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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, April 30, 2020

Eastern Airline History

April 30th, 1961 

"Launch day for the Eastern Airlines Shuttle among Boston, New York, Newark, and Washington.

Just $12 one-way from New York to Boston, $14 New York to Washington. One of America's oldest and biggest airlines, Eastern promised travelers hourly departures -- and no reservations required.

The shuttle was a HUGE success, a storied part of the Golden Age of air travel -- celebrated in countless television commercials: "Anytime there's a choice, I always say Eastern. Tickets, baggage, they do it all for you. You just sit back and enjoy it!"

But for only so long. Lorenzo sold the Shuttle to Trump in 1989 [this was the event that cost us our airline, Lorenzo had obtained needed cash to beat the strike.] Then in turn to U.S. Airways … and then again to American following their 2015 merger. I recall the Shuttle at one time flew nonstop Washington-Boston; the fare was $19." Steve

From then to Now...

Four Days to go 
to get your name in the drawing...

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Fly Girl Motivation

Monday Morning Motivation
Onto the Movies! 

Syd Blue

January 2011, I was at the San Diego State University's writer's conference where destiny had a plan all its own. This is where I met the "other" lady pilot, Syd Blue. Hundreds of writers were at this conference and we accidentally bumped into each other on the first day. Syd was working on her book Fly Girl which was destined to be on the big screen. Syd is a kind and extremely talented lady, and I was so fortunate to meet her. I happened to be there with Linda and Heather, two writer friends that I had met at the Hawaii Writer's Conference. Fun times had by all, and off Syd flew to follow her dreams. She doesn't know this yet, but I'm planning a Fly Girl party in her honor at my house. Read why and learn how you can be invited.

Syd, Linda, Heather and Karlene

The FlyGirl movie is in the works 
based on the popular tween novel 
that has inspired many to learn to fly. 

Fly Girl

Even though the target age is 6th to 8th grade, Syd has received many letters from kids of all ages saying they became motivated to become pilots after reading her book, FlyGirl. This is the only modern-day story of a teenage girl learning to fly, and in the process becomes Pilot-In-Command of her life. For some reason, most aviatrix tales center on women from bygone eras—except for superheroes, where Captain Marvel and her best friend fly planes. Somewhat ironic that female super heroes of today fly planes. I read her book and loved it.

The Truth is...
A girl doesn't have to be a super hero to fly!

“I have about 200 women pilot friends who started to learn to fly in their teens,” Syd says. “I’ve even met a couple who were lucky enough to go to prom in a plane like FlyGirl. I found this out after I wrote the book.”

Spoiler alert: 
FlyGirl one-ups the kids who go to prom in a limo.

After FlyGirl sold into the top 1% of Amazon books, Syd spoke at many schools and heard directly from readers. “Kids are naturally fascinated by flight, especially when it’s put in terms they can understand or with elements of danger to keep them engaged. I owe a huge thank you to Karlene. I’m so grateful she took me to my 1st Air Fair in Washington and encouraged me to talk to people about my book. I’m an introvert but she really helped me leave my observation personality behind to connect with others. She has a natural ease and grace with people. One gentleman I met at the Air Fair was a grandfather who was so disappointed his granddaughter wasn’t interested at all in his passion: flying. Later he wrote to me to tell me that after he gave her FlyGirl, she came running out of her room asking him when they could go flying together. What a neat connection!”

“The success of FlyGirl as a novel led to interest from Hollywood. I get so many questions about how a movie gets made, I thought I’d broadly explain the process for those who want to know. Raindance estimates there are 50,000 new scripts circulating each year. Those are just the scripts that have been lucky enough to enter the realm of readers for the studios, producers and indie filmmakers. Then the development process begins once a producer takes on a script."

Development Hell

"There are many ways to make a movie but nearly all have a phase called Development. This phase is often the longest one. It takes more time than non-filmmakers realize—often 2-10+ years. Development began in 2010 on Top Gun 2 Maverick. More than a decade for Ford v Ferrari. Harriet Tubman took 14 years. 30 years for Frozen (it was worth it). The Big Sick only took 3 years. When a project is developed for years by one producer and then developed by another producer (or studio, etc) and on and on, it’s called Development Hell. Movies like ET even changed studios before it made it out and onto the screen. Deadpool was in Development Hell for 15 years but made a whopping 783M at the box office. Clearly, patience is a virtue.”

