Resignation is the Enemy of Triumph!

Resignation: The Final and Most Hazardous Attitude

Why is Resignation the most insidious and hazardous attitude we can have? Because Resignation is the enemy of Triumph! It is the point when we simply give up. However, giving up comes from many different interpretations and takes on many different forms. The Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (p. 27) describes how resignation can influence pilot decisions in this way,

Pilots who think, “What’s the use?” do not see themselves as being able to make a great deal of difference in what happens to them. When things go well, the pilot is apt to think that it is good luck. When things go badly, the pilot may feel that “someone is out to get me,” or attribute it to bad luck. The pilot will leave the action to others, for better or worse. Sometimes, such pilots will even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a “nice guy.”

So, resignation can be “What’s the use?” “Someone is out to get me,” or “Go along to get along.”

What’s the Use?

How many times have you felt like this poor guy? You just get to the point where you feel enough is enough. That is the whole strategy of war… make the suffering so great for the other guy that the choice between going on or giving up is made for him. Either surrender or die. When we get to this point, we give up hope, and we feel there is no longer any benefit in pushing on… We just can’t (See my post “Can’t is a Four Letter Word!!”). It takes form in these deceptive attitudes:

  • No matter how hard I try, nothing seems to work.
  • If I am going to be accused of something I didn’t do, I might as well do it.
  • I can’t see how anything I can do will get me any farther, so I might as well give up.

The Bible gives us God’s attitude towards these feelings. The Book of James tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Paul the Apostle said he considered the scars he incurred from beatings for his faith to be “marks of the Lord Jesus,” and he gloried in his sufferings for the Gospel. And guess what? The Gospel is still with us today.


I can’t succeed because so and so is out to get me. Who is “so and so?” It can be a person, the company you work for, or the government. In any case, this attitude is deadly, and it will kill your dreams, your willingness to work for them, and the pride you will obtain from achieving them.

People who have surrendered to a victim mindset stop striving, give up dreaming, settle for what they now have, and accept welfare and handouts. In “From Woodstock to Eternity,” Dustin Morgan quickly saw this in the communal handouts of the Hog Farm. While it was a worthy short term fix, it would not buy a steak in the long run. The victim mindset is death to success! Resist it at all cost, because Resignation is the Enemy of Triumph.

Go Along to Get Along

This is the insidious side of Resignation. It is insidious because it sounds like the proper thing to do. Another term for this is “Appeasement.” Neville Chamberlain tried this with Hitler in World War II, and we know how that turned out. Sometimes peace at all cost is not the answer… especially when it entails making peace with evil. Another word for this is compromise. Compromise means neither side gets all that it wants, and each one needs to surrender a little to meet in the middle. This is good for relationships, but it is not good for your goals. If you want to achieve total victory, going along to get along will only hold you back.

Of course, all of these principles only apply to righteous goals. When we are fighting an evil enemy, we want him to surrender, not us. As General Patton once said, “No war was ever won by dying for your country… war is won by making the other SOB die for his country.” This brings us to the next point… What is the solution to Resignation?

Fight ‘Til You Die

The 5 Hazardous Attitudes concern situations encountered in aviation. If a pilot finds himself in such a bad emergency that he thinks he has exhausted all of his options, and there is really no other way out, guess what will happen? He is going to die anyway. That is why I taught all my students to “Fight ‘Til You Die.” Keep struggling, keep thinking, keep analyzing, and by all means, Never Give Up!

Jesus even taught us, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28

Another way of looking at this is “Damn the torpedoes… Full steam ahead!”

Quitters Never Win, and Winners Never Quit

When I was just a five year old boy, someone told me, “Quitters Never Win.” Be careful what you say to little ones, because they might carry it with them for the rest of their lives, whether it is good or bad. The American Spirit is founded on winning and victory. Not just in war, but in our hearts, in our lives. It is the drive behind the American Dream and everyone everywhere who has a dream. We have to conquer ourselves first, in our habits, our vices, our victim mindset and our pity parties. Christians have the unique power of the Holy Spirit to do this, and it is essential for all of us. When we are free inwardly, life will surrender to us, not us surrender to life.

