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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, October 7, 2021

Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce:

Does Generation and Gender
Influence Curriculum Development?

Yesterday I received an invite, via Curt Lewis and Associates, from Kurt Reesman, Retired Air Force Instructor, who is giving back to the aviation industry by pursuing a PhD with research in training development.  After taking the survey I wanted to learn more about the person behind the research. 

Kurt Reesman

In the Air Force Kurt Reesman flew the T-37, RF-4C and F-15E, and instructed and evaluated student performance in the T-37 and F-15E. He also served as an instructor and evaluator to the Royal Saudi Air Force in the F-15S. After retiring from the Air Force in 2005, he was hired to help Liberty University start their aviation program. 

During his nine-year tenure at Liberty, Kurt served as an associate professor, flight instructor, and National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) team coach. While at Liberty, he also represented the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as a Safety Seminar presenter and Flight Instructor-Refresher Course instructor. Additionally, he was invited to serve as an industry representative for the re-write of the FAA Private Pilot and Instrument Rating practical test standards. Those documents were converted into the recently released Airman Certification Standards for the Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating. 



After leaving Liberty, L3 Commercial Training Solutions contracted Kurt as the project manager for the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATPCTP) course creation. While at L3, he also served as their manager of curriculum development and quality control, redesigning their training curriculum, streamlining their training process and establishing a quality control process. In October, 2015 Convergent Performance contracted Kurt to serve as a certified instructor and quality assurance subject matter expert for courses taught during United Airline’s Leadership, Excellence and Professionalism (LEaP) Training Program that was given to every United pilot. 

A portion of this program focused on Convergent Performance president Dr. Tony Kern’s books “The Blue Threat” and “Going Pro.” (Both excellent books, that I highly recommend.) Most recently Kurt was a lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University in their professional pilot concentration. While serving at Middle Tennessee he made significant contributions to the revitalization of the Crew Resource Management course. 


Kurt Reesman brings a wealth of academic, 
flight and industry experience to the Department of Aviation


INVITE: 

Calling All Pilots (and Non-Pilots)

I am a graduate student in the Department of Aviation at Auburn University, and I invite you to participate in my research study entitled Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce: Does Generation and Gender Influence Curriculum Development? where I seek to answer the following three questions: 

1. Do non-pilots and pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

2. Do pilots in the Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z generations have learning styles or preferences that differ from each other? 

3. Do male pilots and female pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

You may participate if you are 18 years or older. I am asking that you take 5-10 minutes of your time to complete an anonymous, on-line survey that asks you to provide basic demographic information and then answer 44 questions that only have 2 possible answers each. These questions are from the Felder and Solomon Index of Learning Styles questionnaire. If you are interested and eligible to participate, click the link below to begin the survey. If you would like to know more information, or have any questions about this study, you can send an email to Kurt Reesman at klr0051@auburn.edu

Thank You
Kurt Reesman
Ph.D. Candidate
Auburn University

Thank You for Your Participation!

Enjoy the Journey!
X
OX Karlene


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Become Unconsciously Competent

Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise vs Rote Memorization

Automaticity and adaptive expertise are essential for airline pilots to improve Situational Awareness (SA). Without automaticity and adaptive expertise, decision-making ability is limited, reducing the pilot's ability to deal with the unexpected. 

What is Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise?

Automaticity is when a pilot’s knowledge is at a level where he or she does not have to think about what to do and their response is automatic. Automaticity is achieved by over-learning to the point where the pilot becomes unconsciously competent, in that they can perform tasks without conscious thought. Adaptive expertise is where understanding and contextual-based knowledge, combined with motivation for problem solving, creates adaptive and flexible strategies for unexpected events. 

Performance in a changing environment demands a deeper level of understanding that will adapt to unique situations. Rote memorization, however, limits the pilot's ability to transfer task at hand duties tconscious thought that would be necessary to adapt to changes in the environment. The distinction between automaticity, adaptive expertise, and rote memorization is the level of understanding. 

Rote memorization does not guarantee the pilot understands the automatic response. Knowledge-based automaticity and adaptive expertise, however, imply a deeper level of understanding than simply memorizing. Adaptive expertise requires precise knowledge, in both quality and content, to be structurally organized in the memory, as well as required for metacognitive skills necessary for planning, monitoring, and memory. 