Syd practicing patience 

“By the time you hear of a movie, it’s most likely made it past development and into pre-production. From there it only takes about 2 and a quarter years on average to find its way to the cinemas, from pre-production, production, post-production then advertising and distribution. Since it often costs more to market a theatrical release than the budget to produce the movie itself, the stakes are very high. Every time new talent is signed on to a feature, there’s gonna be changes. Some directors rewrite scripts more than others but everyone wants their finger in the pie. It’s the collaborative aspect of filmmaking that makes it so much fun. If you gather a strong team of visionaries who bring their creative ideas to their specialties, the end product can really shine.”

“Unfortunately, Hollywood has temporarily shutdown due to the shelter-in-place orders in California. So I’ve been writing more books and scripts as I wait. It’s been a challenging time since there has been no disaster relief for self-employed micro-business such as ours."

"My husband had to shutdown his business on March 16th due to orders from the California Massage Therapy Council and the state. While we wait for the world to relaunch and let us go back to work, my husband (practicing social distancing) has been cleaning up the shoreline of our beautiful lake and I’ve been imagining the world I once knew."

"I remember the years I was flying aerial surveillance protecting national security assets on long flights from California to Texas when gas prices were sky high. It’s surreal to be on the opposite end of that.

Reality is flexible! 

Meanwhile, we are so grateful to have food as we tough out this time as entrepreneurs in limbo, going negative on the spreadsheets like the oil barrels. In all the disasters I tried to preplan for, I never expected the business world to ‘pause.’ Did you?”

“Someday this pandemic will be squashed, we’ll be back at work revamping new ideas and techniques, hopefully, and we’ll have a strange story to tell our descendants. I’ll repeat FlyGirl’s motto."

"Aim high cuz if you aim low, 
that’s probably where you’ll go!"

“For learning-to-fly resources or 
to read more about Syd, 
check out

Syd's goal is to sell 100 books!
Please help if you can.

Click Here: 

How cool would it be to have a copy of 
Syd's book Fly Girl 
And then go see the movie? 

When the lockdown lifts
and the movie gets made,
We will have a Fly Girl Party at my house
and Everyone who buys a book 
is invited and Syd will autograph it for you!

Women In Aviation Conference

Share the Love of Flight
with someone you love
and I'll 
See you at the Fly Girl Party! 

Enjoy the Journey!!
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Business of Aviation Parts

The Truth in Fiction... 

But when the truth is scarier than fiction, we don't want to believe it to be true. I often receive emails from people with real life events to include in my books. This following post was one of those writings. However, I felt the writing was so well done, and the story interesting... that I wanted to share the entire letter.  I've changed the names to protect those involved.

When people would ask me 
if I’m afraid of flying (as a passenger), 
I would answer:

"I used to be scared of flying, but then I became a pilot and saw all the idiots around me then I became really scared. But then I got into the spare parts business – and now I’m terrified."

Backdrop on Parts Traceability

There is a huge market – in the hundreds of millions or billions – of used spare parts that go into aircraft. Around the 1980’s traceability i.e. where did these parts come from became an issue. This issue remained ambiguous (perhaps to this day) as to the ability to verify paperwork. The parts that became of emphasis early on where the “time limited parts: which in an engine for instance would be the “disks” that hold the compressor and turbine blades in place, and usually the 1st stage turbine blades, and some others. “Back to birth” records would be for instance an engine “disk sheet” that would list all the disks on the engine and each disk would specify what cycles and what hours the disk had remaining. Attached would be all the disk sheets from all the engines this disk had been part of including hours and cycles upon insertion in the engine and hours and cycles upon removal – all the way to the purchase order from the manufacturer. This would be a stack of papers that would prove “back to birth” and they would literarily be in the box on the shelf together with the disk. Without this paperwork the disk is worthless.

Around the late 90’s scanning paperwork came into play which helped a lot, but you still needed the originals with the part. I’ve been out of the business for 15 years so I’m not sure how it works today.

How I got into the Aircraft Parts Business

After leaving the Airforce, I gave private flying lessons while I went to college. I was desperately looking for ideas for a business and I went through a bunch of them from aerial photography to brokering loans. One day my partner and I went to the convention center where there was a display for US companies, and we thought maybe we could engage one of them to represent in Israel. Evidently, the show was for agriculture equipment of which we knew nothing. A nice gentleman came up to us and introduced himself (from the NY department of commerce) and asked if he could help. We told him what our purpose was, and he said – why don’t you advertise in our export opportunities bulletin? I asked him how much it would cost (we were broke) and he said – its free. So of course, we signed up.

