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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, September 2, 2022

For the Love of Aviation

Breakfast in Narita is a Fun Read! 

Jean, Jeff and Kathy in the Good Ole Days
Northwest Airlines 

I met Kathy McCullough, Retired Northwest Captain, and the author of Breakfast in Narita, back in 1997. She is a good friend who was one of the first female pilots at Northwest Airlines. I am honored to write this post because I understand the effort it took to bring her current book to life, and what she experienced to be able to tell this story.  

Ten years ago Kathy McCullough began writing this novel. Four or five years ago, I did my first read and edit with four more to follow over the years. While it takes a team to write a book, I understood the world this story originated and the importance to get it right. As an author it's hard to tell a story when you  you're in the center of the action in real life. It becomes necessary to step outside the drama in order to tell the story, and allow the characters to have a life of their own... to share the challenges of women in aviation but make it a fun read. Because honestly, it was not always that much fun. Unless you made it fun, which Kathy and I did on many occasions. 

While this book is fiction with a sinister plot that includes corruption to the highest and most disgusting level in the pursuit of financial gain, the events of what Kathy lived are true. 

Since June 6th there were 20,447 views on LinkedIn visiting the post on Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry. And 15,224 views on the follow up Not my Problem, Think Again. Thanks to an FAA report and Dr. Tony Kern for his great insight as to the inability to have a positive safety culture with this type of behavior ongoing, we are one step closer to solving the age old problem. 

Breakfast In Narita: 

Kathy lived in this world, and I understood the story she was trying to tell. I am glad she invited me to be part of her team. While dining in Haneda, dinner and dessert, at the gym, in the tub, while locked in my hotel, I had the opportunity to read this novel for the final time. And I smiled as I read this version because this is the book she was looking to write. She did it! 

There I was... Reading Breakfast In Narita 
While Having Dessert in Haneda


"My grandmother encouraged me to write as a child, and I loved creating stories. It was my goal to be a published writer long before Amazon existed. I sold some stories to Woman’s World and Cricket magazines, so I knew I could do it. After all, I heard Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing Little House on the Prairie at age 65. 

I used to drag a heavy word processor around the world with me. When you wake up in the middle of the night in a hotel room, there are not many things you can do. That’s why I have two nonfiction books, and a lot of journals and other writing. Breakfast in Narita is fiction because I'm hoping the real characters from this book have grown in their retirement years. At least they won't be causing anyone grief in the future. Besides, fiction is a fun challenge, or at least I thought it would be. 

I thought writing Breakfast in Narita would be easier to get it down on paper than it was. Creating believable characters and making their dialogue sound real is hard. I took tons of classes and went to writing conferences. Show don’t tell. I am very good at “telling” a story, but showing is different. Also, I didn’t want my main character to sound whiny or mean, although there was plenty to whine about. There were so many false starts and so many times I gave up and quit working on this book. Then a flight attendant friend-of-a-friend read my nonfiction book, Ups and Downs. She loved it. 

She loved my voice and told me I had a gift. That’s what I needed to make me finish this. Encouragement and confidence. Now I’m glad I did, because the feedback has been incredible. A goal accomplished!"

For Your End of Summer Read
I recommend:

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Not My Problem

 Think Again!

There were 20,421 views on LinkedIn alone in response to the June 8th post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry as a result of Dr. Kern's article, An Honest Discussion Men Need to Have Right Now. Not to mention the thousands of views from other social media sites. If you have not read that post yet, I think you should. Dr. Kern had written his article in response to the FAA's report "Breaking Barriers for Women in Aviation."

Today is Part Two
Dr. Kern's second article: 

Dr. Kern believes there are two reasons why women don't speak out when they are sexually harassed: (1) Fear of retribution and (2) they don't want to play the victim card. Sometimes it's also easier to simply look the other way and pretend the behavior doesn't exist. Other times women think by ignoring the behavior, they are being accepted as part of the group. Furthermore, if the behavior doesn't happen to them, it's easy to believe it's not occuring at all. As I mentioned in my post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry, the problem may be due to the deviant behavior of management. 

If senior leadership behaves poorly, they set the example for others to follow. This behavior becomes the culture. Culture includes the norms and behaviors of everyone in the organization. But culture begins at the top. Culture also dictates who the organization will employ, which will often be the same cookie cutter selection they have always chosen. The aviation industry even has a culture of its own. 

Dr. Kern has brought to our attention that it is impossible to have a positive safety culture when sexual harassment is prevalent. He discusses the need to change and how that might happen. I do believe it's possible to change culture. But I also know what it feels like to be at the pointy end of retaliation when attempting to create change for the better. Therefore, I understand why people are reticent to come forward to create change of any kind. There is no right answer to this problem other than to start at the top. Unfortunately when a CEO is also the Chairman of the Board in an organization with a negative safety culture, that change becomes difficult to manage. Even Board members may fear retaliation if they attempt to rid themselves of the bad example. The negative culture persists.

I highly recommend you read Dr. Kern's article

Then... let's all think how to solve this problem. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Pilot Faculty Position Available

In Puerto Rico

Inter American University 
of Puerto Rico School of Aeronautics 
needs you! 

Exciting news! A fellow ERAU PhD Aviation program graduate, Dr. Jonathan Velazquez, Dean of the School of Aeronautics at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, has reached out looking for a full time faculty position. All classes will be taught in English. The job is in Puerto Rico. And I'm thinking this could be an opportunity of a lifetime. Time is running out. You only have until August 8, 2022 to apply. Phone numbers and contact information below. 

Tenure Track Professional Pilot Faculty Position: 
The School of Aeronautics is seeking a full-time faculty member for the undergraduate Aircraft Systems Management (Professional Pilot) program. 

This is a 9-month tenure track appointment
The selected applicant should be in place by the second week of 
August 2022 for the fall 2022 semester

  • Teach courses as assigned such as: 
    • Private, instrument, commercial, and/or instructor pilot ground schools. 
    • Applied Aerodynamics  Advanced Aircraft Systems 
    • Aviation Weather 
    • Aviation Safety and Security 
    • Air Carrier Operations 
  • Advise students on academic matters and career planning. 
  • Teach selected courses in-person and via videoconferencing simultaneously. 
  • Serve on division, college, and/or university committees as assigned. 
Minimum Qualifications
  • Master’s degree in Aviation or related field. 
  • FAA Advanced Ground Instructor (or Certified Flight Instructor) and Instrument Ground Instructor (or Certified Flight Instructor Instrument) certificates. 
  • Experience in fields applicable to aviation.
  • Ability to apply current instructional technology in classroom and distance learning. 

In accordance with the current salary scale for teaching staff of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. 

To Apply: 

Send your job application, self-identification forms (Veterans and People with Disabilities), Resume, Letter of Intent and academic credentials and Vaccination Certificate (full cycle) against COVID-19 to: 

Inter American University of Puerto Rico, 
Bayamon Campus, 500 
Dr. John Will Harris Rd., 
Bayamón, PR 00957. 

Apply by August 8, 2022

You may obtain the documentation necessary at 

Due to the COVID-pandemic, applications can be sent to the following email addresses (as long as the documentation is also sent via regular mail):

If you have any questions, you may call the Human Resources Office at
 787-279-1912, ext. 2056

All the best!
Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Pilot Shortage

A Government Funded Event

The government bought and paid 
for this pilot shortage
with your taxpayer dollars!

While I do have an MBA, it does not take a masters in business to see that this summer pilot shortage should have been avoided. A quick Internet search indicates that the government paid airlines insurmountable funds to survive the "Covid" challenge: An $85 Billion Rescue May Only Delay the Pain and Taxpayers spent Billions on Bailing out Airlines.  

How Airlines Used 
Your Taxpayer Dollars

Airline management used your money to pay extremely large sums to their most senior pilots to encourage them to retire early. Some airlines paid pilots 55 hours a month for three years, to leave with all their benefits. Those benefits are a high value too. To put this into perspective, that's approximately $20,000 a month. That is a modest number, as in some cases that payment was significantly more. To compensate for that process, airlines are now paying pilots 2-3 times more per trip to encourage them to fly overtime, causing a world of fatigue and pilot unrest. Literally. The results are passengers are being grounded for their summer travel and pilots are exhausted. Don't think this is for summer only. The airlines are so far behind the power curve that they are sending instructors to fly during summer months, cutting much needed training, which will exacerbate the problem come the holidays. 

Perhaps the government was acting in good faith. However, when giving an open checkbook to airline management who do not care about operating an airline, do not care about safety, do not care about the flight crews or passengers, but instead care only about lining their pockets with the intent to take the money and run-- passenger travel and safety will be in jeopardy. 

