Listen to this episode below:
What does it take to become a pilot? Join us as Karlene Petitt gives us insight into her inspiring pilot journey.
After eight airlines, Karlene Petitt is flying strong on the Airbus A330.
She holds 7-type ratings, two masters degrees, and is working on her PhD in Aviation, focused on safety.
As a mother, grandmother, international airline pilot and successful blog owner.. Karlene has written aviation thrillers, a motivational book, and also children’s books.
- Karlene’s passion with aviation started when she was just 9 years old.
- She worked at a very young age baby-sitting and mowing lawns to save money to learn how to fly.
- Upon reaching 16, she was bussing tables at Denny’s during the weekdays and going to the nearby airport during weekends for an hour of flying training.
Initial Training Challenges
- During initial training, challenges Karlene faced included, being uncomfortable “Talking on the Radio”, not being sure what to say and learning how to land an aircraft.
- Both of these challenges were overcome, by practice, practice and practice!
- Karlene recommends that as a student you do find that your training has plateaued. Fly with a different instructor as you WILL learn something new.
The Aircraft Types
- Karlene has flown most of the common current airline fleet.
- Karlene is currently flying the Airbus A330 which she likes, but the aircraft she holds the closest to her heart is the Boeing 747-400.
- Boeing 747-200
- Boeing 767
- Boeing 757
- Boeing 737
- Boeing 727
Best Flying Advice
- Never give up, always fly your airplane in that correlates with life. Always keep going, never give up because you will not fail if you don’t quit.
- Karlene is a planner, but understood even from the beginning the importance of flexibility.
- At night while her children were asleep, Karlene studied towards her Flight Engineer rating.
- She was asked by Evergreen International Airlines to fly with them even though Karlene only had 800 hours of recorded flight.
- The owner of training center taught her the core skills on how to fly a jet, 3 nights in a row for a couple of hours each night.
- Flown with a Coastal Airways and Braniff Airlines, but the companies closed down shortly
- Worked with America West as a flight instructor for two years because she had not reached the Airline’s 1500 hour Line Pilot requirement. America West declared bankruptcy before Karlene became a Line Pilot.
- Designed and wrote training programs for Guyana Airways.
- Worked for Tower Air (Boeing 747) but got furloughed just with a Captain seat on the horizon! Luckily, Northwest Airlines were looking for pilots.
- Despite Northwest Airline’s issues regarding corporate unrest with rumors of merger and employee strikes, Karlene pursued working there through the company merger to present day.
- Currently flying the Airbus A330
- Author of “Flight to Success“- a book about Karlene’s beliefs and philosophies on flying, as well as stories of her life in aviation which is available to buy on Amazon.
- Hosting flying events, “Women in Aviation” on March 5 – 7, 2015
- Keynote speaker in Northwest Washingon aviation fair and tradeshow conference
Proudest Flying Moment
- Karlene’s proudest flying moment was when she got accepted at Northwest Airlines. This highlight in her life has made her realise that she already achieved her dream to be a pilot when she was 9 years old.
Future Plans & Aspirations
- Get her book released, the third-installment of a 3-part thriller series entitled “Flight for Survival”.
- Planned movie production.
- Continue flying the Airbus A330.
- Finish her doctorate degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in aviation, with a focus on safety.
- Creating illustration for children’s books entitled “I Am Awesome”. She wants to inspire young people about aviation.
Flying Internet Resource
- karlenepetitt.com – Cheeky 🙂
The flight to success blog – An aviator’s journey continues … Changing the world one word at a time.
Best Aviation Book
- FlyGirl by Syd Blue
Syd Blue had her 1st flying lesson on her 14th birthday. Now she’s a commercial pilot living a life in the skies. As Chief Pilot running an aviation business specializing in aerial surveillance, she sees the expansive view from above throughout the Southwest. Home base is a cabin in the woods with her knight-in-shining-armor husband, gigantic heating bill, and three precious hissing-fire cat-beasts (all of whom hate flying).
Favourite Cockpit Gadget
- Camera – If she was allowed Karlene’s favourite cockpit gadget would be a camera
- You can contact Karlene via her email address by clicking HERE ( karlenepetitt AT gmail.com ) .
- Visit Karlene’s very popular blog here: karlenepetitt.com