Becoming unconsciously competent is where knowledge is at the highest level of understanding. Automaticity and adaptive expertise further differ from rote memorization because rote memorization is associated with routine experience, whereas automaticity and adaptive expertise improve performance during novel situations. Rote memorization could result in limited understanding of memorized procedures that may not transfer to the aircraft or emergencies beyond events practiced and anticipated in the simulator.

Time And Place For Rote Memorization

With all this said, there is a time and a place for rote memorization. Practicing flows for example. I am an advocate of memorizing the procedures we call flows, or the processes, to configure the plane for flight during the many phases---preflight, before start, taxi, before takeoff, taxi, shutdown.... While we memorize where to go, understanding what we are doing while there makes the difference. 

This week I have memorized my flows and procedures, but I'm working to that higher level of understanding to achieve automaticity and adaptive expertise in order to become unconsciously competent. The best thing about this goal is that everyone can work toward it as it's a moving target because in aviation, it's not possible to know everything. Just when you think you're there, you get to learn something new. 

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene 




Saturday, October 2, 2021

Progress:

Forward Movement Toward a Destination!

The MCDU even has a button for today!


The good news is, after all the flashcards and studying myself to the bones I finished my electronic test. While I was striving for 100% I missed four questions. In business they say, 

"It isn't what you know that counts,
it's what you think of in time." 

When your'e taking an electronic test, it's not necessarily what you know, but how you interpret the question.


Success is being done with the electronic test, having a through understanding the aircraft, and moving forward to the next phase of training. Before I do, I thought it would be a great idea to explain one of the most nonintuitive instruments on the Airbus: The brake pressure gauge.


The A330 brake pressure gauge does not directly monitor normal brakes, it monitors the blue system alternate brakes and accumulator pressure. Normal brakes use green hydraulic pressure. Therefore when you see the break indicator sitting at zero pressure, this means you have normal brakes. While the top indication identifies accumulator pressure, if the indication on the bottom of the gauge increases it's either due to the parking brake being set (by blue accumulator pressure prior to engine start, or the blue system after the number 1 engine starts) or the loss of normal brakes.

Now, back to studying! Today is procedures training. Let the fun begin!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 


Thursday, September 30, 2021

31 Ways to Position Your Bones

While in Training...

Last year on Halloween I posted a series of photos that my sister had taken daily.  "Where is the skeleton today". I had planned on doing the same thing this year at my house. However, early this morning I will be headed to Atlanta to begin training (Florida in a couple weeks) and then back to Atlanta to finish, with my checkride scheduled on Halloween night. I will be living out of a hotel and on a plane for the entire month of October, with only a few nights in my own bed. 

All best laid plans
Can still come to light
Especially in honor of
Halloween fright


I'm all about flexibility, which is also a secret to success. Besides, it's not the size of your bones that count, it's how you use them. Therefore, I have a mini skeleton that will be traveling with me on my journey. I will be posting words of wisdom regarding business strategies, flying, and A330 lessons learned throughout the month of October, and you get to guess where we will find the bones next. 

One of the most important keys to learning anything is to remove stress while doing so. Stress impacts the brain to a dangerous level of forgetfulness. During my A350 training I read a novel, and slept 8 hours each night. I was also in bed by 1400 my body clock to accommodate an 0200 body clock report time. How can anyone learn during those ungodly hours? Answer: Prepare ahead of time, and then make sure you get a good nights sleep. My strategy is to awaken early and exercise my brain while reading at the gym before I go to the simulator no matter what time the fun begins. It works. I'm also planning to read another Terry Pratchett book. Perhaps explain flows and systems to my traveling companion. 

Now I have to run... I have a plane to catch, and six hours of studying to accomplish on the flight. Systems evaluation tomorrow, and we'll see how much I retained after my hundreds of hours of studying.

Enjoy the Journey 
XO Karlene



Friday, September 24, 2021

If I Can't Walk I'll Fly

 CAF Giving Wings to Challenged Athletes 

Returned Kayla to her Passion

Kayla is my middle daughter, who has faced challenges that most of us could never imagine. We are so proud of her attitude, commitment to life, her appreciation for all she has and not focusing on what she's lost. She also has an overwhelming gratitude to those who have given her a new opportunity at a life she once loved. She went from being an athlete to being told she would never walk again, after scoliosis surgery. She proved them wrong.... for awhile. It wasn't "if" but "when" she would end up in a wheelchair. Now she is competing and embracing her best self, not being limited by her challenges. She is able to do this because of the Challenged Athletes Foundation


This is Kayla's story so I will let her share it.... 

Hi all, my name is Kayla and I’m a para athlete who has directly benefited from CAF.  When I suffered spinal cord injury in 2005, as a 21 yr old DIV I track and field athlete, my world was changed in an instant. At that time, I had no idea that parasports was a thing, or that there was a way to compete at an elite level.


This was one of the most difficult times of my life, and while in retrospect I’m so grateful for many of the things that have come out of this world shift, in the moment knowing there were groups out there to support athletics for those with disabilities would have been a game changer. 


After 10 years as a high functioning spinal cord injured individual – still on my feet and competing in triathlons, backpacking, surfing, etc. – I was diagnosed with a secondary issue called Syringomyelia. This is a cyst that is on the spinal cord, where spinal fluid accumulates and compresses the cord. My condition is degenerative, and the two spinal cord surgeries since 2016 have not been able to stabilize my condition. Its not MS, but manifests very similarly and that’s the group of people I relate to most regarding symptoms and symptom management. 




When I found myself as a wheelie, a local paratriathlete told me about CAF. A few meetings later and CAF had granted me funds to purchase my own hand cycle and had a racing wheelchair on the way to me.

 

It is because of CAF I got to compete in my rookie season of the paratriathlon in 2021. I’ll be there racing in October in full support of CAF and their programs.

What I ask of you today...

Please join me in empowering individuals with physical disabilities around the world through sports. The mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is intricately tied to the challenges of our time - a global health pandemic, a devastating financial crisis, and ongoing social injustices. These challenges create even greater barriers for individuals with physical disabilities. To change this reality, it will take all of us.


Your donation to my fundraising goal will help provide challenged athletes in financial need with adaptive sports equipment, coaching, and training expenses. Additionally, your gift will support virtual and at-home resources that help challenged athletes of all ages and abilities stay active and motivated, at a time when sports and physical activity are needed more than ever.



Our efforts will help ensure that the most vulnerable population won’t be left behind. We’ll be creating opportunities for challenged athletes to be involved with adaptive sports, fitness, community connections, and inclusion in society’s health and wellness activities.


As a CAF supporter, I believe in the power of sport to empower lives, heal individuals and unite the world, especially in these times of crisis and conflict. My fundraising goal is $10k because that is just under the amount they've donated directly to me for the handcycle and racing chair I'm getting this winter. So I'm very much trying to replenish funds they've given me to date.


Please join me in helping Kayla to change the world. and inspire those who have had their lives altered. They are living their life to the fullest, despite daily pain and limitations. I'm asking for you to please donate to CAF, via Kayla's fundraiser, where all proceeds go directly to CAF. 

CLICK HERE TO IMPROVE A LIFE TODAY

I know that these are challenging times for many. If you are facing hardship and can't donate, you can still help by sharing this post on your social media sites and with our friends. We can educate everyone about the wonderful resources available to help our challenged athletes. CAF is doing amazing work by giving a life back to those who may believe theirs was over. 

Thank you! 


Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How To Get out of Trouble

When you Inadvertently Wipe out Everything... 


Wiping out all the waypoints is not unknown to any Airbus pilot. Either you have been there done that, or you will. Below is a little tip to get out of trouble.

Situation: If you’re being vectored toward an intercept and the pilot monitoring plans to clean up to the PPOS, but accidentally deletes one too many points you will lose everything. You will be looking at PPOS, a route discontinuity, and blank, blank, blank. The approach is gone. 

Recovery: Type ABC over the route discontinuity. Select lateral offset over ABC, and then select New Destination. Reinsert the approach, and delete the ABC, and you’re good to go. 

Systems Note: The reason you must type in ABC is because you cannot lateral offset off a PPOS. 

Have a thorough understanding of when you need to delete the PPOS to save yourself grief. A good example of what can go wrong is provided in this post:  What Can Go Wrong? Go Wrong? Go Wrong?

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 



Monday, September 20, 2021

A330: Clearing the PPOS

Evaluating When Something Went Wrong

If you missed the prologue to this post, please take a moment to read "What Can Go Wrong? Go Wrong? Go Wrong?" Then join me for the analysis.