2-3 weeks later, we started to get my mail (pre-email era) letters from US companies seeking representation in Israel. There was a bank, a coil winding equipment company, a genetic laboratory, and – aha – and aircraft parts company. They included a printout of their entire inventory. Aircraft parts? I’m a pilot, I know all about aircraft parts (shows you how dumb I was, but hey, I was in my 20’s). So I grabbed the list and started with EL AL, who were very nice and they referred me to BOB (head of accessories at Israel Aircraft Industries) who leafed through the list and said – hey, I can use a 707 landing gear…! And so it began

BA Aircraft Parts

I called BA Aircraft parts (the company that sent me the inventory) and tell them I can sell their shit and would like to come and sign them onto a marketing agreement. I go shopping and buy my first business suit and get on a plan to meet them (Farmingdale Long island). Mary was the CEO and Tom was her husband (she was definitely the one with the pants in the house). They had acquired a junk 707 and broken it down for parts. Dianne, their sales manager showed me a telephone guide (I swear like a small telephone book) advertising only spare parts business. To boast of their large advertisement there. I asked if I can take it with me and she gladly gave me the book.

After signing them onto a representation agreement I go back to Israel and mark in the book any company that advertised over one inch by two inches and I sent them all letters suggesting I represent them in Israel. I ended up adding Bet Air in Florida, National in Dallas and a few others

Early Business

I was a great agent. Within the first year I got the business up from zero to a million dollars. My commission was $100,000 and after I paid rent, the secretary, the bookkeeper, the attorney I remained with nothing - but - I learnt the business.

After the first year I started consulting at IAI for their new Jet fighter so I could pay rent. After one more year IAI cancelled the project and they fired everybody on the project including me (but I got a nice certificate). I decided that I am giving the spare parts business everything I’ve got – except, I need to start trading on my own account – not as a representative. I borrowed money and rented a room from a bankrupt attorney and purchased a fax machine. I decided that I’m going to buy an engine, ship it over to IAI, pay to have it dismantled for parts, sell them the disks and cover the cost of the engine, and the rest is gravy.

My First Engine Deal

Amazingly shortly after I was set up in the new office – within 2 weeks a disk sheet comes across my new fax machine from a broker in England “Inter Turbine”. The disk sheet was of a JT8D engine more or less the specs I was looking for. I calculate the worth of the disks and come up with a price of $85,000 I should be willing to pay for the engine. But to negotiate I started at $60K – and we settled on $65K. So, I go to a communications office and send a telex confirming the purchase subject to inspection and 30 days to pay. I have absolutely no idea where I am going to get the money at this point, but I thought to wrap up the deal and figure that out later.

The owner of Inter Turbine, tells me the engine is in Paris and I schedule with his son to meet in Paris together with the engine owner. I put on the suit from the previous story, make sure I have some money on my credit card (I was really broke) and book a flight to Paris. I knew nothing about hotels, so I book the Eifel Tower Hilton because I knew the Hilton brand and I knew the Eifel Tower (moron). I arrive in Paris and grab a cab to the hotel. In the lobby over the reception desk in huge block lettering there was the conversion rate of French francs. I check in and I can’t quite figure out how much I’m paying. I enter the room and sit on the bed and whip out a calculator and find that I’m paying like $400 a night! This was 1988 – Shit! That night the son arrived from London, and since I’m the millionaire buying the engine I pay for dinner. I’m just praying my credit card won’t be rejected.

The next morning the owner of the engine comes to pick us up as the engine is in the Charles de Gaulle bonded area. To my dismay the owner is an Arab, his mother is from Lebanon and father from Egypt. We later became excellent friends. But at that time, I could already see the headlines – Israeli businessman knifed in an alley in Paris. We drive to the airport and enter the bonded area. The engine is huge (yes – this is the point that I figure out that here I am coming to inspect and engine, but I’ve never seen an engine up close before). I hum and mutter and walk around the engine and tell him I’ll give him an answer that night.

Back at the hotel I call ($11 a minute) BB from National in Texas – one of the companies I had represented that specialized in engines. I tell him about the engine I ask about the corrosion in the back, he told me not to worry. He asked if I had an interest in selling the engine, I told him no, I wanted to dismantle it. He asked me to send him the disk sheet because he had someone looking for such an engine and let’s see what he is willing to pay. 

