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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.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year 2024

Resolutions Past and Present

Last year, today, I walked away from my flying job at Delta Air Lines and resolved to improve my health, improve Aviation Safety, finish the novel, Flight For Justice, and golf more. Flight For Justice is complete and will be on the bookshelf in a month, and this is the best of all the series! I worked to improve aviation safety. I golfed more, and even broke 100 and got my first birdie this year. 

To improve aviation safety I wrote a proposal to change the AIR21 Law, but realized that airline executives are too powerful with lobbyists in their pockets and on the payroll, that the AIR21 statute will never be changed and the skies will never be as safe as they should be, unless congress steps in and forces the change. Perhaps if the new FAA administrator, Michael G. Whitaker, was interested in improving aviation safety, he would fix the AIR21 statute and protect the employees who see what is ongoing and want to speak out. This law change is something that could be accomplished overnight. 

The FAA creates rules and regulations and touts safety, but when they allow airlines, like Delta, to break the law and call it a "workaround" and do not hold anyone accountable after they have been proven to place people's lives in danger, then what good are the regulations? What good is the FAA?  This leads me back to the novel, Flight For Justice. And when there is no justice, there can be retribution... a next year resolution: Flight For Revenge. 

Excitement in 2023

In April I was a coach to escort my daughter to XALAPA for the world para track team. We returned home just in time before the next trip...

I decided that life was short and I planned to fulfill husband's bucket list items. So this year we went to the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. 

After the Derby.... 4th of July was just around the corner. And we had a wonderful 4th of July on the lake. Open invitation to all who happen to be in the area. 

Then on August 30th my husband had a stroke. Thank God I was home to get him help. They wanted to put him in a home to rehab and I refused. I got him out of the hospital (before they killed him) and took him home. With my understanding of the brain and his limitations, I knew just what to do! He was golfing the day before this happened, so I told him I was going to get him back on the golf course in three months, and then write a book titled, From Stroke to Stroke. How my stroke improved my golf game.

We did it! He made it back at the golf course. So two months after his stroke, we we road tripped to Huntington Beach where our middle daughter took the Silver medal in the ISA World Para Surfing Competition in her category. What an amazing time sitting on the beach watching these athletes compete. 

Some without any arms and/or legs, others unable to see, and many who have lost control of their limbs. What you don't see beyond the smiling faces, is that they live in pain every day. Yet the pain does not limit them and does not stop the smiles. The human spirit is far stronger than pain. 

We also fulfilled another bucket list item and went to the Breeders Cup in Santa Anita during the Huntington beach excursion. Apparently the stroke did not hurt his handicapping ability. 

Then my husband had a left atrial occlusion in December, and he is doing great and back on the golf course again. So we made it full circle. We ended and began last year in Palm Desert and that is where we are again. Golfing. I still have not got my medical back, but I am not allowing that limitation to limit my life. 

Resolutions 2024

I am going to Live Consciously. Write publish two books: Flight For Justice and the Happy Plane.  

I plan to write the next novel, Flight For Revenge and my memoir. And hopefully the movie will come to fruition. Somethings we have no control over. But, I was told "Write the book, we'll make the movie."

Health: I'm going to give up sugar (dark chocolate excluded), and do core strength training 20 minutes every day and meditate for 10 minutes. And as I said, to learn to live consciously. Be kinder to myself. And remember to feel gratitude every day.

Happy New Year!
Health and Happiness
to you and your family!

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Joy and Peace

Finding Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy are not at the end of a journey, they are not something we need to find. Peace and Joy are things we can feel today, because these emotions are within us always. Life may feel like a struggle , but take a moment, close your eyes, and feel the gratitude for just being alive. Remember the day is not about gifts, or the food we eat, or the facebook photos. Christmas is about love. Love those you are with. And I know that we cannot always be with everyone we love, life has a way of taking them away. But we can hold onto the memories. We can feel peace and joy in our hearts being blessed with life. Enjoy the journey. 

Happy Holidays!

Peace, Health, Happiness, Joy and Love 

Throughout the New Year!

Yesterday started at 0245... and we hit the road at 0600. 
We enjoyed the journey! And after an eleven hour drive 
we stumbled upon Christmas in Sacramento! 

We also got to see snow along the way!

Life is a Journey! Life is good. Enjoy it! 
Happy Holidays to all!

XOX Karlene 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

WestJet Disrupts in Chaos

And Litigation

Engineers Union Initiates Legal Action to Counter 
“Troubling reduction” in maintenance oversight. 

On March 30, 2023, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) certified the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) as the representative of WestJet’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) and all other skilled aircraft maintenance employees. In the U.S., AMFA also represents Alaska Airlines, Horizon, L3 Harris MAS, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country.

Unfortunately, to disrupt the union, WestJet created a new position titled Operations Manager (OM) and they are filling the OM positions with former Aircraft Maintenance Leads (AMLs) who were originally in the collective bargaining unit. 

Disruption and Chaos Ensues 

In an email dated November 10, WestJet’s Senior Manager, Labour Relations Virginia Swindall sought AMFA’s immediate “intervention in de-escalating” a “serious and emerging concern” relating to its Toronto maintenance operations. According to Virginia, WestJet’s Manager Line Maintenance Darren Cook reported that a Toronto AME was “passionately advising our employees to ‘Fuck the OMs’, etc.” (Attachment B). 

In a November 13 letter seeking to resolve the dispute, AMFA National Region II Director, Will Abbott advised WestJet that its actions had “sown dissension within the department with AMEs perceiving former AMLs, who have accepted OM positions, as scabs who have betrayed the bargaining unit and cut off their brother AMEs from economic opportunities.” (Attachment C). 

National AMFA President Bret Oestreich comments:

“The safe performance of aircraft maintenance requires professionalism and mutual trust. By its own admission, the airline’s actions have led to emotion and hostility within its maintenance operations. WestJet aircraft maintenance professionals unionized because they felt disrespected by the carrier and dismissed the AME’s critical contributions as a stakeholder to WestJet operations. Now, WestJet seems to be methodically rubbing salt into the wound.” 

“At several stations we have witnessed a troubling reduction in lead oversight of maintenance operations. And this arises in a context where maintenance staffing at some stations remains below pre-COVID levels despite a post-COVID surge in flight volume. WestJet aircraft maintenance is headed in a direction inconsistent with safe operations.” 

On December 11, 2023, on behalf of AMFA, attorney Samuel Seham, from Seham, Seham, Metz and Peterson, filed unfair labor practice charges against WestJet Airlines (WJA) with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). 

Samuel Seham

Samuel says, “Once the CIRB has certified a union, the law prohibits unilateral changes of status quo working conditions without prior negotiations with the union. This is particularly true with respect to the transfer of work outside the bargaining unit and the resulting loss of economic opportunities. To the extent that chaos now reigns within the airline’s maintenance operations, I attribute that chaos to what I consider to be WestJet’s unlawful conduct. We have commenced this CIRB action in the interest of our members and aviation safety.”

This should be an interesting battle. The unfortunate part about all this is that maintenance will suffer, employee lives will be upturned, and passenger safety will be at risk. It's a shame that airline management can't just follow the law and do the right thing. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Cancer Patient Terminated

By The Long Island Railroad

Drew Darren was a twenty-four year veteran of the Long Island Rail Road (the LIRR). On February 14, 2022, he began an extended medical leave for the purpose of obtaining cancer treatment. With his cancer finally in remission, he initiated the reinstatement process. As a condition for returning him to work, the LIRR demanded that Mr. Drew submit to a return-to-duty urine test, even though it was not required.

The LIRR’s medical department collected a urine specimen on June 7, 2022, and he returned to work the next day. He continued working until June 13, 2022. Upon receipt of a drug test that was positive for marijuana metabolites, the LIRR terminated him. 

However, this test was not required under Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations because Mr. Drew did not occupy a safety sensitive position as defined by that agency. In fact, his job was to fix air conditioning units.  Furthermore, on March 31, 2021, New York State enacted the Marijuana Regulations and Taxation Act (MRTA) that legalized the adult-use of cannabis. The MRTA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee in any manner based on cannabis use outside of work hours and off the employer’s premises. The MRTA recognizes exceptions based on at-work impairment and drug testing required by federal or state law. 

“This case is at once heart-rending and ridiculous” 

“Heart-rending because this is a man who was served the LIRR well for 24 years and is now being deprived of income and medical. Ridiculous, because he did nothing wrong. He stands accused of legal drug use during a medical leave for cancer treatment – nothing more," said Ricardo Sanchez, Local 589 General Chairman who is representing Mr. Drew. 

Under persistent questioning by Mr. Sanchez during a preliminary hearing, the LIRR conceded that it had no evidence that Mr. Drew had ever come to work impaired. They further conceded that Mr. Drew, as a repair of air conditioning units, was not subject to federally mandated drug testing. 

“What this comes down to,” Mr. Sanchez said, “is the Company’s brazen assertion that its policy trumps both the collective bargaining agreement and New York State law. The Union is confident we will ultimately win this case but, in the meantime, Mr. Drew and his family are suffering greatly.” 

Attorney Lee Seham has handled similar cases in the airline industry, and concurred that the IBEW should ultimately prevail. Seham states: 

“The United States Supreme Court has held that, when a government entity such as the LIRR takes a man’s urine, it constitutes a Fourth Amendment search or seizure. In my view, the LIRR had no rational basis for demanding Mr. Drew’s urine after an extended leave of absence for cancer treatment, particularly in a state where he had a protected right to use cannabis. The LIRR is not above the law.” 

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 589, is in the process of scheduling the case for presentation before a neutral arbitrator in early 2024. 

One has to question why LIRR management forced Mr. Drew to submit to a urine test in the first place. Granted an employee who has faced cancer is an expensive employee, but what happened to humanity? What happened to legality? It is illegal to discriminate against an employee with cancer. This case will be interesting to follow, and I hope that big corporations simply start doing the right thing. I pray that Mr. Drew stays in remission, stays strong and the LIRR finds the strength to place human life before the bottom line. 

Enjoy The Journey

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

A Cry For Help!

Is the Flight Deck Safe

Joseph David Emerson was booked on 83 counts of attempted murder. He said that he had tried psychedelic mushrooms days before he climbed into a jumpseat on Horizon and headed to work in San Francisco to fly his Alaska 737. He said he was awake for over 40 hours. He said he was suffering from depression. He is being tried for multiple counts of murder because he tried to pull the fire switches, but there is something missing in all the reports of this story. 

What is missing are a few logistical facts: 

If David Emerson 
Wanted to Kill the Passengers
Everyone Would be Dead! 

This was a cry for help. If he really wanted to shut down the engines, he would have pulled the fuel control switches and could have immediately and instantly killed both engines and everyone on the plane. The fire switches, however, unless there is a fire, are locked and would take two hands to pull one. One to unlock and the other to pull. Therefore, if he was pulling on both the switches, everyone in that flight deck knew he would not be successful due to that locking mechanism, even Emerson would know that. Furthermore, the jumpseat is directly in front of, and blocking, the door. If he did not want to go out of that flightdeck, those pilots would not be able to force him out unless he was incapacitated. 

The part I believe is that he was depressed, and this was a cry for help. Depression is real among pilots. Delta pilot, Brian Wittke, took his life on June 14, 2022, and is one of many Delta pilots who have done the same. 

How safe is the flight deck? 

Robert MacLean has been fighting for barriers on the doors for years, to no avail. But what could block a pilot who is authorized for entering the flightdeck and has a mental health issue? Perhaps honesty and disclosure by the airlines themselves. Did you know the airlines hide their concerns for mental health from the FAA?

Delta had decided to pull me for a mental health concern, asserting I could be like the Germanwings pilot. Yet the day that decision had been made, I was sitting in on an Alaska Airlines jumpseat. How is that possible? Well, because Airlines and the Unions have agreed to it. 

I never lost my medical during the two years I did not fly. However, Delta finally violated the contract and notified the FAA when the Mayo Clinic found me fit, after I was diagnosed as bipolar, and was issued my medical, once again. So when I was found fit, they reported me. When Delta thought I had a problem, they kept it hidden. 

If you don't know this story, watch MAXIMUS or read the Seattle Times. Following is what the courts learned during my trial as to how Delta Air Lines hides their concerns from their pilots with mental health. Trust me when I say, the Judge was not happy with the following testimony. 

Airlines Hide 
Mental Health Concerns

“Does the FAA have to review collective bargaining agreements? Does the FAA have an opportunity to see what's in it?” Ira Rosenstein, Delta's attorney asked.

“No. The FAA does not see them,” Christopher Puckett, Delta's in house Labor Relations attorney testified.

“Do you know whether the FAA is aware of these policies and programs?” Ira asked.

“I'm certain the FAA is aware of ours,” Puckett said.

“How are you so certain?” Ira asked.

“Well, I can tell you that right now the Federal Air Surgeon used to perform the role at Delta that Dr. Faulkner performs,” Puckett said.

“Who is that?” Ira asked.

“That's Michael Berry.”

“So, the company's former flight surgeon is now responsible for the FAA's—” Judge Morris says.

But Puckett cuts him off and says, “He's our former flight surgeon but he performed medical reviews for … on behalf of Delta in the late '90s. And this issue, these issues have come up periodically. I mean, Delta was in, you know, litigation in the '90s over different things. This is … you know, and it's gone on and on. And of course, in this case, the FAA was made aware of what was going on in this case.”

SIDE NOTE... This "litigation" he spoke of was due to a pilot, Captain Wayne O. Wittier, Captain WOW, reporting pension fraud at Delta, and Delta paying a doctor to call him crazy. That doctor they paid was Michael Berry. The judge told Berry he could not work for the Delta ever again. So, what does he do? Of course he becomes the top FAA medical director. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Back to trial:

“If I understood your testimony correctly, you testified that you became aware that, at some point in 2017, Ms. Petitt had obtained her certificate from the FAA,” Ira said.

“Correct,” Puckett said.

“And were you surprised by that in any way, or did you find that to be completely normal?” Ira asked.

“It was a surprise, because again, she had just received a determination from the CME of bipolar disorder,” Puckett said, with deepest concern.

“And wait a minute,” Judge Morris interrupted, “And so what? You've hid it from them… hid it from the FAA so far so what's the difference?”

“Well, because the difference is, for the pilot, a pilot has to disclose that information,” Puckett said.

“So, you're relying on 6153, on the pilot,” Judge Morris countered. “What about 121.383 for the operator?”

“I'm not familiar with that one, Judge,” Puckett said.

“So, you don't believe that the company has any obligation to report when there's a diagnosis, a disqualifying diagnosis—” Judge Morris said.

“According to this contract—” Puckett said cutting him off again.

“I'm talking about the FAA, the regulations,” Judge Morris said.

“That's…yes. Because at that point, it's still… it's still… as part of this process, it's still ongoing and has not been finalized. So, I would 1 say that the company would not, at that point, have an obligation until the process has run its course,” Puckett said.

“But that same rationale does not apply to the pilot?” Morris asked.

“I think the pilot has to disclose on that form that they have that diagnosis and give the FAA the opportunity to explore that,” Ira said.

“And what makes you think that… what gives you a basis to believe that they didn't disclose and the FAA decided to issue it anyhow?” Judge Morris asked.

“That was the point, Judge. Nobody knew the answer to that question. So, that's why Dr. Faulkner felt like he was in a difficult position and needed to find out what was going on,” Puckett explained.

“Do you understand the optics that I'm seeing here is that it's okay when it's beneficial for the company not to disclose information to the FAA, but when it's not beneficial to the company, it is being disclosed to the FAA,” Judge Morris said.

“Well, I think the difference is, is that the pilot was under no obligation to go get a medical at that point. There is nothing to say, ‘Yeah. I have to go renew my medical because’—"

“Where does it say that?” Judge Morris asked.

“Well, it doesn't say it anywhere but she’s not able to operate an airplane for Delta,” Puckett said again.

“With a first class medical, can't you operate as a GA pilot?” Judge Morris asked.

“I would assume you can,” Puckett said.

“Okay,” Judge Morris said. “You need to have a medical. You need to have at least a basic medical. And if there's something disqualifying, you have to have a special issuance. So, explain to me this inconsistency.”

Puckett said, “By consistency, I mean, what's on the forms for the FAA when the pilot goes in and gets a medical, they are voluntarily going and doing that. They're saying, ‘I'm here and I'm going to go do this, and I'm going to be honest and upfront on all of these forms.’ And that's fine. If all of that is disclosed, the FAA gets to look at it and makes its decision. The company, on the other hand is… has no… I don't think, an obligation until we went all the way through this process. We were trying to follow the process and get to the end of it. And if we could have gotten to the end of it, then, at that point, then we have an obligation. That's when our obligation is triggered. Now that's the best that I can explain it where I believe that… where our requirements are under that.”

“And you understand the consequences to a pilot if they lie on their medical application. Don't you?” Judge Morris asked.

“I do,” Puckett said.

“What are they?”

“Well, you can permanently lose your license and you can lose your liberty,” Puckett said.

“Well, that's not quite true,” Judge Morris said.

“It's criminal. It's a criminal law,” Puckett said, his face now a shade redder that when this argument began.

“It’s a one-year revocation. There's a couple of exceptions for life-time revocation which this wouldn't apply but go ahead,” Judge Morris said.

Who is Responsible to Tell the FAA?

NOTE: Dr. Michael Berry retired within days of my winning this case against Delta. Yet, this process has not been changed at Delta. I am unaware if other airlines have the same provisions.

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Friday, October 20, 2023

Kicking Over the Checker Board

Because We Didn't Win

On October 7, 2023 I posted an article about an Alaska Mechanic who won his grievance after testing positive for THC: Airlines And Random Drug Testing. He was truly a victim of circumstance. 

This 22-year mechanic has never taken drugs, has never had any work related issues. He's a family man with two children. He is also involved in his community. He attended a block party one day, with many tables of food. It was at this event he inadvertently and unknowingly consumed THC because some idiot put it in their food. He had no idea. He was not impaired. The next Monday he went to work. He happened to get a random drug test. 

During the Grievance Alaska Airlines Stipulated:

1) A positive THC result does not demonstrate impairment.

2) There is no evidence that the mechanic was performing his job in an unsafe manner at or around the time of the drug test at issue.

3) The mechanic completed his SAP evaluation and education program satisfactorily and there is no regulatory bar to his re-employment.

4) The medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington State.

Alaska Airlines is by far my favorite airline. I was so proud of them for not buying off the arbitrator. I have observed that action far too many times at Delta. Even DALPA reps will tell you that sometimes you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The pilot be damned. (Note, the only union on Delta's property is a pilot union).

When the arbitrator is bought during the grievance process, or told which way to rule, there is no justice for the employee. But this is the system that the airlines and the unions have contractually agreed to abide by. When the employee loses, they have no option and often find themselves without a job. 

What happens when they win? 

I thought the airline was required to reinstate the employee. Well, they are. But this time Alaska Airlines is arguing against the ruling and taking this mechanic to Federal court! 

Because they lost the ruling, the mechanic won, the airline is now going to stomp its feet and not accept it? That's exactly what happened. 

I see three major problems here:

1) The grievance process is worth nothing if an employee wins and the airline does not have to accept the ruling.


2) That an airline will go out of its way to destroy a person's career for something that they did not intentionally do, of which did not impact safety. 


3) Alaska's policy even allows for flight attendants and pilots to return to duty even if they intentionally smoked Marijuana or take any drugs of any kind. But a mechanic with who didn't know it was happening, is terminated. 

I want to believe that Alaska Airlines
Is better than this...

Should the company have to honor the grievance process when they lose? The employee does. This is simply wrong on so many levels. Is this just being a bad sport? I don't think they will win, but it makes me feel like a Delta tactic when they engaged in a war of attrition against me. If you think Alaska should reinstate the mechanic please tell them at:

Twitter @Alaska Air on

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Monday, October 16, 2023

Aviation and the Law

Motion(s) To Dismiss

Captain Janning, as a First Officer, had to live through the horrific experience of her captain completely disrobing and masterbating in the cockpit then throwing his semen soaked napkin on her. You can read the story at The Landing or read the full Complaint Here. But last Thursday, October 12, I joined them in court as attorney's from SWAPA and SWA came together with Judge Eric Netcher. This was a public trial in the ninth circuit via Webex. As a last minute thought, I posted the invite on Twitter with the call in number, and as a result people who were not able to attend, asked me what happened. 

Before you read this, if you're unaware of this case, watch the Maximum Video Here . This is priceless. 

  This was a sporty hour!


At the beginning, Katie Molloy the SWA Attorney confirmed that the Christine added to her complaint that Captain Haak said he was going to crash the airplane and she therefore felt fear for her life and the lives of her passengers. Then SWA attorney Katie Molloy argued that: 

"Going out with a bang' is not an intent to commit harm 
and therefore no assault has been pled." 

In view of what happened with the Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane, killing everyone on board, because he knew he would never fly again, I might believe a statement made by a naked captain playing with himself in the flight deck, who had just bolted the door. His comment could be construed with intent to commit harm. His behavior was so outrageous, fulfilling his threat to cause harm was not out of the realm of possibility. 

The FBI uses reg flag words that identify a probable threat, and I suspect if they heard this statement, "Going out with a bang" on an airplane, by a pilot, would be enough for an investigation. 


Molloy then argued that being struck in the arm with the napkin covered in seminal fluid had no essential element of “intent to harm” for a successful battery claim. She said his intent was to throw it into the garbage and he accidentally hit her with it.

I'm wondering if a kid was standing by a garbage can and an adult threw their scalding cup of coffee at the garbage can but missed, hitting the little one, would that person be exempt from causing harm? Interesting enough, I did a little research and learned that in jail it's illegal to throw body fluids at someone. Why? Because they are detained and can't get away and just being exposed to bodily fluids (without actual contact) is considered a third degree felony of battery in the state of Florida. I would suspect a flight deck is in sense could be considered similar to a prison being the pilots are locked in and cannot flee. 

I'm also not sure about other pilots, but never in my 40 years of aviation experience have I ever been hit with garbage that was intended for the garbage can. Those bags are to the side, but actually behind the pilot. I would assert, based upon my experience, that he was not aiming for the trash. 


The SWA argument is that Haak locked the door from the inside to prevent others from coming in, not to confine Janning or prevent her from leaving. That bolt lock was at the top of the door. Haak moved from his seat to the jump seat with his naked legs blocking the door, he then stood naked, and blocked the door. He just didn't masterbate in his seat, he was all over the place. Regardless, the SWA argument is suggesting Janning could have gotten up and left. I'm not even going to justify that with an argument of my own. But I will say this: 

SWA, You Should Thank Christine
Not defend Haak's behavior. 

Had Christine got up and left that flight deck, after he was back in his seat, we could be reading a completely different story. Close to 80 people could have perished on that flight, along with those on the ground, if Haak followed through with his threat of going out with a bang. The passengers on SWA Flight 6607, on August 10, 2020, from Philadelphia to Orlando, should also thank Christine for enduring what she did on their behalf. If they knew what was ongoing in that flightdeck, I believe they would have a multi plaintiff lawsuit as well. 


The Conspiracy to Retaliate was argued by both SWA and SWAPA attorneys, Katie Molloy and Ellen Belfer, respectively, in that there could not be a conspiracy to retaliate because of an inter-corporate conspiracy doctrine, because they are all the “SAME corporate identity” and “there is no third party.” 

Regardless of this argument, a union and a company are two completely different companies. But I find this argument humorous because both SWAPA and SWA are admitting they work together as one. Would that mean that ALPA is the same entity with United, Delta and all others they represent? I find Christine's argument of conspiracy brilliant, because, from my experience, even when the union and company admit to being on the same side, you can't win a DFR.



By the time Ellen chimed in, she stated that not everyone at the hearing had stated their appearance. She said, "I see there is George G a Karlene Petitt and a B." This reminded me of my first day of my trial when Ira Rosenstein, Delta's attorney, said, "Your honor, who are all these people. We don't know who they are." Judge Morris told him that this was a public trial and it was not necessary to know. 

Well, this, too, was a public hearing, but Judge Netcher said he was fine with that, and he started with Carly, who was Belfer's partner. Then Netcher told us he got notification that B left the meeting, and couldn't tell us who B was. He said, "They left after learning that they were going to be identified, so we have somebody monitoring us apparently." I'm curious what monitoring means, if you are watching a public hearing. 

Then Belfer identified all client representatives for SWAPA and said, "Petitt and somebody else just left, so it looks like the only one unknown is still in the meeting."  The judge asked me if I wanted to make an appearance and I said, "Hi, I'm Karlene Petitt." He then asked if I was representing any parties. I told him I was not representing any parties but just observing the case . Then Netcher said, "OK this is a public proceeding so I will mute you and we will proceed." They did not ask any of the additional phone numbers that had called in as I think there were phone numbers listed, without names. 


The entire point of this hearing was that SWAPA and SWA are trying to block discovery. They want to dismiss the claim before discovery is obtained. Of course they do. 

When Janning's attorney discussed the conspiracy charge, Judge Eric Netcher called it a "stretch". He said that, "Even if people have gotten into a room and said hey if we send this letter I bet he’ll get a misdemeanor and then if she files a lawsuit she won’t be able to get summary judgement."

Frank Podesta, Janning's attorney argued that intent was not necessary, what mattered was what had occurred.  

The Judge argued that it was a conspiracy claim. Then he went on to say that people would have to go in a room, make a decision to do something that would negatively impact Janning. Frank responded that the distinction he was trying to make was that they intended to falsely provide information to the FBI to protect Michael Haak, as a conspiracy, to protect male pilots and that had a negative effect on Janning. 

Judge Eric Netcher then said in a mocking tone that they.... duped a federal judge into excepting something... and he tried to explain that there is a whole process to prevent that and the reason for criminal proceedings.  Frank Podesta said that they plead it and could prove it in a summary judgement but they are not being allowed evidence. 

Why would someone not be allowed evidence?

Judge Eric Netcher 
Circuit Judge at the 9th Circuit
Orlando Florida

Prior to being a Judge, Eric Netcher was a partner in the law firm, Dean Ringers Morgan & Lawton, from Nov 2018 - Jan 2020. What's most interesting is that he conducted all workers comp claims in Florida on behalf of SWA. I'm quite surprised that he did not recuse himself. However, if that he doesn't believe in conspiracies, perhaps he's not part of one, and will do the right thing. I pray he will do the right thing because I'm beginning to believe there is no justice. 

Being that this was a Public Hearing, the Judge was located in Florida, and there was no confidential information disclosed, and a court reporter, employed by SWA, was typing away, and the Judge did not state he did not want a recording, I did just that. 

If you would like to have a listen to the hearing if you were unable to make it to this public trial, you can listen hear: Public Hearing Motion to Dismiss The hearing lasted one hour. 

The only way Justice is served is if discovery is allowed. I pray this will be the case. 

Enjoy the Journey
Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Friday, October 13, 2023

Aviation Safety and Distraction

The Pending Government Shutdown Creating Unsafe Skies

October 22, 2009, a Northwest Airlines crew overflew Minneapolis St. Paul Airport because the pilots were distracted by the new bidding practices, as a result of the Delta Northwest merger. The same day a Delta crew landed on a taxiway in Atlanta because the captain was sleeping off his "illness" and ATC was trying to help the two first officers who had flown all night, without a break, by changing runways. These pilots were distract by the new taxiway lights that looked like a runway.

Distraction attacks in many forms. But as professionals we train ourselves to focus on the task at hand, so we don't think about those "other" things that could impact our performance. However, the more automated our planes become, our brains require less focus. It becomes difficult to sustain constant focus on instruments when nothing is happening. The mind wanders, and that in itself is distraction. It doesn't feel like distraction, thinking about stuff is simply a method to stay awake. These highly automated aircraft lead to complacency.


The New York Times investigation brings to light multiple errors with ATC in their article, How a Series of Air Traffic Control Lapses Nearly Killed 131 people. If you're unable to read the New York Times, check out the Star Tribune. Starting the year off, on January 15th, 2023, a Delta flight had to abort due another ATC error when they crossed another plane in their path. These errors will cause a major accident, it's not if, but when.

Why Are There So Many ATC Errors?

I hypothesize that these controllers are distracted with how they are going to feed their families and pay their mortgages when the government shuts down. The last time the government shutdown was December 22, 2028 to January 25, 2019. Air Traffic Controllers were required to work for free. Many called in sick. The flight operations during that time were challenged. This time, the shutdown has been delayed until November. This pending doom is a huge distraction, and has been all year and will only get worse.

What nobody is paying attention to is the distraction that this pending shutdown causes. How effective you would be at your job if you knew that you could eventually be without a paycheck? Not only that, but you would be required to work for free. The government is negatively impacting your safety.

Don't Blame the Controllers like you blame pilots
Look at the Contributing Factors,
If you want these errors to stop before someone dies,
END the threat of a Government Shutdown Today!

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Airline's and Random Drug Testing

 Mechanic is Reinstated after Testing Positive for THC

An Alaska Airlines Mechanic tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. It was undisputed that he had THC in his system, and Alaska has a zero tolerance policy for drugs. He lives and works in Washington State, where THC is legal, but he testified that he only drinks beer and has never consumed drugs. But the Director who terminated the mechanic, never conducted an investigation to determine the validity of the mechanic's claims. 

Does a company have to reinstate an employee despite company policy? 

This arbitrator said yes!

This mechanic had a few things on his side: AMFA (his union) and he was represented by Lee Seham (AMFA's attorney), and the truth. He also have the benefit that the airline did not purchase a decision by the arbitrator, and there was a fair and just ruling. This speaks volumes for any airline. 

This mechanic attended a block party and ate off many different tables, so more than likely there was something in his food and accidental ingestion. His testing was in response to a random test, he was not impaired. He was doing his job safely. Thereafter, he completed his SAP [Substance Abuse Professional] evaluation and education program satisfactorily, and there is no regulatory bar to his re-employment.

The arbitrator ruled 
he should be reinstated!

This leaves many questions of our industry:

Should accidental ingestion of drugs or alcohol, if the pilot follows all compliance requirements with the FAA, not enable reinstatement? Should it not be required by Airlines to investigate if a pilot states they did not drink or take drugs? 

Those who believe company policies are all ruling... Think again. Extenuating circumstances do prevail, such as this case when a 20 year employee, who never tested positive before, stated he did not use drugs, there was a high probability of accidental consumption, and he followed all the ensuing DOT rules. 

This was a huge win for Lee Seham and AMFA, and for this mechanic. 

I'm curious if companies have the right to tell employees what they should do on their day off. If there is a no-smoking policy at work, and yet the employee smokes on their days off and tests for nicotine at work, would that be grounds for termination? If state law says you can legally smoke marijuana... should the company be testing for that in a random test? They don't test for nicotine, despite policy. Or should they only test if the person appears impaired? Or should there be an impairment level? Alcohol is legal, and a pilot could get a random test, but there is a limit that is allowed, indicating it had been ingested, but not causing impairment. I suspect it's time to revisit policies. 

For anyone who underestimates the power of union support, this is one of those times that an airline employee would have lost his job, despite never having consumed drugs, even though he always followed company policies, and was an exceptional mechanic would have lost his job. Without his legal team, he would have been a victim of circumstance. 

Be Safe. Make good choices. 

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Monday, September 25, 2023

The Writer's Strike Is Over...

It's Time to Make a Movie! 

This weekend I attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) writers conference and met amazing and talented people in all aspects of the writing industry. Imagine, even though female pilots are less than 7% of the industry, three are in one class! One of those pilots was the speaker who is a retired Air Force pilot and former spy. The stories that flew between breaks are the things movies are made of. Everyone has a story and something to share. 

 Flight For Discovery

Time is Running Out...

I'm finishing Flight For Justice, the next in the Flight For series, but I'm also working on a memoir, They Called Me Crazy, The true story of Petitt vs. Delta. A movie is being discussed. This is not an if, but when.  When it happens, I want to celebrate with you! 
Do you want to join the movie party?

This invite is open to all books in the Flight For Series. if you have not started the series yet, you can begin with the first, Flight for Control, and work your way through them. If you have a few to catch up on, it's time before the next novel is released. You can also find something in the non-fiction genre of your choice. Motivation, Inspiration, and Education

I don't just want you to buy them, 
I want you to read them too! 
And I want to know what you think!

  1. Buy any book off my blog, or buy an ebook off Amazon
  2. Read it, then...
  3. Leave a comment on Amazon and send me a copy of that comment! 
Simple as 1, 2, 3. If you've already read the books, having bought them at an Aviation Conference or other venue, and have not left a comment, do so and you, too, will be invited. Just leave a comment on Amazon and send me a copy. 

Amazon links to the books can be found on the Aviation Thrillers tab and all others on the Non-Fiction tab. The children's book should be purchased off the blog so your little one can have their book signed to them, telling them they are awesome! 

If you want to change the world,
save lives, or inspire and motivate 
the power is in the pen! 

Join a writers conference like the PNWA. Find like-minded people. And start writing. You'll get there! There is an early-bird sign up today... would love to see you at the conference next year.  

Enjoy the Journey!

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Who is Flying The Plane?

Pilots Are Responsible! 

As a newly rated instrument pilot years ago, still a teenager, I learned the hard way to never allow ATC to fly my plane. Thankfully this event became experience instead of death. Thereafter, during the decades of training pilots, I have always told them, "Do not allow ATC to fly your plane. You are in command." 

During my ERAU law course I learned that if ATC provides a vector into a mountain, the pilot is still responsible. ATC is not required to know the performance of your plane or Federal Regulations. Therefore, when ATC tells you what speed to fly, you must know your aircraft's performance capability, as well as your personal limitations. 

This morning I received the memo posted below and deep concerns that Delta is telling pilots to follow ATC's directions: 

"They say coordinate with ACT, 
but ATC is always way too busy 
when they are issuing 180 kts to DEPOT!... 
Subliminal Pilot Pushing again"
Anonymous Delta Pilot

The underlying threat in the Delta memo to the pilots was that this would be a violation:

"ATL TRACON and other approach facilities 
are processing pilot deviations for these 
speed violations. "

And the Order: 

"When cleared for any approach with a speed assignment, pilots must comply."

In speaking with an A330 check airman this morning, he stated he always tells pilots DO NOT accept a 180 knot clearance of DEPOT or you WILL become unstable. The A330 cannot accept this approach. That message is coming from one of the best.

Do you think you must comply
Because they said so?

MEMO to pilots everywhere: 

If ATC issues you a clearance that your plane cannot comply with, and they are too busy to discuss the issue,  you simply respond, "Unable!" You do not have to comply. 

The skies are saturated, but that is not your problem or concern. Your only responsibility is to know your personal limitations, understand the limitations and operation of your aircraft, and ensure that you and your passengers land safely. If the industry is trying to cram too many planes into the same target too quickly to increase profit, then maybe the system needs to be fixed. 

Delta's Weekly Flight Ops Update MEMO: 

Safety & operations  

Thinking about slowing early? 

Not so fast Recent ASAP reports have shown an increase in speed-related pilot deviations on approaches. Consider the scenario of being vectored and cleared for a visual or ILS to 27L in Atlanta. The controller instructs a Delta aircraft to maintain 180 knots to DEPOT and tells them to contact Tower. After intercepting the approach course, the pilot decides to slow early to create additional space from the preceding aircraft using their TCAS as their guide.  

As a result of the speed reduction, the pilot has created a loss of separation with the aircraft in trail, resulting in a go around. Not only that, but the early reduction was unnecessary – spacing was just fine. Remember, a speed assignment of 180 knots to DEPOT is an ATC clearance. When an approach clearance is received with a speed assignment, it is the pilot's responsibility to comply with the speed restriction or request an amended clearance. Recently, and with ever-increasing frequency, ATL TRACON and other approach facilities are processing pilot deviations for these speed violations.  

When cleared for any approach with a speed assignment, pilots must comply. Failure to do so may result in a pilot deviation unless the pilot has communicated with ATC the inability to comply with the issued clearance. Please continue to submit ASAP reports if you experience any issues related to the above. Delta has a close working relationship with many ATC facilities and can work with them to address any concerns. 


Be Safe and Stay in Command! 

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727