A330 and Navigation

To navigate, the A330 needs a "TO" waypoint a "FROM" waypoint and a line in between. The line between is the route. When ATC takes you off that route by giving you a heading, you are flying in heading mode. The route is still on your map and in the MCDU, enabling you to return to it. 

Now imagine you are off your route and flying on a heading and ATC tells you to fly direct to another point. Remember, the airplane needs a point it’s flying FROM and a point it's flying TO, so the magic creates a point at your Present Position (PPOS) to anchor your position as a "FROM" point. This enables the plane to navigate FROM a point TO another point.  

CLEARING THE PPOS

A330 pilots are taught to clean up to the PPOS in order to clear the map and the MCDU of unnecessary waypoints not being used because they are on the portion of our route behind the plane. There are benefits to this process, in that the pilot is now able to see the lateral distance in mileage to what is in front of the plane not including what is behind.

Because we don't need all those other points behind us we “Clean up to the PPOS.” Meaning, we can clear out all the points that we're not using (behind us) up to the present position (PPOS). However, before you ever push any buttons... it’s imperative to know that in the Airbus world, there is a time and place for everything, and good CRM dictates you crosscheck with your fellow pilot. 

Systems Note: A significant difference between Airbus and Boeing is that on the Boeing FMS, the pilot is able to input a selection and enable the other pilot to confirm the input and results prior to selecting "execute". There is no execute button on the Airbus MCDU. What you input, is what you get. Therefore, confirming with  the other pilot is essential. 


A KEY A330 Learning Moment

Systems Note: When you clear to the PPOS, it clears the points behind you that have not sequenced. However, the A330 knows that you have cycled past a point if you pass it within five miles. If the point sequences, you do not need to clear it. 

Back to the Shanghai Approach

Think about “where” we were on the approach in Shanghai. We were being vectored inside the Final Approach Fix—approach armed, and shortly thereafter we captured the localizer, and the glide-slope was just about to capture when he decided to clear the points behind us, and cleared one too many. 

By clearing on too many points he wiped everything out on the Map. But, because our approach was armed the plane knew where it was, and knew it was flying the tuned ILS.

We Did Not Need the Map. 

The runway had been selected, tuned, identified, and the approach was armed. The localizer had just engaged... until pilot intervention. The plane was flying the approach programed into the MCDU and it was armed. Therefore, the first error of wiping out the map was not necessarily a problem other than a distraction. An effort to fix a non problem became the problem. 


The Chain of Events

Humans make errors. The key to safety is to have procedures in place to avoid errors, but also to mitigate them when they occur to avoid an accident. Like most situations, it takes more than one event to cause an issue. The proverbial chain of events. 

Sequence of Circumstances

Shanghai ATC vectored us “inside” the outer marker. How often does that happen in instrument conditions? Well, maybe in China. A good note to brief in the future.  

We had been trained to clean all those points behind us. My Captain did not have a clear understanding of why we were doing that, it simply became a step in the process. Wiping out the map and his need to get it back, identified a second hole in his systems knowledge. 

His actions to “Fix the problem” when we didn't have a problem, at a critical phase of flight, is what created a problem. We did not need the MAP. Without an understanding of what would happen by removing the approach while on the approach, caused us to lose everything. Despite the late hour, fatigue, instrument conditions, meters, an unfamiliar environment and lack of understanding he did know how to reinsert the approach quickly. 

Learning Moments
  • Understand your airplane’s navigation system.
  • Maintain heads up at a critical phase of flight. Not heads down programing the MCDU.
  • Button pushing needs to happen at a safe altitude.
  • MCDU selections must be confirmed by the other pilot.
  • If it's not broken, don’t fix it. 
  • If a stabilized approach can’t be continued to a safe landing: Go Around.

With highly automated aircraft, abundance of traffic, runway changes, etc, we find ourselves programming the MCDU at lower altitudes more than ever before. Pilots become reliant on the automation. However, if your company doesn't have a firm altitude where you should be heads up, then make your own guidance. The more systems knowledge you have to avoid errors, the better off you'll be. But always crosscheck with the other pilot to confirm inputs before you do something that could impact the flight. 

If you have been cleared for the approach and accepted the approach, then you should be able to fly it with the information you have programmed and verified. If you have the skills to fly the approach manually, without the data in the box, then do it. If you don't, then go-around. The most important aspect is to know your plane. Knowledge improves safety. 