So I have the disk sheets faxed to him from the hotel ($11 a page…) and while I wait I notify the seller that I am approving my inspection and I will get him the money within the 30 days. BB calls me back and says the guy is willing to pay $125,000 for the engine. I tell him for that price I’m selling, and he asks – where should I tell him to wire the money? I stall here for a second as the last thing I want is to do this trade through Israel – I don’t have a corporate bank account yet, and I will be charged all kinds of duties and fees. I tell him I’ll get right back to him. 

I call my cousin in Chicago. He runs a large family business of frozen food imports. I ask him if he could open a vendor account for me and I could have the money wired there, he said absolutely and gave me the wire instructions. Then, without thinking how stupid it sounds, I call BB and tell him that if his buyer wants this JT8D engine – tell him to wire $135,000 (I added $10,000 for the shipping because I had no idea how much it costs) to Penguin Frozen Foods in Chicago. The I go to sleep one more night at $400 a night and once again pray that my bank won’t freak out and leave me stranded in Paris. Next day my cousin called and said that somebody wired $135,000 to the account. I paid $65K for the engine, $10K commission to BB, $3,500 to ship the engine and netted $56,500 profit. My credit card held up and I went back to Israel very full of myself, I am the businessman, and THIS is how it’s done.

My first stab-in the-back Partner

Following this excellent deal, BB and I get together and decide to open a business in Duncanville Texas (which is where he was located). We rent a warehouse raise some credit, and start buying whatever we can afford. I buy my first house in Duncanville – new house from a developer. The house costs $70,000, I pay $5,000 down and the rest I get a FHA US veterans loan (??...) I spent 3 weeks in the US and 3 in Israel which I found very difficult. 

When I moved into the house I hired a landscaper who was married to my partner's wife's best friend. The guy tried to rip me off and I fired him (another lesson learned…). One day after landing in Dallas after the flight from Israel connecting in JFK, I come to the car rental company and my company credit card was refused. The guy cut it up just like in the movies. I went to the payphone and tried to use the company calling card, but it was deactivated. I understood something was very wrong and when I came into the office and asked BB what the hell, he gave me a speech about him doing all the work and that I shouldn’t be working in the US because I didn’t have a green card. 

I threatened to sue him (which would never have happened as I had no money) but because he had once filed for bankruptcy it scared him enough and he bought my shares for $125,000. Since he had no money either he paid me $5,000 a month and I had his wife guarantee the agreement. I figured he couldn’t afford to screw up her credit.

The epilogue to this story – first, he paid me to the last penny, which was extremely helpful in my move to the US later. After many years when I was running a several hundred-million-dollar company, he came to visit me in Florida. He told me he had gone bankrupt again and had suffered several heart attacks.

[ I am moving to FAST FORWARD because I thought it would add just a bit of color and show how easy it was to deal in parts, but is ending up writing endless stories]

I go back to Israel and trade parts from my living room for two years until my wife finishes her master’s degree. I move with my wife, a 9-month baby and no money to the US to continue the business from there. I decide on LA because I had friends from a kibbutz who have moved there that could arrange a credit card with a $5,000 limit. I set up the business first in Culver City then in Chatsworth – then in 1992 I move to Florida because I wanted to be on East Coast time. 

I sell the business in 1992 for $1MM plus an earn-out to an Israeli public company. I continue to run it and in 1995 I buy it back because the parent is going bankrupt by means of a reverse merger into a public shell. 1995 thru 2000 I could do no wrong – several public offerings both equity and debt, I acquired 9 companies and grew the business to a $400 million annual run-rate. 2001 we almost ceased to exist because of September 11 and I had to arranged a private equity buy-out. I turned the company around and left in 2005 so my kids could go to the military in Israel. The company was later split to two – military and commercial and sold to two different buyers. Kellstrom Aerospace is the surviving commercial entity.

My first introduction to any type of regulation was after I moved the company to Florida and other than trading I was also selling BET AIR’s materials (remember – one of the companies I represented in Israel). BET AIR had huge consignments form British Airways and I was helping them sell. One day an unannounced guest shows up at my office. She was wearing a snappy business suit and introduced herself as a DOT special agent. I kid you not – she was hot. She was pursuing a sale of consignment parts to a dealer that later seemed to have forged the paperwork and sold the parts as newer. No wrongdoing on our part but it was interesting to see somebody was doing something.

