I Met The Pilot!

In the last post, I mentioned that last week I took my first helicopter ride.  I gotta tell ya, I was pretty apprehensive about it.  I am, and always have been, afraid of heights.  My first memory of this is at Six Flags Over Texas.  We took the elevator to the top deck of the big oil derrick, I stepped off the elevator and stuck to the wall – did NOT go to the edge and look over.  It’s listed at 300 feet tall.

Coker Structure

Because of my job requirements, I’ve gotten better at dealing with this – I can take the elevator to the top deck of the coker and stand out next to the handrail, but I’m still a bit uneasy about it.  And I do NOT like climbing down that little ladder through the hole in the floor to get to the nuclear gauge.  And I do NOT ride roller coasters.

So, you can imagine I was a bit anxious about this helicopter thing.  I usually sleep like a rock in hotel rooms.  Not this time.  Dreamed about going out to an oil rig, only we went in a boat that almost sank.  I’m thinking there must be a connection.

EC135 Helicopter

Anyway – my boss and I arrived at the heliport Wednesday morning at 6:45, and checked in.  Had to wait around for all the other flights to leave, and then watch the orientation film (we were the only newbies flying that day, so we had to go last).  After the film, the boss asked if he could ride in the front seat.  (It was a small helicopter, with room for the pilot, one front passenger seat, and three rear passenger seats).  “YES” – of course you can have the front seat.

In his sermon on Sunday, Kin Ellis said that airplane passengers have a lot in common with church-goers.  They just want to get in, sit down, do the deed, and get out.  Most of us don’t want to meet the Pilot personally and develop an intimate relationship.  We don’t want anything fancy or exciting, we just want to get on with the show and get out of here.  That was me on this helicopter flight.

As we took off, my boss was asking the pilot a few questions.  I was busy checking my heart rate – but, surprisingly, it was calm.  The whole experience was very unlike climbing the side of the ash silo at the biotreater (which is VERY un-nerving, let me tell ya).  At 120 knots and 1300 feet in the air, there is hardly any sensation of movement.   So I started listening in on the pilot’s explanation of all the instruments and how to fly this contraption.  After half-an-hour, I had learned a bit about flying, a little about the pilot, and found the whole experience much more interesting than it would have been if it had gone as I planned – get in, sit down, get it over with quick.

And I’ve been reminded that if all I’m doing with God is checking in on Sunday mornings, and I’m not really pursuing an intimate relationship with Him, I will miss out on a LOT of great stuff He has planned for me.  What about you?  Are you trying to get to know the Pilot?  Or just checking in?


About Joe

Writing on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my faith, and my work. View all posts by Joe

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