Pilot in Command

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As many of you know, my husband, Pilot, among other things is well…a pilot. He has a license that gives him the authority to take planes up in the air, fly them around, and land them safely.

When he is behind the controls of a plane he is the Pilot in Command (PIC). Sometimes, Pilot may temporarily hand off the controls to someone seated next to him who he believes is capable of handling the plane for a brief period of time.

If there is turbulence, the co-pilot becomes weary, or there is too much air traffic, Pilot will resume control of the plane to ensure safety stating, “My plane” not in an arrogant, “Get your hands off the controls” tone, but in an “I’ve got this” manner.

During a recent email exchange with a good friend, he mentioned how during his Air Force days the saying was “God is my co-pilot. So he lets you fly the plane ’til you break or ask for help. Pride stops the call for help.”

I was in the middle of a season of pride stops the call for help when he wrote me this.

Ever been there?

We feel confident we can fly this bird. We know where we’re headed. We’ve filed our flight plan. Checked the weather report. Done the preflight walk around. We’ve kicked the tires and are ready to light the fires. We ARE the Pilot in Command, after all.

So we strap ourselves into the pilot seat and taxi down the runway.

We do fine until the turbulence hits, the plane drops, or is buffeted with a cross wind.  Out of the clouds other planes descend and fill up the sky. Lots of chatter fills the radio and we can hardly think for all the static. We’re desperate. We’re weary. We’re tired of the job.

That’s when we realize there is someone who can handle the plane a whole lot better than we can. God.

We might hesitate, figuring we’d look weak if we gave the controls over too quickly. Maybe the turbulence will calm down. Maybe the other planes will get out of our way. Maybe the static that fills our heads will quiet. Then again…maybe not.

Could it be our pride is responsible for the death grip we hold on the controls? Determined to hang on to the last possible moment rather than admit we can’t do this on our own? Refusing to let God be the Pilot in Command?

So what exactly is PIC?

Under U.S. FAA FAR 91.3, “Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command”, the FAA declares:

  1. The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
  2. In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.
  3. Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

If like me, you’ve strapped God into the co-pilot seat of your life, might I make a suggestion? Scoot over and let him be the PIC. He will do a whole lot better job than we ever could. He’ll raise us up above the turbulence and grease those landings when the flight’s over.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid. Deuteronomy 31:8 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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