G fucking V

I first became aware of  GV when I was in California. He was a source for extremely hard to get engine disks with full traceability. I used him a source for several years and around 1997 I acquired his company. As a person he was a real charmer. As I mentioned above I had done nine acquisitions – all of them really good – except one shitty one – which was GV's company. I was captivated by the cash earnings and persuaded myself that worst that could happen the inventory was worth mote than the purchase price. After the acquisition the EBITDA withered away and on top of it GV who was working for me started dealing on the side. I tried to investigate but he was very sneaky. I couldn’t get him out of the company fast enough.

Two years ago, a DOT Special Agent contacted me in Israel and said that the NY prosecutor was asking for my help in prosecuting GV. I gladly helped and we had several video sessions. In the end they ended up settling (I couldn’t believe he got zero jail time). There is no question in my mind that those hard to get disks prior to buying him were all forged and that’s the reason the profits went away after the acquisition because he couldn’t get anything done with our quality control."

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Inspire a Child....

To Reach Their Dreams... 

Wendy Hales Mora

I received an email from Wendy, in her search to find people willing to write a letter to a child. Of course sign me up. When I learned what she was doing, I realized we need to reach out to a plane load of people to help with this task. 

Wendy's story... 

"I participate in a community outreach project called Adopt-A-Pilot where I spend time once a month with a couple 5th grade classes. The goal of the program is to show the kids they can reach their really big dreams and that what they are learning in school really does apply out in the 'real-world'. Every year the kids complete a series of exercises and then write a “What I Want To Be Essay”.

This stems from Southwest Adopt-A-Pilot program although it is above and beyond the footprint of the 'traditional' program. The teacher that I worked with (Larry Wong) and I were trying to come up with a project that would satisfy one of the core curriculum writing assignments while also having meaning to the students.

Wendy, Larry, and Shari. 
Shari McDaniel was Larry's teaching partner (and best friend) and Shari helped to get this project going the first year. Shari has since moved to a different school. Larry believed that one of the most important things you can do as a teacher is expand your students horizons, and from there this project was born. That was 10 years ago.

Over the years Larry family and my family developed a close bond that still exists to this day. Unfortunately, Larry passed away very unexpectedly in January 2018 so now, more than ever this project has become near and dear to my heart.

Wendy and Amanda Redmond Perez

Amanda is the teacher that took over for Larry. 
I've technically been doing this project with her longer
 then I got to do it with Larry

Wendy and Herdis

Herdis is one of my dearest friends with her own unique success story. She grew up in Germany, told her parents she wanted to be a Flight Attendant until one day someone said why don't you want to be a Pilot? She came to the US to do her flight training (that's where we met) and now she flies for SWA. This is her first year doing Adopt-A-Pilot but I thought it was so cool she wanted to bring this project to her kids as well.

Mason, Mia and Wendy

"I've know Mason since he was born (his mom and I are good friends) he's participating in the essay writing project this year "

Different from most essays this project is unique because instead of providing the students with feedback via a grade, I seek to provide them with real-world life advice by asking passengers on my flights to read an essay and then write a letter with some life advice.

It does not have to be lengthly response and can be generic life advice (i.e. find a mentor, pick good friends, etc) or specific depending on how much you know about being the specific career (i.e. xxxx school is a wonderful school for xxxx career, etc). Basically, I tell people think along the lines of, 'what I wish I had told my 10 year old self.' 

Unfortunately, due to these crazy times no one is traveling and even if they were it is not safe to be passing out essays. So if you would be willing to volunteer I'd be so appreciative."

ALL you have to do is pick a career
And then email Wendy at

You can pick more than one... I picked four, and got five essays because there were two attorneys.  (Pilot, Author, Attorney, Writer) Wendy would also like you to hand write your response to the kids. The surprise is when they receive a book with their essay and ten letters! Yours can be included and will last a lifetime. 

You can make the difference in a life.

Below is a list of careers the students are interested in. Wendy needs to get ten essays for each student. 

 "These essays will make your heart a little lighter 
and your smile a little brighter."

Wendy Mora

Actress (2)
Aeronautical Engineer
Animal Trainer
Animator_Character Designer
App Developer
Architect (2)
Artist/Freelance Artist
Bakery Owner
Be Of Use To People
Business Owner
Computer Programmer
English Teacher
Fashion Designer
Graphic Designer
Interior Designer
Lawyer (2)
Lego Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Musician (2)
Photographer (2)
Pilot - Military
Professional Athlete
Professional Athlete (Basketball or Football)
Professional Athlete (Catcher for LA Dodgers)
Professional Athlete (Football or Soccer)
Professional Athlete (Football Player) (2)
Professional Athlete (Soccer Player for FC Barcelona)
Professional Athlete (Soccer)
Software Developer
Surgeon (2)
Video Game Designer (2)

ALL you have to do is pick a career
And then email Wendy at


Thank you Wendy for your amazing 
effort and sending the love to the kids! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Mental Health and Drinking

In the Airline Industry!

