Saturday, October 27, 2007

Church With The Mogul #2

Ok, I'm finally taking the time to catch up on blogging a little bit. The quick update on life is that I'm now done with IOE and sitting reserve (basically being on call as a backup in case something happens like a pilot gets sick) here in Billings. Today I'm not on reserve, so I've decided to jumpseat down to Colorado Springs to have lunch with my grandma Mimi and then come back to Billings this evening. At the moment, I'm sitting at gate A1 in Billings at some ridiculous hour of the morning waiting for my flight to Denver.

Anyway, back onto topic: the second installment of my fledging Church With The Mogul series.

Almost two weeks ago (yeah, I'm behind), I listened to another Driscoll sermon on my Mogul because I wasn't able to go to church that morning. Later that day I was supposed to fly my first IOE trip, so I decided that I needed to buy a flight case to carry my required manuals, headset, etc in because I didn't really have anything to carry that stuff in (much less look professional doing so). The store that carried the case I needed was over 2.5 miles away, so the long walk there and back provided a convenient opportunity to listen as I walked (and it was a really amazing morning outside).

I started out turning my heart toward worship by listening to David Crowder's "Illuminate" album. I love that CD because the lyrics of their songs have so much depth and can consistently put me in a more worshipful mood even when my day isn't going so well. My favorite song on the album is "All Creatures, No. 2," their modernization of the classic hymn "All Creatures Of Our God And King" and is one of the best updates of an old hymn that I know of (staying faithful to the original song but also making it more modern stylistically). As a side note: while I was out on that walk I stopped and bought Crowder's latest album (Remedy, I think it's called) because Bob Mann loved it so much he demanded I get it. I still haven't listened to it all yet, but what I've heard so far is pretty good.

Quick update on what's going on in real time: I found out just as they were about to start boarding that the United flight was completely full (when I called United a half hour prior there was still room) and that even though I was first in line for the jumpseat, the guy behind me was with a company that code-shares with United, so he'd be able to bump me out of the seat. I ran (literally) down to the Big Sky gate where they'd just finished boarding 2590 (the flight that goes to Sheridan and then on to Denver) and was able to get on at the last possible minute. The bad news was that even though there was room on the first leg (to Sheridan, WY), the second leg of the flight was almost full, so I risked getting stranded in Sheridan. The good news is that I got lucky when we got to Sheridan and there was room for me on the second leg, so I'm presently sitting in 1A as we cruise towards Denver. I doubt I'll be able to make my original connection to Colorado Springs at 10 though, so I'll have to hope for the 11:20 and have a little less time with Mimi.

Back on topic:
When I got done with the Crowder album, I started my sermon for the day. After that really great sermon on idolatry I raved about in the first post of this series (because nobody left any comments about it, I'm guessing none of you listened to it, so let me take this opportunity to re-plug it as one of the best and most applicable sermons I've ever heard, so I strongly recommend you listen to it), I thought about going back and listening through his whole 1st Corinthians series, but I decided not to based on a recommendation from Fack. J.D. (aka, The Fack) was telling me a few days prior about how he's been listening through Driscoll's series on Proverbs and how much he'd been enjoying it because Fack's spent a lot of time in Proverbs and he thought Driscoll did a really good job with it.

The series is really long (I think over 30 or 40 sermons) and goes through the book topically because of how many passages have similar themes but aren't located next to each other. Not surprisingly, with that much material to cover, Driscoll felt the need to start off with a sermon that was essentially an introduction to the book and some of the overarching ideas before actually getting into Proverbs itself. It was this introduction that I listened to that morning.

Because it was an introduction rather than actually preaching out of a specific text, there wasn't as much that I got out of it as I would from a normal sermon, but it was still a worthwhile listen. Those of you who know me well know that I'd normally frown on not preaching out of a text, but I'm making an exception to that general rule in my mind because there's so much in our culture blocking our ability to understand Proverbs that I really think it was necessary in this case. That brings me to the biggest theme of the sermon that I remember, and that's about the difference between knowledge and wisdom (and how knowledge is so highly valued in our culture and wisdom isn't). One of the single biggest
reasons that he identifies is that our culture is so youth-focused (and is thus highly impatient) and knowledge can be acquired relatively quickly, as opposed to wisdom which takes a lot of time (and thus the wise typically aren't very youthful according to the viewpoint of the culture).

