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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.

Friday, July 9, 2021

The Good The Bad The Ugly

When Your Mechanic Cares Too Much

Bryan Wheelz

I would like to introduce you to Bryan Wheelz, someone who cares about safety of our traveling public from a maintenance perspective, and he is sharing his passion to improve aviation safety. He told me that his parents taught him "right from wrong. Good and bad. Ethics, integrity and having a morale compass. (Integrity)," and to "always do the right things for the right reasons".  Bryan cares about what he does. He cares about doing the right job for the right reason. I'm thankful to have people like Bryan in our industry, setting standards and someone who is not afraid to speak out. 

Bryan created a Podcast: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.  You won't believe what you hear on this Podcast. It's definitely uncensored. And for all you mechanics who need a support system, this is the place for you! Safety Culture touches every aspect of aviation and could determine the outcome of your flight. Thank you Bryan! 


Please meet Bryan Wheelz: 

In aviation, safety should never take a 'back seat' or be any less of a priority. As it pertains to aviation, safety IS the priority.

The flying public places trust in aircraft crews and aircraft mechanics to preform to the highest of standards and professionalism yet in the past 14 years as an aircraft mechanic, I have seen safety take the 'back seat' over and over again. Why is this?

One commonality: 
cost savings/ profit. (Money.)

Argue it all you want but as airlines and aviation maintenance companies expand and grow larger cost cutting on: labor, benefits, salaries, training, parts, tooling, equipment and maintenance continues. All because of greed, competition, complacency and the "all mighty dollar".

I see it happen every day; leadership pressuring crews to go faster, fly longer and squeeze every second of time they can to permit more flights so that the company can generate more revenue.

Mechanics are equally pressured to go faster, work longer and 'put the blinders on' when performing maintenance on aircraft. And what happens when the 'Barney Fifes'' or the "Dudley-do-rights'" speak up? The leadership forces those people out one way or another. They do this by colluding with human resources and other like-minded managers to create the envious, 'paper trail'- and thats all human resources needs legally. Then POOF. "Your Gone jack!"


I have worked on the largest and most complex aircraft in the world. I've been a mechanic, GENFAM instructor, supervisor and a manager in nearly every facet of aviation maintenance and while in these roles I have enacted positive change to the culture and the environment and yes, I have made enemies along the way.

The relatively young, inexperienced, and feeble-minded supervisors and managers that are now the majority of those companies leadership, are threatened by people like myself. People who are confident, experienced and posses the knowledge and skill set to make positive changes to the culture, the work environment and ultimately safety.

This needs to be done through educating about the risks of 'cutting corners' and the importance of integrity under strong-arming pressure! The more people you can reach through education the better.

But it extends beyond that; educating young leadership before they fall into the trap of the 'good' ole' boy' club where they become consumed and manipulated by toxic mentalities that have become the norm and essentially promote an unsafe industry!


If history has shown us anything; Human Factors and the 'dirty dozen' play a huge role in the industries incidents and accidents. Many of these instances could have been avoided had people been made aware, educated and communicated to each other. Poor communication has played its part in the lack of safety. The unwillingness of leadership to both accept and promote an atmosphere where its encouraged to speak up and be heard has resulted in employees being quiet for fear of retaliation. Remember, I've been 'on the other side' and know that to be absolutely true!

I've seen, with my own eyes the 'behind the scene' antics that occur in aviation maintenance management. So I know just how much emphasis is not put into creating a safe, efficient, and integral culture.

The foundational premise of my podcast, "The Good the Bad and the Ugly: The Aviation Maintenance Industry- Raw and unscripted" is not only a source of personal 'venting' but a source for the unaware to be educated and for those who work within the aviation maintenance industry; to have a 'voice'. A person who is not afraid nor intimidated.


It's a humorous but raw and uncensored podcast that exposes the reality of what aircraft mechanics deal with daily and what actually goes on in the industry behind the scenes.

I have expanded it somewhat beyond the 'nitty-gritty' to include answering aviation maintenance related questions, discuss serious aviation industry 'happenings' and discuss aircraft technical information. Though the foundational premise of my podcast remains the same, "Make Aviation Great Again!" Promoting safety through education based on mine and others knoweledge and experiences.

My podcast streams on 12 platforms. The main podcast channel can be found at: https://anchor.fm/bryan-wheelz


You can also search by name of my podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, IheartRadio, tunein, Listennotes, Stitcher, Breaker, Castbox, Pocket casts, RadioPublic and spotify!

Your can reach me at: 


I leave you with this:
"Never compromise your integrity. 
And always do the right things 
for the right reasons"

~Bryan 'Wheelz'

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 



23 comments:

  1. Sadly, I can see why this fellow ruffles feathers in the flying business. We've all heard an aviation boss tell us 'it flew in, didn't it?' That mentality must become unacceptable. Thank you, Bryan Wheelz.

