Contract Airline Services

"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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Aircraft Fire Unreported

SMS Violation... 

A Major Safety Lapse

Delta Flight: HNL to ATL

Fire on the Plane! 

The Crew: 

The Delta captain was actually a first officer who was not senior enough to be a captain in real life, but he was allowed to fly as captain on this flight because was an Aircrew Pilot Designee (APD) in the simulator. One of the other two first officers was also an APD, who has since retired and is now back working as simulator instructor/Check Airman for Delta Professional Services (DPS). 

The captain (alias first officer playing captain) was in the bunk at the time. The airplane was approximately over Salt Lake City when the laptop ignited. A lithium battery meltdown, not unlike United's on February 2023. The difference is that United turned around as they should, to ensure safety. Delta continued and kept this hidden from the public. 

A flight attendant noticed smoke and a glow coming from an overhead bin on the right side of the aircraft above (approximately) rows 2-4. This quick-thinking flight attendant did not open the bin. Instead, she shot halon into the bin from the openings around the door/bin and extinguished the fire. 

The captain returned from the bunk and retrieved the newly (less than a month) installed containment bag from the cabin. Unfortunately, he could not find the gloves. The gloves were stowed in the flight deck. The other first officers opened the flightdeck door and threw the gloves out the door.

Water was added to the containment bag and the captain placed the laptop into the bag and it was filled all the way to the top with water and then sealed. He noticed, and later commented, that the gloves were not insulated and the burning computer was quite hot. A flight attendant was assigned to watch the bag and to report anything that might indicate that the laptop had ignited again. 

The captain and the rest of the crew decided that they should continue to Atlanta instead of diverting. The laptop was turned over to the NTSB, of which was returned to the owner a few days later and, to the best of my knowledge.There Was No Investigation.

Under SMS, airlines are federally required to assess and mitigate risk. The problems with this situation were many because the company did not follow it's SMS, but instead hid the situation. Incidents happen. The goal is that we can learn from events and mitigate the risk. But if we hide events, nothing changes.

  • The flight attendant was brilliant for not opening that bin, of which could have been catastrophic had she done so. This should have been a learning point and added to training for all flight attendants, not kept silent. I don't think many would have had that kind of insight, especially when fatigued. 

  • The gloves were not heat resistant, and this should have been improved for the next fire. 

  • The company should change locations to centrally locate the gloves in the cabin by the containment bag. To this day, I believe they are still in the flight deck away from the containment bag. 

  • This crew continued on to destination without the legally required number of fire extinguishers, because they had used them on the fire. What if they were needed later?

Why didn't anyone report this?

Fear of retaliation!

During this time, Delta senior management was already discussing their strategy to submit me to a psychiatric evaluation because I had requested a meeting to bring safety concerns forward. Of course employes would fear retaliation if they spoke of this event. In response to this, and many more incidents, we need to eliminate fear and encourage everyone who sees something to say something, as required by law.  SMS demands a reporting culture free of retaliation. 

Your Safety Depends Upon it! 

Enjoy the journey
XO Karlene

Monday, February 27, 2023

Aviation Success!

When Events Overlap!
You just make it work...
This weekend my husband and I were busy at the Northwest Aviation Conference. We sold lots of books, I gave two talks on Normalization of Deviance, and we enjoyed meeting many aviation enthusiasts!  The little ones are my favorite! They truly are awesome!

While my husband appears to be sitting in a chair, he's actually on a stool wearing the NadaChair. The owner of the company was at the aviation conference and gave him one to help his back. I tried it and it really works! Anyone who attends sporting events, sits for hours fishing, even flying long hours or selling books at a conference... this is cool. And spine support should not be overlooked. If you want to check it out, click NadaChair, or call: 1-800-722-2587. 

I love my 99 Sisters!!

And then....
Winner! Winner!!

The Proud Papa above won the 747 photo! His little angle, who arrived two month early so she could make the Aviation Conference, might just find herself flying a plane one day! 

Days Prior to the
Western Washington Aviation Conference...

Literary Aviatrix
Aviatrix Book Review Website and Podcast, 
Aviatrix Book Club

Liz Booker and Karlene

I had flown down to Long Beach for a book signing and reading at the Women in Aviation Conference with the Literary Aviatrix Book Club. That trip was a quick, but just long enough to learn what a truly gifted, energetic, and talented woman Liz Booker is. 

But to make matters better, she brought together an incredible group of aviation authors who are authentic, down to earth, passionate. I am so proud to have been invited to be part of their group. And I am really looking forward to reading each of their books.

This last minute trip came about, because Liz was interviewing me on my first novel, Flight For Control. One thing lead to another and I added a last minute trip to my schedule. Spoiler alert... this talk with Liz was my first interview after being retired, therefore I was able to speak freely. You'll find a funny little story that was in my Flight to Success book that I was not able to speak about before. 

If you want to listen to our interview
You can Find it here:

The Amazing Authors!

Merryl Tengesdal: Shatter the Sky
John and Martha King: LIFT
Mary Shipko: Aviatrix; Daring Mary
Cecilia Aragon: Flying Free
R. D. Kardon: Flygirl; Angel Flight; Flying Home
Laura Savino: Jet Boss
Erin Miller: Final Flight, Final Flight; What Grandma Did
Charles Morgan Evans: Helicopter Heroine
Lynn Rippelmeyer: Life Takes Wings
Victoria Yeager: 101 Chuck Yeager-isms
Julie Tizard: The Road to Wings; Flight to the Horizon; Free Fall at Angel Creek
Julie Clark: Nothing Stood in Her Way
Tammie Jo Shults: Nerves of Steel
Karlene Petitt: Flight For Discovery

I handed out hundreds of cards 
to change the AIR21 Law!

Enjoy the Journey! 
XOX Karlene 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Western Washington Aviation Conference

February 24 and 25th in Puyallup Washington! 

I'm flying home from Women in Aviation on Alaska Airlines this morning. But this afternoon I will be setting up my booth at the biggest and best Aviation Conference in the Pacific Northwest! Saturday and Sunday you can find me at booth 124, but I'll also be speaking to Normalization of Deviance each day. Not only that, but I'll be signing books, and giving away a unique and priceless prize this year. 

At booth 124 you can enter to win a 20 X 30 1-1/2 wrapped Canvas of a Photo of the Last NWA flight into Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport. I was sitting in the flight deck during this last flight, deadheading down to fly the last NWA freighter out the next night. This photo is a part of history... and it can be yours!

As Always there are GREAT sponsors! You can find a job. Buy a plane. Buy parts. Buy a book. Win a prize. Get apples. Speak to representatives from Aviation Colleges, and so much more! 

I hope to see you in my neighborhood 
February 24 and 25! 
At the
Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
at the Washington State Fair Events Center
in Puyallup, Washington.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Aviatrix Authors Connect

Reading and Reception

A couple weeks ago I had an amazing time speaking with Liz Booker, as she conducted an Aviatrix Author Interview. She reminded me that Flight For Control was published a century ago! We had a great chat, and one thing led to another. Now I'm headed to women in Aviation in Long Beach this week. I am honored and humbled to be among these brilliant authors!! I'll be signing books in the afternoon, but the evening event is a must! 

LIZ BOOKER is at it again! Celebrating and connecting aviation authors. This is an event you don't want to miss! Tickets are going fast, but I hope that you can join us on February 23rd at 7:30pm at Bogart & Co. in the Long Beach Convention Center for a catered social hour and author readings with heavy appetizers, cash bar, and other surprises. Enjoy 3-5 minute readings and an opportunity to mingle with the authors in an intimate setting

Here’s who you’ll see:

Merryl Tengesdal: Shatter the Sky

John and Martha King: LIFT

Mary Shipko: Aviatrix; Daring Mary

Cecilia Aragon: Flying Free

R. D. Kardon: Flygirl; Angel Flight; Flying Home

Laura Savino: Jet Boss

Erin Miller: Final Flight, Final Flight; What Grandma Did

Charles Morgan Evans: Helicopter Heroine

Lynn Rippelmeyer: Life Takes Wings

Victoria Yeager: 101 Chuck Yeager-isms

Julie Tizard: The Road to Wings; Flight to the Horizon; Free Fall at Angel Creek

Julie Clark: Nothing Stood in Her Way

Tammie Jo Shults: Nerves of Steel

Karlene Petitt: Flight For Discovery

If you want to listen to our interview
You can Find it here:

Enjoy the Journey! 
XO Karlene 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Crew Resource Management Training Opportunity

Is This Job for You?

Patrick Mendenhall

I was recently catching up with a friend and former NWA/Delta colleague that I’ve crossed paths with many times during my airline career. In “retirement,” Patrick (Mendenhall) told me that he has been operating a company that provides CRM training to a wide range of audiences both in and out of the aviation “space.” This includes live and webinar training as well as creating content for an online production and distribution company. Aviation clients are mostly Part 91 and Part 135 operators. But he has also been providing CRM training to other High Reliability Organizations, such as the healthcare industry for over fifteen years.

Now that the COVID malaise is mostly behind us, growth opportunities are falling into Patrick's lap and he could use some help!  


Patrick is looking for someone with aviation experience who is knowledgeable and passionate about safety. In-depth knowledge and understanding of CRM and Threat and Error Management principals would certainly be helpful, too. 

He  is looking to cover a range of skills – from simply writing new CRM content to presenting both live and webinar platforms. Compensation would be “negotiable” as the range of scenarios is as endless as the possible levels of involvement.  

If you have questions or are interested, 
please contact Patrick at

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

AIR21 Statute Change

When It's Broke... Fix It! 

Sign the Petition

For those who do not know the story behind the AIR21 law change, please read the article and view the video below: 

"Judge says FAA Chief Helped Delta Air Lines Retaliate Against Pilot Who Raised Pilot who raised safety Concerns."

By Maximus Aviation

This law change is not to go after Delta. They are simply the poster child for what is wrong with the law. The AIR21 statute must be changed because many airlines have and will continue to retaliate against employees despite the current statute. Delta has simply identified that the law is ineffective by their behavior and ability to destroy a pilot and her career. 

Delta has proven that an airline can continue to operate in the same unsafe manner that was brought to their attention, despite the AIR21 statute. Delta management has shown that it is possible for an airline to pay a doctor for a false diagnosis and hide it from the stockholders by making him a vendor. Delta has proven that airlines can violate a court order by withholding discovery and then perjure themselves in court without consequence. They also showed their ability to spend millions of stockholder dollars to enact a war of attrition on a pilot who was promoting safety. 

Retaliation is a violation of Safety Management Systems (SMS). SMS is a Federal Regulations that mandates a reporting culture to ensure employees can identify and report risk without retaliation. Delta has proven that an airline can violate regulatory standards without consequence. For all these reasons, the law must change. Below is the requested change. Please, send it to your local newspapers, senators, congressmen, representatives, or anyone you can think of. Together, we can improve safety. 

Sign the Petition

AIR21 Aviation Advocate Reform Act 


The AIR21, Whistleblower, statute is flawed and does not protect the employee, but enables and supports airline management to retaliate despite the law.  

In January 2018, Safety Management Systems (SMS) became a federal mandate designed to evaluate the airline operating environment, assess hazards, mitigate risk, and capture errors. A core requirement of SMS is a bona fide safety culture with emphasis on ground-up communications in a flexible, blame-free, accountable environment that encourages reporting safety concerns so that management has both the knowledge and ability to support the system’s overall safety goals. An airline’s safety culture establishes the indispensable foundation of a successful SMS in accordance with the FAA-mandated criteria.  

The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) was enacted in 2000 to protect airline employees when internally reporting a violation of a "federal standard" to their management or directly to the FAA. But this law does not protect employees who are required to report under the SMS federal standard of 2018. The Reporting Culture component of SMS dictates employees must report “anything” they see that could impact safety to mitigate risk in a retaliatory-free environment, not simply a “federal standard” violation.   

Currently, the only means that an employee can initiate enforcement of SMS standards regarding retaliatory free reporting is pursuant to the AIR21 statute. However, the AIR21 statute at face value conflicts with SMS regulatory reporting, protects the employer more so than the employee, holds nobody accountable, does not mandate a solution to the problem, and can find the employee in financial detriment even when they win.   

The necessary changes include: (1) change reference from the “Whistleblower Law” to the "Safety Advocate Law"; (2) extend the restrictive statute of limitations from 90 days to 300 days; (3) Expedite the OSHA investigatory process by limiting OSHA's involvement; (4) expand the definition of protected activity to include SMS; (5) allow to name individuals involved in order to hold them accountable; (6) liberalize the statute’s damages provision in alignment with similar statutes to include punitive damages; and (7) provide for an alternative to the subjectivity of "reasonable" legal fees to enable the employee full legal reimbursement.  

Naming Convention  

Currently the AIR21 statue is referred to as the “Whistleblower Law”, indicating that employees are blowing the whistle on their airline to the FAA. A review of AIR21 cases identifies that most complaints are internal where the employee was making an effort to identify a problem internally to management to assist in improving safety. Furthermore, the term “whistleblower” holds a negative connotation similar an informant or snitch, which undermines the statutory intent of encouraging employees to come forward to improve safety.  

Naming Convention Proposal  

References to the AIR21 statute should be changed from the “Whistleblower Law” to the Safety Advocate Law.  

Statute of Limitations  

The AIR21 statute has the shortest statute of limitations of any discrimination law—90 days. The problems with this truncated limitation period are many. 1) Most employees are unaware of this law, and by the time they learn of it it’s too late to receive the intended protections. 2) Airline employees who are protected under a union’s collective bargaining agreement will be pressed by their union and management to follow the grievance process, believing that the grievance process will protect them. However, the AIR21 statute was enacted because Congress realized passenger safety must not be held in the hands of an arbitrator who is paid, at least in part, by the employer. 3) With only 90 days to file, those employees who know of the law are forced to file. Whereas, if the event was an honest mistake, the matter could be readily solved in the first stage of the grievance process if there was time. 4) Sexual harassment federal statute is 180 days, with state laws up to 300 days or more. Safety should be placed, at minimum, on par with sexual harassment in that lives are at risk. 5) The fraud statute of limitations is four years or more. Paying a doctor for a false diagnosis is aligned with fraud.  

Statute of Limitations Proposal  

Extend the statute of limitations to file an AIR21 complaint to 300 days.  

OSHA Process  

The AIR21 statute involves a joint investigation by both OSHA and the FAA. However, OSHA investigators lack the requisite knowledge of airline operations, and, even where the FAA’s investigation substantiates a violation in the same case, OSHA may still rule on behalf of the airline. OSHA may also take multiple years to conduct an investigation, enabling the airline to engage in subsequent violations during that extended time, while the employee is without a paycheck, of which sends a warning to all employees that the OSHA process is futile. This extended time harms the employee who has lost his or her job unjustly. Taxpayer dollars are funding this most inefficient process with an illusion that safety is being improved, whereas this process has the opposite effect and one of the most inefficient government processes.   

OSHA is currently tasked with ruling on all four components of an AIR21 complaint: (1) Protected activity, (2) brought forth in good faith, (3) resulting in an adverse action and, (4) with a causal link to the adverse action. Unfortunately, rarely does management admit that their adverse action is motivated by discriminatory animus. To task an OSHA investigator with making this determination, given the investigator’s lack of knowledge of airline operations, leaves the airline in complete control of this process.  

A workaround of this inefficient process is for the employee to take the loss with OSHA and then immediately appeal to ensure expeditious justice. If a law requires a workaround to bypass OSHA, then the current process is ineffective. Currently the OSHA process discourages employees from pursuing the justice necessary to enhance safety and is widely seen as a roadblock in the path toward justice more so than being a neutral investigation.  

OSHA Process Proposal

OSHA should be required to determine within a maximum of two months only the following three facts: 1) Did the employee report safety concerns to management, 2) did the employee suffer an adverse action, and 3) was there temporal proximity from the report to the adverse action. If those points are satisfied, then OSHA rules on behalf of the employee. The airline can then appeal to address those facts and causation.  

Protected Activity  

As of April 5, 2000, the AIR21 statute has protected employees for reporting non-compliance with federal standards. Eighteen years later SMS became a federal standard. Embodied within that standard is a federal requirement mandating a reporting culture. It is not clear from relevant case law that the AIR21 statute is consistent with the FAA’s SMS mandate. Under SMS, anything that identifies a potential risk is required by law to be reported in order to assess and mitigate that risk as necessary; yet identification of risk is not a protected activity under the current AIR21 statute.  

Under SMS, employees are required to identify threats and communicate those concerns to mitigate associated risk, in effort to avoid an accident. This is the very reason a reporting culture is a key element to safety. Employees must report the threat before the accident occurs. A reporting culture requires that employees are encouraged to report in a retaliatory-free environment. By limiting protection under the AIR21 statute to only those issues that are explicit federal mandates, this narrow interpretation of AIR21 protected activity undermines the risk mitigation strategy at the core of SMS. SMS is a Federal Regulation. In short, AIR21 is not achieving the goal for which it was designed and conflicts with federal SMS regulations.  

Protected Activity Proposal  

Anything an employee reports in good faith to improve safety of airline operations will be deemed “protected activity” under the AIR21 statute in alignment with SMS.  

Naming those Involved  

The current statute does not allow for naming individuals as defendants, but only the organization. This distinction is at variance with a growing number of state discrimination laws, and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which held individual supervisors accountable. People are violating the law, not the entity. When organizations have a negative safety culture, in that they condone the retaliation of an employee bringing forth safety concerns, these managers are not only free from accountability, but are frequently rewarded by the airline for their retaliatory action. The impunity of supervisors under the AIR21 statute further silences employees from reporting safety concerns; and when such retaliatory managers are promoted, the process encourages retaliation and discourages reporting. Even if the airline loses its AIR21 case, there is not requirement for the employer to hold anyone accountable.      

Enabling individuals to be named in the lawsuit, along with the company, will create an incentive for management representatives to assess their actions and think twice before they engage in retaliatory actions, knowing they could be personally liable. These individuals should no longer hide behind the airline or manufacturer.   

Naming All Involved Proposal  

Enable complainants to name specific individuals in the AIR 21 complaint in addition to the organization.  


This statute only allows for compensatory damages and does not allow for fines or punitive damages. Other OSHA statutes provide for punitive damages such as: Federal Railroad Safety Act Whistleblower Protection Provision (FRSA), National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), and Seamans Protection Act (SPA). Why not air travel? The purpose of punitive damages is to punish respondents for violating the law. Airlines and individuals must be held accountable for their actions that involve the safety of the traveling public. A slap on the wrist to a corporation will not solve the problem.   

Damages Proposal  

If found in violation of the AIR21 statute, the Administrative Law Judge has the authority to fine the airline any amount the ALJ deems appropriate for the situation and apply punitive and compensatory damages.  

Legal Fees  

Under the AIR21 statute, an employee who wins their case is only awarded “reasonable” attorney fees. While the airline can afford millions in defense of an indefensible position utilizing stockholder funds, the employee, who has been removed from duty because of reporting safety concerns, is without a paycheck, has a mortgage, mouths to feed, and kids to educate, can rarely afford to compensate a competent lawyer. The airline has unlimited resources to drag out a lawsuit in a war of attrition, file frivolous motions, and run up the employee’s legal fees. With subjective attorney fees identified as "reasonable" in combination with compensatory damages the employee could win, but the unrecovered attorney fees may exceed the compensatory damages.   

Legal Fees Proposal 

The employee will receive all attorney fees and all associated legal expenses.    


The federal government found it necessary to enact the 2018 SMS mandate to improve safety by including the mandatory adoption of a risk mitigation program embodying a reporting culture, clearly indicating the ineffectiveness of the 2000 Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21). The necessity of incorporating all changes within this AIR 21 Aviation Advocate NextGen Reform Act are more critical as the industry moves into the NextGen environment. In addition, the 2020 Aircraft Certification Safety and Accountability Act should include similar provisions within this proposal.

Please Sign the Petition Here

I'm asking you to share the link with ten or more people and ask them to do the same. I'm asking all my International friends who are passionate about safety and concerned with the trajectory of our industry to sign. I intend on making this a world law. One step at a time. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Friday, February 17, 2023

Airline's Hidden Secrets

 How Safe are You?

Delta Hail Damage August 2015

There are some things that cannot be hidden such as damage after flying through a hail storm. However, the public should wonder how Delta Air Lines can hide their near catastrophic incidents, when United, for example, is pulled into the media with a similar situation as Delta, but not as close a call. To my knowledge, the event you're about to read was known by the FAA and NTSB, but Delta and those agencies kept this silent from the public. Employee's cannot speak out because of social media violations and a subsequent termination. The public is left in the dark.

The following event was one of many in the safety report that cost me my career at Delta Air Lines for speaking out.

It was May of 2015. I was attending ERAU to earn a PhD in Aviation, focused on Safety. My research revolved around manual flight. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) wanted to know why pilots were not manually flying their aircraft. The FAA had issued a Safety Alert in 2013 to encourage pilots to manually fly. Based upon Delta Air Lines Negative Safety Culture I wondered how a negative safety culture impacted manual flight. My research proved that it did. I published Normalization of Deviance, a Threat to Aviation Safety to share these results with the general population. 

In 2015 Delta had posted a training video to advise pilots to declare an emergency if they lost their autoflight system. Simply put, Delta determined that manual flight at Delta would be an emergency, contrary to the FAA Safety Alert. Unless the FAA was encouraging pilot emergencies. 

Captain Dempsey, the Chair of Delta's Human Factor's working group, departed for a three-hour flight to Atlanta and learned he had no autoflight system upon departure. He then flew into RVSM airspace without an autopilot. RVSM airspace, Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums, is airspace that mandates an autopilot because there is only 1000 feet of separation between aircraft. 

I was taking an aviation law course at the time. After discussing the issues with my law professor, who was also an attorney and a Captain at another airline, I had many questions. First, if Dempsey thought this to be an emergency why didn't he return shortly after departure? Second, why did he fly into airspace he was not allowed to enter? If he didn't know, then certainly dispatch would. Third, why was Delta's response to tell pilots to declare an emergency if they didn't have an autopilot?

Flying without an autopilot and/or autothrust should be a basic skill for all pilots. I located Captain Dempsey's contact information and emailed him. We had numerous email exchanges. Captain Dempsey's following statements ended up in the safety report that I provided to Steve Dickson, Delta's SVP of Flight Operations, and Captain James Graham, Delta's VP of Flight Operations. 

What I learned was frightening. When I reported my concerns to the company, it cost me my career at Delta Air Lines. 

Below is what Captain Dempsey emailed me regarding his performance and decision-making. But he also disclosed frightening information of what Delta and the FAA both knew to be true, with a near catastrophic accident, yet hid from the public. 

Captain Dempsey: 

"If you ever solve the automation challenge, let me know. Presently, I chair the Delta Flight Path Management Steering Committee and we have wrapped up 6 weeks of meetings contemplating (among other things) automation. I am writing up recommendations to flight ops and expect some changes will result over the next 6 months - 2 year time frame. We have a good group, including Drs. Key Dismukes and Barbara Burrian from NASA Ames. You are probably familiar with their work given your history.

The video served many purposes, but one certain takeaway is that we as a group [Delta Pilots] are presently not prepared to fly in complex airspace with Level 0 automation [No automation]. Nor, might I add, are we suitably prepared to fly in complex airspace with Level 4 automation [Fully Automated] (so says ASAP [Aviation Safety Reporting Program].) Still, hand flying was necessary in that situation, so what should we do about it? Fun question. 

 Dempsey continued... 

"As you know, SWA has a problem with trusting/understanding the automation and is only too happy to click it off (even when it is certainly inappropriate.) In a way, they have the opposite problem we have.

I have been having dialogue with them for some time, and we both believe the answer lies in a hybrid SWA/DAL pilot!

In our case, we have a 737 on final in ATL in IMC [clouds]. At 700' they decide to GA [Go Around] but hit the AT [Autothrottle] button instead of TOGA [Takeoff Goaround] (FD [Flight Director] stays in APP [Approach]).

