Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | December 23, 2020

Karlene Petitt Wins Her Case Against Delta Air Lines!

Karlene Petitt Wins Her Case Against Delta Air Lines!

Karlene Petitt

The Department of Labor tribunal has issued a ruling in the Karlene Petitt whistleblower case identifying “cruel” retaliatory behavior by Delta leadership. Karlene has been awarded $500,000 plus attorney fees and litigation expenses. Delta has been ordered to deliver a copy of the Order below to EVERY Delta Pilot. Justice has been served. DPA’s attorney Lee Seham can be credited with this victory where ALPA did all it could to help the company instead of Karlene.
Stephen Dickson, SVP Flight Operations

“If there was a better way, we’d already be doing it.”

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | July 8, 2019

Aviation Safety Should be Bipartisan

July 2, 2019 the New York Times report on the status of Steve Dickson as the FAA administrator turned this decision into a political decision, instead of what is best for aviation safety.

“Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has the power to advance Mr. Dickson’s nomination, have seized on Mr. Dickson’s involvement in a whistle-blower case at [redated]. The Democrats are looking into claims that Mr. Dickson was involved in retaliating against a pilot who raised safety concerns, with some senators now suggesting he may be unfit for the F.A.A. job.

Republicans on the committee are still publicly supporting Mr. Dickson, and could vote to advance his nomination to the full Senate as early as next week. But the party-line split, a rarity for this agency, raises the prospect that the F.A.A. could become yet another partisan battleground.

The tensions over Mr. Dickson’s nomination are an unwelcome distraction for the F.A.A. The agency is under fire for its role in certifying the Boeing 737 Max and then being too slow to ground it after a second crash involving the jet in March. It is now devoting significant resources to getting the Max, which has been grounded since March, flying again. It is also working to enact many new regulations included in the F.A.A. Reauthorization Bill passed last year.”

New York Times

Unwelcome Distraction?

Safety decisions should never be considered a distraction.

Scenario: Two pilots are sitting on the end of the runway with 300 passengers in their care, and a thunderstorm is looming off the end of the runway. The democratic first officer says, “This isn’t safe. Let’s wait it out.” The republican captain states, “I think it is safe, I’ve flown in worse”  Do they depart? Absolutely not!

Safety is a team event.

Pilots always choose on the side of safety.

Aviation Safety should never be a party decision. A plane crash does not discriminate dependent upon your political affiliation. Documents identify that Steve Dickson violated a law that was designed to protect employees for bringing safety related information forward. He was the recipient of that information. He was the recipient of an email stating that this was an anticipated course of action after the pilot gave him the report. He also failed to disclose these facts to the Senate. He was not named in the lawsuit simply because the law does not allow to name individuals. If it did, he would be the first person on the list. He has presented false statements on the credibility of the report, did not disclose knowledge of a pre-meditated plan, and he was addressed in the multiple violations of the pilot working agreement, which ALPA is grieving.

Delta paid a psychiatrist $74,000 for a diagnosis. The judge in the ongoing whistle-blower case stated he was “deeply troubled,” and strongly suggested Delta settle this case because they won’t like what he has to say about how this pilot was sent down a gauntlet for reporting safety.

Go to the link to read the full transcript, and select “Delta Safety.”

The industry should be deeply troubled if Stephen Dickson’s selection becomes a party decision, despite knowledge that the leader of the FAA has a history of FAR violations and abdicates his responsibilities designed to protect the traveling public.

Aviation Safety should be Bipartisan.

Please use your power as a citizen and contact your senators before Wednesday, July 10th when this nomination will be voted on.

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | June 8, 2017

Hadiza Lantana Oboh

One of my friends in the International Society of Airline Pilots wanted me to put Hadiza’s information on our private memorial page. I was horrified to find out she was murdered on February 8, 1998. Hadiza came to our convention in Helsinki in 1991, and since there are no good photos of her online, I decided to post this one. Hadiza attended Purdue University in Indiana. May she rest in peace.

What a sad story about the only woman airline pilot for Nigerian Airways. Why are strong, successful women such a threat to the people around them?

As the writer  Anthony Omoh states: “…sadly she was so focused on her career and probably did not notice the green eyes that glared at her with so much repulsion, jealousy and anger just for being successful in her chosen profession.”

1991 30 Helsinki

Hadiza Lantana Oboh (1959-1998) was a Nigerian pilot. She was the first and only female pilot for Nigeria Airlines. She was murdered on 8 February at her house, in a suspected robbery involving members of her domestic staff.