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    1. So true! Those who speak about safety and attempt to effect change for the better definitely ruffle feathers of those managing by threat and intimidation. I could never imagine looking the other way, if something were to happen. Not sure how management sleeps at night. Is there any amount of money in your bank account, that is worth a human life? Call me crazy, but not in my world. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. Hello, I've followed Wheelz since the very beginning of the podcast. I'm an aircraft mechanic too for a large airlines. Its great to have someone who isnt afraid of speaking out! It is a pretty raw yet funny podcast but it nails it on the head about managers. Management is out of control and there is zero accoutbality. This is good stuff

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment!!! I'm very glad he's doing this for all of us! And thank you for taking care of our planes for us, too.

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    2. Both of you are doing what you love, thats the joy

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  3. Tim S here! I work at a contract MX company in FL- We listen to his podcast and its fantastic! They guy has a passion that really shows, you can tell in his podcast! Yea he curses but who dosnt in the trades. Only thing is I wonder is he is going to get in trouble for exposing the amount of stuff mechanics and crew have to deal with. And really good informati on this page too! Glad I discovered it!

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    1. Tim, Will he get in trouble? I'm going to say a big... maybe. Only because I never thought in today's world that anyone would retaliate against an employee bring safety information forward. I was wrong. Perhaps, I was naive. But, unless we know what's happening, how will we ever fix it? What he is doing with this podcast is important. And if we can help even one mechanic find the courage to stand up to right, despite the threats of their employer, then it was worth it. Thanks for your comment!

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    2. Thanks for getting back to me Karlene! Sounded to me in his first pilot podcast that he wwas a stay at home dad now- can the FAA and past empplyers really go after someone who isnt actively working? That would be BOGUS, seems like wheelz does a pretty good job at beeping out names and only mentioned his past jobs in a good light. Well shoot now who is going to want to speak up if he gets busted? I really like your blog here also! What great information from the perspective of the crew! Its a thankless job that people flying dont think about! i might pick up your book also, is it available on amazon? thanks! Tim

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    3. Tim, Thank you so much. Exactly... stay at home dad's are harder to get. He does a really good job not naming names. I think the point is not to make an airline look bad, but to improve safety. So... he's doing well with that. I would love for you to get my books too! But, you get a way better deal off my blog than Amazon. I've undercut them. :) And... I can autograph them too. Look at the side bars... left side are fiction, right side non fiction. But I'm on the road until the 20th, and could mail them when I return. Thank you!

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    4. Todd - I work at a airline in DEN. The podcasts are a little *rough* at the beginning but you have to actually LISTEN to the WHOLE PODCAST. Good stuff. I think bryan is funny and his podcast isnt suppossed to be a comedy, the way he talks about stuff that means a lot to him you can really tell he enjoys what he does and wants to promote safety and get the word out. i think I have actually met him a few times in DEN. i think he worked the continental crash in 2008 getting the aircraft on the flat bed. you should ask him. Does he comment here at all? Karlene why dont the both of you do a podcast together??

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  4. Hello Karlene- I tried using my google account to login but its only giving me this option. Anyways just a shout out to BOTH of you! I'm a level 2 manager at a company ending with AIRLINES - haha I would not DARE say it... I think this wheelz character is just out to make the whole industry look bad! I wrote him an email a month ago and he posted it on his podcast facebook page in order to make me look foolish. We take care of both crews and mechanics if they dont throw a fit. Our jobs are hard enough than needing to defend our decisions.

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    1. AIRLINES helps... And, I am thankful that you are taking care of both employees and mechanics at your airline. Sadly, that's not always the case at others.

      Here is a link to one such case: https://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2018/04/southwest-safety-faa-findings.html

      Or this is really sad, because even though a top level manager believed the schedule was more important than safety... she coerced her employees to keep the planes flying, and the company knew, some mechanics were terminated, they got their jobs back, but later they later made her the director of maintenance:
      https://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2019/01/aviation-safety.html

      I believe Wheelz intent is NOT to make anyone look bad. I think he's just identified a huge problem, and doesn't know how to solve it other that encouraging people to speak out.

      Sadly, I know far too many mechanics that have been terminated, schedules cut, moved to unpleasant shifts because they a conflict of grounding plane, delaying a flight to get it fixed, and simply doing it right.

      I really want to thank you for sharing your experience! Because, it's people like you that are keeping us safe, too! I'm thinking that you and Wheelz could probably work together to make improvements. Maybe you could provide insight how to get other managers to be like minded. I do believe you have the same goal. You're just attacking it differently.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      This is a fabulous industry with so many really good people. But the reality of retaliation for doing the right thing is documented far too many times. Until we get that stopped, I'm not sure what the answer is. Until the airlines choose people like you and give them the authority to do the right thing... not sure how we will get there.
      Thank you so much for the comment and your strong safety culture!

