Thursday, 31 January 2013

Captivated by the brilliance of me?

...the fool says in his heart.

I have recently discovered that cycling may be the means by which I might keep the demands of flight medicals at bay!*

2013 started well with the loan of a swish mountain bike, from a friend who sadly went through a windscreen and is unable to use his machine but he writes great poetry (see Poet at Jayburn). In a moment of madness I thought I would have a lunchtime sprint from Home to L'Ancresse in the north of the Island almost 9 miles according to the  AA route planner and I reckoned 30m should do it at full tilt and the same back again, back within the hour, after all I would be warm and it was only 3 inches on the chart (aka map)!

Well I was quick, I was fast, such that I gave my self a bit of a fright going round one corner and was amazed how rapidly the miles on the coast road flashed by! I was thinking my training had really paid was off - tour de France here I come, boy was I good I reached my target plus 1 sec, very pleased with myself. So let's head back... 

On return looking misleadingly refreshed!
The wind, the wind it was wild, cold and strong, a real stiff headwind. I had to pedal like crazy just to get above walking pace. The wind on the nose makes a difference when you are flying but a heck of a difference when the only thing spinning is your legs on your bike, that journey took 55min and I took a short cut!

I had totally underestimated the distance, the wind strength and it's direction, my ability and the minor detail that I live at 365ft on the top of the Island and L'Ancresse is at sea level. I had been captivated by the brilliance of me... I was not that good after all I had had a stonking tail wind, all the way north that added nicely to my deception, plus I guess a slight downhill.

Funny how we can think we are better than we are, yet we sometimes think so little of God.  I think we would be pleasantly surprised if we thought more highly of God and the adventure open to us!
It reminded me that the only one I want to be captivated by is not me, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - My Captain - Jesus.

Malcolm Duncan wrote this great poem worth reading in its entirety, their is one stunning verse which he uses several times

I want to be a God gaizer ,
captured by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance of you

actually I wanted to tweak it slightly  

I want to be a God gaizer ,
captivated by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance of you

Next Blog with the usual should be from Chad...
*As an aside I started cycling in  april before the Olympics and cycling 'madness' struck Britain. Though of the billions who watched this event sadly I missed all the excitement, as my encounter with the visual Olympics revolved around 45mins of women's football and some discus all in Arabic at a neighbours! However I did 'watch it' via BBC texts which came every 2-3 mins took something of the excitiment away during the 100m sprint for example!

Friday, 18 January 2013

A new day dawns, time for a pre-flight

The light from the milky way was glorious, one could almost read by the brightness of the stellar lights, the air was cooling rapidly and starting to get chilly,  as I pulled the sheet around my neck.  Lying in my mosquito tent (to protect from scorpions and other things) looking upwards through the gauze counting the uncountable.  The gentle whisper & rustle of the desert winds through the date palms was a soothing lullaby...

Twilight was upon me as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, stretched, remembered where I was and sat up. The cool of the brand new day is truly wonderful in Africa.  I fumble with the zip on the canopy, check carefully that my flying boots were empty of any little visitors, in the dull morning light. Shave and freshen up, already the dawn's golden sun is lighting up the skyline. I took a short walk,  then saw if there was a cup of tea ready, as I could hear chatter, coughs and woodsmoke wafted across the little dirt courtyard, I was ready for the day. Well almost...

Already the morning air is warming up fast, it's a turbulent trip weaving around rocky outcrops on the moonscape before a wild ride over the yellow desert sands, as we head out to the aircraft which I had abandoned into the hands of some soldiers camped up for the night in the Sahara.

The pre-flight is essential  when you have a days flying ahead of you, even more so when the days work is going to take you over mountains, surely some of the roughest terrain in the world. You need to know the aircraft is at it's best, that all is well and it is ready for the day ahead.  So electrics, fuel oil, integrity of the aircraft structure are all checked at and all the bits of aircraft that should move - do, and those that shouldn't - don't.

Before I head out to the airstrip though I do need to do my own personal pre-flight yup teeth cleaned, hair combed well what is left of it and visit to the restroom/loo/hole in the ground. Then despite at times the temptation to skip it and press on, I take a short time out to collect my thoughts together. This I do in conjunction with 'The Manual', a compact book that I have found really useful and enjoyable (available from CVM or Amazon), it has a short undated thought for the day, a simple prayer and it's just part of my pre-flight. 

I also keep a 'moleskin' journal that I jot down any thoughts that might be worth returning to at a later date, along with the Manual, I have a nifty little Gideon's New Testament. Essential tools for any man* to have in his flight bag, along with my charts and other other useful stuff.

So trust you enjoyed todays blog, travel well.

* or woman, you may want to find a different set of thoughts for the day

Friday, 4 January 2013

Engineers are remarkable people!


‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.’ Psalm 119:9-11 (ESV) 

The Manual Part 1, is 60 thoughts most written by Carl Beech but here is one of mine which fits well with Kees interview. Thought for the day Number 21 of 60.

MAF pilots, have a great working relationship with our engineers! On a recent operational assignment covering a crew shortage in Uganda the Chief Engineer showed me some cracks, he had found on two tiny little compressor blades from the turbine of one of our large single engine Cessna 208 Caravans. Almost impossible to see with the naked eye, and if the component had failed almost certainly catastrophic to the engine and not great news for the rest of the flight!
Ignorance can appear to be bliss; if the cracks had not been spotted I would have continued hauling passengers and cargo into and out of rough, short bush airstrips, in South Sudan and Eastern Congo, ‘blissfully unaware’ that these tiny cracks, which had developed slowly over time were there. Their presence meant the engine might failed just when I needed it’s maximum performance.
As soon as the engineer knew there were cracked blades in the engine - his inspections are designed to hunt down such things, the aircraft had to be grounded, as he knew what these tiny cracks were capable of causing. I could have protested and said ‘the aircraft is needed for another urgent flight, MAF could not afford the repair.’ Perhaps I could have tried to persuade him,  ‘come on, fix it later, after all the cracks are only on a couple of blades, the rest are perfect.’
No, only a fool would ignore the promptings of a Chief Engineer! It is amazing how we sometimes fail to sort out cracks in our lives, even after they have been shown to us, so advice for today is ground yourself and get them sorted, it may be ‘expensive’ and uncomfortable but if we want to be a disciple of the King you owe it to yourself and those around you to be fully operational, so you are always ready to give of your best when the time is needed.
Prayer: Lord please reveal to me an area in my life that is failing.  Let me be brave enough to get it sorted out with Your guidance and help. Amen

AVAILABLE from CVM or AMAZON. In fact there are now 4 books in the series all recently written and launched!