Three years ago I wrote a post critiquing a news article that said "4000 pilots a day were thinking about killing themselves." The theatrical article was based on a Harvard Study researching depression and mental health. That article has since been removed from the internet. Probably a good thing. 

The Research, however, Airplane pilot mental health and suicidal thoughts: a cross-sectional descriptive study via anonymous web-based survey was eye-opening, but for a different reason than expected. The researchers were looking into depression in response to the Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane. However, there was a problem with the original research.

The researchers stated, "We targeted female pilots in recruiting because of the small percentage of female pilots among the general airline pilot population." This makes no sense, as they should have strived to gather a sample representative of the pilot population, of 140,000 at the time of research.

Of the 1837 pilots who took the survey, 13.7% respondents were women. However, at the time of the study, women only represented approximately 4% of the pilot population. Therefore, the researchers selected over 3 times the percentage of females actually flying. Of course women would be more apt to disclose how they felt, and perhaps that was the reason for the selection, or the reason that women reached out.

The Elephant in the Research

The research identified: There is a prevalence of depression among pilots at 12.6%. This study included 13.7 % women. The study further identified elevated symptoms of depression with 13.5% using alcohol, and 13.6% used sleeping pills, and associated both with sexual and verbal harassment. The numbers speak volumes that harassment is ongoing, and could be impacting mental health in today's industry, and women are self-medicating as a result. 

What was missed by this study, that I can now state as a Doctor of Aviation, with a high degree of certainty, is that based upon this research:

Female Pilots are Being Sexually Harassed 
and coping strategies 
include alcohol and sleeping pills. 

 If you were consistently harassed 
wouldn’t you be depressed? 

Within a 30-day period 23 pilots experienced sexual harassment, and 67 pilots experienced verbal harassment. That means that 90 pilots in this study were harassed over a 30 day period. Combine these facts with a study that captured more women per percentage than are actually flying, and then the close percentage values as the same for harassment. I'm not sure how many male pilots are getting harassed and/or would make them depressed. We cannot state with assurance that the 13.7% women were inclusive of the 12.6% that were depressed as a result of harassment, or that 13.5% and 13.6%  drinking and sleeping pills, respectively, are the women.

The worst part of this is that I know many of these female pilots who suffer in silence. They can't do a "Me Too" movement because airline social media policies prevent them from speaking out. I also know female pilots who have spoken out that are no longer working, the perpetrators are. The only way to create change is through awareness.

Unfortunately the pilot unions are not assisting these women because of flawed thinking that they only represent the "membership" and that membership is 94% men. However, the bi-laws of ALPA, at least, state they represent the membership and the individual pilot. Yet, somewhere the women are lost.

How do we fix this? I'm not sure. Perhaps through awareness and willingness to stand up for what's right.

"You must be the change 
you wish to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi

I'm doing my best...
Changing the World one Word at a Time
Through my Writing. 

May the 4th Be With you

And the B787 Model be Yours...
Good Luck!

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter


Bunnies are brown
Bunnies are white
Bunnies are always
An Easter delight.

Bunnies are cuddly
The large and the small.
But I like chocolate ones
The best of them all.
                Author Unknown

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Applying to Law School

Application Time! 

One of the questions asked on the application was:

What steps would you take to improve 
if your early efforts did not meet your expectations?

This is a great question for everyone to answer who is struggling. While the question was designed for the success of law school, this could apply to any aspect of your life. 

If your life isn't working in any area, 
then what steps can you take to improve it? 

This was my answer on my law school application: 

"I would follow the steps outlined in my book, Flight to Success, be the Captain of Your Life. While I taught the power of goal-setting, creating habits, finding time, and the importance of urgency and commitment to achieve success; I also provided the strategy of how to achieve a goal. I likened this strategy to a process of creating a flight plan, something that pilots are well familiar with. Not unlike when flying the flight plan, an extremely important skill for anyone is to identify when the plan isn’t working and pilot, or individual, is drifting off course, and then take action to get back on the path before adverse consequences arise. Pilots must have situational awareness, meaning that we perceive the elements in the environment and comprehend their meaning, and then project the status of those events to the near future. Situation awareness will identify a lapse early enough, before I would get behind, in order to enable me to make the necessary adjustments for achievement. The key to success is to be flexible with the initial plan, and if not working to adjust."

