For the last two years I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Karlene Petitt on a number of projects – including a number of websites and a podcast. As a group, we’ve followed the progress of her first novel with great interest. In fact, in the early days of our collaboration, her book was little more than a passion project. The novel, “Flight for Control” is now a published reality.
To steal an apt description from Apple, Karlene has always been a round peg in a square hole. Not because she doesn’t fit… but because she doesn’t fit the typical description of your storm-trooper style airline pilot. Those pilots crazy enough to think that they might actually have an individual impact on airline and aviation safety are normally the ones that manage to do so – despite a stale industry resistant to any kind of change. Karlene, using her book as a fictitious platform, manages to do this. If, as Malcolm Gladwell defines it, an “Outlier” is a term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience, Karlene absolutely defines that presence in aviation. She’s different and better in all the ways that make her a brilliant and inspirational aviator.
Although I’ve not read the final product, a copy is on its way to my home in Sydney. I look forward to sharing a review on this website.
From Karlene’s website, here’s an overview of the story:
After a ten-year leave, Kathryn Jacobs has been invited back to the N.T.S.B to investigate a series of unexplained airline crashes. But her husband, Captain Bill Jacobs, has his concerns. While her twin daughters are off at camp, and Bill is actively campaigning for the Pilot Union Presidency, Kathryn secretly begins her investigation. What she learns will shock the nation.
Flight For Control is a thriller that reads like a mystery. But to Kathryn, there is no mystery on the condition of the airline industry—it’s broken. Planes are crashing. Pensions are lost. Pilots are financially and emotionally bankrupt due to fatigue, furloughs, and loss of seniority. It’s time that someone takes control before it’s too late—unless it already is.
Karlene has published a warning on her website advising that the book is intended for mature audiences:
Please be advised this book is for mature audiences only. Okay… you don’t have to be mature, but you should be old enough to deal with some serious real-life issues. While fiction, Flight For Control harnesses the current airline environment, economy, and the stress your pilots face daily. Where is the union? What is the FAA doing? What is management’s fiduciary responsibility? Flight For Control also contains strong sexual content.
The book challenges the traveling publics’ belief structure and understanding of air travel by introducing them to a number of harsh realities they’re likely unfamiliar with. Karlene – as a veteran of seven airlines – introduces concepts of aviation safety in a manner that can only be effectively articulated by a pilot. According to some pages that Karlene sent me some weeks back, the novel will terminate with some questions relating to aviation safety that should raise the level of interest of the everyday passenger and trouble airline bean-counting accountants that are constantly conspiring against safe operation in the interests of a troubled bottom-line.
We’ve scheduled three sessions at Flight Podcast to discuss some of the safety related elements from Karlene’s novel. If you’re interested in knowing when the programs will be available, please subscribe to our podcast mailing list or follow us on Twitter.
Flight for Control is the first in a trilogy. Karlene says that Flight For Safety and Flight For Survival are “sitting at the gate ready for pushback”.
We’re looking at hosting a Flight for Control event in Australia sometime soon. If you would like to be involved in the event, please get in contact with us.