Maintaining a spiritual altitude

Back some years, when you boarded a commercial aircraft, you could peek into the cockpit and be suitably impressed by that vast bank of complex instruments and equipment. As a former United States Air Force air traffic controller, frequent international business flyer, and private pilot student, I am still fascinated by all those panels, and by what they help to achieve.

Procedures and protocols have changed a lot since those days and are now governed by regulation and strict enforcement. But I still have vivid memories of one particular flight I took to a business meeting on a Lockheed Electra 188 when our happy but garrulous pilot flooded us with statistics about the aircraft as we taxied to the runway. He ended with something like this: “This big old girl is 106 feet long, with a wingspan of 99 feet, all made of heavy metal, and she carries 5,500 gallons of fuel. Overall she weighs about 116,000 pounds. Undoubtedly, getting this monster off the ground with all this weight calls for a real miracle, but we’re going to try.” 

Then, as the speed increased and the runway’s one-thousand-foot markers flew by, the aircraft rotated, the nosewheel lifted, and we were airborne, accompanied by a huge sigh of relief and applause from the passengers, while someone shouted, “Hooray, it’s a miracle!”

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Spiritual Lens
Stand by the limpid lake
September 22, 2014

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.