Welcome aboard your Flight To Success! 

Order Autographed copies on this site... 
and available on

Through May 1, 2020 you can 

B787 Model

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, April 10, 2020

How to Study

Found in a Novel... 

Authors write for many reasons. I write to communicate, educate and entertain. The novel Flight For Safety, was not just a thriller that read like a mystery, filled with action, but there were many chapters where lessons could be learned. This is one such chapter when our friend Darby Bradshaw teaches so basic study skills to her new hire first officer.

Chapter 13

Oklahoma City

November 12 2016

Darby unbuckled her seatbelt, and stood. She reached over her seat and packed up her belongings, and then climbed out of the simulator. The instructor was already out the door. Her first officer was unusually quiet. He had a few problems during his approach, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little effort. Besides, their checkride would be a team effort, and based on his previous performance she planned on being the pilot flying. The worst think about this process was if a captain was weak, he could just tell his first officer to be the pilot flying for the checkride and pass his type-ride without ever flying the simulator.

“Do you think he’s going to let me take the checkride?” Nathan asked.

“You’re military, of course he will.”

He shrugged. “I’m not sure even that could even help me.”

Nathan was a new hire. Thus, on probation and he could be fired for anything. But that rarely happened once the pilot was into simulator training, especially if he had a military background. Not because the training department was filled with compassionate people, but because the guy in charge of pilot hiring was a Global God, and he would never be made to look bad for hiring the wrong person.

“Military is family,” Darby said setting her bag on the floor. “You’re one of them and they’ll protect you. That goes for probation too.” She glanced out the door, and the instructor was no longer in sight.

“Yeah, but I feel like an idiot. I bid this plane because they say the bigger the easier they are to fly, but I had no idea.” He sighed. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to study, what was important, or even how to prepare for this.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?” Hell, she couldn’t even get him to have a beer with her after training, or a cup of coffee before their session. She had assumed he was just focusing on his studies and didn’t want to be distracted.

He scratched his head, “I…well, I… felt like an idiot, and after each session I just wanted to get the hell out of here. I have a 40 minute drive home, and…”

“Okay, sit your butt back in that seat. I’m going to show you how to prepare for this checkride. I’ve watched what you’re doing and we can fix it.”

He returned to his seat, and she climbed back into hers, but they sat facing each other.

“It looks like you are hesitant because you don’t know what you are doing. What I think is happening is, you’re just trying to find what button to push.” She sighed and gauged his demeanor as she spoke.

Nobody, especially a military pilot, liked the realization they were not sky gods. “You’re having to think too much, and that’s creating a delay. Words go into your head, you think about it for a few seconds, and then take action. Which is great, but in the sim or an actual urgent condition, we might not have time for that delay. And if an emergency were really to happen on a plane, stress would short circuit you even more.”

“But I’ve tried to go faster, but then I mess up.”

“You don’t need speed. You need automaticity.”


“We need your knowledge to a level where you don’t have to think about what to do, your response is automatic. You just do it, kind of like breathing. You need to automatically know where every switch is. So you’re not speeding up to go fast, but you actually know what you’re supposed to do and where the buttons are, which makes you move with more efficiency.”

“I’ve read every procedure. I know them all. I just get in here and it doesn’t come out of my brain and turn to action.”

“So, let’s change that.”

“If you can fix me before tomorrow, I’ll give you my first born.”

Darby laughed. “Uh, a beer after our ride would be good enough.”

“Anything,” he said, looking desperate.

She understood what he was going through. If he failed his ride, they would let him go, and it would impact the rest of his life. None of it would have been his fault. Global had such a shitty training program.

“When you get home, I want you to make a note card for each phase of flight, each approach, and each maneuver. Front of the card write takeoff, or engine failure, ILS approach, TCAS, GPWS, or VOR etcetera. Then, on the back write in the exact steps of what you will do, and say for each.”

“I have everything written on a sheet of paper.”

“That's good. But, it doesn’t test your memory. When you write these, you’re going to test your memory in the process. Write the phase of flight or event on the front of each card. Then, write the steps on the back from memory. See how well you know them.”

He nodded as she spoke. “That’s a good idea.”

“Then, you’re going to sit in a chair, a bathtub, hot tub, or get your but to the gym on an exercise bike or treadmill and—”

“You study at the gym?”