Either the current airline flight cancellations are occurring because airline management has absolutely no idea how to operate an airline, or they have devised a shell game creating an illusion of management. A staged pilot shortage enables airline management to cancel less lucrative flights, raise prices, and feign ignorance of what pushing pilots to their limits will do to performance, reducing many levels of safety due to fatigue in the process. 

The  Solution is Simple! 

1) Offer those pilots that have already been paid to retire an opportunity to return to the flightline. These pilots will take a day in the simulator, maybe two, depending on currency and they will be qualified. 

2) Enable those pilots who were forced to retire at 65 to return to the flight deck and fly until 67 to get the airlines through this challenging time. They too will require minimal training. 

Captain Rich Seiler, forced to retire at 65 six months ago, is still playing semi-professional senior baseball, is physically fit, competent and wants to fly.  It simply does not make sense to ground him and other pilots like himself that could be helping in this time of need. 

Union and Pilot Objections and Solutions: 

SENIORITY:  "It's not fair they come in over our seniority." SOLUTION: Place them on their original equipment, base of their choice, at the bottom of the seniority list in that base. 

UPGRADE:  "It's not fair, it will delay my upgrade." RESPONSE: Maybe for the short term. But growth is immense and airlines expect to hire 14,500 new pilots over the next 8 years. This is not a long term solution, but simply until the airlines get caught up with training.

DOUBLE PAY: "They'll take my overtime trips" RESPONSE: There are overtime trips being cancelled now. There is more than enough to go around for everyone. 

OVER 65 PHYSICAL HEALTH:  Pilot's fitness is assessed whether they are 55, 65. or 67. That make no difference. Either a pilot is or is not fit. Age is not the issue. NetJets employs pilots to fly that are older than 89. 

COGNITIVE ABILITY:   There are tests to check cognitive ability. While every person has a different baseline, these tests could be utilized to determine a decline in the performance of a pilot for their own level. 


I would think with contract negotiations in progress at all airlines, that creative minds on both sides could solve the problem by simply signing a contract that works for everyone and enables this 12-24 month fix, with a long-term contract secured. 

Flying Fatigue

Flying fatigue is similar to flying drunk. Federal regulations have created limits to avoid pushing pilots to fly too many consecutive hours that would impact performance. However, the previous FAA administration has approved airlines to place pilots on duty for more than 25 hours due to this pilot shortage with the excuse being Covid, and called it a "workaround".  Currently airline management believe that it is okay for these extended duty times as they and the FAA manipulate the meaning of a deadhead. Therefore, until we allow our retired pilots to return, even those over 65, passenger safety will be in jeopardy because of an FAA/Airline workaround that induces fatigue instead of mitigating risk. 

FAA Challenge

I challenge the FAA to justify why it's safer for a 64 year-old pilot to be on duty for over 25 hours, versus a healthy qualified 65 year-old that has 40 years of experience flying airplanes, to be a safer option for passenger travel. 

The Solution is Simple
The Question is 
Why Aren't they doing this?

Enjoy the Journey 
Karlene Petitt PhD, MBA, MHS

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Aviation Needs Your Help...

Justice Depends on It!

As you know I have been writing aviation thrillers that have taken a life of their own due to a litany of ongoing events. This is the situation-- in every story there is good and evil. But what happens when the good wins ... but evil prevails? That is not how the world should work. That is definitely not how the story should end. 

I need your help to support the real Darby Bradshaw in her fight for justice. Her attorney has recommended a GoFundMe account to help with her legal fees, that are well over $600,000 and adding up daily, but she has refused. She even sold her home to help finance this fight for safety. Darby's case has turned into a battle of attrition where the airline is utilizing vexatious litigation with stockholder funds to destroy a pilot who was promoting safety.

(Not really Darby, but who should play her in the movie)

Today I am asking the entire Aviation Community and anyone who loves to travel (and read) to please help with this fight for safety and justice. I am not asking anyone to donate money, I am asking everyone to help the real Darby by buying books. Even sharing this post on your social media platforms can help. I am giving 100% of all proceeds directly to the real Darby Bradshaw's legal battle. Buy them for yourself, gift them to others, and know that you are helping create an industry that we can be proud to call aviation, and leave a legacy to those coming up behind us. Please help Darby to continue to survive, as she has already faced the most challenging 6 years of her life that may not end for years to come. 

In Flight For Discovery, we never imagined that Global Air Lines would go to trial after everything that Darby and her attorney discovered. Not to give away any plot points, but in real life, Global went to trial and lost. Global appealed, and they lost again. Global is paying seven attorneys from two of the largest law firms in the United States millions of dollars to defend an indefensible position. This law only provides for "reasonable" attorney fees for the complainant. Depending how long the bad guys drag it out, she could win but financially lose. Darby is not crying... she is standing her ground. Management on the other hand are behaving like two-year-olds.

Global has lost on every front. Today Global managers are stomping their feet and crying. They are throwing all their toys at the wall to see if one sticks, hoping to get their way. We are unsure if the law firms are promoting the current ridiculous litigation, or if this is an executive decision to delay the inevitable and the CEO has told the legal teams to spare no expense and destroy Darby. 

While Darby has won, and won again, the legal proceedings continue. The Department of Labor Administrative review board (ARB) remanded her case back to the original judge because her award was unprecedentedly "too high". There was a reason for that award. While the ARB removed her forward pay and damages, they also decided to allow the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to reopen the record and allow for new testimony to determine if he was correct in his assumption that the retaliation would be ongoing through the end of her career, and cause her great harm. 

The ALJ will soon learn that he was correct in his predictions, but he could never imagine the depths that the Global management team would go to harm Darby. These legal battles are financially draining-- Global's intent. 

Since Global's recent loss they have (1) filed a petition for review, (2) prematurely filed an appeal in another court out of jurisdiction and prior to the case being closed, (3) filed a motion for a protective order, or, in the alternative for reconsideration, or, in the alternative to certify for an interlocutory review, (4) filed a motion for leave to file reply in support of it's cross-motion for stay, (5) filed an opposition motion to for additional hearings to consider further evidence of lost future earnings, emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of reputation as a result of the airlines adverse action taken against her and engaging in protected activity and for pre-hearing discovery schedule, and (6) filed a 186-page brief in the court they do not belong, to answer a singular question. 

With each event Darby's expenses increase. She needs your help. There are good people working behind the scenes to help me ensure this process never harms anyone else again. Unfortunately, nobody could have possibly known how ineffective the AIR21 statute could be until Global airline management broke the law and then snubbed their nose at it, were too arrogant to quit, and opted to spend millions in litigation versus training pilots or adequately staffing the airlines, at stockholder and passenger expense. 


Help the Good to Win 
and Prevail! 





All Proceeds Go to the real Darby's Litigation Costs
You can purchase them on my blog or on Amazon. 
Ebooks are the easiest and there is no shipping expense.


Flight For Justice
Flight For Revenge
The Truth Behind the Flight For Series
Weaponization of Mental Health

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Sexual Harassment

In The Airline Industry

Dr. Tony Kern wrote an article in the Skies Magazine addressing Sexual Harassment and the impact on safety in the airline industry, in response to the FAA's report "Breaking Barriers for Women in Aviation." Dr. Kern want's to shout to the world that something is very wrong, and he could not be more right.

Numbers Speak Louder than Words

This is not just a line pilot issue, but many of these numbers involve management and union representatives. The very people who should be setting a positive example. Imagine a line check airman pounding on a female pilot's door at 1 a.m. trying to get her to go out and drink with him on a layover during her captain upgrade training. When she doesn't go out with him he gives her a negative write-up with no recourse. What about a regional director who is talking to a chief pilot and check airman, discussing how a female pilot's pants fit and uses the term cameltoes. He's still a director. Think about the female captain who has her phone taken by a union representative, and he takes pictures of himself and posts them on her facebook page via her phone. She doesn't say anything because, "What good would it do anyway?" Then there is a female pilot who is touched and harassed, and when she turns the union representative down and walks away he throws something at her, she turns and it hits her in the eye, sending her to the emergency room? She doesn't do anything and asserts, "He was just messing around." Fear of retaliation and being labeled is real.

The extent of sexual harassment today is not just about off-color jokes or dirty pictures in the cockpit that we experienced years ago. It wasn't long ago that I listened to a phone recording from a captain to a flight attendant who was working to become a pilot. The message her captain left was that she "would make a better flight attendant than a pilot, and the only reason a woman should be in the cockpit is to give a pilot a blowjob." Airline management took no action when this was reported.

What makes a captain, a regional director, a chief pilot, a training captain, or union representative think they can behave this way? Perhaps it goes back to the culture of the airline. If a married airline VP gets his assistant pregnant and nothing happens to him despite senior management knowing, or a CEO who sleeps with flight attendants, and gets one (or more) pregnant, which becomes the talk of airline, this type of behavior sets the example for all others. The numbers in the FAA report don't lie.