Oboh had been flying for another airline for a couple of years before moving to work for Nigeria Airways. She started at Nigeria Airways as Flight Officer on a Boeing 737-200.

Hadiza Lantana Oboh was 39 years old when she was murdered. Police found her decomposed body in the septic tank at her house after arresting her gardener for attempting to sell items belonging to her. Several members of Oboh’s domestic staff were accused of murder and released on bail. They disappeared, and later proved to have given false addresses.

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | May 22, 2017

Ups and Downs

I gave away 850 copies of my Kindle version! I wish I could print the paperback in color, but Amazon wants me to charge of minimum of $43 for it😂😂 …no way is it worth that! Go to my Photodeck site to see the photos in color!…/…/1939275431…

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | November 4, 2016

Ups and Downs

Finally my book is out in paperback and Kindle! The Kindle is the best because the pictures are in COLOR! They look so much better!

Ups and Downs


Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | October 17, 2016

Ups and Downs

Create Space preview of “Ups and Downs”

For sale on Amazon!


I love motivating children and young adults, so I finally wrote a book to go along with my talks. You never know what will light a spark and make a difference, so you have to keep putting yourself out there!

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | October 17, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

I have been offline but not out of touch! Writing, traveling, and taking pictures kept me busy this last year. Speaking to kids (ACES, STEM, schools) and advocating for women pilots at Delta Air Lines and ISA+21 (The International Society of Women Airline Pilots) keep me busy.

My first book is called “Ups and Downs.” It has been a long time coming! My second one is called “To The Edges of the World.” “Ups and Downs” is the story of my life and what it took to reach the captain’s seat of the Boeing 747. “To The Edges of the World” is about my traveling the world through. Both are available on Amazon and Create Space. Enjoy!

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | September 11, 2015

911 Never Forget

Loading through the nose

Loading through the nose

The United States closed behind us the morning the Twin Towers fell.

Taking off out of Washington’s Seatac Airport that morning, I never guessed what the day would hold. The sky was dark and clear as our freighter roared up into it. I imagined our engines, over 200,000 pounds of thrust, shaking cursing Seattlites out of their sleep to greet the day. We turned north and, because we were practically alone in the sky at 5am. “Northwest 907, you are cleared direct to Anchorage, Alaska,” the controller said.

We leveled at 32,000 feet. I monitored the radios; the captain unplugged and leaned his head back, exhausted from moving to a new house that weekend. The flight engineer went back to make coffee and use the lavatory. It was a glorious day to be flying and I took everything in. Vancouver Island, Canada passed below…we had vacationed there a few years back. I could see the ferries moving between the cities of Victoria and Vancouver…my kids loved those ferries, especially the coin operated massage chairs that you inserted Canadian Loonies and Toonies into.

Over my headphones, I heard the controller’s voice, “Our reports are that a light twin-engine airplane has just hit one of the twin towers in New York City.”

What? The controller was talking to another pilot on frequency. “No, no other information yet. It was either a twin or an airliner.” The chatter continued. Surprised, I looked over at the captain. He was still unplugged. I told him what they were talking about and he just shrugged, uninterested.

The controller said it was definitely an airliner. The flight engineer came back up front and I relayed the conversation to him. “What have you been smoking up here? I wasn’t gone that long,” the flight engineer joked.

It didn’t seem real to me, either. “Seriously, at first they thought it was a light twin, then the report came in that it was an airliner, now they’re saying two airliners.” Finally the captain sat up straight in his chair. Now we were all listening to the radio.

Both towers had been hit. It was surreal. As we continued to fly north, Air Traffic Control closed the continental United States airspace behind us. More reports came in as we flew on to Anchorage.

Delta was arriving from Tokyo, landing in Portland, Oregon. They were out of radio range and had not heard what was happening. Seattle Center informed them that the continental United States was closed and asked them where they wanted to land.

“Portland, Oregon, sir.” came the reply.

“Ah, Delta, I repeat, Portland is closed, where would you like to go?”

The Delta pilot did not sound flustered, just tired. He had, after all, been up all night. The whole United States being closed was something that just didn’t compute. He repeated that Portland, Oregon was his destination.

“Delta, the whole continental United States is closed. Pick another place to land.”

A long silence followed. Finally Delta answered “Vancouver.” Then, worried he would be misunderstood, he quickly added “Canada. Vancouver, Canada.” The controller replied affirmatively, then had us switch frequencies.

We were laughing, not at the Delta pilot specifically, but more to release tension concerning the situation. That’s how pilots compartmentalize and deal with emergencies. Nothing like this had happened before, in our experience. It wasn’t real. Yet.

The sky was like a ghost town. We were the only plane on frequency now. The only plane in the sky. The controller informed us that the towers had collapsed. We were incredulous. Maybe they were damaged, but collapsed? Did they topple over? Obviously he meant that just a few floors had fallen.

We made our approach and landing into Anchorage and taxied to the parking area. All the ground handlers were subdued, and everyone was walking around in a daze. “Did you hear?” one of the rampers asked. We nodded and crossed the ramp with our bags to our operations. Everyone was upstairs watching television.

Horrified, we watched the buildings fall over and over again on the news. Everyone in the nation was in shock, but we, as pilots, were most dismayed. It had never occurred to us that airplanes could be used as bombs. Like zombies, we stood there glued to the screen. Other reports came on, about the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. It became apparent that this might not be over, and we realized our families did not know we had landed safely in Anchorage.

I called home to inform my husband that I was fine, and he told me the schools had been calling, too, because the kids were worried. So I called my children’s schools. My eyes filled with tears as the kids in my daughter’s class cheered when the secretary made the announcement over the intercom that I was safe and my plane had not been hijacked.

Shaken, we were driven to our hotel. The captain was exhausted, and begged off any activity except sleep. The flight engineer and I rented a car and drive south to Portage Glacier for the day. Police cars were gathering near the courthouse, and more raced by us as we left the city center. Unbeknownst to us, downtown Anchorage was being evacuated.

An Al Nippon 747 was arriving from Asia without radio communication and authorities feared the worst. My kids now knew where I was, and were watching the television, horrified, as the news reported this breaking development. I was blissfully ignorant and didn’t have a cell phone to reassure them that I was still fine. Eventually the evacuation was terminated because the Al Nippon made radio contact. They were on the wrong radio frequency, not in the middle of a hijacking. We laughed later, thinking about terrorists trying to find and guide a 747 into the two story courthouse in Anchorage if they could even find it.

Flags flew at half mast that night as we gathered at Humpy’s, a local restaurant and bar in downtown Anchorage. There must have been fifty airline employees filling the outside patio with raucous drinking and conversation. We were all stranded indefinitely. The waitress and I cried watching the buildings topple again and again.

Mark, our flight engineer, was in his room, resting. His back went out on him earlier that day while we were sightseeing. Mine did the same the next morning. The captain slept for most of the three days we were there. Stress does funny things to a body.

When the skies opened to travel three days later, the three of us deadheaded on a company passenger flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We spent the night and flew on to Los Angeles the next day. Our scheduled trip to Tokyo left the day after that. We were subdued and wary for the next week, but nothing else happened. Our trip was uneventful despite our preoccupation, but we all acted like sleepwalkers, numbly getting through each day. In disbelief, we saw cell phone covers for sale in Singapore and Hong Kong with the words “Bin Laden Hero” marching around the edges. It was eerie to realize how differently the bombings were perceived in different parts of the world.

Northwest Airlines already had high security measures in place. Seven years before, in 1995, Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had planned to blow up eleven airliners. A chemical fire in an apartment in Manila led to the recovery of a computer hard drive, disclosing the plot. Northwest immediately implemented all sorts of international security procedures, such as checking bags, matching bags and searching our airplanes before each flight for anything suspicious.

Nine eleven didn’t significantly affect our operations, but it did change our thinking. Before, hijackers were to be reasoned with. Now all the old procedures were thrown out the window. The only thing that altered significantly was airport security for boarding. It was now a hassle, even for flight crews.

Some pilots retired early rather than be subjected to constant scrutiny at security checkpoints. Most of us realized it was necessary to undergo the ordeal. We submitted, protesting often that anyone could get a flight crew uniform and fake identification. The rumor was still rampant that one of the terrorists had been a jump seating “pilot”. All the new cockpit door reinforcements would be useless if a terrorist was already up front.

Now, whenever I travel, I never let my bags out of my sight in hotels and limousines. Hotel room security still needs improvement. Nine eleven was a wake up call for all of us, but it also carried with it the certainty we cannot control everything. People ask me if I am afraid to fly, after 911. I shake my head and ask if they are afraid of tall buildings. They look at me, confusion in their faces. But being in the twin towers in New York City Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 killed more people than being in any plane crash ever has.

Fire Island

Fire Island, AlaskaFrieghters ANC 6743

Anchorage freight ramp

good freighter pic not minANC me Portage  Portage Glacier…all the flags flew at half mast there. My airplane ANCObviously winter, but this is how the Anchorage freight ramp usually looked!

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | April 30, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

Wind and antelope play….

Life goes on, no matter what.

Posted by: kathymcculloughcom | July 16, 2011

Prejudice – Will it Ever Go Away?

No alligators in Delaware…

Prejudice. I hate it. I was going into 6th grade the summer we moved to the deep south: Gainesville, Florida. It was such a different world that I loved it immediately. The woods, the beach, the wildlife: it was all new and wonderful. I turned into a great explorer, and to join the neighborhood gang I had to pass a test walking barefoot on hot, sharp rocks. We went barefoot everywhere, looking for arrowheads, shark’s teeth and hidden treasure.

But I missed my Delaware friends, family, and Sara. My brother Jim and I would beg our parents to go out so that we could have Sara babysit.
Sara was black, but I’m not sure we ever noticed. She was just a wonderful, warm, caring person. We always hugged, kissed, and snuggled in for stories.

Live oak trees in the south

The oddest thing about Gainesville was the segregation. Delaware was a border state, and played a big part in the Underground Railroad movement. But Florida was the deep south, even though Floridians try to deny it.

There were separate water fountains for blacks and whites. There were separate swimming pools, in case the color wore off into the water. And there were separate schools, in case anything else wore off, I guess.

The south was a whole, new world

I was confused. How could you not love people because of their color? Who wouldn’t want Sara in their school, their swimming pool, sharing their drinking fountain and their home?

Thank God my parents raised me to be colorblind.

Racism was becoming huge. Martin Luther King Jr. was a big name. Now I began to understand why.

I read every book I could find about the Underground Railroad I could find. My favorite was The Glass Dove.

I devoured Kingsblood Royal, an anti-racism book,    in the summer of 10th grade.

I loved Cry the Beloved Country when I read it in 11th grade.

 I had black friends and dated the black football star, secretly, of course. John couldn’t even walk me home from school, because the neighborhood I lived in was segregated.

Building flying time near Orlando, Florida in the seventies, crosses were still being burnt on lawns and whole families had been burned out of their homes near Windermere.

The Klu Klux Klan were still a force to be reckoned with – and afraid of. No, it wasn’t over yet.

When I chose flying as a career, I didn’t think about breaking into an all white male field. I just wanted to fly.

There were two blacks at Northwest Airlines. Some of the pilots called them N1 and N2.

I was the 4th female hired.  I was C4.

Nigger and cunt were never said out loud, but we knew.

“Oh no, that stands for power settings and compressor stages in jet engines.” they would say.

(Jet engines have compressors and power ratings called C1, C2, N1, N2)

Right. And I was born yesterday.

Things got better over the next thirty years, especially at Northwest Airlines, but if you read my blog you know it wasn’t always easy. Some of my checkouts were just awful, and some of our female pilots were treated so badly that they retired early.

I’m retired, so the harassment is over for me, but my girlfriends at other airlines tell me stories that sound achingly familiar.

It may be hard to believe that it is still happening in 2011. I thought we were done with that.

But prejudice never really goes away, does it?

It just gets more subtle and hidden as people learn to be “politically correct.”

Oceanside, Oregon

Oceanside, Oregon: Starfish (oops, I mean SEA STARS) everywhere!

At the writer’s conference  in Oceanside, Oregon this weekend, David Greenberg gave a moving talk about his book,

A Tugging String.

The book, like a tugging string,
reminds us to take action against what we believe in our hearts is wrong.

David’s dad was Martin Luther King Jr’s lawyer, Jack Greenberg. Jack received death threats when David was a young boy.

David often feared for his dad’s safety and sometimes his own.

David’s talk brought up all those old, angry feelings to the surface for me.

I hate prejudice.

I have Muslim friends, Mormon friends, Mexican friends, and homosexual friends. These are the “new” prejudices I hear about. Of course, all the old ones are still there, too.

Will it ever end? Not if we ignore it. Not if we don’t speak up.

It’s not about race or religion. It is about being different. Usually it’s about fear.

Sometimes it’s about lack or greed or wanting something someone else has.

Will people never learn that there is enough to go around?

That different is exciting and fun.

That change is good. That generosity and abundance beget more, not less.

I hope and pray we can convince our world of this.

I so want future generations to experience this amazing world the way that it can be:

Full of love and acceptance.

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