NOTE: Today, we are hearing from GUEST AUTHOR …Tom Slavonik, a Vietnam Era and Cold War Veteran, serving in the Marine Corps. He has been in the HVAC industry for many years, but his passion is Aviation. He owns his own plane, and is a Certified Flight Instructor, living in “The Apple of the Lord’s Eye”…..South Carolina. I am proud to call Tom my friend. …Blessings…cjlb…2/12/15
…………Flying by Faith
Preparing a pilot for an Instrument Rating is always an interesting experience for a Flight Instructor. A typical candidate for an Instrument Rating is already an accomplished pilot and as such bears the title Private Pilot. It is a license granted by the FAA after completing all of the stipulated training requirements and then passing a Practical Examination, otherwise known as the “Checkride.” A Private Pilot without an Instrument Rating is restricted to flying only VFR, or by Visual Flight Rules. That means that you need to be able to look outside the aircraft and literally see where you are going, usually by reference to the horizon or some inanimate object on the ground. So, as you may have already guessed when you learn to fly IFR or by Instrument Flight Rules, all of the outside references are blocked by virtue of a vision limiting device. This training is designed to prepare a pilot for flying “in the clouds” without any outside visual reference to speak of. We call it “Attitude Flying” as everything centers around the attitude of the aircraft in relation to the horizon. The aircraft’s attitude revolves around three axis’: pitch – for up and down movement; roll – for banking to either side; and yaw – swaying the nose of the aircraft from left to right. Think of it as 3 lines intersecting each other horizontally (fuselage), laterally (wings) and vertically (center of gravity). Learn to control the aircraft around those three axis’ by reference to the instruments and you’re on your way to becoming an Instrument Rated Pilot.
Now is a good time to stop for a moment and say that if we as humans can learn to control our “Attitude” and guide it around the axis’ that form the cross of Jesus Christ, we too will be well on our way to navigating through the troubles or obstructions that life sometimes has a way of placing in our flight path.
The Attitude Indicator, once known as the Artificial Horizon, is a gyroscopic instrument that gives the pilot a representation of the aircrafts attitude relative to the horizon. It will provide the pilot with information such as whether or not the aircraft is flying straight and level, is in a bank, or if it is climbing or descending. The pilot, on the other hand must learn how to interpret the information being displayed on the Attitude Indicator and then make the appropriate control inputs necessary to keep the aircraft on the intended flight path. But there are also other instruments that the pilot must “scan” or cross-check in order to get the complete picture in terms of his or her overall situational awareness. Focusing or relying too heavily on the Attitude Indicator alone is not recommended and is a sure way to quickly find ourselves in a big mess. The pilot’s scan also needs to include information from the Altimeter; the Heading Indicator (Compass); the Vertical Speed Indicator (Climbs and Descents); the Airspeed Indicator, and Turn Coordinator. One instrument compliments the other to give the pilot the total picture.
In Romans 12:4-5 Paul reminds us of the following: “For each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
I’ll never forget my first foray into “the clouds” after earning my Instrument Rating; it was an eye opening experience. I had to place my complete trust in the instrument package in front of me. By systematically scanning those instruments and interpreting the information they provided me, I was able to successfully navigate my way through the clouds and arrive safely at my intended destination. And so it is in life, as we strive to cross our respective “Jordan River’s.” Trust being the key word, hear the words the Lord spoke to Joshua as he prepared to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River (Joshua 1:9) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”