At my 7th airline, the top of the 747 checklist stated:
"DO NOT HURRY. FLY THE PLANE"
Those are words to live by!

There is also a difference between clearing "to" the PPOS and actually clearing the PPOS. Wednesday I will provide a tip on how to get our of trouble if you inadvertently wipe out your approach.

Enjoy the Journey, 
and Fly Safe. Fly Smart.
XOX Karlene


Thursday, September 16, 2021

What Can Go Wrong? Go Wrong? Go Wrong...?

Knowledge: The Path to Safety


Many years ago both my captain and I were new to the Airbus A330 and were flying into Shanghai. We were displaced Boeing pilots in an environment where feet was converted into meters and unfortunately nobody spoke English over the radio. The night was late and fatigue tugged at our your eyelids. Dozens of planes freckled the Nav Display (ND), and we could hear pilots talking to ATC but we had no idea of the ongoing clearances. Targets were buzzing around our aircraft like a swarm of bees. 

I was the pilot flying. ATC descended us to 600 meters. A quick check—2000 feet. We were issued an intercept heading that was well inside of the final approach fix, which was 2900 feet. Unbeknownst to me  my captain decided to help me by clearing the PPOS. (Present Position). Timing is everything.

Before I could yell "stop", and quicker than the glide-slope could capture, bells screamed, lights flashed, the autopilot disengaged and my instant thought was— is the missed approach still in the box? During the moment of chaos the glide-slope dropped below us. I had to make a decision. Go around not knowing if we still had a programed missed approach and fly into an environment with too many planes and no knowledge of what they were doing? Or should I try to save the approach in which we were now high?  

What was the safest course of action 
based upon the situation? 

Thankfully all those thoughts happened at once because there was no time to reflect on each concern and project the choices into the future. The green line on my map, that had been pointing to the runway, was also gone.  The only green line remaining was in front of our plane but jetting off to the left. Decision time.

After the autopilot disconnected, I had immediately re-engaged it to assist while I assessed the situation. I knew precisely where I was, made an instant decision, and used vertical speed to fly down and re-capture the glide-slope.

I said, as I confirmed with my instruments, "Course locked on, glide-slope captured, auto-thrust is engage, and our decision altitude is…" It was gone. But I remembered and said, “213 feet.” The captain had reinserted the approach quickly, but not the minimums.

Within seconds runway lights reached out through the fog. There were no automatic call-outs. The captain stated, “Runway in sight," and I glanced at the altimeter—300 feet. I disconnected the autopilot and landed.

Before we ever exited the runway, the captain said, "Why'd it do that?"  

What went wrong with this approach? 

What can we learn from it? Was this an Airbus issue? ATC issue? A lack of understanding issue? Procedural issue? Share your thoughts, and on Monday I'll provide the explanation that I shared with the captain over a cold beer that night.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 



Monday, September 13, 2021

A330 Training Underway

My Training Schedule has Finally Arrived! 

I was awarded the A330 many months ago and I am finally headed for training, to begin on October 1st! I actually started studying back in May because my original start date was August 1st. Then September. Then one thing lead to another and I have been delayed yet another month. No time is  ever wasted. 

Because most airlines require at-home self-study followed by an electronic evaluation, pilots may not receive as much knowledge as they would from an instructor in a classroom and an aural evaluation. My doctoral research identified that one of the greatest threats to aviation safety is lack of knowledge. Therefore, I've decided to bring to life some of my A330 notes to help all those new-to- Airbus pilots with yet another resource of information to increase knowledge. I want to thank Airbus for providing manuals and photos online, and to all my Airbus friends who share your wisdom and your systems manuals. Today is all about the basics. 

The Brains of the Computerized Airplane:

A330: FMCEG, MCDU, and FCU 

The Flight Management System, FMS, is comprised of 2 FMGEC—Flight Management Guidance Envelope Computers. Inside each of the FMGEC computers are the operating systems that manage our A330. 

FMGEC: Flight Management. Flight Guidance. Flight Envelope Computers.

FM: Flight Management. This is the on-board computerized Dispatcher responsible for flight planning, performance, navigation, and communicating data via the PFDs, NDs, and MCDUs.

FG: Flight Guidance. This is the on-board, computerized pilot responsible for commanding the autopilot, flight directors, and authothrust.

FE: Flight Envelope. This is the on-board, computerized Flight Engineer, responsible for computing the flight envelope, maneuvering speeds, reactive windshear detection, and gross weight and CG computations and warnings.

Under normal operations the two FMGECs work together. Data entered into either MCDU (Multipurpose Control Display Unit) is shared with the other computer. While they work together, just like other glass planes, there is a master. The selection of the A/P or A/T (first on) will determine which FMGEC becomes that master. If one FMGEC has a problem, the other can handle the operation. However, the pilot must switch control on the Switching Panel. There is no automatic switching of an FMGEC computer. 

In the example below, the number 2 FMGEC failed and the pilot selected both on 1, and now the First Officers MCDU interacts with the number one FMGE



The Big Picture


MCDU: Pronounced the McDoo, is your Multipurpose Control Display Unit, which is called a CDU (control display unit) on the Boeing. The long-range goal is to get to the destination, and this computerized airplane can do that itself, with a little help from the pilot. By programming the MCDU, the pilot can set the plane for success to takeoff, climb, manage speed, level off, descend, and fly an arrival to an auto-landing at destination. Flying the plane in this automated manner is all about utilizing Managed Guidance—where the operation is fully automated and the computer is directing the aircraft. Remember, you still have to manage the mass and plan for configuration changes.

(Airbus) MCDU is a CDU (Boeing)

FCU: The Flight Control Unit is nothing more than Boeing’s MCP (mode control panel). This is where the pilot intervenes to deviate from their original programmed plan. ATC requests you slow, turn to a heading, or gives you an unexpected level off, this is how you'll manage the flight. Or, if the pilot just wants to fly the plane. When we intervene, we use Selected Guidance—where the pilots is commanding the aircraft. 

(Airbus) FCU is a MCP (Boeing)

Normal operations you want to fly the plane with a combination of both managed and selected. Many pilots rely on the managed guidance. Smart pilots take control and disengage the autopilot to maintain proficiency with their flying skills. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remembering 911

Ensure that it will Never Happen Again

911: The Day Aviation Changed



Twenty years ago today I was working my second job in Dallas, training Sun Country pilots at American Airlines Training facility. Today I am in Seattle studying A330 systems. My training finally begins October 1st. But I cannot start the day without a prayer for those who lost loved ones during these horrific attacks.  

Twenty years ago was the "day" that changed aviation. That day altered our freedoms. And each year we memorialize the lives lost. We cannot bring them back, but we can ensure that terrorism by aircraft will never occur again. 

Never Again! 

After 911 became a reality we figured out how to keep the terrorists out of the flight deck with heightened security, barrier doors, and operational procedures. But how will we keep them out of the ground-based warehouses, or prevent minimum wage employees from being bought off, or prevent them from hacking into automated systems? 

Imagine if we allow automation to operate our commercial airliners instead of pilots. If we remove pilots from airline operations, every plane in the sky will provide an opportunity for terrorists to take control and fly those aircraft into buildings. We will live this horrific experience again on an unprecedented level. We need pilots on the aircraft to ensure that doesn't happen. 

I pray the public will not allow FAA administrators, aligned with profit centers created by airline management and promised lucrative positions upon retirement, to create legislation allowing pilots to be removed from the aircraft they fly. Not even on the freight operators. Those aircraft will have the same impact. 

Today we have a corporate induced pilot shortage because of the decision to allow thousands of pilots early retirements. Was this decision due to mismanagement and shortsightedness? Or was this simply long-range strategic planning because the current FAA administrator is in place to ensure legislation to remove pilots, and a shortage was the first step? 

The first pilot shortage was due to the FAA's 1500 hour flight time requirement, which was aligned with an anticipated fully operational NEXT GEN industry. However NEXT GEN was behind schedule due to security, so automation was unable to take over at that time. Pilots remained. The second pilot shortage is due to airlines using the pandemic to provide early retirements. What happens next? It's not a conspiracy if it's really happening. 

Please, do not allow another 911 event to occur. If we lose our pilots you can be assured that hacking into our aircraft systems will be the next level of terrorism.  

As long as we don't give up, always strive to be better today than we were yesterday, and work toward improvement we can create a positive change.  This change will lead to a better world. But the change of removing pilots is not a positive step. Do not blindly follow those leaders to a path of destruction. 

Today, take a moment to remember. Then, in honor of all those we lost, do not allow the next level of terrorism to take over. 


