Guidelines: Keep Flying

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By Simon Ambit

44 years ago on December 29, 1972 while making a routine flight from New York to Florida, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed in the Florida Everglades. Causing the death of over 100 people, it was among the deadliest aircraft disasters in United States.

During the final approach to the Miami runway, the pilot noticed that a small light on the control console, which confirmed if the landing gear was down, was not illuminated and aborted the landing to investigate the issue. Pilot and crew set the plane to Autopilot in a holding pattern and began looking for the problem. The effort to determine whether or not the landing gear was down became so focused that the crew failed to notice that the plane was slowly descending toward the murky glade below.

Realizing only too late that something was wrong, the aircraft crashed into the Everglades at a little over 200 miles per hour.

With about 20 miles between the crash site and the runway, it was later determined that the flight could have safely landed at the determined destination with the landing gear being indeed down and functioning perfectly. In fact, investigation proved that all critical systems and operations were working properly with the exception of one little burned-out indication bulb.

That small bulb in and of itself did not cause the tragic accident. It did, however, change the focus of the crew members. They became so involved on what they were doing that they failed to monitor the issues that mattered most.

As we box up the journal entries of 2016 and turn open the next chapter of 2017, we thumb through the pages of what lies ahead. As the pages sift by, we see a few vivid headings on pages along with a handful of penciled in subtitles and bulleted lists. We see an occasional sketched image. Though vague, it is clear enough to give us the general idea of that portion of our future. Minus the few noted exceptions, the proverbial pages of our future are blank, unwritten and unrestrained; what will fill these pages is ours for the choosing.

Some may choose to elaborately array each page with brilliant color while others may have very detailed and methodical blueprints of what has been tried and proven in the past. Some pages may contain stapled in newspaper clippings, family photos, birth announcements or obituaries. Others will be filled with flowing poetic psalms while others may have a few tiredly scratched pen marks before the closing of the day.

You are wise enough to know that you don’t control all that happens in your life, but you do get to choose what is made of that occurrence. Whatever comes over the horizon of your future, keep flying. You are the author of your life’s book; you choose what fills the pages. When it seems that the situation has changed and trials come into the mix, don’t let a burned out bulb bring you down. Do not lose sight of the things that are important, spend time doing what matters most. Life is good, bring on the future!

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