I highly recommend you read Dr. Kern's article:

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene

Monday, May 30, 2022

Solutions to Mental Health

By Improving the Cultural Environment

Last week in the post: Mental Health and Culture, I presented the negative impact and power that corporate culture has on the mental health of a pilot, and how a toxic work environment can negatively impact any employee.  Today I want to share how airlines could improve the mental health of pilots, and the entire workgroup overnight, if they were truly concerned. 

With all the rhetoric about concern for pilots' mental health, I suggest there are some easy steps that could be taken to improve the mental health and associated performance of our pilots. 

1). Sign the pilot contract and remove uncertainty. There is absolutely no reason that airline pilots should wait 4-5 years, or longer, to get a contract to improve working conditions. The stress of this uncertainty is impacting the mental health of all your pilots, and contractual requirements are necessary to reduce fatigue. 

2). Airline management should honor Federal Regulations and stop extending flight crews to ungodly hours on duty via corporate "workarounds" despite the FAA's approval. Placing pilots on duty over 24 hours may be deemed a workaround, but that practice is in violation of any SMS. This practice is causing excessive fatigue and is a safety concern. 

3). Staff the airline properly to enable employee downtime. Granted, airline management allowed early retirement of far too many pilots to rid itself of the most expensive pilots, despite being allotted government money as a result of Covid. But two wrongs don't make a right. Fix your mistakes, don't cover them up with pilot pushing. 

4). Pay all pilots adequately versus paying some double time to incentivize pilots to fly fatigued. This statement circles back to point 1: Sign your contract. 

5). Management should be held to higher standards than those they lead. Hypocrisy angers most people, and the double standards of ethics and compliance sets the bar for other employees very low.

6). Scrap the doctor note requirement (that is easily obtained) and treat your employees with respect. Every U.S. pilot is required to sign a release asserting that they are fit to fly prior to departure. Unfortunately, some airline management has determined that these professionals cannot make that determination prior to arriving to the airport. Perhaps we should have a doctor sign the release at each departure certifying pilots are fit to fly, if pilots cannot be trusted to know their health. 

7). Allow pilots to use their allotted sick leave for mental health days without question. If a pilot were to have an argument with their spouse that has put them on edge, is dealing with a troubled teen, a crying baby, or just wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, that pilot should be able to use his or her allotted sick days for a mental health day. Those who know they should not be in a plane will act accordingly and call in sick anyway. If required, they will find a doctor to write them a note. No doctor will ever force a pilot to fly. My question is, why is the company forcing pilots to lie so the pilot can ensure a safe operation

8). Management should practice what they preach. Nothing sickens people more than observing behavior that contradicts the marketing mantra that is known to be false. 

9). Stop paying doctors to falsely assert pilots are alcoholics or mentally unfit because they report safety concerns. Meaning, stop retaliating and just solve the problem instead of killing the messenger. 

There will always be pilots with multiple issues outside the workplace that they are trying to deal with. The FAA wants those pilots to come forward if they need help. Everyone, management included, advises us to seek help before it's too late. The problem is, if all a pilot needs is some time to deal with issues at home, to exercise, sleep and get physically and mentally healthy, then wouldn't the first step be to take some time off? Why wouldn't that first step be to use their sick leave to get some much needed rest? If a pilot has sick-leave available, why is that pilot prohibited from using that time until he pushes himself to sickness or mentally breaks? 

10). The FAA should mandate that any pilot who needs time off should be allowed to use company allotted sick leave without question. 

“Take your time healing, as long as you want. 
Nobody else knows what you’ve been through. 
How could they know how long it will take to heal you?” 
— Abertoli

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, May 27, 2022

Mental Health and Culture

Of An Airline

We are approaching the end of Mental Health Awareness month, and with the recent China Eastern Flight MU5735 crash, due to pilot suicide, pilots' mental health continues to be a topic of conversation. However, I believe we should pause for a moment, and shift the focus of this conversation away from the effect and focus on the cause of stress.

There is no justification for harming another person, but every person has a breaking point. Some people are more resilient than others, but that can change overnight if the person works within a toxic environment. Perhaps the industry and the FAA should look at the airline environment. 

I listened to Dr. Susan Northrup on the FAA Podcast on mental health today.  The FAA ensures us that it's okay to speak out if you are a pilot who has a problem you cannot deal with, without risk to your certification. She discusses the resources available for coping. Then a pilot assistant member, Ellen, encouraged pilots to talk early and talk often to help eliminate the stress. I would recommend listening to the Podcast and download it. Listen to it because there is good advice, and download it in the event your company management decides to retaliate and claims you're unfit to fly. 

