Let’s give the results first: Prayer Power Wins!
There I was at 5000 feet enroute from Columbia to Charleston for a business meeting when my plane’s engine began spewing oil all over the windscreen. My initial thought of denial was, “seriously?” I immediately declared an emergency with the approach controller and requested clearance direct to Mc Entire Air Base which was about 10 miles north of my position. Fortunately, the weather was clear and the runway was visible out my left window since there was no forward visibility from the cockpit.
On the descent I knew eventually I would have to turn final and then what? How was I going to see to land? After rolling the fire trucks the tower controller asked if I needed anything and I replied, “Not unless you have windshield wipers.” He didn’t.
But thank the Lord for big Cessna windows. With flaps deployed and the airplane slowed to landing speed on final, I popped the pilot’s window and stuck my head out, Ace-Ventura style, so I could see the runway ahead. Upon landing on the blessed concrete, the engine seized completely the moment the nose wheel touched down so I selected “idle cutoff” and coasted to a stop on the runway.
The superb rescue and base ops personnel from Mc Entire were right there to greet me, albeit one of them was toting an M16. They went above and beyond the call of duty to make me feel like I actually was supposed to land there today.
I texted my buddy and former SALT partner Gil Owens later to let him know what happened because we had talked about my trip that morning at the Men’s Bible Study. He called me right away and said, “Man you won’t believe this but when I walked away from our conversation this morning I ‘had a feeling’ so I whispered a quick prayer, ‘Lord, protect him.'” This is coming from a man who faces danger every day as one of South Carolina’s finest State Troopers.
I admit I’ve scared myself wondering what I might do if something went bad wrong in an airplane, imagining how I would respond. On this flight, I felt no fear. It was just a matter of, “keep flying the plane.” That wasn’t me being a great pilot. I believe it was the Sovereign Lord answering the prayer of a good friend. I’ll take Prayer Power over Engine Power any day.
Two is Better Than One (Article from Twin Cessna Magazine)