I am not exactly a religious person. My philosophy is quite simple. We should do our best on earth and try to lead a good and a positive life. We are here only for a short time. Lets do our best. What else can you do?
But there have been many times when I needed to pray to my God in the sky.
8 years ago I started flying lessons in Camden, NSW. The first of many lessons was orientated on getting acquainted with the many dials and switches and basic flying. Keep the wings level and use the rudder Richard.
Sitting in the front seat with the instructor behind you and the noise of the propeller spinning in front of you is frightening stuff. There is so much to do. The first landings I did were with my eyes closed. Thank goodness for Craig my instructor sitting behind me, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this newsletter.
The next series you fly to 6000 feet, level off, idle the engine and pull the nose up. Climbing with no power. It becomes very quiet and still – an eerie feeling. Some thing was about to happen.
You can feel the plane struggling to keep flying and then suddenly it drops out of the sky. This is called stalling. The correct procedure is to put the nose down, give a bit of throttle to gain speed and pull you self out. Not that hard!
But being scared out my wits I gave it full throttle and the plane spiralled towards the ground and into a spin. Once again – thank goodness for my instructor. Take is slowly Richard that was too much throttle.
Over coming the fear factor of being in the sky is the hardest part of learning to fly. Slowly I graduated to circuit training, taking off cross wind, down wind, base and into finals – land and take off again without stopping. Sometimes the landing is perfect and some times not so good, but I survived it all. It takes a while to get the hang off it, the flare at the end.
I am not a person who is lost for words. The hardest part is talking to the tower. Your message is quite simple. But you freeze up holding the microphone and stuttering. The wrong message could cause an accident.
Eventually after a lot of circuits you are on your own. Your first solo is a big event and your photo is taken (if you survive) standing in front of the propeller of the plane and then put on line.
Slowly you graduate to the training area. Trying to find your way and back to the airport and finding all the inbound points. Finding the airfield amongst all the fields is not easy to spot. Many times my instructor asked me; “Richard can you see the air strip?” I kept looking all around and saw nothing. Maybe because I was right above it.
Eventually I was allowed to do my first solo flight around the training area. I was at 2000 feet and cruising nicely, while concentrating on all the tasks that had to be done. Suddenly there was no power and the prop came to a stand still. Amazingly enough I kept my cool and followed all the procedures; switched over tanks, put the fuel pump on and got the plane started again. This showed me that training is so important.
The final part of the training is navigation. This is when you leave your comfort zone and fly out of the training area to nearby airfields. This is done by using maps and following the ground – hills, railway lines, roads and houses tell you where you are. We draw lines on the map with 6-minute markers to show where you should be at a certain time.
It sounds simple but it’s not and it amazed me how many simple mistakes one can make.
It took me 3 years or more to gain my license and this was without doubt the biggest personal achievement of my life. The theory exam alone was mind-boggling. You have no idea and I was amazed I passed first time.
I have flown in the flying school all over Australia. Landing in the most remote parts where you can’t get to by car.
Tracking over the Simpson Desert trying to pinpoint the exact location of an airstrip in the middle of nowhere, knowing that I had to be dead accurate (or just dead). Mistakes cannot be made. One cannot “stop” in the air. So – there have been many times when I prayed to my God in the sky for guidance, advice, support and help! What am I doing? Please help!
Flying solo I thought I was doing it alone. Praying to my God in the sky showed me that that I needed faith in myself to keep operating effectively and hope to finally land safely in the right spot. So my God in the sky answered.
Now I understand that I’m not alone in the sky or on the ground.
I fly in the sky with Craig’s faith, knowledge and training, the amazing designers and creators of planes, modern aeronautical engineering and science and the maintenance crew on the ground. They in turn depend upon investors with faith in their creativity and hope in their success – in other words – visionaries!
I fly in the sky and in life with faith and hope not only in my God in the sky but also with the, faith, hope and love of my parents, siblings, wife, daughters, sons in law and grandchildren who inspire and motivate me to keep learning, loving, living, receiving and giving.
I’m flying in business with my family business partners, employees, contractors, customers and communities. You can’t fly solo there. Without faith in all the abilities of these people, individually and collectively, our business could not have expanded to the point that we can look beyond the single bottom line of profit. Now together we are growing our business culture into our broader environment and communities, taking up opportunities to learn and give.
To have joy, adventure and “success” in our lives, we must be inspired with faith and hope. To have contentment and happiness in our lives we need to have love.
So – to fly happily and effectively, there is no such thing as solo.
Instead of looking all around me I now also look down below and what I see is faith.
Up in the clouds I pick a rose, this is to give to my loving wife who is waiting with Hope and Love
Now I have to flyaway.