Episode 96 – Karlene’s Flight to Success

Delta A330 by Mark Hsiung

Our guest this week is Karlene Petitt, a long time airline pilot, currently flying with Delta. She blogs at Flight to Success and she’s also an emerging author. Karlene describes her training to fly the A330, what it’s like to pilot for a major U.S. airline, and how pilots like to be in control but sometimes are not. Karlene also brings a lot of good insight into current airline news. We had such an interesting conversation with Karlene that we had to skip a lot of the news.

Benet Wilson from AviationWeek helps out with the co-hosting. By the way, she’s got a new blog going called The TRAVEL World According to Benet. Also, Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast joined us live for the news:

David returns to provide his This Week in Aviation history segment.

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

Thanks to Mark Hsiung for permission to use his Delta A330 photograph above.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

13 thoughts on “Episode 96 – Karlene’s Flight to Success

  1. Max Flight

    Wow. If this was the new full body scanner, I thought the naughty bits were supposed to be blurred! Hmm. Also, if it isn’t bad enough that the victim’s manhood is rather small, now everybody knows and his picture is in the news to boot!

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for listening!


  2. Max Flight

    [Seb writes:]

    Hi to everyone, just to let you know that you have at least one European listener. My name is Seb, i live in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire England ( the home to Willy Shakespeare), I am an aviation photography enthusiast, and I prefer civilian aircraft. My main local airport where I go spotting is Birmingham ( BHX) If I have a little more time, I like to go up to Manchester, which is about a 200 mile round trip. Two of the best highlights I had on a plane, I managed to get myself into the cockpit of a British Airways Boeing 747 300, landing once into heathrow and once into Miami, which was just a fantastic experience. (of course this was all before 9/11 when life was a little easier up there). I really enjoy the podcasts, especially the banter you guys have with each other and also I love the Ryan-air bashing! Having flown Ryan-air a few times, they are no longer a choice of airline I would ever fly again. I did hear that they were planiing to use the bathroom on the plane. Keep up the good work, I am looking forward to the 100th podcast.

  3. pilotron

    Please add a link to all the web sites mentioned in the podcast on your website. I would like to go to Karlene’s site but can’t find a link. I listen to your podcast while outside and can not write down the links

  4. Max Flight

    [New listener Andrew writes…]

    Hello Geeks,

    I stumbled across your podcast a few weeks back and I’m now an unabashed avid listener…. After a long time searching the web for a quality and enjoyable aviation news/discussion podcast I must say you guys have created the perfect mix of educated discussion, news and informal banter. Please keep up the good work – it’s truly appreciated. For your interest – the only alternative aviation podcast I’ve ever found which comes a close second (and I would recommend to other listeners) is the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Middle Seat’ weekly podcast at http://online.wsj.com/public/page/audio.html

    With the recent Continental/United merger and the likelihood that yet another great airline name will simply drift into history it got me wondering if anyone has ever created a ‘US Airline Family Tree’ (in the style of the Rock Family Trees). Thus, showing how and when the likes of Eastern, TWA, Piedmont, Northwest etc fed into today’s “living” carriers. Although some airlines simply went into liquidation- their fleets and routes were generally scooped up by another carrier which provides a link through to the industry players we have today. Wouldn’t that be an interesting project? It can’t be I’m the first person to think of it ! – so any ideas where it may exist?

    All the best,


  5. Max Flight

    Andrew: I’ve never seen an airline family tree like you describe, but it’s a fascinating idea. I’ll hunt around and maybe one of our other listeners has run across this idea somewhere.

    We’re very happy that you found us and enjoy the show!


  6. Max Flight

    [Shawn sent this feedback…]

    Hey Max, just wanted to drop a note to say that this last episode of the show in my opinion was hands down the best episode ya’ll have ever put out. I thought the debate re: airlines, bankruptcy, etc was extremely healthy and informative. Kudos!!

    ps…maybe it because Rob wasnt there!!! hahaha

  7. Max Flight

    [Dave sends a very gratifying comment…]

    Hi guys,

    I’m a gardener from Manchester, England. I was trawling through the podcast section on iTunes a few weeks back, and stumbled across your podcast. I decided to subscribe, although I have no real interest in aviation other than I live under the flight path for Manchester Airport so tend to notice those metal tubes flying over my house. I’m not sure why I subscribed. I listen to my iPod every day whilst working, so I try and listen to as wide a range of things as possible to keep me amused during the day.

    But I just thought I’d drop you a line to say thanks for such a great podcast. I’m working my way back, and I’m up/down to about episode 60 by now. I find it really interesting to hear the topics you cover, especially as it’s a completely new sort of world to me.

    So keep up the good work, and I just wanted to say thanks again for making my days more interesting!

    Manchester, England.

    P.S. Last year I followed my football team, Manchester City, around Europe. Most of the flights were on a little airline I think you may have heard of…RYANAIR! Let me tell you, it’s worse than you think. I’ve never been on a plane where the cabin crew give you evil looks as if to say “what the hell are you doing on here, you’re not meant to be here”. It’s as cheap, nasty and rude as you make it out to be, but the fares are cheap so you put up with it. I remember once at Valldolid in Spain, they managed to turn the plane around in 5 minutes. The previous passengers exited from the front, we boarded from the back, as we got on, there were still passengers getting off!!

  8. Kim Welch

    Max, great show. I particularly enjoyed Karlene’s perspective on the merger. I was gone before it happened.

    With all due credit given to Dan’s expertise in airline business matters: routes, livery, code sharing, fee for departure, etc …. I have to say he is out of his depth when he comments on labor issues, generally echoing “conventional wisdom” …. which is rarely wise. Most of his assumptions (and to his credit, he often labels them as such) are significantly in error. In all likelihood, UAL and CAL unions have NOT been talking; UAL pilots will not be mollified or influenced in the seniority negotiations simply because they expect a raise; the myriad problems at USAirways are not limited to the pilot labor issues …. by a long shot; there is a very good reason why the DL f/a’s have not yet pursued a union vote following the merger. The answer why was in this week’s business sections. You get the idea. Hang in there Dan. It takes a long time to absorb all the subtleties. In fact, as Karlene alluded, few line pilots pay enough attention to do so.

    Max, in answer to your question regarding what pilots do on the long int’l flights …. the answer is that they turn the lights up bright & fight hard to stay awake. DL included make-work duties of navigation tracking to prevent errors …. mostly as a way of keeping pilots awake. Lots of reading, lots of studying (I couldn’t believe how many of my f/o’s went to law school), lots of good conversation if one is lucky.

  9. Court


    What a cool find! You win the prize for episode 96. Max, tell him what he’s won…


    I printed it off showing everybody in the office, which successfully wasted an hour and a half of a Monday afternoon. Now, can somebody do one for United/CAL, American, and USAirways?

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