Final Approach

The plane is just past the “abort point” and committed to landing at Methaleneng.

The plane is just past the “abort point” and committed to landing at Methaleneng.

On approach at Methaleneng, one of our most wind-sensitive airstrips, I’m at the “abort point.” This is the point of no return for me. If I am not on glide slope and on speed, I will abort. In the case of Methaleneng, this point is a healthy distance from the airstrip at about 1/4 mile, allowing plenty of room to exit the valley safely.

Every landing we verbalize our “decision point” and define beforehand how to accept or reject a landing. Each airstrip has one, even the easy ones. Past the abort point at Methaleneng, the airplane can’t climb fast enough or turn sharp enough to dodge the mountain filling the wind screen. No going beyond the abort point unless conditions are just right.

It is imperative that I have a stabilized approach, the wind isn’t too strong, and the turbulence is at an acceptable level. My altitude (not too high, not too low) and airspeed (not too slow, but definitely not too fast either) need to be right on.

Ready for takeoff and a different view of the airstrip and valley.

Ready for takeoff and a different view of the airstrip and valley.

This simple principle is life saving for bush pilots. I love how easily this translates into a spiritual application as well. One that says, in order to produce fruit in our lives, marriages, families, and communities, we must follow a strict code. It may go something like this:

If what I am about to do does not draw me or others closer to Christ, that’s my abort point. I will change direction; I won’t “land” there.

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