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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.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Power of Never Giving Up!

Pilots Fighting Back!  

The power of never giving up can change the world! Pilots who did not drink but have been accused of doing so at the hands of USDTL, a for profit testing center, is being charged for:


"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

June of 2020 I wrote a post warning pilots of the issues in the HIMS program (pilot alcohol program), primarily due to the use of a Dry Blood Spot PEth test and the history of false positives, that have been used specifically by airlines to destroy pilots' lives, despite the fact that they did not drink. Union contracts that allow for termination if they "test positive" not if they actually drank. 

"PEth is a group of phospholipids formed in cell membranes by an enzymatic reaction between ethanol and phosphatidylcholine." PEth testing is used to determine if a person drank alcohol in the previous 10-14 days. There is a preponderance of reasons that PEth can be identified in the blood, even if the person did not drink. Despite known false positives, pilots are losing their careers, and others are losing their lives. PEth is not an FDA approved test. Yet the FAA allows airlines to use this to test pilots. Can you see the problem?

In January 2022 I brought to light that pilots were being accused of drinking when they didn't. Under the Railway Labor Act, pilots are forced into arbitrations where arbitrators are paid by the very same management who is using the program to remove pilots they want to get rid of. A dynamic female captain, who received a false positive, has been fighting hard to change the program to what it should be: Help those who are alcoholics. Another pilot who lost his job due to a false positive has not given up his pursuit of fixing this problem either. He holds more knowledge on the subject of PEth than anyone I know. These two make an incredible team in fighting for justice, and today was a huge success. 

Today a lawsuit was filed against: 

United States Drug Testing Laboratories, Inc. 

“USDTL” CASE NO. 22-CV-62325.

"United States Drug Testing Laboratories, Inc. (“USDTL”) is a for profit Illinois corporation with its principal place of business is in Illinois. USDTL is a business-to-business specimen testing laboratory that does substantial business with, and depends on more than 50 partners or clients, in Florida."

USDTL does not reasonably: 

a. provide any training to donors on how to provide samples; 

b. oversee a donor’s provision of samples; 

c. have a system or process in place to ascertain whether a donor has received any training at all; 

d. provide any training to collectors-observers on how to observe donors to ensure collection protocol is complied with; 

e. have a system or process in place to ascertain that retrieval, storage, packaging, and shipment of samples back to USDTL is done in compliance with USDTL instructions or protocol; 

f. have a system or process in place to ascertain whether a collector-observer has any training at all.”

(Page 17)  

"Drug Testing is a Profit Center. The defendants know drug/alcohol testing is a “profit center.” “Drug Testing, the Technology of Recovery for Professional Health Monitoring Programs” on their website. They do commercial DBS PEth testing to generate profit." 

"No other laboratories do commercial DBS PEth testing." 

(page 31).

Lewis, their “lab guy” says he doesn’t “deal with people”, but he “steals ideas” he doesn’t come up with them on his own. He looks to other’s research and tries to “weasel them into our work.” 

(Page 32). 

Believe in the Power of Perseverance!
Know that when something is wrong, you can fix it!
Have Faith and Never Give up.

Justice may feel slow... but trust me, it will be served! 

I am so proud of the pilots who gave their time, energy or their career to make this litigation happen and hold USDTL, and those individuals involved, accountable! I want to give a  huge thanks to attorneys Jordan Redavid and Keyla J. Smith for seeing the truth, having faith for taking this most important case, and the ability to write one hell of a complaint! We will be following this all the way to completion!

Read the full case here:

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 


  1. This comment is on behalf of Captain Jim Wright:

    “Seems like the captain in your blog should have a strong case. Your background and previous experience should be of considerable value from a legal perspective.

    During my 47 years of merchant marine officer license upgrades and renewals, it was only in the last 20 or so years that we were subject to random drug testing (alcohol testing was used in the event of a reportable accident). In only one case, to my knowledge, did one of our pilots fail a drug test, reportably due to eating a poppyseed muffin. A retest was negative and nothing more was heard. The pilot in question was older than me and neither of us had any idea how to ingest drugs even if we had wanted to - which we didn't.

    The pee-test itself was not a looked-forward-to event. This was mostly because several of the steamship companies using our pilotage services had their own proprietary drug testing regimens requiring multiple sample bottles to be filled during the same testing period. This made the process more akin to a bladder control contest than a drug test.”


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!