Take steps to ensure this won't happen again. 
Do not remove pilots. 
They are your last line of defense. 

Enjoy the journey
XO Karlene



Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Pilot Fatigue

What Can You Do?

During my doctoral research I had numerous people ask me why I did not include fatigue in my study. My response was: 

Fatigue is a Stand Alone Study 

I assured those pilots there would be a fatigue driven study, and here it is. My friend and Cohort, Heidi Kim, from Embry Riddle is doing just that! 

Heidi Kim 

Heidi is a Doctoral Candidate at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the Ph.D. in Aviation Program. Her passion for human factors drove her to the Ph.D. program, and her dissertation took her in the direction of airline pilot fatigue. Prior to studying at Embry-Riddle, Heidi earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota.  "Go Fighting Sioux!" 

She is currently a Texan with a Wisconsinite heart, living in the DFW area. Heidi is not only a flight instructor (CFI/CFII/MEI), she is also a regulatory affairs investigator in Tech Ops for a major airline. Her husband is also a pilot, but for a different major airline than hers.  

Heidi and her husband, Alex, enjoy flying general aviation aircraft, traveling, and spending time with their fluffy Golden Retriever. Of course he is named Rudder. I had a Saint Bernard named Chief Pilot, because he laid around all day drooling and would do anything if you gave him a bone. 


When I asked Heidi why a fatigue study, she responded: 
 
Fatigue is a common occurrence in daily life. While it typically presents as a minor occurrence, to a pilot fatigue can be a deadly combination. 

Heidi needs your help

Heidi is working to finish her Ph.D. in Aviation through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and she needs your help. Her research seeks to determine a prediction model for airline pilot perceived fatigue. While pilot fatigue is a worldwide problem for freight carriers and passengers alike, the scope of her research is limited to U.S. based passenger airlines.

Pilots will remain anonymous - no names will be collected. You may quit at any time. There will be no risk involved in your participation, and your reward will be the positive impact that this research can have on the aviation community. Heidi said the approximate time to complete the study was 20 minutes, but it only took me 10 minutes. 


If you are a US based pilot flying for a passenger carrier, please take a few minutes to take her study by clicking on the following link: 

Thank you for your help!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Happy Labor Day 2021!

 


Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Hate Crimes and Aviation

Do They Deserve to be Terminated?

My goal is to attend Law School and pass the bar prior to my retirement in May 2027 so I can legally help those in need. With that said, I find the law interesting, often unbalanced, and I have become intimately aware of the many ways airline management attempt to get rid of employees. The following case appears to be one of those unjustified terminations. 

Three women were terminated in June for "hate-related behavior." The question is... was this justified?

You be the judge...
Was the language due to hate?


PRESS RELEASE

Envoy Air Terminates African-American and 
Two Pacific Islanders 
for reference to Jackie Chan Movie

In a letter to Envoy Air management dated August 25, 2021, New York attorney Lee Seham takes the carrier to task for terminating three employees for referring to the themselves as "slaves" and quoting a line from the Jackie Chan movie Rush Hour as a means of explaining that the reference was not intended to the offend others. The three employees - Losaolima Fonokalafi, Faye Tuala, and Asefash Asfaha - each have over twenty (20) year of seniority. They are, respectively, immigrants from Tonga, Samoa, and Eritrea (Africa) and were employed by Envoy as Inventory Control Specialists. 

Envoy found cause to terminate Ms. Fonokalafi because, in response to a comment by an aircraft mechanic that she was working too hard, she agreed that she and her co-worker's worked like "slaves." 

The following week, a white co-worker confronted Ms. Fonokalafi about her comment and asserted that "Black lives matter." Ms. Asfaha - an African-American born in Eritrea - came to her colleague's defense by explaining that Ms. Fonokalafi was from Tonga and had a different life experience from her white accuser. Ms. Asfaha compared her colleague to the innocent Chinese police detective in a hit movie who inadvertently made an offensive remark in a bar patronized exclusively African-Americans, and appealed to Ms. Tuala for help in recalling the movie and the scene. Ms. Tuala supplied the movie name and relevant quote to assist Ms. Asfaha in explaining Ms. Fonokalafi's innocence. 

Envoy terminated Ms. Fonokalafi and Ms. Tuala for allegedly making an improper "slave" reference and  because they "quoted movie lines" that were offensive. Envoy terminated Ms. Asfaha for she allegedly quoting the same movie lines. 

Mr. Seham's August 25 letter provided Envoy with precedent from the National Labor Relations Board  hold an employee has a right under federal labor law to articulate complaints concerning her working conditions using such language. He also argued: 

Every race has been enslaved and has enslaved others. Our republic's first international conflict was in response to African pirates who had enslaved over a million European and white American sailors. In the English language, the term "working like a slave" is a common idiomatic expression meaning nothing more than the individual is working hard for a paltry compensation. 

Seham further argued that terminating life-long employees for a reference to a popular movie that grossed over $245 million worldwide could not be justified, particularly when the purpose of the reference was not to offend, but to promote understanding. Moreover, the only African-American present at the time was Ms. Asfaha, whom Envoy terminated. 

On August 30, Envoy responded to Mr. Seham that it was "working on collecting data for this case..." 

END

After reading the press-release, it appears that the hate related behavior could be owned by Envoy management for an unreasonable termination of three employees. Could these three women have been terminated because of a white woman's hate towards them? Perhaps the white woman doesn't like hardworking women of other cultures, is angry at Black Lives Matter, and she simply used this event to have these senior women removed. These women could have been targeted because of their culture and their ethnicity. If Enjoy management is gathering data in August regarding a June termination perhaps they jumped the gun. 

Nothing is black and white and interpretation and common sense must prevail. The Airbus A350 manual refers the computer systems as the "master" and the "slave". To put this into perspective, imagine an African American pilot who is forced to read that language in his manual, is required to take a test and respond in that same language, and yet he could be terminated because he comments to a coworker that he he's working like a slave.  The airline is exempt from the language in the manual. Airbus is exempt from the language in the manual. But employees are terminated for the same language. 

I wish these women the best of luck in their case. I know that they have an excellent attorney representing them. Lee Seham cares about people, about justice, is an expert in the law, and I've witnessed him take on multimillion dollar law firm and win. If you need help saving your career, start by contacting Seham, Seham, Meltz and Peterson and ask for Lee. 


Read the termination letter at: eTurboNews


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene



Friday, August 13, 2021

UNITY and SAFETY

"The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings."
Albert Schweitzer


News Flash!

"August 13, 2021 — Today, The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) is proud to announce that it has filed for union representation with the National Mediation Board (NMB) on behalf of the Aircraft Maintenance Controllers at JetBlue." Read more here

Jet Blue is on the way to a safer operation 
now that their mechanics have joined AMFA!

Last month I had the honor to speak at the AMFA National Convention in Nevada, and then again at local meeting in Seattle, this month. The topic: Safety Management Systems. What impressed me most about AMFA is their unity and focus on safety. When a mechanic reports an aircraft discrepancy and the company requests they look the other way or face job action, AMFA stands to the mechanic's defense. 

Bret Oestreich, National Director and 
Will Abbott Region II Director

A positive Safety Culture is a group effort and necessitates a reporting culture free of retaliation. Safety Culture begins with leadership that encourages employees to report discrepancies in order to keep the operation safe. Time and again, we see management falling short on their ultimate obligation of safety when profit becomes the top priority. When this happens, the union must step in and enforce the regulations and protect the employee. AMFA does just that.  

AMFA understands the protections of the Air 21 statute, in which no employee can be retaliated against for reporting safety, and they financially back the mechanics in their legal defense. This makes the legal battle an even playing field, where an airline can't terminate an employee and expect them to finance a defense on their own. When employees know they are protected, they will be more apt to not fear standing up to a manager who is coercing them into pencil whipping a logbook. 

"Safety Begins with the Quality of Maintenance 
on the Ground" 

Unions are a necessity when safety is the goal. Without protected employees, you don't know what pressures have been placed upon the individual to put an un-airworthy aircraft into the sky.  Mechanics have been told, "your job or your license, you decide." But nobody should have to make such a choice. 

In response to the many lawsuits of illegal actions taken against unionized employees, think of the silence at carriers where the employees are not protected. Safety Management Systems (SMS) makes reporting a legal obligation. If anyone is retaliated against for reporting safety concerns, or writing up a maintenance issue, and you don't have a union protecting you, contact Lee Seham at: Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen

To learn more about AMFA and learn how to help your airline join the AMFA team, visit their website at: AMFA.  

Congratulations Jet Blue!
The skies have just become that much safer. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene