6: Karlene Petitt – Airline Pilot, Author & Blogger

Listen to this episode below:

Karlene Petitt Inspired Pilot  Podcast

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.

Starting Out

  • 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

Northwest 747-200

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.

The Journey

  • 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.

Current Flying.

  • 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

The flight to success blog – An aviator’s journey continues … Changing the world one word at a time.

Best Aviation Book

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

Interview Links

  • You can contact Karlene via her email address by clicking HERE ( karlenepetitt AT gmail.com ) .
  • Visit Karlene’s very popular blog here: karlenepetitt.com

Karlene & Victoria Secret Models