I enjoyed the picture in the paper the other day of the T-37 airplane that is on display at the Neosho Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport. The "Tweet" holds a very special place in my heart.
A lot of people know that I am an Air Force veteran, but most probably don't know that I was supposed to be a pilot. I attended the University of Missouri on an Air Force pilot scholarship and the only thing I wanted to do was to fly the rest of my life.
God had other plans and, unfortunately, my ears refused to adjust to the g-forces and aerobatics that were required to successfully complete pilot training. But before my medical disqualification, I did get to put in about 30-hours of time in the Tweet. I even have a little over a half-hour of solo time -- an experience I will never forget.
Almost 40 years later, I can still remember the smell of jet fuel and how hot the cockpit felt -- even on cool days. And I remember many of the emergency procedures they drilled into our heads on a daily basis in training.
The T-37 is one of the few planes actually designed to "spin" or "spiral." The instructors would teach us how to stall the aircraft and then, as it spun straight down toward the ground, how to get it out of the spin safely.
Imagine being in an aircraft nose pointing straight up and the next moment pointing straight down with the plane twisting over and over. Frightening came to mind for most of us the first time we tried it.
We were told that if we followed the emergency procedures exactly the way we were taught that we could "recover" the plane from the spin 100% of the time -- guaranteed. Let's face it, there are very few things that are guaranteed in life -- except taxes and death. But bringing a Tweet out of a spin was guaranteed -- if you followed the procedures exactly as you learned them.
That's why our instructors spent so much time beating the procedures into the hard heads of young wannabe pilots. And that's why almost 40 years later, I could get in a T-37, put it into a spin and get it out safely.
What does this have to do with our everyday lives? Everything. There are very few guarantees in life, but our moral compass of beliefs (like the emergency procedures of a T-37) will get us through life's emergencies 100% of the time -- if we follow them exactly.
That doesn't mean that we are always 100% successful in whatever we do in life and that we don't face disappointments. But, if we follow the beliefs that we hold, are true to ourselves and don't compromise our faith, then, regardless of the outcome, we have succeeded.
I am weak just like any other human being (thanks, Todd, for reminding me) but I try daily to hold true to my "emergency procedures" -- my faith. And, if I do that, just like a T-37 Tweet spin, I will be guaranteed to be saved from disaster -- regardless of the earthly outcome.
Kevin Wilson is a former state representative who was born in Goodman and now lives in Neosho. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 08/01/2019
Print Headline: Few Things Are Guaranteed