My concerns with the FAA's assertions are with the group of FAA approved AME's who are on the "list" to be purchased by airlines for giving false and disqualifying diagnosis. I was recently told by an FAA HIMS AME that "Doctors can be bought" and he asserted "this is a dirty business". Therefore, when an airline can assert a pilot is overly concerned for safety and thinks a manager is out to get her, therefore she must be like the Germanwings pilot, then can pull her from duty with an assertion of mental health, and then subsequently pay a HIMS psychiatrist $74,000 to give her a diagnosis that "permanently" removes her from flight, how safe is the pilot who seeks help?

My friend recently visited a mental health care professional because of her toxic working environment in what she said "is a very low-stress job". Her comment to me was, "Could you imagine if we faced this in a high-stress job?" Yes, I could, as flying airplanes is a high-stress career. The therapist said that most of us have Teflon skins that can shield anything, but when there are cracks in the Teflon, the snakes get it and can destroy you. A pilot later reminded me that excessive heat also destroys Teflon. How much heat is being applied to pilots?

After the Germanwings crash the FAA and associated task-force groups were formed to determine what could be done to assess the mental health of pilots. But the Germanwings pilot had been through a swinging door of a psychiatric ward for many years and his inadequate performance was well documented. That potential event was not a surprise. That accident was not the typical result of a stressed pilot and could have been stopped. That crash was the result of a broken human and authorities looking the other way. 

As a benefit to US Airlines' bottom line, former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta did not require airline pilots to take neuropsychological tests during each physical, saving airlines millions. Huerta asserted that psychological tests are ineffective because they reveal a pilot’s mental health for only a moment in time without providing insight into whether the pilot will suffer problems later. The Germanwings pilot could have been identified as a problem at any point in time by reading his files, not by one of those tests. 

Unfortunately, the FAA is still requiring the neuropsychological testing for pilot return due to mental health related issues, despite Huerta's assertion. Those tests are completely unrelated to mental health but are directly related to cognitive ability. Those tests are nothing but brain games that are difficult for anyone to pass without preparation. There is training available, and the tests can also be found on line. Even the Germanwings pilot could have been trained to pass those tests, but that would not have made him a better pilot and would not have solved his mental health issues. The results would have been the same.  

Corporate Responsibility and Causation

It's illegal for employees to be forced to work in a toxic environment, so says OSHA. There are laws protecting employees from unsafe environments. Where are the laws to protect pilots from working in a negative safety culture? The FAA has made Safety Management Systems (SMS) a federal regulation that requires a positive safety culture. Yet the FAA is looking the other way and allowing retaliation in the workplace, and "workarounds" of duty time regulations placing pilots on duty for up to 25 hours, of which is a violation of SMS. 

Hundreds of pilots across the nation are picketing and fighting for contracts addressing fatigue and work rules. I find it ironic that airline management and the FAA are touting mental health awareness, when one of the primary killers of sound mental health is fatigue. Pilots can handle most anything when they are rested, but push them to an excessive level of fatigue and their skills decline---memory, performance, and coping.

Nobody performs well when fatigued. Performance decreases, tempers raise, mistakes occur, and coping skills lower. A simple view of the ASAP program and the thousands of errors made daily are a result of something. Fatigue? Poor training? Distraction? Work environment is everything to mental health. My friend who was talking to her mental health professional was doing so because of the behavior of a director in her department. What about airline management behavior?

Imagine an airline manager terminating a pilot who was dealing with his divorce, on medical leave, on medication, and he pass traveled and was fired for policy violation. "He forgot to get permission." Yet a director is proven to have retaliated against a pilot for reporting safety and yet nothing happens to him. These situations create an unjust environment and produce a negative safety culture. 

When airlines utilize programs like HIMS to control pilots and assert that everyone in the program is an alcoholic, even if they were forced there for their first-ever glass of wine and got pulled over for a taillight or they would be fired, or were raped. But the pilot's objection to the assertion is identified as "alcoholics behavior". The abuse and hardship in the HIMS program has caused numerous pilots to commit suicide, but is being swept under the rug. These pilots are not killing themselves in a plane, but their lives should matter. The reason they are pulling the trigger should be investigated. When the program is the problem, it should be fixed. 

What if airline management retaliates against employees for bringing forth safety concerns, and because management has the power and unlimited stockholder funds they get away with it. What would that do to the mental health of a pilot? I read yesterday, "We should never underestimate how psychologically weakening and damaging it is to be forced to treat as true something that is not true."  This applies to those being accused of being alcoholics as well.

How far can airline management push pilots until they break? That breaking point is a moving target for each pilot and differs between individuals.  What pushed that extremely senior first officer on China Eastern Flight MU5735, who should have been flying as a captain, to crash his plane? 

If airline management and the FAA alike are interested in improving mental health, I believe the focus should be on changing the environment, versus hunting those who have had their teflon cracked due to the work environment.

Sign contracts, honor federal regulations regarding duty time limitations, lead by example, respect your flight crews, and stop working them like pack mules. When a person continually beats a dog with a stick and the dog bites him, whose fault is it?

The current world environment due to Covid, compliance, fear of the unknown, lack of security, finances, family worries, lockdowns, etc., has created an environment ripe for mental health concerns. Mix that with the high stress job of a pilot. Add a huge dose of a toxic environment due to negative safety culture, knowledge that pilots are not protected by regulations because the FAA is allowing airlines to "workaround" regulations and tell me what we should expect as a result? Pilots are human.  

I do not support or believe any agency should force medication on a pilot to "find his or her way back to the flight deck" if the reason the pilot is having issues is the result of a negative safety culture. Fix the environment. Don't drug the pilot who reports safety concerns and then is frustrated by the lack of FAA oversight and management's violation of corporate policy and federal regulations and may not manage that frustration well because they are excessively fatigued due to those corporate violations. What coping skills are needed in this situation?  Look the other way, or be drugged so you no longer care about passenger safety? Perhaps we should fix the culture.

If the FAA seriously wants to improve mental health, and I believe they do, then Safety Culture and SMS at all airlines should be enforced. AMEs who are known to be purchased should be removed. I know a doctor who knows who these doctors are. Will the FAA start their investigation at his door? Time will tell. 

Return Monday to see what we can do to improve mental health. 

Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Gambling With Your Life

 A Sickness in the Aviation Industry 

There are good gamblers and there are bad gamblers. The distinction between the two is knowing when to walk away from the table.

When a person is not dealt the desired cards or the dice aren't rolling his way, a good gambler has the mental capacity to accept his losses and walk away from the table. Whereas a bad gambler goes on tilt. The bad gambler thinks if he doubles down he will eventually win. He believes that time is on his side. Until he loses everything.

Knowing odds, understanding statistics, and having the ability to make educated decisions can help while playing cards. However, the ego driven individual who cannot handle losing, despite what it will cost him, and begins betting on the river with nothing in his hand, the odds are against him. 

What happens when these high-level poker games are real life and passengers' lives are at stake?

Airline Management and Gambling

When airline managers begin gambling with passenger safety and someone calls them on it, and these managers stay in the game despite having nothing in their hand, they are destined for failure. When management loses, and the ego takes over and compels them to try and win at any cost, ignoring the high risk behavior, this identifies a sickness not unlike that of the gambler who is unable to walk away from the table. Unfortunately these managers are gambling with peoples lives. 

When the embarrassment of that loss becomes too great, and these managers decide to permanently remove the player from the game who called them out for risking passengers lives, instead of solving the problem, this compulsive behavior identifies a sickness. When these managers want that person gone at any expense, and are willing to pay any amount to stay in a game that they cannot win, simply to remove the player permanently, raises this behavior to the level of a psychosis. 

Unfortunately these managers hold the worst possible hand during the game of getting even. Yet, they stay in the game. This game is now live for others to watch. The cameras are rolling and these managers have to redeem their integrity. They have to prove they can win despite not having anything in their hand. They have to get rid of that player who won, to prove they were correct and restore their manhood.

The problem is, when these ego driven managers have placed themselves in this position they are not making logical decisions. They are not focused on their jobs. Not focused on managing the airline. And, unfortunately, they are financing this high-level poker game with stockholder and employees' money. These managers have unlimited pockets and can attack the player they want gone without any accountability. 

They believe time is on their side, and continue dumping money into a game they cannot win. Perhaps believing that eventually they may get lucky. More likely they have nothing to lose and intend to keep the game going as long as they can, at everyone else's expense, knowing that when the game is finally shutdown, they will be retired with their golden parachutes and stock options.

It's unfortunate when these games begin as the result of players, highly invested in passenger safety, say, "We should not gamble on passenger's live." When management's response is to remove the player, Federal Law (AIR21) is supposed to protect the individual, as reporting culture is required under Safety Management Systems (SMS). Sadly, airline managers have learned to use the AIR21 statute as another high-level poker game where the individual who reported safety becomes an unwitting player.

Irresponsible gambling is a sickness. It doesn't matter if you're sitting in a card room or at the Board of Directors table of an airline. Someone who cares might need to intervene and help those who cannot help themselves. If you know a gambler, airline manager, or a CEO who needs help do the right thing, please help them to help themselves. Identification of the problem is the first step. 

Airline Management and Gamblers alike, 
If you have a gambling problem get help!


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene PhD, MBA, MHS

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Home Sweet Home



Every New Beginning Comes
The End of a New Beginning

My first Golf course!
Built with love for my hubby. 

This is a one-level, 2500 square-foot home that has a generator that automatically powers the entire house and all appliances in 30 seconds of a power outage. There is built-in air-conditioning with a heat pump, an electric gate with a 7-car parking space, a tankless water heater, a putting green in the backyard and a slate patio out front with a living fountain.  Two large gas fireplaces, and even a new roof!  

A 400 square foot kitchen 
creates a living space all its own!

It's been said, "No woman could do that!" But yes, I tiled the kitchen floors, the countertops, backslpash, the brick around the fireplace and on the far wall. I even designed the hanging lamp. A NWA first officer saw me drawing a picture of what I wanted, and he told me his wife made stained glass lamps. Believe in the power of putting what you want into a visual and you can make it happen. Years later we went to A330 school together. (Lamp does not go with the house). 

I planted the bamboo in the backyard, but it's not normal bamboo. It's clumping bamboo and she grows  straight up and not sideways, so this does not create havoc with pipes and makes a gorgeous privacy fence. Best thing I ever did and will do this again at my lake house.

There are hardwood, slate, and tile floors throughout the entire home, with custom shutters in all bedrooms. That is a great feature if you need to sleep in the day after flying all night. A must in every home. 

Then the designer 400 sf kitchen w/gas fireplace & vaulted ceiling opens to a 250 sf glass-covered deck. Off the other side of the deck is a 340 sf den with a wine fridge & sink. 

This room, alias den, was my office. I had a hide-a-bed for the grandkids, area rugs to play on, a television and a toy box. Many fun times were found in this room, and many books were written here as well. But I can totally see a pool table. Oh... and there is a wired in sounds system through the office, living room and dining room, too! 

The den opens to a 300 sf living room w/gas fireplace, built-in bookshelves and vaulted ceilings. Double French doors separate the living room and den or make one large entertaining space. 

This was once the Lake View Lounge
The one place in the house we could see Angle Lake. 

There is a huge dining room with built in glass-door cabinets and windows overlooking the slate patio. Now, to put this dining room's size into perspective, the table is a 9 foot diameter, and we moved it in with the walls open. Either the new buyers want it, or we will break the glass and dismantle it to move it out, as it will not fit through a doorway. The top of the table is carved horses and another creation I made for my hubby. 

One bathroom has soaking tub and the other a bench seat in the shower. I tiled both these rooms. Not just the floors, but I did the bathtub and the shower too. Don't call me crazy, I'm just really handy with a tile saw. So the moral of this story is, lots of love and devotion went into creating this house. 

Our home is nestled just off of angle lake, 10 minutes to SeaTac airport and 5 minutes to the freeway. This house offers all the convenience of perfect location, but low noise due to the lake and trees, and exceptional privacy with a low-maintenance landscaped yard. Sitting on a 12,000 sf property, zoning provides the ability to build a second level and add a garage.  

While there is only a carport, a garage can be easily built in the footprint of the carport, and not impede on the electric gate. Open the gate. Raise the garage door. Drive in for double security. And an apartment could be built over the top as well. 

There is also a ton of parking space! 

PRICED TO SELL:    $689,000


Friday May 6, from 2-5 pm
Saturday May 7, from 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday May 8 from 1pm to 5 pm.  

3743 S 188th St
SeaTAC WA 98188

To find the house: we are off of 188th street. Turn south, toward lake at the 39th street sign, in front of the mailboxes, at fire post #68. We are the third house on the left. Hope to see you there! 

I will be there to show the house, sell books, and do a bit of studying. If the dates and times don't work for you, and you are a serious pre-qualified buyer, please email me and I will schedule a private showing.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene