Navigation 101

On this 50th anniversary of Astronaut John Glenn’s historic orbital flight, here are a few basic truths about aviation, as expressed by experienced pilots:

• When one engine fails on a twin engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

• Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.

• Airspeed, altitude, and brains: a minimum of two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.

• Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it or doing anything about it.

• If you’re faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible.

• Never trade luck for skill.

• Gravity: it’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.

• There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.

• Basic Flying Rules:

a. Try to stay in the middle of the air.

b. Do not go near the edges of it.

c. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees, and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there. Could it be expressed any simpler?

Like successful aerial navigation, piloting our days toward significance involves maneuvering from place to place without getting lost, breaking natural laws, or endangering those around us.

Our chances of successfully and safely reaching our goals on schedule dramatically increase if we adhere to a few similar, basic rules:

1. Purposefully train to control and operate your mental navigation system.

2. File and follow a calculated “flight plan” to your objective.

3. Obey the natural laws of self-improvement and constructive social interaction.

4. Keep that sense of humor!