God is my Co-Pilot
by Wes Guy
God is my Co-Pilot --- Part 2
In the 49th edition of the Online Magazine we introduced a series by Wes Guy entitled "God is my Co-Pilot". Some may argue that we should regard God as our Pilot - holding full control over our lives. To remind you of the direction that Wes has taken, his introductory paragraph from that edition is repeated.
People have asked me to explain why I say Co-pilot. In aircraft which have two or more engines there is always a second pilot, or co-pilot. His job is to do what the pilot or Captain tells him to do. But, if an emergency, such as the captain being injured or incapacitated in some way, the second pilot, or co-pilot has to take over including being able to land the aircraft. Hence god is my co-pilot when things have gone wrong in my life and he has taken over.
Story 3 Hullavington England
In 1948 I was selected by the RAAF to do a 12 month course at the Empire Flying School, Hullavington, Wiltshire County, in England.
One day I was told that the next morning I would be flying the Meteor Mk, 4, twin jet aircraft on a fact finding exercise. I had never seen a jet aircraft before, let alone fly one, so that afternoon spent time looking over the aircraft and studying the pilot's handling notes.
When my alarm woke me next morning I looked out of the window and noticed that fog had covered the ground. Nobody would be flying today in this type of weather, I thought, so snuggled down under the blankets. In a few minutes the phone rang alongside my bed. When I answered it the voice was that of my tutor asking me why I was not down at the tarmac ready to fly. When I suggested that nobody should fly in such bad weather conditions he just told me to be down in ten minutes ready for my flight. Needless to say I wasted no time getting to the tarmac. I put on my flying suit and gathered all my bits and pieces, then climbed into the aircraft.. The exercise forms were on my kneepad and I was ready to take off.
Within 200 feet after take off I was in cloud and did not come out of the cloud until I had reached 20,000 feet. I then completed all the exercises and was ready to return to Hullavington. I tuned in to the "Bombay Beam" radio navigation approach system for letting down to the aerodrome. I found that there was no signal - the aid was unserviceable. I called the control tower and told them my problem. I was told not to worry because I could go to Lyneham,a nearby aerodrome where I could do the G.C.A. What was that I thought. I had never done a Ground Controlled Approach before. Again I was told not to worry, but just contact Lyneham control and they would tell me what to do.
On contacting Lyneham control I was told that they had me on their radar system and I just had to follow their instructions. All you have to do,I was told, was to fly accurately and do whatever the controller told me. I felt a twinge of fear but breathed a small prayer asking the Lord to help me. Everything flowed smoothly thereafter. The controller positioned me in the circuit area over Lyneham aerodrome, told me to lower my undercarriage then said he was handing me over to the Final Approach controller. As soon as I heard this man's voice I felt relaxed. He told me to turn the aircraft until he said that I was aligned with the runway, to lower flaps and to maintain a certain airspeed and a rate of descent of 500 feet per minute, which I did. He would then tell me to increase or decrease my descent, to change course by one or two degrees and so on. All this time I was still in cloud and could not see the runway. Finally I was told to ease the control column back slightly, close my throttles and land straight ahead. That was the only time I saw the runway and my wheels straddled the centre line. What an experience that had been!
I was so impressed with that episode that several days later I asked to do the same GCA as I had done before. This time the weather was clear and I could see what was happening. I made several approaches but not once was I lined up with the runway. When I queried the controller he told me that in good weather they employed trainees to give the headings, only using their number one controller when the weather was not good!!
Story 4 The north of England
I was detailed to fly a four engine Lancaster Bomber on a navigation flight using only my radio navigation aids and instruments. A fellow student would go with me as my navigator. The flight was to be at night.
We had studied our courses to follow and made a good study of the weather forecast. This forecast suggested that the weather would be reasonable for the complete flight, so we were ready to go.
The first part of our exercise was quite pleasant until we approached the north of England. Here we ran into a violent thunder storm, encountering cloud and rain. This did not worry me as all my instruments were working well. The next minute my navigator told me that he had lost all contact with our base. Again I was not worried as we still had our navigation aids working. Alas, this situation did not last very long. I found that the aids had become unserviceable. We were still in the storm. I can remember uttering a silent prayer, "Lord, help me!" Within a matter of a few minutes that storm seemed to have been cut with a large knife. One moment we were in the storm, the next moment we were in the clear. The stars were shining above us and down on the ground I could see some flares indicating an aerodrome. I quickly fired off a couple of distress cartridges and went in to land. As I pulled up at the tarmac the Commanding Officer came out to the plane and said, "You are a very lucky man." "Why," I asked.
"We are a maintenance group at this aerodrome and today had repaired a plane ready to be delivered tomorrow morning. I had the flares put out so that the aircraft could be tested by doing one circuit of the aerodrome. The test was completed and I came out to tell the ground staff to put out the flares. Then I saw your distress signal!
Story 5 Korea
The RAAF posted me to No.77 Fighter Squadron, based at Kimpo aerodrome in Korea January 1952 to fly the twin- jet, fitted with a long range fuel tank, situated under the centre fuselage. The tank was filled with highly volatile Avtur . Should one be hit in the "belly tank" the aircraft would explode within a matter of seconds, unless the pilot was able to release the tank quickly. On one Combat Air Patrol, one of my young pilots was hit in the belly -tank and within a few seconds the aircraft "blew up", that is exploded.
One morning I was detailed to fly on a straffing mission with three other pilots. As we neared the target I told two pilots to stay up at 20000 feet whilst taking my number two down to 10000 feet. I told him to stay at that height until I confirmed whether any ground opposition was at the target. I told him that I would make the first strike, if I did not encounter any fire I would call him down to strafe with me. The two left at 20000 feet served as top cover in case any enemy aircraft were about.
I went in on the first straffing attack and as I pulled out of the attack my pilot at 19999 feet yelled out, "You are streaming." This meant that I had been hit in the "belly tank." I knew I had seconds left before the aircraft would explode, so I just called out, "Lord, help me!" Within a few moments I somehow released the "belly tank" avoiding the explosion. How I did this I do not know to this day, except to give the honour and glory to my Heavenly Father. I want to stress that at this period in my life I did not acknowledge God in my life, and had been drinking, smoking and gambling. Even so, God heard my cry of distress and had answered.
Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the lord and He heard my voice.
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