Years ago I had planned to drive to Rexburg, Idaho, for the inauguration Joe J. Christensen, a dear friend, as president of Ricks College. Some friends of mine, who were also planning to attend, invited me to fly up with them in a friend’s small plane rather than make the drive by myself.
Even though I’m afraid of small planes, I agreed to go with them because of all the time it would save.
So off we went. It was a four-seater. Dave and the pilot were up front, and Joy and I right behind them. Talking was a challenge because the propeller was so noisy. Mostly I just looked out at the scenery and kept track of where we were.
Some time into the flight, I saw Rexburg and the Ricks College campus. I’d been there enough to recognize it.
The pilot was still shout-talking with Dave, and there was no kind of "initial descent" that I could detect. "Hey!" I hollered. Not loud enough. No response.
"Hey, there’s Rexburg! There’s Ricks!" Joy heard me and shouted at Dave and the pilot.
They didn’t think it could be Rexburg. The pilot shouted back something about his calculations and that we had several more miles to go.
I shouted back, "but there’s Ricks. There’s the stadium right down there!"
The pilot shouted "Are you sure??" Yes, I was sure. I even pointed out the little airport back behind us. I had noticed it as we flew over.
He believed me. He circled, found the air strip, and landed.
I’ve thought a lot about that experience, and about flight plans and staying on course and all. It’s a pretty powerful analogy. A pilot has to submit a flight plan before he or she takes off. Without a plan, how would there be any chance of reaching a destination? Without navigational instruments and communication helps, how would a pilot know for sure if he (or she) were on course? Especially if it were cloudy, or if the plane were over water.