“Heck yeah. Motion helps the memory. Do you have your panels on the wall at home?”


“Does your wife have an exercise ball?”

He laughed. “Yep.”

“Okay, phase one—write cards. Phase two, sit on the ball in front of the panel and rehearse, touching the buttons on the panel. Make sure you bounce.” 

He laughed. “You’re nuts.”

“Perhaps. But it works.” She turned forward in her seat. “Studies have proven that motion helps form memories. So with your butt on the ball, the panels in front of you, you’re going to practice by reciting and touching.” Darby grinned. “Pick a phase.”

“Uh, how about a go around.”

“She turned into position in her seat and said, “Go around, flaps 20.” She touched the thrust levers and then the flap handle as she spoke. “Positive rate, gear up.” She touched the gear handle. “400 feet. Heading select.” She pointed to the altimeter and then touched the heading bug. “1000 feet, set speed 180.” She pointed to the altimeter as she said 1000 feet and then pointed to the speed bug. “Flaps 5. Flight level change.” She touched the flap handle again, and then pointed to the FLCH button.

Darby was theatrical, loud, and touched everything with zeal. “This is what you are going to do at home. But you’re going to be touching the panel. Double check the back of your card to make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you did, do it again, and again. And then do it again.”

“That’s it?”

“Nope. When you got that set, you move to phase three.” Darby grinned. “My favorite part—fantasizing. You can do this in the hot tub, or at the gym or even walking. But if you do it in public you have to risk looking like an idiot talking to yourself.”

The truth was most of the world looked like they were talking to themselves with cell phone headsets, thus not an issue and definitely not the point.


“I could not be more serious. Once upon a time they called this armchair flying. Well, they still might, but I think fantasizing adds a little more flare. The point is, if you can visualize where the buttons are then you really do know your stuff. That’s why I live by limitations on flash cards. If I’m only reading something, it doesn’t mean I could regurgitate if needed. Not until I read the question, and have to come up with an answer do I really know that I know.”

“That makes sense.”

“If I were you, I would go to the closest store, get some three by five cards and then go to Starbucks. Write them up before your drive home. Then you can study on the way home.”

“You read and drive too?”

Darby laughed. Perhaps she should not be telling him to study and drive. Men were not quite the multitaskers that women were. “No reading and driving. But, after you get your cards written up, you’ll have them in your mind. You know the phases of flight. Start with pushback, then taxi, takeoff. Just talk to yourself the entire drive home. You can think and drive. If you can’t remember something, check it out when you get home.”

“I’ll do that,” he said. “Then I’ll have more time to study them at home.”

Darby assessed him for a moment and then said, “I’m going to tell you something that I don’t think I have ever told a man before—the faster the better.”

“Excuse me?” he said with a laugh.

“You want to do this in your sleep, without thinking. If you can recite without hesitation and quickly, that means you know it. Really know it. I don’t want you going fast in the simulator or airplane, but for reciting, you need to have zero hesitation. Also, when you’re driving, I want you to tell yourself why you are doing each step.”

“What do you mean why?”

“When you go around, why are you adding thrust? Why bring up the gear? Why push heading select instead of VNAV? If you know the why to each step, you’ve moved from rote memorization to automaticity. You’ll know what needs to be done, and why, not just memorizing a step.” She glanced out the door and then returned her attention to him. “We’d better get out of here, in case the boss wants to debrief the session.”

“Why would he start now?”

Darby laughed. “You noticed, too?”

They left the simulator and headed for the briefing room. The instructor was sitting there with a coke, and an opened package of potato chips on the table, and he was typing grades into a computer.

“Do you have anything for us?” Darby asked as they entered.

“No. You’ll be fine,” he said with a wave of his hand. “But Nathan, you need to learn your procedures a little better.”

Darby and Nathan exchanged a glance. 

“I’ll work on that sir.”

Darby and Nathan headed out of the room, and down the hall. Once they exited the building Nathan set his flight bag on the ground.

“Forget something?” Darby asked.

He stuck his hands into his pockets and said, “I owe you an apology.”

One of Darby’s eyebrows rose with a mind of its own. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear it, but if a man wanted to apologize, she definitely would not discourage that behavior. “Lay it on me.”

He glanced over his shoulder at the door, and then returned his attention to her. “I feel like an idiot.” He looked at his feet this time. “But, I was warned to distance myself from you.”

And the story unfolds... 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene