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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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Flying Together

As a Crew in Adversity! 

Covid-19 has shown that adversity happens 
beyond our control. 
We do our best to support each other, and survive. 
But when actions are intentional to harm someone,
We support and Fight to Make it Right! 

Thanks to the aviation community I was able to finish my PhD.  I turned that research into a book, Normalization of Deviance, a Threat to Aviation SafetyWhile I was working on this PhD, I also wrote two novels with the plots intertwined with the research. I appreciate your support in reading and sharing these stories, as the themes are aviation safety. 

Flight For Sanity

Imagine flight operations management retaliating against a pilot for providing a safety report. It's hard to believe. But the the truth can be found within the pages of Flight For Sanity. Why would airline management retaliate? Ego. Money. Power.  We may not know the why, but we do know how far they will go in this novel. How far would they go in real life? That's the scariest part of this novel. 

Aviation News Analyst, John Nance, has become a fan of the stories and following the drama, because he knows the truth... 

"When Karlene Petitt grabs you by the throat with her fast-paced narrative, she doesn't let you go until the early hours of the morning! Flight for Sanity plunges you into a world in which money trumps everything...aviation safety, homeland security, and even the presidency. Couldn't happen? Some of it already has, as with the use of fraudulent mental concerns to silence airline pilots who dare to point out safety problems.

A wild and scary ride with a satisfying and potentially accurate ending. And there may not be enough orange jump suits to go around!"

John J. Nance
Aviation Analyst, ABC World News
Author of LOCKOUT (WildBluePress)

Grounded for two years...

Flight For Truth

It's hard to believe that senior flight operations management could keep a pilot out of the flight deck for two years with a false medical diagnosis. But they did. When you read how they did it, you will be shocked.  The scariest part of this novel is that the people involved, are the same people tasked to keep our passengers safe. 
While Darby is doing everything she can to follow the steps to return to work, unbeknownst to her there is great power behind the scenes fighting to keep her out--- The CEO of her airline. The Board of Directors.  The Airline's legal team. A Psychiatrist that is touted to be a "Big Gun" by the FAA. A Chief Pilot. Two of the highest level management pilots. The question is why? Even her pilot union condoned the action, fearful of what the next FAA administrator would do if they didn't. 

FAA Warning! 

"This case is a time bomb with Mayo versus Wood. It is best decided in Washington. I would just defer her case. Don’t get yourself into the corner by advocating any more than you have for the airman. This is not your fault, the baddies are the Airline who went down this route with the airman."

How does the FAA Administrator
and the Boeing B737 Max 
Find their Way into this novel?

You'll have to read to find out! 

Captain Nance is hanging with the story and surmises the underlaying reason for the actions against Darby. It's all about safety...

"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

Fight For Justice 

The FAA building, above, is the inspiration for the culmination of Darby's Fight For Justice in the next novel: Flight For Justice. How does Darby learn the truth? It's all about discovery in the legal process during her AIR 21 TrialFlight For Justice is on its way, where Darby and the world will learn the truth. 

Join the Journey 
To Fly as a Crew in Face of Adversity!

Take this time to read!
Get your copies on this blog
Or on  Kindle: 
Normalization of Deviance
Flight For Sanity
Flight For Truth

These Novels also Qualify 
For Entries into the 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Qantas Pilots Stand Down

Covid-19 Affecting the Pilot Community

Kirrily & Owen Zupp 
and Family

Owen Zupp is no stranger to this blog. As an avid writer and pilot I have been honored to featured Owen half a dozen times since 2012. To read those blogs, you can simply search his name in the search box. But today I'm not here to bring the news of another book. Today I'm sharing with you how Owen is dealing the Covid-19 crisis. 

It's hard to believe that one day you are living your dream, and then next day you received a compassionate letter such as this:

Owen and his wife Kirrily are both Qantas pilots and have about 6 weeks leave remaining, and then they will be with many other pilots "On Leave Without Pay." As Owen said, "I am head down seeking work." He's already secured some work writing. But he also has started a blog of his own, and will be sharing his journey through this difficult time. One day at a time. 

"With COVID-19 decimating the planet and air travel was dwindling, a “Stand Down” by QANTAS was always a possibility. The main issue is that both my wife and I are pilots on the Boeing 747, and it could be a very long furlough for us before it takes to the skies again, if ever.

There was a slight sense of Déjà vu as I was made redundant during the collapse of another airline in 2001 – but that was different. That was the end of the airline and passenger demand was still strong. This is a global crisis and hopefully only a pause in operations for QANTAS – even if ultimately our income dries up for a period.

Still, I remain positive and hopeful, so I thought I’d start a blog to share my experience stemming from the other side of aviation."  Owen

Join Owen's journey 
on the other side of aviation:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Flight To Success

Be The Captain Of Your Life

Inspiration, motivation and lessons learned... 

Flight to Success was my journey through eight airlines, seven type ratings, two master’s degrees, and raising a family. Intertwined with my stories are those of others who share their successes, failures, losses, fears, hopes and dreams.

Since Flight to Success was written, I have earned a PhD in Aviation, and obtained my 8th type-rating after having not flown for two years, because I was unjustly grounded. I had to mortgage my home and sell an investment property to survive and fight the most horrific injustice anyone could imagine. All the while my husband's heart was failing.

I survived because I believe in, 
and lived the principles in this book. 

While my world was falling apart, I used the therapy of writing to avoid internalizing the events, and wrote three novels. I also turned my research into a book. When we believe we don't have control over our lives, is the very time we must become the captain of our life. This Covid-19 outbreak was not an unexpected event. Great minds like Bill Gates warned us that this would be the greatest threat to humanity, yet our world governments failed us by not being proactive. Being the captain of your life doesn't mean  to blame, it means to take control of your present reality.

Life will always be filled with the unexpected. We will see tragedy, sickness, healings, good guys, bad guys, and now we see Covid-19.  We may never understand why things happen, but, everything happens for a reason. You get to choose what the event means to you. You have the opportunity to create the flight plan that will take you to your destination, regardless of what is thrown in your path. The sun will shine after every storm. Even when you face the storms of your life with confidence, courage, and grace, you may still have to go-around and do it again. But it's easier the second time with experience.

Use this time of lockdown and fear, to live your experience that will build resilience, courage, and strength that you can share with generations to come. Now is the time to be the Captain of Your Life.

My gift is to share these lessons with you 

A key aspect of being a good pilot is compounding experience, learning how to deal with life challenges, and learning from others as well as our own experiences. The best flight tips I’ve received have come from hangar talk, and from people I've met along the way.

This inspirational, motivational book will take you on a journey of life, to assist you with yours. How do people achieve success? Why don't they quit?  How do they find courage, stamina, and strength to persevere during the most challenging times? Where do they find the time to do it all? The answers to these questions and many more will be answered.

What drives people to phenomenal success? What gives a person strength to smile through the most horrific event of their life? The secret correlates with many aspects of flight. If you apply these tips to your everyday life there will be nothing you cannot accomplish. Life is about choice. We can't always control what happens to us in life, but we can decide what those events mean. The choice now, is to open your mind and heart and not fear.

Don't focus on the negative of isolation. Use this time to read, to think, to inspire. Use this time to learn how to become the Captain of Your life. Be prepared to takeoff for the flight of your life, and enjoy the journey.

Welcome aboard your Flight To Success! 
Order Autographed copies on this site... 
And available on
Kindle Too!

Enjoy the journey,
XO Karlene 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Enter to Win A Boeing 787!

Buy a Book!
    Read a Book!
         Enter to Win a B787 Model! 

In that the world is in lockdown due to Social Distancing, there is no better time than to do some reading. And when you buy one of my novels, or one of my nonfiction books, you get an entry into the drawing to win a  B787 model. Buy five books... get five entries. The more you buy the better chances you have. I'm backdating this to January 1st as well. 

  • Between January 1 2020 and May 1 2020, if you purchased a book off this blog you will receive an entry.
  • If you purchased more than one book off this blog, you will get an entry for each book. 
  • If you purchased an ebook,  send me verification and you will get an entry. More than one ebook... more than one entry. 
  • If you downloaded a free ebook, leave a comment and you will get an entry, but email me a copy of your comment. 
  • If you have Kindle Unlimited read a book, get an entry... more books more entries. 

If you purchased the books off this blog, I have those names and you're entered. However, if you (1) purchase an ebook, (2) read on kindle unlimited, or (3) left a comment on Amazon, please email me to enter you in the drawing or to get that second entry for the Amazon comment at:

Drawing will be held on 
May 4th 2020

Books that qualify: 

  1. Flight For Control
  2. Flight For Safety
  3. Flight For Survival
  4. Flight For Sanity
  5. Flight For Truth
Changing the World one Word at a Time

May the 4th Be With you
And the B787 Model be Yours...

Good Luck!

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Future Aviator

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

 Francesca Keel

"My name is Francesca Keel, I am a junior at Meadowdale High School, and a first year student in The Museum of Flight’s Aeronautical Science Pathway. My goal is to earn my private pilot’s license before I graduate high school. After I graduate from high school, I plan on commissioning into the United States Air Force in order to fly as a fighter pilot."

This month I was honored with participating in the interview process to select 8 students, from a pool of 11 finalists, to receive fairly substantial scholarships. These students were all part of The Museum of Flight ASP program. From this group of finalists we awarded (5) $12,000 Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Flight Training Scholarships, (1) $10,000 Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship, and (2) $6,000 Benjamin J. Ellison Scholarships for students to get through solo, with the possibility of being awarded more to get their Private Pilot License. 

The selection process was a challenge because these students were all amazing. Francesca Keel was one of those amazing students. She took her first flight and sent me photos, and answered a few questions, too. 

What is ASP?

"The Museum of Flight’s Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP) is a program for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry. We meet Monday through Thursday during the school year, and earn both high school and college credits." 

Francesca makes this sound simple, but these students attend school all day and then they go to night school for the program.  In the process they have transferable credits to college and they learn everything aviation with like minded passionate students. But this program instills the love of aviation, teamwork, and provides focus and a direction for the future. And for 8 students who were recipients, this was the doorway to their pilot license. 

What Flying Means

"To me, flying is freedom. Getting up in the air for the first time made me realize how truly amazing the world of aviation is. I loved my intro flight and I look forward to my life as a pilot."

How This Scholarship 
Has Helped

"The Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship has helped me by expanding my horizons in the aviation industry. I have been able to meet some incredible role models through my scholarship interview as well as further my passion for flight."

Francesca's Message: 

"Welcome all the opportunities that will be given to you. The world of aviation is a welcoming one, and it's a community that will present you with amazing opportunities to succeed in reaching your career goal."

One of the greatest opportunities I had during this selection process, besides meeting these students, was reading the essays. One of which was an essay about Bill Ayer. I learned so much more than I ever knew. Mostly how much this one individual has inspired so many students. I always thought of Bill Ayer as the former CEO of Alaska Airlines who gave the girls free flights on his days off. But his passion for aviation did not start with Alaska, or end there. Even after retirement he is continually giving back to the aviation community. Imagine a CEO who actually loves Aviation.

A Huge Thanks to 
Bill Ayer and Alaska Airlines 

For Making 
Dreams come true! 

$10,000 Alaska Airlines 
Flight Training Scholarship 

Students who are interested in 
earning credits for college 
and a chance to receive a scholarship for flying,

Check out 

Aeronautical Science Pathway Program

ASP Class Photo - ASP Class Photo

The Sky is Not a Limit
But a Journey

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Finding Happiness

In the First Day of Spring

Yesterday I took a walk in my yard and noticed the flowers were blooming, the ducks had returned and soon we'll have ducklings, and I that my lawn needs mowing. I love to mow my lawn and the first day of Spring will bring sunny skies in Seattle, so that's where you will find me. Signs of spring and life are everywhere. While we are in the throws of social distancing due to Covid 19, I hope that everyone can take a moment to remember the good things in life, feel gratitude, and not allow fear to surpass common sense. I send prayers to all the families who have lost their loved ones, and I hope that you can remember the good times you've shared. With so many deaths, it's hard to imagine that kind of loss. But it does make you appreciate those you still have in your life. 

Moving forward, follow all recommendations, and do the best you can to stay healthy. That is all you can do. While it may feel like the government is reacting to the bunnies that have been let out of the cage, and trying to catch them before they reproduce, I'm sure administrators are doing the best they can do. Regardless, this virus has been released. We're many steps behind catching it. Based upon the facts, I believe there is something that could be done in an attempt to contain it.

Fact: we have a limited number of testing kits. Fact: when someone in the high risk group has symptoms they probably have the virus, therefore no need to test. Fact: People are working so you can eat, travel if necessary, and buy your toilet paper. Wouldn't it make sense to test all employees that have to go to work, to ensure they are not infecting thousands of customers?

Don't shut down the airlines, ground the planes, close the airports or stores. But do test every employee to ensure they are not carriers and spreading while they work. We cannot control those customers that may come into our path, but we can limit the potential carriers that are in the publics eye. It's just a thought in the chaos of the virus. 

Also, let's try to be less judgmental and realize everyone is doing their best. I've received a preponderance of jokes and shared a few when they made me smile. Pilots are a group of people who historically find humor in life. It's a way of dealing with stress, or things we don't have control over. Everyone deals with stress differently, and humor is the best medicine. Either you laugh or you cry. 


Eliminating stress will produce the greatest benefit to your immune system. The stronger your immune system, the better the chance you will stay healthy when you get the virus. Yes, chances are we will all get this virus. Therefore, for now... exercise, stay hydrated, mediate, laugh often and be less judgmental, even of yourself. 

Happy Spring! 

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Automation Concerns Since 1996!

Yesterday I wrote a post titled, Lack of FAA Responsiveness. In response to that post, I received an email of the history of what I had written, stemming from automation problems in the mid 90's. The names have been redacted to protect the deceased, the innocent, and the asshole. 


Image result for Eastern b757 photo


"Funny (not really) you mention this. Shortly after Eastern got their first 757, which was truly the first hi-tech jet, my close friend (Pilot) who I served with for six years on the Eastern MEC, got a captain bid on it. Now (Pilot) was a pilot's pilot (former Navy) and never, not once, failed a check ride. 

During the Eastern Miami school he called and told me he was having a very difficult time with this new generation aircraft and many of the computer driven systems tied to it. He said the only time he never had a problem was when everything failed and he had to manually fly the plane. Long story short, he failed his type rating ride, which was the only time in his career he failed a checkride. 

It wasn't an hour later that the system chief pilot, the late (Blank) (asshole), called and told me, "Your buddy failed his checkride," and I told him that was because the Eastern school sucked and there was an over-reliance on automated systems designed into the aircraft that none of us had ever seen or used before and because Boeing did away with the F/E position. Then I told him never to call me again; that I didn't want to hear his B/S.

(Pilot) passed the subsequent ride and flew the 757 for a couple of years before the shit hit the fan at the airline after it was handed to Lorenzo on a silver platter. But as a result of what happened to (Pilot) I never bid the 757 (plus, it only paid a few bucks more per month than the 727) and instead I bid the widebody A-300, which at the time wasn't hi-tech and had a 3-person crew. But the point I'm trying to make here (and not doing a very good job of it) is that I agree with what you stated because I clearly recall (Pilot) telling me that they kept telling him, 

"Forget what you know about flying 
and just rely on the computer programs."

They have definitely "dumbed down" today's pilots and taught them to ignore the basics. Of course, there's also the problem of the low-time pilots going directly to the right seat, with no more F/E position. When I started at Eastern I had never before flown a jet and began and flew for a year as a F/E and learned as much or more watching what the folks up front were doing. I've often wondered what it would have been like to go directly to the right seat, but that's what the people today are doing and are being told to simply "trust the systems" without even having the jet basics down. Very scary!"

What initiated this conversation 
can be found in:

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

“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

Lack of FAA Responsiveness

A history of Looking the Other Way 

Historically pilots have been blamed for accidents and incidents. However, I believe if we always blame the pilot, then nothing will be changed.

Research Complete
Don't Blame the Pilot

During my quest to identify the real problem, I pursued a Ph.D. in Aviation. I learned that pilot training is negatively impacting performance, that our industry as a whole has a negative safety culture, and that culture is impacting the level of understanding, due to training. During my research I also discovered that the FAA has known of the issues with automation as a result of training since 1996!

In 1996 an FAA human factors task force reported that pilots showed weaknesses in understanding, automation/mode awareness, and insufficient knowledge and skills. This task force also reported heightened concern with both the quality and quantity of automation training. They identified that this would be a concern for the future of aviation, and should be addressed. However, the chair of that committee, in receipt of that report, did absolutely nothing to address those issues. 

The chair of that committee, became the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) chief scientific and technical advisor for the flight deck human factors group, and in 2015 spoke at the IASS conference, reporting that flight skill loss and mode awareness to be industry problems. She also included a concern for pilot issues dealing with operational confusion and guidance versus control. This appeared to come as a surprise to her. However, she chaired the committee and received the report identifying these exact problems, nineteen years earlier. This was no surprise. 

FAA lack of oversight is a growing concern...
but not a new reality. 

Now you can read more of what I learned.

I turned my dissertation into a book:

Last month I gave the ebook away for Free. 
This month I have it priced at $4.99

I need your help to share this with the world. 
Please download your copy.
Share with your friends. 

Write your comment on Amazon

Or you can buy a paperback version on the blog. 

"The only way to create change 
is to first identify the problem
then not fear voicing your concerns"

Thank you!
This is the perfect time to
hunker down and read! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Union Employees Fighting Back

Not Just in the Airline Industry! 

Image result for leslie smith photos
Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith is a professional mixed martial artist (MMA) fighter. She formerly fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest MMA promotion in the world. Leslie now fights for Bellator, which is the second largest MMA promotion, and she is ranked as the 11th best featherweight female fighter in the World. Not only in Leslie a fighter in the ring, but she is a fighter for all employees. Leslie is standing up for whats right, despite the challenges. Her statement, "Sometimes I feel I'm a little bit alone in this," resonated with me. But this feeling did not stop her.

Leslie took it upon herself to improve the working lives of her fellow fighters. She was involved in multiple efforts, including those to unionize her colleagues. Most notably, Leslie created her own organizing drive in the UFC in 2018, which was called Project Spearhead.

Image result for leslie smith photos

This movement was picking up steam and Leslie had collected numerous authorization cards. The UFC got nervous in April 2018 and it fired her, despite the fact she was on a three fight win streak and ranked 9th in the world. There was no just cause, simply an organization keeping out the unions. They fired an employee who was trying to get medical benefits for fellow employees. She also wanted employees to have a share of the profits. The fighters risk their lives, have no medical benefits, and only make $12,000 a fight, and that's before the cost of getting there, when the UFC is making billions!

How could termination for attempting to unionize  happen in today's world? Unfortunately we live in a world of power, greed and corruption. The aviation industry is no different in terminating or retaliating against employees who bring safety concerns, or gender rights forward. Sadly, flight attendants or mechanics who fight to unionize face similar fears of what happened to Leslie. It will take those who are not afraid to speak out and willing to stand their ground to make change. She is now in a fight of another kind.

Leslie filed charges against the UFC with the NLRB and initially prevailed when Region 4 of the NLRB found merit in her charge that she was retaliated against, but most notably that UFC fighters were employees as opposed to independent contractors. Her mental acuity and inner strength, mirror her physical strength and Leslie was making a difference and on the path to success.

Image result for leslie smith photos

Unfortunately, less than 24 hours after that finding, the NLRB Division of "Advice in DC" took the case from Region 4 and proceeded to dismiss her complaint. The President of the UFC, Dana White, is very close friends with President Trump, and there can be no question that political strings were pulled when the UFC realized Leslie was winning her case. In the airline industry, we saw the pulling of similar political strings with the current FAA Administrator.

Since then, Full Frontal with Samatha Bee has done a piece on Leslie’s fight to unionize the sport, and Leslie has delivered speeches at the Economic Policy Institute in DC. In addition, she was active in former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign, introducing him at multiple rallies.

Leslie Smith is a truly righteous and strong person, both inside and out. She had great integrity and  cares for her fellow employees, and I am proud to know her. Strong women everywhere. She also has a great sense of humor. The Full Frontal with Samantha Bee was funny. Reminding me everyday, that you can never forget to laugh at the situations of life. That too, will keep you strong.

Follow Leslie on Twitter 

Full Frontal with Samatha Bee:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene