April 1, 2024

The season of Lent is behind us, and it reminded me of the many equipment and personnel checks mandated in the world of aviation.  There are daily preflight checks, preventative maintenance inspections, routine inspections, non-routine checks and heavy maintenance inspections where the airplane is almost disassembled to confirm all things are in good working order. For pilots, there are physicals, proficiency checks and even systems that monitor and report on their performance.  In aviation, there are countless checklists that must be used to ensure that nothing falls through the crack.  Like life in general, it is up to each of us to perform similar tasks, especially in our own lives.  In aviation, just like in our own lives, we impact others and must take responsibility for our actions or lack of actions.

For as many years as I can recall, I have given up what I call “the big three” for Lent.  I refuse to partake in any of my favorites: Mexican food, my daily two rum and Diet Cokes and all desserts.  Abstaining from these items causes me to not take anything for granted in all aspects of my life.  My fast serves as a reminder of those who came before me and paid far greater sacrifices.  Fasting helps me re-calibrate my internal equipment and perform my own soul-searching inspection.  Like a good pilot, I continually strive to verify my flight course in life and get some daily devotional recurrent training that is so very important.

This year, during my personal “heavy check,” I reflected that many years ago I built a chapel at my ranch to serve as my quiet place for reflection and a statement of what is in my heart.  This caused me to think about some of those who were able to enjoy my special place.  There have been a couple of special weddings, including the wedding of a Texas Ranger (the law enforcement type, not the baseball type) who is like part of my extended family.  Young Boy Scouts, who are now grown men with families, worshipped there a long time ago.  A United States Marine aviator honored us by holding his retirement ceremony in the chapel.  One of the most memorable blessings that I can recall that was held at the ranch and in the chapel was the final reunion of several World War II aviators who were prisoners of war in Stalag 13.  This group served as the basis for the television show “Hogan’s Heroes.”

Like a good aviator, I strive to use the M.M.O.T (Management Moment of Truth) thought process:

  1. Where are we? What is reality?  (Aaa-haa moment}
  2. How did we get here? (Situation analysis)
  3. Where do we want to go? How will we create the plan?  (Flight Planning)
  4. How will we measure and communicate the plan and tweak it as necessary to get our desired results? (Navigate)

Know I’ll soon be making a toast with a rum and Diet Coke saying “Amen!”

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.