Angel In The Cockpit

David Moore’s mother-in-law was dying. The Moores lived in Texas; the sick woman in North Carolina. When a friend, Henry Gardner, volunteered to fly David to North Carolina in his small Cessna 180, David accepted gratefully. As the plane passed Greenville, South Carolina, they flew into fog, a continuous grey mass. Henry radioed Asheville Airport for instructions. “Our field is closed,” the controller responded. “We have no capability for instrument landing. Return to Greenville.” “I cant. We’re almost out of fuel,” Henry protested. There was a silence, then, “Okay,” the radio voice snapped. “We’ll get the ground crew ready. Come in on an emergency landing.” David gripped his seat. Henry began a blind descent.

Suddenly a voice came over the radio: “Pull it up! Pull it up!” Henry pulled on the stick, Through a brief break in the fog, they saw that they were above an interstate highway. Had they descended a few feet farther, they would have hit a bridge and crashed. Henry tried to descend again, but hit the tips of some trees and again pulled up sharply. There seemed to be no way out. The controller’s voice broke the intense silence. “Listen to me,” he said, “I’ll help you get down.” The controller began his instructions: “Come down a little, now over to the right; down a little more…” David prayed intently. Would they make it in time? The fuel needle hovered on E, but the voice spoke with calm authority: “Not so fast. Easy, easy now…” Would this nightmare ever end?

All of a sudden the controller said, “You’re over the end of the runway. Set it down…now!” Henry dropped the plane through the fog and they saw the light of the runway. Tears of gratitude filled David’s eyes when he saw Florence at the end of the runway. As the plane taxied to a stop, Henry spoke into the radio: “Thanks so much. You probably saved our lives.” The controller’s response stopped them in their tracks. “What are you talking about? We lost contact with you when we told you to return to Greenville. We were stunned when we saw you break through the clouds.”

David and Henry looked at each other. Who had guided them onto safe ground? They would never know for sure. “I do know this,” David says with assurance. “Insignificant as I may be in this big world, God always has his eye on me. He sustains me through the storm and the fog.”

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