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    2. Karlene and 'Mr Manager'- I'm Brianne and I've followed Karlenes page even before she posted about Whelz. I struggle with a reply because I do not want to soil Karlenes professional and honest blog by 'arguing'- As a women whos been an A/P mechanic for 6 years and...knowing WHO Mr Whelz IS I can at least tell you the real TRUTH also. I have actually met Bryan at an undisclosed company where I went thru his GENFAM classes. He is a GREAT teacher, very patient and passionate. He doesn't cuss all that much in class but I can tell you he knows these planes inside and out. I spoke to him after break in class about the pressures a woman faces in aviation and especially from bad managers. If you think it is tough being a male mechanic, its twice as bad as a female. Bryan told me the reality of the industry we work in. Its male dominated and its just going to be difficult as a female. He didn't lie to me but said in his mind, male verse female if you perform your job like you should then its not different. He told me that bad managers are going to be twice as hard on females and they are but I took a lesson from Bryan and give it right back to them! So 'Mr manager' - I dont know who you are and you dont me. I think your passive aggressive. Karlene was being nice. I am not so nice. The crew put up with so much more having to deal with mechanics cause mechanics can choose not to face some of the stuff the crew faces. But it does make it hard on mechanics when the crew has had a bad day and they let it rub off on the mechanics. Human nature. The aviation industry is going bottoms up and I think Bryan is actually an advocate for BOTH the crew and mechanics. Without pilots and mechanics whos going to fly the plane and make money? YOU? I dont think so. Wake up!

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    3. Brianne, Thank you for your strong and honest comment. I suppose I viewed what the manager said that it was from his perspective in his closed world, as his point of view. I know that is not the case in the rest of the world, and I am so glad Bryan is speaking out. I also know that being a woman in a mens world is different, and often challenging, in a non-traditional field. Personally speaking, I know that women in my generation of flying had to perform better than the men, be better, we had to be error free as we were representing our gender not just our own performance. And yes, I know many women who were abused because of their gender and they were easy targets to pick on. Not unlike the school yard bullies who picked on the smaller kids in grade school. You were very fortunate to have Bryan for your instructor. You'll carry those lessons with you for life. As pilots we depend on you...so I appreciate every mechanic who stands up for right. Thank you so much for your comment! Keep up the great work.

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  5. I too cant login to my google account to reply. Lee from KS- Look i've listened to wheelz podcast and I think he is spot on. Not that he doesnt know how to solve the issues, hes addressed it enough time, the man talks about the pressures that mechanics and crews face-its that there isnt one person is going to actually make a difference until everybody takes a stand. The guy isnt off his rocker like this level two manager is getting at. karlene your too nice to that guy- its people like him who go at good mechanics and screw them over. i am sure crews have the same types and from what ive read on the blog here it happens just as much. wheelz is doing something that nobody hast the balls to do. nobody. yea his podcast had a bad microphone at the beginning but hes not a pro, hes an aircraft mechanic telling the truth and he puts his money where his mouth is. i really like the variety of stuff he talks about also, very smart guy. he could get away with just talking about plane mechanical stuff! karlene you blog is spot on, ive been sharing it with guys in the shop here. its cool getting a pilots perspective also, really well done. I assume your going to get a lot of comments on here.

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    1. Lee, Thank you for the comment and more information on what Wheelz is doing. I was hoping that second level manager was just on the same page and not seeing what's happening out there because he doesn't behave that way. That I cannot judge because I don't know him. But I do know what is going on out there. I've seen it oh too many times. I also know the strength that it takes to do something that nobody else has the balls to do, and I applaud him for his strength and integrity. And thank you so much for your Kind words.

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  6. The guy has got his finger on the pulse of aviation- BOTH of you do! Need to definitely be promoting the S*** out of this podcast! So many people dont know aboout whats going on. I follow him on twitter and hes just so friggin knoweledgeable. KUddos to both of you- keep up the great work
    Adam C. -IL

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    1. Thank you so much! Glad someone is promoting this, too!

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  7. Hello, So I work at DEN also and been following wheelz podcast since he began. I am pretty sure I remember wheelz when he was the MX supervisor at ***** and the guy was pretty cool. He made more enemies than friends becuase he didnt "compromise his integrity" like he says in his podcast over and over again.if hes who i think he is. made a good name here on the field as someone who doesnt put up with bull shit but really good to his guys. I read karlenes blog here after wheelz talked about it in his podcast. karlene are you and him the same person? you both say the same thins yet it seems like no one is listenting? I hate supervisors who bully people, we are just trying to do our jobs and good as we can. karlene i like your information here it is very good stuff and it right on. I am writing you from our shops computer so i dont want to get caught- would you and wheelz do a podcast together sometime? thanks for the good info! thanks for having his podcast info in here. you must think hes pretty good too. keep up the good work karlene! Zack

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    1. Zack Thank you for the comment. I had no idea he mentioned my blog on his podcast. I just connected with him via LinkedIn because liked his focus on safety and integrity for doing the right thing. And, I think that would be very fun to do a podcast together. I'll have to talk to him about that. This week I am honored to speak about SMS at the AMFA convention. Do you know why they made mechanics? So pilots could have heroes. Thank you for your kind words and reaching out!

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    2. Its zack again- sneaking back on the computer at work before the shift begins. thanks for the reply karlene. thats how i heard about your blog was his podcast and your blog is mentioned in the podcast description. pilots and mechanics need each other just as much as the flight attendants need pilots.ill be waiting to see if you guys ever do a podcast together that would be cool. thanks for the reply again. ill share your blog with the others here without the sup finding out.

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    3. Zack, we will make that happen!!! Standby!

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