What is your breaking point? When will you fold under pressure? Do you have a buying price?
I was faced with these very questions today.
I had two flights scheduled after my shift at Trader Joe’s. An instrument training flight and an introductory flight with a young man, his mom, and his brother. I don’t usually have two flights back to back and I was excited to make my trip to Stead a little more worth my while.
My flight student and I completed our pre-flight and we talked about the maneuvers we were going to perform. We pulled the Cherokee 160 out of the hangar and started the engine. The first thing I checked was the Oil Temperature Gauge. You see, I had flown with this student last week and noticed the Oil Temp Gauge was reading 75 degrees, the bottom of the green arc and hardly the temperature I would expect, even when flying at night in summer. I checked the gauge on the ground and noted that the gauge went to zero when the power was turned off and thought maybe it was ok, but I would check it before the next flight.
Sure enough, we fire up the engine and start to taxi. It was over 80 degrees at 1:00 pm today and the engine should’ve warmed up quickly. Instead, the Oil Temperature Gauge simply hung out at 75, the same reading as when the engine was off but the electrical power was on. Decision time. Do I pretend that everything I ok? I don’t want to waste a trip out to Stead! Even if I know it is illegal to fly with an inoperative Oil Temperature Gauge, can I fly and then write it up? I am sure that nothing bad will happen!
Well, we started to taxi and my brain was twisting in knots, trying to figure out a way that I could still fly yet keep a clear conscience. I kept glancing at the Oil Temp, hoping that it would climb just a little so I could justify my actions. Finally, after we had gone a couple hudred feet, I told the student that I had the controls and I pulled us over. I stopped the engine and told the student that we couldn’t fly today. I called the owner and told him to get the gauge checked out. I texted the young man’s family and told them I had to cancel the flight for safety reasons.
I wanted to fly. I wanted to make some money. But, it wasn’t worth it. In all likelihood, nothing would’ve happened. We could’ve flown just fine and the FAA would’ve been none the wiser. But, what am I getting myself into?!?! Will I cut corners on the mission field when the margin for error is much slimmer? Will I push the envelope until I break something or injure someone? Will I compromise my integrity and break the law for a couple of bucks? An even tougher questions is, will I fly illegally to save a life? Whew! Tough questions!!!
I know that I don’t do everything perfectly. I know that I make mistakes. But, I want to live a life above reproach with full integrity, not a life of compromise and cutting corners! If we are going to move halfway around the world and fly in a foreign country with dirt strips and marginal weather, I need to be a safe pilot who sets appropriate standards and allows for a safe margin. I don’t want to have a buying price, for I have already been bought with the blood of Christ. There is no reason for me to compromise. None.
On the home front, we only have 21 days until Solomon is due!!! Yahoo. The nursery, which also happens to be our bedroom, is almost all set up and ready to go! We are still making the most of our time here in Reno. We visited the Sparks farmer’s market last Thursday and the kids had a great time in the fountains by the movie theater. On Friday, we celebrated Father’s Day and hung out at the river downtown. The water was cold but we still road a tube down some small rapids. Jessica and her Mom made a great steak salad dinner and Jessica made a delicious Panna Cotta dessert! Thank you once again for all of your prayers. It is our desire to make you proud and to represent Christ and bring glory to God in all we do! Have a great week and God bless!!!