Under the clouds, I knew there was an airport...

Prayer keeps us on course

Airplane pilots have numerous navigational aids at their disposal, including constant radio signals to indicate when they are on course or need to make a correction. To make use of this guidance, however, the pilot has to turn on the equipment, called avionics, and tune it to the right frequency.

Occasionally a pilot's senses tell him or her that the instruments must be wrong. Then comes the decision to trust the objective information or one's feelings. I know this dilemma well. Once, as a student pilot I took off with an instructor for some flying practice—leaving one airport, landing at another, and then returning to the home field. The weather was clear, and I was qualified to fly under conditions where landmarks on the ground are identifiable. On leaving the other field, though, we encountered a drastic change in the weather. Our home airport was reported to be totally covered by dense clouds. My instructor, who was now piloting the plane, contacted the control tower at our destination to receive permission for an instrument approach.

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