Happy Independence Day!
The sun is shining on King Mountain this morning (actually, it was shining on it all night, too!) and everyone here at Kingdom Air Corps is readying to celebrate a happy Fourth of July. We praise God for our country’s freedoms, so many that we often take for granted: Freedom to worship without fear of persecution, freedom to vote for our leaders, freedom to fly in the safest and most robust airspace system in the world. Today, Dwayne will lead a formation flight of aircraft over a crowd of spectators as part of the festivities. They will fly over three times in different formations with the final formation a missing man tribute.
A missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flyby in memory of a fallen pilot. A group of aircraft fly in formation until one breaks away, leaving an empty space in the formation. This year’s Fourth of July missing man formation flight honors the memory of David King, husband of Debbie King and son of Dwayne King, who died last September in a helicopter crash in Southeast, Alaska. Kingdom Air Corps cherishes David’s memory and honors his life and contribution to their ongoing ministry of missionary flight training.
Formation flying is a highly specialized maneuver in which several pilots fly very close together in perfect synchrony at the same altitude with the same airspeed, keeping the distance between them and the leader always the same. Even a small deviation can cause an accident. I’ve heard expert pilots say that just a pencil falling from the airplane dash is enough of a distraction to warrant the pilot to break off, refocus his attention, and rejoin the group. He absolutely cannot take his eyes off his leader.
There’s a visual here for us as we follow after the Lord. How focused are we on Him? Do we look away, lingering on distractions and lose sight of his leading? How easy it is and how great the cost can be. I will be thinking today about the discipline involved in following Jesus, our leader. This is critical in times of crisis, when each move I make can make a big difference in the outcome of the plan. I’ll be praying for sensitivity to his Spirit, and willingness to obey Him in small maneuvers and large, and make every effort to follow his lead without hesitation.