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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, January 27, 2022

Make Your Dreams Come True!



Priced right and ready for someone
to give her a new home!

TTAF 8970

Lycoming IO360 200hp 1167 SMO 
L/R Hartzell Props 1167 L/R SOH
Full IFR King Gold Crown
Seats 6/7 Paint 8 Interior Original 6 NDH Wheelpants
 All Logs and Manuals
Two Owners since new

Always hangared Now at SZP (Santa Paula)Annual with sale.
US$ 155,000

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Improving Safety

When the FAA Hotline is Ineffective

The FAA hosts a Whistleblower complaint hotline on their website. They make it super easy to report your safety concerns. However, after you report and the investigation is complete, what happens when the the FAA decides to allow airline management to "workaround" the very regulations that were designed to improve safety? What happens when the FAA does not enforce the basic statute of Safety Management Systems (SMS) regarding risk mitigation? What good was the reporting if the file is buried? In some cases the files go "missing".  

Public awareness helps improve safety, and the very reason that AIR21 trials are open to the public. I recently learned that there is a "formal" complaint process under CFR 14 § 13.5, making complaints available to any interested person. This process is more cumbersome than the online venue, yet the FAA cannot hide the complaints and their subsequent decisions. 

§ 13.5 Formal complaints

(a) Any person may file a complaint with the Administrator with respect to a violation by a person of any requirement under 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII, 49 U.S.C. chapter 51, or any rule, regulation, or order issued under those statutes, as to matters within the jurisdiction of the Administrator. This section does not apply to complaints against the Administrator or employees of the FAA acting within the scope of their employment.

(b) Complaints filed under this section must:

(1) Be submitted in writing and identified as a complaint seeking an appropriate order or other enforcement action;

(2) Be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, Attention: Formal Complaint Clerk (AGC-300), 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591;

(3) Set forth the name and address, if known, of each person who is the subject of the complaint and, with respect to each person, the specific provisions of the statute, rule, regulation, or order that the complainant believes were violated;

(4) Contain a concise but complete statement of the facts relied upon to substantiate each allegation;

(5) State the name, address, telephone number, and email of the person filing the complaint; and

(6) Be signed by the person filing the complaint or an authorized representative.

(c) A complaint that does not meet the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section will be considered a report under § 13.2.

(d) The FAA will send a copy of a complaint that meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section to the subject(s) of the complaint by certified mail.

(e) A subject of the complaint may serve a written answer to the complaint to the Formal Complaint Clerk at the address specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section no later than 20 days after service of a copy of the complaint. For purposes of this paragraph (e), the date of service is the date on which the FAA mailed a copy of the complaint to the subject of the complaint.

(f) After the subject(s) of the complaint have served a written answer or after the allotted time to serve an answer has expired, the Administrator will determine if there are reasonable grounds for investigating the complaint, and:

(1) If the Administrator determines that a complaint does not state facts that warrant an investigation or action, the complaint may be dismissed without a hearing and the reason for the dismissal will be given, in writing, to the person who filed the complaint and the subject(s) of the complaint; or

(2) If the Administrator determines that reasonable grounds exist, an informal investigation may be initiated or an order of investigation may be issued in accordance with subpart F of this part, or both. The subject(s) of a complaint will be advised which official has been delegated the responsibility under § 13.3(b) or (c), as applicable, for conducting the investigation.

(g) If the investigation substantiates the allegations set forth in the complaint, the Administrator may take action in accordance with applicable law and FAA policy.

(h) The complaint and other records relating to the disposition of the complaint are maintained in the Formal Complaint Docket (AGC-300), Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591. 

Any interested person 
may examine any docketed material 
at that office at any time after
 the docket is established,  

except material that is required to be withheld from the public under applicable law, and may obtain a copy upon paying the cost of the copy. End. 

"Fear is a Reaction
Courage is a Decision" 
Winston Churchill

Safety is the goal and nobody should fear reporting any issue, especially when they have made every effort to solve the problem internally, to no avail. If you have a concern, reporting in this manner is worth the effort. 

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Alcohol and Pilots

Guilty Because We Say So! 

"Getting a false positive made me live the life of 
Andy Dufrane in Shawshank Redemption... 
I never thought the storm would last so long...”
Captain Mike Danford

There was a time when pilots flew under the influence. But those days are gone, except for the isolated case of indiscretion on a layover that is captured before departure. There is always that isolated case where a pilot cannot avoid drinking and pushes the limit. But those cases are few and far between and not a current issue. Pilots simply do not show up to work under the influence in today's world. 

In response to drinking in the 70's came the HIMS program. HIMS stands for Human Intervention Motivation study, which was conducted in the 1970’s to determine the need for a "specialized alcohol recovery program for professional pilots." However, in the 70's pilots smoked in the cockpit, exercise meant carrying their flight bag, and eating right was a fresh donut with a cold cup of coffee. They played hard. A 50-year-old pilot looked like he was 80. Today, smoking is virtually non-existent, pilots exercise, eat right. and don't drink and fly. We hang out in the gym instead of the bars. 

Due to necessity in 1974 the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) funded the HIMS program.. Grants from the FAA were also awarded to Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for continuation of the program. The HIMS program subsequently became a profit center.  A profit center that ran out of pilots who needed help, and now they grab all they can. Perhaps the reason they knowingly allow an alcohol test that produces false positives. 

The program itself is important for those who need it. But clearly we are not living in the 1970s. The unfortunate situation is that airline management is now using this program to control pilots. You do not need to be an alcoholic to be in this program. You may have had your first drink in your life, and received a DUI, at the lowest level, and you, too, could be in the program. When in this program you will have to admit you are an alcoholic, versus maybe you simply made a bad judgment call, or you will be terminated. 

Technically, do you have to go into the program? Absolutely not. You could do this on your own. The FAA requires: 
  • Substance abuse assessment
  • 28 day (preferably in-patient) treatment program
  • Establish peer and company sponsorship
  • 3 month intensive out patient follow up (IOP)
  • Heavy involvement in AA
  • Establishment in regular aftercare
  • Psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluations by HIMS-trained addiction specialists (P & P)
The problem is two parts:  ALPA says you have to go, and the lure is that the company will pay for it. 

How does the company control pilots in this program? If you call in fatigued, they could assert you are an alcoholic and must have been drinking. If you call in sick, they could assert it's your drinking that's the problem. If pilots were afraid to report safety before, they certainly won't report safety knowing that it could be the end of their career being accused of drinking when they have not. How is that possible?

The program requires random alcohol tests. 
But all tests are not created equal.

If a pilot joins the "ALPA/Company" program, the pilot signs a contract asserting they will never drink again. However, the contract is worded in such a manner that asserts the pilot will not receive a "positive test" for alcohol or drugs. The problem thereafter is that ALPA and the FAA are allowing airline management to use the Dried Blood Spot PEth (DBS) test that is not FDA approved and has proven to have produced thousands of false positives and as a result destroying lives. 

Pilots are losing their careers because of these false positive tests, when they did not drink. Even when the FAA returns the pilot's license and deems them fit to fly, the airline has the right to terminate the pilot. Worse yet, the alcohol programs these pilots are sent to, are managed and run by airline management. Pilot managers with no experience regarding alcohol and substance abuse treatment, and may be abusers themselves, sit on the board of directors of these facilities. The best way to control the outcome. They listen to the pilot's most intimate secrets during meetings. They use this information as they see fit. Nothing is confidential. 

"All Alcoholics and Addicts are Liars!"
So says manaement. 

Managers, overseeing pilots in the HIMS program, and chief pilots alike, believe that if you are an alcoholic then you are a liar. This may not be a global belief by all managers, but this statement has been voiced to many pilots in the program. It could be argued that these very managers with their limited knowledge and archaic thinking could be a contributing factor to the suicide rate within the program. 

Could you imagine receiving a false positive from a DBS PEth test, but then you take subsequent tests that prove the PEth was false, yet the logic of why management refuses to read the data and look at the facts is because it's of their opinion that "all alcoholics are liars"?  I personally know that statement to be false. I also know a Senior Vice President at an airline that perjured himself in court on multiple accounts, and he was promoted to a CEO. 

Hand Sanitizer Causes False Positives!
So Says Michelle Gable, owner of Choice Labs

Michele Gable, owner of Choice labs has admitted that she obtained a false positive from use of hand sanitizer with a Dried Spot Blood PEth test. She owns the labs that are producing these false positive tests. She also asserted that she and others drank and received a false negative. It's hard to believe that with this knowledge, these tests are even allowed. 

Where is ALPA?

What can be done to help falsely charged pilots? The answer is that ALPA must revamp the program and rewrite the contract to eliminate the "testing positive" language. Either the pilot drank or they did not. If a false positive can be proven false, then that should stand. 

ALPA must prohibit the PEth test. There are many other methods of determining if a pilot drank. The question is why is this still ongoing? 

Among the many plot points in Flight For Discovery is the frightening truth of how Global Air Lines management goes to no length to silence a female pilot, via the HIMS program, to prevent her from connecting with Darby. However, when the HIMS Chairman is about to come forward and tell Darby and her attorney everything, the worst happens. The events are inspired by a true story, where truth is scarier than fiction. 

For now, someone must do something about the PEth test. It's time to say no more. This is a good place to start if you want to learn more: Dried Blood Spot PEth 

Write to your local ALPA representatives, the FAA, your congressmen, and ask them to prohibit the use of the Dry Spot PEth Blood Test. Write to the National President ALPA President, Joe DePete, at and request that he prohibit the PEth test. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr.

"Faith is taking the first step even
when you don't see the whole staircase."

Martin Luther King 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Traveling Those Friendly Skies

When They are Not So Friendly

A couple months ago I was invited to speak on the Ashleigh Banfield show to discuss unruly passengers. A big production in my living room for the filming, followed by delays that cut the show to just minutes. The first guest stated there was "nothing" the FAA could do about unruly passengers. Then the head of the flight attendant union spoke to flight attendant fear, and the question to me was, if I thought that passengers were unruly because the lack of leg room. I thought I had been invited to discuss aviation safety. I was wrong. The show ended quickly and what was not said, should have been. 


The FAA could do something to stop this violence
so says the law!

14 CFR § 121.580 - Prohibits the interference with crewmembers:

"No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated under this part."
The FAA can propose up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases. Previously, the maximum civil penalty per violation was $25,000. One incident can result in multiple violations.

What is the FAA doing?

Passengers could lose their TSA PreCheck privilege 
over unruly behavior on flights!  

On December 23, 2021, FAA administrator Steve Dickson decided to take charge and hold people accountable and said, "if you act out of line, you will wait in line." Clearly Mr. Dickson has never stood in one of those lines. Anyone who has would know that if passengers were behaving poorly before, that action would certainly incite far worse behavior. More than that, it's a threat not unlike telling a child if they beat up the kids in the schoolyard, they will have to stand in the long line to get their ice cream cone. The punishment does not fit the crime. 

The question that should be asked is: why isn't the FAA administrator holding those passengers accountable at the risk of crew and passenger safety? Perhaps the FAA should focus more on aviation safety than the profitability of the airlines. 

Exciting news on the horizon! The next novel in the series, Flight For Discovery, is coming soon. Buried within the pages may provide insight as to why the FAA is looking the other way. Truth is scarier fiction.  Buckle up... the best is on its way! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year 2022!

2021 is gladly to be forgotten! 

This was the year that my dad died. The year that my husband had far too many ablations followed by pacemaker surgery, all of which put him into heart failure, where his function is at 35%. My friend was told she has terminal cancer. The year that I realized our society intends on destroying every bit of history with the assumption that this process is politically and socially correct, instead of allowing our children to learn from the past. The year we set precedent to honor criminals. The year we allow anyone to walk into a store and take whatever they want, or destroy another's property without repercussions. 

This is the year that I lost all faith in the FAA and came to realize that the agency is not about safety, but economic gain for the airline(s) they serve, not the passengers they should be protecting. This was the year that I learned that Safety Management Systems (SMS) is nothing but a pie crust regulation... easily made, easily broken... where flexibility means that airlines can work around (violate) federal regulations while the FAA stands by and watches. I won't go into family, judgement, arrogance, politics, handling of the pandemic and the horrific social behavior that has become an acceptable norm. 

All I can say is goodbye and good riddance 2021!

Welcome 2022!

New Years Resolutions:

  1. Find something to laugh about everyday and have fun! 
  2. Get 100 while golfing.
  3. Publish Flight For Discovery (Coming in February)
  4. Finish Flight For Justice (Coming in February 2023)
  5. Finish the plans for the Lake House, find a builder, and start the foundation. 
  6. Pass the LSAT! 
  7. Become Captain on the A330 in Seattle. A bid is coming, and last time my seniority was only 500 numbers away.  This may be my year. 
  8. Pray daily that the law is not "a ass, a idiot" (Dickens, Oliver Twist 277 (1867)) and that all legal issues are resolved with truth, honesty, and justice. 
  9. Eat healthy, exercise daily, and pray the serenity prayer daily:
God, grant me the serenity to accept 
the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

     10. Change the things I can!

This is a lot to accomplish in a year, and I know a doctor who has asserted, "No woman could do that!" But the truth is, we don't have to be perfect and do it all. We simply have to make goals to improve our circumstances and make the effort. If I make 95%, I'm ecstatic. If I make 50%, good for me! Simply because I'm trying. We do not have to lower our standards and behavior because others do. 

For all who have lost loved ones, misplaced your health, lost your home, lost your job, lost your sanity, your friends, your family, or simply have struggled way too hard in 2021, join me in the hope for a better future... a fantastic 2022! 

There is one thing that we can all do together, and that is to make the effort. 

Happy New Year!

May Peace, Love, Health
and Happiness be Yours
Today and Throughout the Year!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene