you’ll be protected by the Air 21 law, contact Lee Seham at….

The injustices of the world must be fought,
When humans’ lives are at stake.

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Aviation Employees what do you think...

About Your Aviation Job?

Are you over 18 years of age 
and working in an aviation-related occupation?

If you're over 18 and working in any capacity in the
Aviation Industry .... 

Please take the survey:
Aviation Occupation Survey

ONLY TAKES 5-10 minutes.

The purpose of this survey is to learn how individuals in different aviation occupations feel about aspects of their workplace. Thank you for your participation!

If you have any questions contact Haydee Cuevas at

Haydee M. Cuevas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Graduate Studies
College of Aviation

Dr. Cuevas a brilliant professor, incredible writer, has published hundreds of articles, she is patient, intelligent, and always willing to help others. Let's help her to get as much participation as possible. 

Please share this with all those you know in the industry. 

Thank you!!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene