You can learn a lot about obedience, revelation, and spiritual guidance from how airplanes fly.
While working as an aircraft maintenance technician, I learned that an airplane needs two forces to fly.
- Propulsion — A forward force that must be fast enough to lift the aircraft. If you have enough propulsion, you can move forward without any air resistance called “drag”.
- Lift — The force created by the difference in pressure between the air passing above and below the wing of an airplane (called Bernoulli’s theorem). Lift works against gravity, and without lift, the aircraft will fall due to the gravity of the earth.
Modifying the route
Of course, many other things are happening for an airplane to fly, but many are involved in the following two systems.
Navigation aids help the pilot to fly along the route. This includes meters and dials in the cockpit, as well as radar beacons and voice communication equipment used to interact with the control tower.
Flight control equipment provides directional support. These include rudders (movable parts of the tail, also known as rudders), ailerons and trim tabs (small flaps on the wings), large flaps and spoilers, slats, and stabilizers (horizontal stabilizers). With these devices, the aircraft can rotate, ascend, descend, and turn, and gently return to the ground when landing.
Pilots rely on ground staff (ground staff of airlines working at the airport). The ground staff will maintain the aircraft so that the airplane can fly, guide between the runway and the gate, check before and after the flight, and propose and actually perform the necessary maintenance for the aircraft. The ground staff is responsible for the maintenance and safety of the aircraft.
What does this have to do with you
A few simple comparisons will reveal insightful similarities between the principles of flying and the principles of the gospel.
Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel creates propulsion, and this spiritual propulsion creates spiritual lift. It allows us to keep moving forward and to clearly see the route back to Heavenly Father from a higher position than the world.
Modifying the route
After being baptized, the gift of the Holy Spirit you have received is the best spiritual navigation device. As long as you remain obedient, your slender, quiet voice will always whisper a prompt to tell you what to do, where to go, and how to act. If you listen carefully to it, it will guide you.
But it is up to you to use the tools that the Lord has given you to modify your route. There are also items to check. Are you constantly praying, studying the scriptures, attending meetings, preparing for the temple, and actually entering? We also need to repent. This allows you to make major corrections or minor tweaks to attitude, altitude, and orientation in a spiritual sense.
Like pilots, you need to rely on spiritual ground staff. The ground staff for you are parents, young male or female leaders, bishops and advisors, home teachers, seminary teachers, and good friends. Think of the interview with them as an inspection of the aircraft before and after the flight. Just as an aircraft is inspected on a regular basis, you also have the opportunity to make sure you are ready to fly through regular interviews. Your spiritual ground staff will assess your abilities, prepare flight plans, and advise on spiritual wind speeds and expected eddy. Activities such as entering a temple require a “takeoff permit”. The general conference sermon is like a message from an air traffic controller who has a grasp of the condition of all airplanes and is responsible for extensive navigation. Following the counsel given will help you avoid the potential dangers.
Preparing for flight
In a spiritual sense, we are all made to fly. We are children of Heavenly Father, who wants us to leap spiritually high. As children of God, we need to fly into the sky. Because with God’s help, we can always reach new heights.