God is my Co-Pilot
by Wes Guy
In the 49th edition of the Online Magazine we introduced a series by Wes Guy entitled "God is my Co-Pilot". This is Part 3 in the series (part 2 can be found here) 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 the first 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 6 Chimbu
It was 1967 shortly after my baptism and I had accepted the offer of being the Operations Manager of Territory Airlines based at Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. I flew sufficient hours to maintain my licence.
One day I was scheduled to fly the twin engined Baron aircraft on a flight from Goroka to Mount Hagen, stopping at several places on the way there and back. It had been a long and tiring day and when I landed at Chimbu, I thought that only ten more minutes and I would be home at Goroka.
I off-loaded cargo and a couple of passengers then was ready to take-off. I had no freight or passengers and turned for take-off having completed a rather desultory cockpit check. Here I digress a little, explaining that Chimbu was situated at a height of 5500 feet above sea level. The airstrip had been carved into the side of a mountain and aircraft could take-off in one direction only. At the end of the airstrip was a drop of some hundreds of feet down into the valley with the Whagi River running along. Further, with a twin engine aircraft, the pilot must achieve a certain airspeed before lifting the aircraft off the ground. Below this speed, if sufficient runway was available and an engine failed, it would be possible to stop the aircraft.
To continue my story, I opened the throttles and checked my speed, Just as I did this the left engine stopped. Fortunately I was able to stop the aircraft, taxied back to the take-off part and made a quick check. I was able to start the failed engine without any problem, so turned and started another run down the airstrip. At the same point as before the same engine failed again. "What was wrong," I thought. This time I did a very thorough check. Lo, and behold, I had missed checking the fuel tanks - something which no pilot, especially an experienced pilot should overlook. I had been tired and distracted (not a valid excuse) and had failed to check the fuel contents. The right tank was more than half full but the left tank was empty, dry as a bone. I changed to the full tank, thanked my Heavenly Father, and this time took off and landed at Goroka within ten minutes.
If the engine had failed several seconds later I would not have been able to stop the aircraft in the remaining length of the airstrip and the only place I could have gone was over the edge and down to the river below. Yes, God had been watching over me. Probably by allowing the same engine to fail at the same spot was teaching me a lesson I will never forget.
Story 7 T.A.L.
It was the beginning of 1968 and I had been baptised for nearly one month. Something happened within the Department of Civil Aviation which concerned me and I considered whether to remain with the Department or tender my resignation. I was detailed to fly to Honiara, Solomon Islands, and would be away from Port Moresby for several days.
I decided to challenge the Lord. Should I remain with the Department or should I resign. If I resigned what would I do. Thus my challenge - I asked the Lord to show me a sign when I got back from Honiara.
When I returned a letter awaited me from the Managing Director of Territory Airlines offering me the position of Operations Manager of his company. Was this the answer God gave me?
I contacted Dennis and he told me that I could start as soon as possible. I told him that if I accepted the position I would do so on one condition - I would not work or fly on Saturday, my Sabbath. He said that would be no problem and that he would put in a clause in my contract to that effect. I spoke to my wife, Pearl, and we decided to accept the position knowing that we both had prayed about it and were certain God had answered my challenge.
My three years with Territory Airlines were fulfilled with no Sabbath work or flying.
Story 8 Rabaul
It was 1968 and I had volunteered to fly the Cessna 402 aircraft to Rabaul for a tourist meeting. We had a full load of passengers and left on a Friday morning. The meeting was to be held in the afternoon on Saturday. We would return Sunday morning..
Before the passengers alighted I told them that we would leave Rabaul at 10 AM on Sunday. I emphasised the importance of the time as any later and we might not get into the Goroka valley because of cloud, which usually built up just after midday.
Sunday morning arrived and all the passengers but one arrived. The one passenger had commented on my request for a start on time, so I had told him that if he was not there I would take off without him. All the passengers were seated in the aircraft and I commenced my pre-take off checks. Just as I started one engine this passenger came running, gasping as he sat down in his seat, "I did not take you seriously about leaving if someone was late!"
As we approached the mainland of PNG I saw that the clouds had built up rapidly. As we passed over Madang we could not see the ranges and it seemed as if we would not get into the Goroka valley. I flew above the cloud and when I estimated we were over the Goroka airstrip there was nothing to be seen. I knew that Madang would be closed to all operations and saw that my fuel contents were getting very low. So, what did I do? I sent up a silent prayer asking the Lord to help me. In a matter of a few moments the cloud shifted and a hole appeared. I immediately lowered the nose of the aircraft and dived through the hole to appear clear of cloud over the Goroka valley. Our landing was carried out without further incident. Another silent pray of thanks was offered when we landed. Again note Proverbs 3:5,6 and Psalms 120:1.
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