Anyway, like I said, I didn't get as much out of the introduction as I'd hoped, but I am looking forward to the rest of the Proverbs series (I'll probably listen to the next one tomorrow morning). It sounds like we're beginning our descent into Denver, so I think I'll call this post done and focus on making my connection (don't worry, I won't email this post in to Blogger until we're back on the ground). Please pray that the rest of my travels go well today and that I'm able to make it back to Billings tonight after seeing Mimi.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Checkride Done!

Ok, I’m really tired; I’m in Sheridan, Wyoming overnighting on my first trip flying with passengers and I don’t think I’ll be able to write all that I hoped to tonight (my checkride, the second installment of my Church With The Mogul series, and talking about this first IOE trip I’m on), so I think I’ll just do the first part and write the others over the next couple of days.

Thursday night (well, technically Friday morning, I’ll get to that in a second) I finally got to finish my aircraft training. They told us that we were going to have a plane at 9pm, but then called us in the afternoon and said we’d been pushed back to 11. The plan was for Rich to do an ILS approach to finish up his training, then have Rachel and Ashley each do a trip around the pattern to get their required night landing, and then finally to have John and I finish or at least get closed to done. Around 12:30am, we were done with Rich, Rachel, and Ashley, so we stopped to let them out and take a short break, then John and I headed out. John has me beat on seniority, so he got to fly first while I got to sit in the back and try to stay awake, then I finally got my turn at 2:30. It went ok, but I was definitely relieved to finally get done flying and get to bed about 4:15 in the morning (ironically, just as I was about to go to bed, I looked at the lappy and noticed on my instant messenger that Kathy was no longer idle, having gotten up to start her day about 45 minutes prior, so I said good morning before hitting the sack).

Later Friday afternoon I got a call saying that my checkride was going to be at noon on Saturday, so I quickly got to work trying to figure out if they were going to give me time off before IOE and I could go home or if I was going to just stay in Billings (or, worst case, they were to decide to send me to Boston for IOE). I couldn’t get a definitive answer out of Crew Scheduling, so I decided to gamble on the side of being able to go home and packed up my stuff (quite an undertaking, because I’ve settled in at the Rimrock and bought all that food). I packed most of my stuff to take home with me (hoping to leave a good sized chunk of the stuff I no longer need behind when I return) and gave the rest to Kevin to keep in his apartment while I was gone. Then when it was time to leave for the checkride I just left my key in an envelope at the front desk (so they could check me out if I left or just give it back to me if I didn’t) and took all my luggage up to the airport with me so I’d be ready to go.

The checkride itself went pretty good, though I made a few mistakes (landing with the yaw damp on was the big one), but hey, a pass is a pass. The bad news is that right after the checkride I got an email from Crew Scheduling saying that I’d be starting IOE the next day, so no trip home for me (but at least I get to do it here in Billings!). They told me that my first IOE trip would be the 66-90, which is a three day trip that heads out to Sidney, Montana the first day and then spends the next two days shuttling between Denver, Colorado and Sheridan, Wyoming (with a 24 hour layover in Sheridan where I am now). I’ll tell you more about that another time, for now I’m gonna hit the sack and try to get rested for Day 3 tomorrow, which is the longest day of this trip. Goodnight everyone!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Phantom Vibrations

No way! I never realized that I'm not the only one who experiences this:

Yeah, it really happens to me on a regular basis. Because my phone usually resides in a pocket next to my right thigh, that's the spot I occasionally feel a phantom vibration (I also occasionally feel it higher up on my right side where the belt-holster holds it against a bone). I also have been known to think it's vibrating and reach for it to answer a call before it actually starts vibrating or ringing.

In other news, I still haven't flown any this week. Chris got done with his checkride today, so he's done except for IOE. John and I are supposed to go flying tomorrow night, so we'll see if it actually happens or not. the company hasn't decided if I'm going to do IOE here in Billings or out in Boston, but I hope it's here because I'm already settled in here at the Rimrock (unpacked/have food/used to the area/etc). For those of you who can't remember what IOE is (which seems to be everyone, which is kinda annoying when the people I talk to a couple of times a week need it explained again every time), it's my first 20 hours flying with passenger where they pair me with a specially-trained captain who can help me get the hang of actually flying the line and learn the kind of stuff you can't learn in the classroom. After that I'll be sent to my domicile and finally be done with training.

Anyway, that's it for tonight, I'm gonna get to bed at a reasonable time tonight. 'night everyone!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Lost Day

Hey everyone, sorry I haven't posted in a while, it's just kinda slipped my mind over the last few days (and there hasn't been a whole lot to write about).

Yesterday night, I had my first flight at the controls of the real airplane. They called us up in the afternoon and most of the pilots here for aircraft training had to show up at the airport at 8:45 because we had a plane from 9 onwards. Unfortunately, this meant I had to miss the end of the Purdue vs. Ohio State game (which wasn't going so well anyway, but I did miss our only touchdown of the evening) and instead spend a few hours sitting in the back of the plane while others were flying. I finally got my chance to fly around 12:15 and did one trip around the pattern (the goal was to complete a night landing and do most of the rest of my training during the day). It went ok; the plane definitely flies and lands better than the sim, but I wasn't expecting the power levers (throttle to you non-pilots) to be so much more sensitive than in the sim.

We finally got back to the hotel about 1:45 and I got to bed about 2:30, glad that I was going to be able to sleep in. Before you bash me for sleeping in instead of going to church, you have to understand that I'm on call 24/7 right now, so even if I could get to church it would not be fun to have to pull my ride out of sunday school or service if my phone rang. They told us last night that there was going to be a plane available from noon to 6pm today, but also that only the captains should plan on flying (they didn't think they'd have time to fit us F/O's in).

So, I slept in until about 11:30, took my time getting up, and was looking forward to a nice relaxing day (was planning on having church with my phone again by listening to some more worship music and another Driscoll sermon, taking with Kathy and Dan Willman, an old friend who called me out of nowhere last night, doing some video editing, etc) when my phone rang at 12:20 while I was in the shower. It was John (one of my classmates) saying that we have a plane and we're leaving for the airport in 5 minutes. Naturally, I wasn't too happy, but that didn't change the fact that I suddenly had to frantically get dressed, grab my flight stuff, throw a book and some snacks into my gear (made the mistake of being stuck in the back with nothing to do for a few hours the night before), and rush downstairs to meet my ride up to the airport.

It's now 5:50 and I'm still sitting in the back and haven't gotten any chance to fly, which means they really didn't need to have me come up here anyway. Oh well. At least I brought some stuff to do up here (read my Bible, did a little reading in a book Shane is lending me, reviewed some of my flight study materials in case I got a chance to fly, and I'm finally blogging a little from the Mogul (in Flight Mode, of course, I'll send this after we get back on the ground). I guess on the plus side, even though I didn't get to listen to that Driscoll sermon, I did end up spending some more time in the Word than I would have according to the original plan.

I don't know what I'll be doing this evening yet, but food is definitely on the agenda, seeing as how all I've had to eat today is a couple granola bars and a Snickers. I'll probably spend the rest of the time relaxing a little and hopefully talking to Kathy and Dan if they're available.

Well, I think we're about to land for the last time (finally!), so I think this is a good time to sign off. Later everyone!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good News

Good news, I found out last night that Big Sky doesn't want me to travel today probably Wednesday, which means I get to stay at Purdue an extra day! Sorry, gotta go, I don't have time to type any more now, later everyone!