No one seems to notice that the pitch (3 degrees nose up) and power (56% N1) are not the pitch/power for GA (appx. 12 degrees up and 90%). It doesn't matter that they didn't have the exact number memorized...they didn't even have the SA [Situation Awareness] to look beyond the FD and recognize something was wrong

And they got to 186' with 2,000+ fpm descent 
before saving the day 
as EGPWS wails in the background.

You know, as a T-38 instructor I flew 1,500 sorties with no A/P or A/T. I was pretty good at hand flying back then. To have my skills degrade to a point where a level 0 VMC [Nice day no autopilot]  landing in ATL required declaring an emergency is a personal wake-up call. I hate to think that someday manual flight ops will be an assumed emergency, but that day may be approaching." 

Captain Steve Dempsey,
Chair Delta Air Lines 
Human Factors Working Group

When I asked Dempsey if he knew he was not allowed to enter RVSM airspace he stated, "I did know that but thought that after asking for and being given a block altitude that I was OK." 

It was not okay. 

Result After Voicing my Concern: 
  • Four months after the email exchange with Captain Dempsey, Captain Graham communicated via email with Dickson and others that I would be subject to a psychiatric evaluation  because I requested a meeting to discuss Delta's Safety Culture.
  • A little over a month after that Dickson Graham meeting (five months from when I first requested it), I was removed from duty and sent to an abusive psychiatric evaluation.
  • The psychiatrist, Dr. Altman, debated me as to whether manual flight was an emergency. 
  • I did not fly for 2 years because of that report, despite the fact that I never lost my medical. 
  • 6-years of legal battles, a 9-day trial, hundreds of thousands of dollars, (millions for Delta) with an appeal, and dozens of motions... 
  • Delta lost almost every motion. Delta lost in court. Delta lost their appeal. 
  • Dickson became FAA administrator. 
  • Captain Graham was promoted to CEO of Endeavor Airlines. 
  • Ed Bastian remains CEO of Delta, despite his knowledge and involvement of the retaliation.
  • Delta killed 7 years of my career, and I gave up the last four because....
  • Nobody has been held accountable at Delta Air Lines.
I'm asking for your help, 
to improve safety! 

As of today, on LinkedIn, 18,803 people have viewed the post my Life is Not Over.  Since that date, there have been 543 signatures to change the law. I am asking everyone who reads this, to please sign that petition and to share it with ten people and ask those ten to do the same. Passenger's lives depend upon it. Careers depend upon it. Safety depends upon it. 

This is a Worldwide Petition, despite the AIR21 statute being a U.S, Law. What happens in the United States with aviation jeopardizes countries worldwide. With effort I hope to make this a worldwide law. For now, let's get it changed! 

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

My Life is Not Over

 It's Just Going to Be Different! 

January 24, 2023 I lost my First Class Medical Certificate. Sometimes life throws at us what we don't expect. My health has suffered in the shadow of the seven years of hell I went through at the hands of Delta management. I fought the good fight, and I won, and won again thanks to the truth, an incredible attorney Lee Seham, and honorable Judge Morris. Delta finally settled in the fall of 2022, but nothing has changed. 

Nobody has been held accountable at Delta, and all those who participated in the action continued employment and some were even promoted. Even a Senior Delta VP found a position as the FAA administrator despite the company proven to have violated Federal Law. The most interesting aspect of my case is that Delta violated the Federal Regulation Safety Management System (SMS), and the FAA Administrator who enacted that very regulation is sitting on Delta's board and did nothing.  

For my health, and the determination that I could do more to create change on the outside of Delta than on the inside, I made a life decision to retire on January 31, 2023. 

For anyone who does not know what transpired in Petitt vs Delta please read The Seattle Times article and watch the Maximus YouTube video for an eye-opening experience. 

By Dominic Gates 

By Maximus Aviation 

While I shined a light on a serious industry issue of retaliation against employees who report safety concerns, my 7-year battle with Delta Air Lines has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the AIR21 Statute is flawed. The law enabled Delta to engage in a war of attrition against me. I survived, but they took an 11-year career in the process. We must ensure this never happens to anyone ever again. 

The behavior that Delta has proven to get away with, despite their loss in multiple courts, places passengers worldwide at risk. Safety demands that ground floor employees are allowed to speak out, and not fear retaliation when they identify high-risk behavior. Delta has proven that the highest level executives can retaliate without accountability. 

I may be stepping out of the flightdeck, but I am stepping into a position of shining a floodlight on what happened to me to ensure it will never happen to anyone ever again. I did not sign an NDA when I settled with Delta. Now that I am retired, I am free to speak.

Please join me in viewing my event as an opportunity to create much needed change. I have formed a petition to change the AIR21 Statute.  Please, take the time to click on the link below and sign the petition. Share it with everyone you know and ask them to do the same. This in the one way we can turn a negative into a positive: 

If you would like to read the details of the law change you can find that here: 

Law Change: AIR21 Aviation Advocate Reform Act 

"They always say time changes things, 
but you actually have to change them yourself." 

Andy Warhol

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

Sunday, February 12, 2023


Making a Difference in a Life!

The game is over. The Chief's won... but not how I'd have liked! I was in line for the final $200 if they got that last touchdown. Congratulation Chiefs and Congratulations to the winner's of Kayla's Football Pool. I actually had a side bet going with my hubby and he just delivered my $100 because I bet on the Chiefs, and he gave me 5 points! I obviously didn't need them. 


Fuzz and Julie $100!
Karolee $200
Hercules $300

You are all winners for helping such a great cause. For those who purchased squares, $400 was donated to Dare2Tri! Kayla put the squares donations in this donationion site at Dare2Tri, increasing that amount to $1200, almost halfway to her $2500 goal! The games over, but It's not too late to donate. While many did not play the game, instead they generously donated directly by adding an additional $856. She almost reached that $1000 goal.  Thank you Derry, Geri, Jim, Lee, William, and brigitte for your direct donations! And thank you Kirk, Julie, Fuzz, Lynn, Bob, Karolee, Kris, Dick, JK, Carolyn, Busso, Ken, Kyle, Hercules and Fisher for your donations and participating in the game! You have all made a difference! 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Let The Games Begin!

What Does Super Bowl Sunday and a
Paratriathlon have in common?

Amazing Athletes living their Dreams
And being the Best they can be! 

Kayla Woputz

My middle Daughter, Kayla, found her life in a wheelchair. It wasn't long thereafter that she found herself in a paratriathlon, thanks to those who are giving the gift of sports to our challenged athletes. The "Dare2Tri" folks have helped Kayla and many others to a life of athletics. Kayla is filled with gratitude for the opportunities that Dare to Tri has given her, and she is always looking for ways to give back as she pays it forward. Therefore she decided to create a fundraiser and tie it to the Super Bowl! 

This Fundraiser is to support Dare2Tri.

YOU Get a chance to Win $$$
During the Super Bowl
While helping challenged athletes

"Dare2Tri is a non-profit a non-profit specializing in adaptive sports, we encourage recreation, racing, and competition, while cultivating a sense of community for all athletes, who are not labeled by physical ability but rather their determination and will to succeed."

Example of Where Funds Go:
* $150 pays a Race Entry
* $300/youth| $400/adult | $500/Injured Military for camps
* $1500 prosthetic running blade
* $3500 racing chair
* $5500 handcycle

1st Quarter: $100
2nd Quarter: $200
3rd Quarter: $100
4th Quarter: $200

How to Play:
Each $10 donation gets you one square.
Squares are randomly assigned.
Buy as many squares as you want!!!

How to WIN
After each quarter, you take the last digit of each team's score and the corresponding square wins! For example:

All Squares will be randomly assigned, and you will get your assigned square before the start of the Super Bowl!


Log into your Venmo account or click on the Paypal Link below... 

Send $10 (or as much as you want for more squares) to @ParaSportsGIVE.

VENMO: @ParaSportsGIVE

Also, if you don't want to play, you can still donate directly to Dare To Tri at:

From My Family to Yours!!

Kayla, Cody, Miles and Ellis

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene