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Flight For Safety by Karlene Petitt

This book review is dedicated to the souls lost in the air or on ground for every aircraft catastrophe.  To the families of the victims to see every sense of comfort knowing that there are pilots out there who are doing their best to make sure that which ever tragedy happened - will never happen again.

Jeremy Carlisle 

JFK International Airport
May 11, 2012

Standing in the corridor of the international terminal at JFK on a bright, sunny spring afternoon, I was a man with a mission.  It was Friday afternoon, which only meant one thing - time was limited before I had to get home on time to my obligations that evening.  But at that moment, I wanted only one thing: to catch and meet the very person, a pilot, who was the foundation of spreading the love of aviation.  Also, to spread the love of blogging and sharing the wealth of information for pilots to obtain the tools necessary to be the best and safest pilots possible.  Truly an inspiration for the creation of this website along with many blogs from other pilots all with the same mission - to improve the safety and quality of the aviation industry and to make flying fun and safe for everyone.

Many people were flocking through the corridor from all over the world mostly Mediterranean passengers and a few pilots - one of them being a distinguished looking gentleman with a mustache sporting four bars.  Time was ticking by the milliseconds.  All I wanted to do was find her, say hello, maybe a quick coffee before crew pick-up, then make my way home in time to meet those weekly obligations I had to perform.  Only, just only, if it could have been any other day than Friday - but I knew she was coming back from a leg of many on this trip out east and this had to be accomplished.

Waiting impatiently, my mind shifted from "I am determined no matter what" to "if she comes, great, if not, then there will be a potential next time" - but the question always remained, will there?

Coming out of the hallway quickly, into the gate area, I saw her.  A young pilot, dressed in uniform with a face that I had only seen in photos on social media and had conversed with occasionally on the phone and through email.  It was a surreal experience,  as I thought I would never have such an opportunity.  But I did and this was it.  Heart rate in butterfly mode and nerves unending, I approached to check the wings and the name under to make sure it was her.  It was.

I nervously approached her, said my hello as I removed my baseball cap in order that she recognize my face after the many faces she had just seen prior, double checking her wing tag to make sure this wasn't a dream.  Within split moments, we made a quick smile, "hello", "I'll e-mail you later."  The rendez-vous lasted 15 seconds after her simple touch to my arm, and she was whisked from me by an earlier ACARS (message) stating that company would meet her at the gate for a prompt escort.

Even though she was very pleased to see me after her long flight, I saw the expression, the fear, in her face with the initial eye contact we made.  It was from that initial look she gave me, I saw the pages unfold and fly like wings before my very eyes which told the story...



Karlene Petitt 


Captain Darby Bradshaw.  The name alone rings bells.  One of Coastal Airlines best Captains with the Boeing family, had her fourth bar ripped from her epaulets as Coastal was bought out by Oklahoma City based Global Airlines.  Many people considered it a buy out, however, it was more like a hostile take over.  Welcome to Global airlines where the "open door policy" to the CEO was now forbidden and the chain of command was in place.

A war was now in effect and strict order was just that - in order.  Even if it meant getting a reprimanding e-mail from headquarters for contacting the CEO about holding a regional Christmas party.  The days of having a personal and professional relationship with upper management were now long gone at Mach speeds.. Well, unless if you were issued a memo for protocol violations..

A hostile take over with the fact, as former Captain, now Jr. First Officer Brashaw, was now sitting reserve for months on end with a new mysterious, yet state of the art, heavy aircraft - the Airbus Industrie A330.  The kicker to this was that Global Airlines, in order to cut costs, was manipulating their front line pilots with a "train yourself at home" program to keep current with the incentive for them to be at home with their families.

Kathryn "Kat" Jacobs, whose husband Bill, a former Captain with Coastal and pilot union president in the first novel "Flight For Control", was now sitting in a prison cell for multiple life terms because of his wicked attempt to fix the industry that his father dedicated and took his life to fix.  Kathryn was granted a position with the FAA after discovering her husband's handiwork in his much failed attempt in fixing the industry putting many lives both in danger and some in death.

Even though she was granted her seniority that she had with the NTSB and the pay to match thanks to President Obama, both Darby and Kathryn still had much work to do to improve both safety and the industry as a whole.

Darby did her handiwork, while sitting with Kathryn's twin daughters during her reserve time, while their mother was at work with the FAA and their father was rotting away - the only sensible thing: to start a training blog to share information with other (A330) pilots to go beyond the training manual issued by the airlines and to help those line pilots, like herself, sitting reserve to keep current.

With a few simple touches of the keyboard to blogspot, and a couple of visuals, she was sitting in the chief pilot's office at Global.  Her face red as molten lava.

Nine months after Frank Dawson, Director of Training at Global, published a memo for the off-site "stay at home with your families" training, an Airbus A330 under the command of Captain Wilbur operating as Pacific Airlines Flight 574 crashed en route NRT (Tokyo Narita) - SIN (Singapore) as the aircraft entered a series of storms in the ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone.)  The pitot tubes froze and data to the systems went completely blank.  Because of the fatigue of the pilots taking rest breaks in the new crew rest areas (i.e., business class during first meal service with Princeton in coach having a frat party), they were inadequately rested.  Their minds, just like the automation, were blank and indecisive.  No matter what inputs they made to the sidestick for an attempt at stall recovery, the plane and the lifespan of everyone on board went plummeting down within seconds as "DUAL INPUT" echoed from the deck throughout the metal tube they were inhibited for the rest of their lives.

Loss of automation also came to the test as a Boeing 777 with a foreign carrier crashed short of the runway as pilots, just as Captain Wilbur and his crew, were inadequately trained to deal with this loss of automation. It was their company's policy to restrict manual flying on take off and landings and perform it solely on automation.

Darby new what was going on with these incidents and had to put a stop to them as she saw through the pages of Global Airline training records stating those pilots who were being passed through inadequate line checks like flies with broken wings not knowing anything on how to problem solve a loss of automation.

Darby, who has had her fair share of arrogant check airmen, line instructors,  and captains during training and flying the right seat, could only rely on Brock Townsend, a Global Airlines A330 senior check airman, line instructor,  and subject matter expert who taught her the mysteries of the aircraft, and one other person - Keith who held a significant role in the training department at Global.  Yes, Darby finds love with Keith.  The outcome of their relationship is a mystery left to be solved especially with the treasure that he left for her at the end of the novel.

FLIGHT FOR SAFETY is an epic description of an ordinary pilot amidst a merger, or hostile takeover, of a great airline. Business is business but Petitt explains through her three decade experience in the commercial aviation industry how business plays with the safety records of not only the airlines, but also more importantly those of the most important. The front line pilots, crew, and their passengers. It's all Russian roulette and the stakes are fatal by the numbers the battle being between money and lives, unless something is done about it.  This novel is an ultimate must read and it will lead to a lost treasure at the end of the book. The book is there for you to purchase, write your own review for this novel on, discover, and fly the flight for safety.

Karlene... you have done it yet once again, thank you so much.  You have turned the knob on the panel and pressed the hold button to take us to a whole new flight level.  Thank you also for being a true advocate for commercial aviation training and safety.  You are a true reflection of the airline I used to and will always call my "hometown airline."


Karlene Petitt is a Seattle, Washington based, internationally known aviation thriller author of "Flight For Control", screen writer, and three decade veteran airline transport pilot with a renown international carrier.  She is type rated on the Boeing 727, 737, 747, 747-400, 757, 767 and Airbus A330, and has flown for eight different airlines.  Due to her extensive expertise in her field, she was featured in Airways Magazine and has recently appeared on CNN to discuss and add her perspective to recent air incidents.  She is currently persuing her Ph.D in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

She is also a devoted wife, mother, and grand mother to many grand children and "Biscuit", the family pet Pomeranian.


  1. Jeremy, this is an amazing post! And I still remember that day vividly. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple days! Thank you so much for the great review!!!

    1. You are very welcome, Karlene.. It was just as much of a pleasure to write this as it it was to read it - amazing novel!! See you Sunday!


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