Macho: Ego Unleashed

Hazardous Attitudes Produce Hazardous Decisions

A Macho attitude is the fourth hazardous attitude of “5 Bad Attitudes” listed in the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (p. 26). Although each attitude can result in a bad decision, they are also intertwined. A Macho pilot has to be anti-authority to break the rules and buzz his girlfriend’s house. He feels invincible, because he doesn’t think his engine will die, leaving him with nowhere to land. He does all this on an impulse, because his friends are in the plane. Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to show off. And, they show off because their ego is unleashed.

Ego Unleashed

Ego unleashed is the driving force behind someone’s macho attitude. He has more than normal pride and self esteem… he has a superlative sense of pride and esteem, believes he is better than everybody else, and everybody else has to acknowledge that. Thus the showing off, the swagger, the bullying and the big talk. It is especially prevalent in young gangs, where recognition is key. Some gangs even require a new member to kill somebody to prove they are fearless and macho.

Two Sides of Macho

The Village People recorded the song, “Macho Man” in 1978. The last verse of the song says,

Every man ought to be a macho, macho man
To live a life of freedom, machos make a stand

Have your own lifestyles and ideals
Possess the strength of confidence, that’s the skill
You can best believe that he’s a macho man.

There are many interpretations of the song, some saying it is a satire, a parody, and a mocking of the macho man image. However, there is another side in this verse that shows the positives of macho. Being a free spirit, taking a stand, having confidence that comes from strength and that gives more strength.

Certainly the attributes of Macho are well ingrained in the American male psyche. We all admire the Navy Seals with their fighting abilities, strict discipline and tough reputation. It’s resilient, strong and durable. It watches NASCAR and football and Barbeques steaks on the grill. It says, “Don’t Mess With Texas.”

Good Ego – Bad Ego

The bad side of Macho happens when someone gets obsessive about his ego and superiority complex. Most of us have come across people who won’t stop talking about themselves, or where they are from, or their views of life in an incessant attempt to make everybody pay attention to them. Sometimes they will keep talking louder and louder until everyone else in the room stops and is forced to hear what he says. This is bad enough in a social setting, but when it is transferred to a job or to the family, the results can be devastating.

Decisions arise out of our own perspectives. If we are cautious, we check all the variables, have a Plan B and a Plan C, and make sure we have all the supplies we need for the venture. Pilots do this for every flight, because the stakes are so high. Military planners do the same, and try to address every scenario. This is a well balanced approach to anything we do… driving, flying, adventure seeking, etc. But there is a point where one can be too cautious and never do anything. This ultimately leads to failure, frustration and disappointment in life. On the other hand, Too much risk taking can take us down into the abyss of unforeseen consequences.

From Woodstock To Eternity – No Guts No Glory

From Woodstock To Eternity

In the book, “From Woodstock To Eternity,” Dustin Morgan entertains a Macho attitude in his fearless attitude towards flying over the Caribbean to Colombia and back with loads of pot. He’s not trying to draw attention to himself, but he sees the endeavor as a gauntlet he must go through to see what’s on the other side. He knew the other side brought money, status, glory and self satisfaction. This made the risk worthwhile, although the penalty eventually caught up with him.

You can read about what happens next in the sequel “The Steel Wall,” which will be ready for publication soon.

Invulnerability: “It won’t happen to me!”

Do you have a sense of vulnerability or invulnerability? To be vulnerable is to feel open and defenseless. It may be a fear that someone is out to get you, circumstances are against you, or life in general is against you. Some people only feel vulnerable in certain situations, while others feel vulnerable all the time. On the flip side, Invulnerability means “not vulnerable.” Those who believe they are invulnerable don’t think anything can hurt them. They can do anything, go anywhere, and break all the rules. Why? Because they firmly believe, “It won’t happen to me.” This attitude can be good or bad…

Definitions of Invulnerability

Invulnerability has two definitions, with the first one logically leading to the second.

  1. Incapable of being wounded, hurt, or damaged.
  2. The false belief that one is somehow safeguarded from the dangers and misfortunes that afflict other people. 

Invulnerability by Choice: Risk and Reward

Sometimes, a sense of invulnerability draws the line between staying where you are, and engaging a higher level where there are many unknowns. In the counter culture novel, “From Woodstock To Eternity,” Dustin Morgan has to deal with his own version of invulnerability. When he ponders his first run to Texas, he thinks,

The conclusion is inevitable. He’ll always wonder what would have happened if he doesn’t. The next level is always a blind leap. You’ll never know until you try. The question is, do you have the guts to try, or is caution going to triumph over glory?

Caution over glory, or glory over caution, that is the question. In order to justify the risk, we have to accept a measure of invulnerability, that is, it won’t happen to me. The early pioneers had to deal with this issue, and some never made it… however, many did, and they reaped the rewards. No Guts, No Glory

Forced Invulnerability: Combat Under Command

We recently commemorated the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. How many of those soldiers thought they were invulnerable? What if they felt extremely vulnerable and wanted to go back… could they? No. They were under orders to attack, and they had no choice. Although, later in life many reflected on how they felt as young soldiers and said, “I thought I could do anything. I felt invincible, like it would never happen to me.” We all know the outcome. When the need is drastic, the risks are great, and those who meet the call are the ones who make it happen.

Hazardous Invulnerability

In aviation, invulnerability is listed as one of the “5 Bad Attitudes” that contribute to airplane crashes. Many people believe that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected however they never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk. Aviation Instructors Handbook 8-17.

For pilots, this could mean neglecting flight planning, refusal to check all the variables for that flight, and maybe even ignoring weather reports. They may try to fly outside the limits of what the plane can do, such as putting it into a roll when it is not made for such maneuvers. One that gets a lot of pilots is called “scud running,” where a pilot will try to circumvent Instrument conditions by flying under and around clouds just by reference to ground features. No bueno.

Practical Invulnerability

This aspect of Invulnerability also applies to everyday living. While there are times when we need to go “into the unknown,” so to speak, most of the time we need to count the cost. Those who make decisions thinking it won’t happen to them reject basic precautions. They don’t use seat belts, they drive drunk or get themselves into situations they have no business being in. This is not to live in a state of fear. rather, to be fearlessly reasonable. Like Dustin Morgan said,

People spend their whole lives trying to keep bad stuff from happening.  They starve themselves and jog five miles a day, trying to stay ‘healthy’, then fall down dead from a heart attack.  They turn down opportunities to see the world because they’re afraid of flying, then get run over by a Mack truck while they’re looking the other way.  Maybe I’m stupid or careless, but I just refuse to let fear keep me from experiencing all that life has to offer.”

Impulsivity: “Do Something!”

Impulsive Behavior

The second hazardous attitude in aviation, after “Anti-Authority”, is “Impulsivity”… the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something—anything—immediately. When you are impulsive, you do not stop to think about what you are about to do; do not select the best alternative, and do the first thing that comes to mind, even if it is wrong. In From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan showed a lot of impulsive behavior in his decision to fly pot, at night, at low altitudes, etc. We’ll look into why later in this article.

Impulsivity vs. Caution

In military history, there has always been a contrast between generals who have been impulsive or cautious. In World War II, British general Montgomery was frequently criticized for always preparing, but too hesitant to go into battle. The American general Patton, however, was constantly engaging the enemy, moving forward beyond the supply lines. In the Civil War, the Union general McClellan was accused of the same overabundance of caution, thinking he was outnumbered when he wasn’t. Confederate general Jackson was quite the opposite, striking suddenly with overwhelming odds against him.

Plan B

What does all this have to do with Aviation? Pilots often find themselves in situations where they feel compelled to act first and think later without a Plan B. This violates all safety considerations, and everyone should have a Plan B for everything. As part of normal pre-flight planning, pilots are trained to exercise NWKRAFT, which stands for Notices to Airmen, Weather conditions, Known ATC Delays, Runway Lengths and conditions, Alternates Available, Fuel Requirements and Takeoff and Landing Distances. So, why would any pilot ignore their planning and go ahead anyway?

External Pressure

The recent NTSB report on the Kobe Bryant crash is a prime example of external pressure. The helicopter pilot flew into marginal conditions to get his client to his destination, experienced spatial disorientation and crashed. External pressures are the nemesis of common sense. They are the influences that create a sense of pressure to complete a flight—often at the expense of safety.

External pressures can include the following:
• Someone waiting at the airport for the flight’s arrival.
• A passenger the pilot does not want to disappoint.
• The desire to impress someone. (Probably the two most dangerous words in aviation are “Watch this!”)
• The desire to satisfy a specific personal goal (“get-there-itis,”)

I Don’t Want to Hear It!

External pressure is the one risk factor category that can cause a pilot to ignore all the other risk factors. This is a warning to all of us. Whenever there is some irresistible motivation to “damn the torpedoes,” we ignore other voices shouting in our heads with facts and warnings, and we say, “I don’t want to hear it!” These are our inconvenient truths that would require us to not jump into what we are determined to do. We exchange that for the reassuring lie that we can pull it off and say, “I told you so.”

No Guts – No Glory

Why did Dustin Morgan fly his pot? To see what was on the other side. What did it require? Guts. No Guts – No Glory, and glory was the prize. Like the pioneers of old, he wanted to jump into the unknown, experience the adventure, and prove to himself he could do it. However, he was not impulsive. Like the pioneers, he prepared and weighed the costs and always had a Plan B. Was it a noble cause? Not really. Did his risks catch up with him? You’ll have to read the sequel, The Steel Wall to find out.

Therefore, there is a distinction between Impulsivity and Daring Ambition. The former is mindless, the latter is a mixture of planning, fortitude and courage.

Do you have guts? This is the difference between those who stay where they are and those who go after their dreams. If you don’t have a dream, get one. If you do have a dream, get up and make it happen. Don’t be impulsive… take care of your business, but plan for it, work for it and go for it!

The next Hazardous Attitude is Invulnerability – “It won’t happen to me.”

Attitude Adjustment

Hank Williams Jr. wrote the song, “Attitude Adjustment” about methods used in the South to change someone’s perspective on life.

Hank Williams Jr.

And just about the time he got the words out
An ‘ol boy jumped up and closed his mouth…
It was an attitude adjustment
I guess it was his first time
An attitude adjustment
Now he understands just fine. Hank Williams Jr.

Now, we don’t encourage these tactics in the field of flight instruction (as much as some instructors would like to), but the FAA addresses the issue of attitude nonetheless.

Attitude and Attitude Management

According to the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, “Attitude is a personal motivational predisposition to respond to persons, situations, or events in a given manner that can, nevertheless, be changed or modified through training as sort of a mental shortcut to decision-making.” This means we have an inner mindset based on life experiences and character that affects our motives and the ultimate responses we have to things that happen to us. This is how we are predisposed to react. It can be a victim mindset, a defensive mindset, a selfish attitude, high esteem or low self esteem.

However, all of this can be changed. “That’s just how I am” is not an excuse. “Attitude Management is the ability to recognize hazardous attitudes in oneself and the willingness to modify them as necessary through the application of an appropriate antidote thought.” Aviation Instructor’s Handbook

Antidote Thoughts

What in the world is an “antidote thought?” Our way of thinking about things is “That’s just the way I am,” but there are other thoughts if we are willing to apply them. So, if there is another way to think, and that other thought prevents us from making a bad decision, that thought becomes an antidote to change our response. In aviation this is critical, because a wrong attitude can lead to disaster.

In the Christian life, we have many antidote thoughts to counter bad attitudes. They are found throughout the Bible. One antidote thought is in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Antidotes for Real Life

In real life, as in aviation, bad attitudes compromise safety, hinder success and destroy prosperity. Therefore, if we overcome bad attitudes, we increase our chances for these benefits and many more.

Victim Mindset: “Everybody’s picking on me.” The goal of this attitude is to take the spotlight off your actions, get some sympathy, and maybe get some preferential treatment. The result is bitterness, anger and self-pity. The antidote is to work harder with integrity so there is nothing for others to pick on you for. Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

Defensive Mindset: “I didn’t do it. It’s not my fault.” The goal is two-fold here… deflect the blame and get praise for what you did right. The result is to never improve, because you don’t think you need to. The antidote is to take the rebuke and learn from it, even if no one notices. Romans 2:29 “whose praise is not from men but from God.

Selfish Mindset: “I’m the best. Me first. Look at me. I want it all.” The goal is to draw attention to yourself and to fulfill your needs first. It produces an inflated self esteem, greed and covetousness. The result is to actually look bad in other people’s eyes, causing damaged relationships and a bad marriage. The antidote is to see yourself as a servant and try to bless others. Jesus told us, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Best Antidote Thought for Everything

And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12

Anti-Authority – The Rebel Attitude

5 Hazardous Attitudes

First on the list of hazardous attitudes in Aviation is anti-authority – the rebel attitude. So why is a rebel attitude a bad thing? Can you imagine a controller saying, “You have traffic at 12:00, turn right ten degrees,” and the pilot saying, “Don’t tell me what to do. I want to keep flying straight ahead.” That, in aviation terminology, is a hazardous attitude.

The Rebel Attitude

Modern culture glorifies the rebel attitude, and in fact, the American experiment is built on the foundation that we will live free or die. This would be called “Rebel With a Cause.” In “From Woodstock to Eternity,” the hippie mindset promoted the cause of brotherhood, peace and love while rebelling against straight society. Dustin Morgan imagined that the rock festival in Bull Island would be an example of how it would be if Woodstock Nation took over. That is, until the whole thing fell into a quagmire of narcotic drug use and filth.

As for rebellion in general, in the many and varied ways we function in life, the devil is in the details. Defying society, the police, the teacher, or whatever is one thing. Refusing to comply with instructions while operating high precision industrial equipment is another. One may make you feel like you’re the man, while the other can get you killed.

Born a Rebel

All baby says is NO!
Born a Rebel

What is the first word out a baby’s mouth? All parents know this one… NO! The truth is, we are all born with rebellious spirits, to one degree or another. In fact, all these hazardous attitudes are inherent in our nature, and it is up to us to take control of them and manage them. That is why the FAA includes the study of hazardous attitudes as part of pilot training. You have to know they are there before you can overcome them.

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Attitude

This is the one that gets us in the most trouble. It makes us feel independent, cool, and self important, because it is based on pride. Unfortunately, pride and self exaltation ruin marriages, cause problems at work, and make us look like egotistical jerks to everybody else. It seems the only rebels who think they look cool are the rebels themselves. Also, rebels for rebel’s sake think they are on top of their world, but in reality, they seldom reach their full potential. This is due to the fact that rebellion, by definition, refuses the instruction that guarantees growth. It is a huge boulder on our path to success.

Rebellion Stifles Growth

The anti-authority – rebel attitude actually strips us of warnings and information that keep us safe and improve our lives. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning…” So what is the definition of a wise man? A wise man hears, meaning he is open to instruction. Proverbs 10:8 “The wise in heart will receive commands.” A wise man also fears the Lord and departs from evil, according to Proverbs 14:16. These qualities are essential to grow and achieve heights people could never imagine. Those who reject these principles pass on towards their own destruction.

Rebels Reap the Consequences

Rebels are called Fools in Proverbs, and the Scripture has plenty of practical insight into the mindset of a fool. In contrast to the wise who receive commands, the fool “despises wisdom and instruction,” (Proverbs 1:7). The consequences for despising instruction are spelled out in Proverbs 13:18 “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction.” Poverty is not always lack of money. It also shows itself in quality of life and self image. You can be poor in marriage, poor in attitude, or poor in life experiences. Shame comes in jail, in divorce, in rejection, and in lost opportunities.

Make 2021 a Year of Wisdom

In every ground school class I have taught, I end with a life lesson to build three things in their character that will ensure their success. Knowledge, Discretion and Humility. You build knowledge by receiving instruction. The definition of discretion is knowing what not to say or do. Finally, humility is the foundation of servant leadership. More on these attributes to come.

Happy New Year 2021!

5 Bad Attitudes

Good attitudes produces good results, and bad attitudes produces bad results

Attitude is Everything! This is not a new concept, preached from motivational seminars, but one of many bits of wisdom found in the Bible. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” The interesting thing is, this principle applies across the board, but many have never grasped the concept. It seems that some people just refuse to be content, grateful or happy about anything. What they don’t know is that their bad attitudes actually contribute to more of the same of what made them sour in the first place.

Bad Attitudes in Aviation

Result of a Hazardous Attitude

Flight Instructors are taught to be aware of 5 Hazardous Attitudes that could affect their student’s decision making process. Any one of these bad attitudes can produce bad results. What is note worthy is that these are also attitudes that all humans share to one degree or another, and they can definitely influence our path of life.

Aviation Instructor Handbook

Life Coaching from Aviation Coaching

No Bad Attitude

Each one of these 5 Hazardous Attitudes has its own effect in our lives. Anti-authority types eventually hit a brick wall in their marriage or job or a relationship. We have all seen what can happen if we resist arrest. Being impulsive can cause bad decisions, and resignation is the same as saying “I can’t.” (see my article on Can’t is a Four Letter Word)

Life Coaching and From Woodstock to Eternity

The book “From Woodstock To Eternity” is full of life coaching lessons related to attitudes. Eating beans and rice from the Hog Farm commune at Woodstock, Dustin Morgan pondered the essence of the welfare state vs. what it would take to get a hamburger. Even in the hippie culture of the time, he could plainly see the difference between the commune side and the capitalist dope dealer side. When presented with bizarre choices, he was willing to take risks to see what was on the other side. His own sister dared him to dream of what he could accomplish in flying if he made his opportunities and pursued them.

What’s Next

In the next five articles, I will dissect each Hazardous Attitude defined for flight instructors and apply them to everyday life experiences. This should be interesting, and hopefully, encouraging. Life is so much easier when we know what is causing us problems, and what we can do to change all that. Please stay tuned and share the posts that touch a chord.

Can’t is a Four Letter Word!!

Of all the four letter words we’re taught not to say, I added one that I consider the worst offender… Can’t. Nothing can frustrate success more than a bad attitude, and believing you can’t do something virtually guarantees that you won’t. That’s why I say “Can’t is a Four Letter Word.” In “From Woodstock to Eternity,” Dustin Morgan’s sister forces him to confront the notion that he can do more with his life than he thinks he can. In fact, he can do things he never thought of before, and why? Because he never thought he could. Can’t is the enemy of did, and the ally of didn’t… or never tried in the first place.

Dustin pictured himself in the cockpit of a 727 airliner and thought, “I have never allowed myself to think this far, to consider it a possibility, to dare to dream.” His sister assured him that he could do anything he set his mind to do. She also assured him that Jesus was not just a baby in a manger or a body on a cross. He is alive and active in our daily decisions and helps to bring them to pass. Dustin wondered, “Will God do that for me?”

Having a dream motivates you to achieve it, and without a dream, there is no will to carry on. As Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is not a unique concept. In the aviation instruction realm, it is called motivation. Every lesson must have an introduction, and that includes attention, motivation and an overview. If you want to learn what is in the lesson, it must gain your attention. The motivation, or your “vision” inspires you to do the work required to learn the lesson.

So, here are some key points in reaching your full potential

Listen to wise counselors

Sometimes we need to hear from another perspective. We get trapped in

our own little bubble and can’t see a bigger picture.

Allow yourself to dream

It’s OK to have grandiose ideas or to believe you can do great things. Some may call it ego or pride, but if you put it in Jesus’ hands, you will approach the endeavor humbly and earnestly. The tragedy for any of us is to fall into complacency and never use the gifts God has given us.

Don’t say “Can’t!”

Once you envision a goal, never tell yourself you can’t do it! Allow your dream to give you the motivation to work. study, be patient, and persevere.

In my ground school class, I had students from their 40’s and 50’s on their second and third careers to become an airline pilot.

Never sell yourself short. Remember,

Can’t is a Four Letter Word!!

Dream It – Do It!!!

Dream It

You want to fly airplanes? Are you crazy? What makes you think you can do something like that? Most aspiring young pilots come out of peer groups with an attitude something like that. In fact, most people with grandiose ideas are surrounded by people who could never imagine themselves doing anything so far out there. This is because most people are stuck in their present mindset, have no vision for their future, and don’t have the drive to go for it even if they did. They had a difficult upbringing, are content with where they are, or just have no idea what they want to do with their lives. They have no dream.

This reveals the sad truth that only a small percentage of people actually do have a vision they are pursuing, and they are the ones who reap the sweetest taste of success in their lives. If you have nothing to conquer, you will have no victory.

Realizing Your Dream – The Highest Level of Human Needs

Aviation Instructors learn this in the study of Human Behavior. In a pyramid of human needs, basic food and shelter are the first level, progressing through security, love, self esteem and finally to the peak of Self – Actualization. Not everyone gets to this level. In fact, many do not even reach satisfaction in the areas of inward and outward self esteem. This is why so many sermons and self help workshops focus on propping up our self image.

Be All You Can Be!

The top level, on the other hand, follows the motto of the Army to “Be All You Can Be!” Another way of looking at it is “achieving what you were called to do.” In the Bible, Jesus told a Parable about Talents (Matthew 25:14) that are given to each of us to put to use during our walk in this life. Paul refers to Spiritual gifts (Romans 12) that are given to each of us that empower us to fulfill our calling for God. Unfortunately, most of us never find out what we are called to do, much less get around to doing it, which leads to the final point.

Do It!

A Turning Point in Dustin Morgan’s transformation in “From Woodstock To Eternity” comes in a talk with his sister about what he really wants to do in life. The party hardy days had just about run their course, and he knew it. She pressed him to imagine with no boundaries. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is fly airplanes,” he said. Then Sis raised the bar. “Imagine yourself in the cockpit of a 727.” It blew his mind. “I have never allowed myself to go that far… do you think I could do that?” Of course Sis had the answer… “With God anything is possible.”

They set out a plan to find out how to get flying lessons, hired an instructor, bought a cheap, second hand Cessna 150, and he was on his way. He worked his way into the commuter airline industry, but then things fell apart. Finally, almost 40 years later, he resurrected his dream and became an instructor for young flight instructors eager to go to the airlines. There is no greater thrill than to stand on the other side and know that you dared to dream, put in the work, and made it happen. This is why I write on top of the marker board at the beginning of every class…

Dream It – Do It!!!

Aviation Lessons – Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Lessons Learned in Aviation – What to do, and what not to do

There is a mysterious, hidden truth to be found in “From Woodstock to Eternity”… it is a book about aviation, cleverly disguised as a counter culture epic. Even though all the aviation stories in the book are grossly distorted applications of aviation in no way takes away from the conclusion. Interwoven through the wild escapades of Dustin Morgan’s airborne adventures are solid aerodynamic principles that are common to every flight a pilot makes.

Right Wrong Switch

Let me first issue a disclaimer that in no way do the aviation escapades in “From Woodstock to Eternity” represent proper, legal or moral uses of flying skills. Alternatively, look at them as examples of what NOT to do with your airplane.

With that said, here is a sample of the Airplane maneuvers and procedures that are alluded to in this adventure story.

Slow Flight

Otherwise known as flying “on the back side of the power curve,” Morgan had to configure the Navajo for slow flight during every air drop. Flying at 100 MPH at tree top level was definitely flying slow. However, one of the many rules of flight that he broke during this phase was to breach obstacle clearance limits of 500 feet in uncontrolled airspace.

Short and Soft Field Landing

The strips in Columbia and were certainly short and the grass was soft. Each of these conditions required specialized maneuvering to perform.

Short and Soft Field Takeoff

Perhaps one of the most frightening episodes in the book is the takeoff from Tommy’s strip in the Bahamas. The airstrip was short, the grass was long, and heavy gross weight increased the takeoff roll.

Emergency Descent

In order to evade the Customs jets who were trying to “make him into a sandwich,” Morgan had to get everything he could out of his heavy, slow, propeller driven beast. The mad dash descent was not simply a matter of pointing the nose down. It was a calculated maneuver with many components that enabled the Navajo to hurl down at a high rate of descent.

Aviation Related Articles Are Coming!

Sometime in 2018, the Lord put in me a great desire to return to aviation. This endeavor was nothing short of re-inventing myself at 68 years old. I am grateful to say that all the work and study I put in has resulted in returning to work as an Aviation Ground Instructor. I am having the time of my life teaching and mentoring new flight instructors and watching them achieve their dreams.

That being said, look forward to a new series of blogs on aviation related topics. For those of you who could care less about flying, I hope to at least make them entertaining. For those of you who do fly, or have a little seed planted deep down inside, they should mean something special to you.

Happy Trails!