GOD IS MY CAPTAIN
By, Captain Nancy Adrich
Those of you who know me personally, or who have read my book, “Flying My Dream,” know that I am resolutely and unabashedly Christian. In this article I plan to talk about what I consider to be some of the miracles that helped me along in my career. I believe that the Lord opened doors that I could not, and that He put me in the right place at the right time on many occasions. I thank the Lord for what He has done in my life, and I want to share a part of that with you today.
I am very thankful that I had strong Christian parents who taught me to trust in God. One of the best things they taught me was to stand out from the crowd. Too many of our young people today are afraid to seem different. Often, we need to stand out and be different in order to be successful. My parents taught me that being different is a good thing, and that lesson has helped me throughout my life.
When I was a child, I dreamed of flying. Since I knew no one who was a pilot, I have no idea where that dream came from. During World War II, we had an apartment over our garage that was rented out to young men in training at Ellington Air Force Base. I know I loved those guys. They were so exciting to be around, with their uniforms and their wonderful enthusiasm about flying. Perhaps they influenced me, and that brought about my dream, I don’t know. I do know that as far back as I can remember, I wanted to fly.
As an older child, I would stretch out in the grass and watch the planes as they approached Hobby Airport, in Houston. They would fly right over our house, at about one every 2 minutes. I loved the sound, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be up in the air, looking down at the earth. The idea fascinated me!
Many years later, at age 37, I was able to take my first flying lesson. When I told people that I wanted to be an airline pilot, they laughed and explained that it was impossible! The airlines only hired young men, with college degrees and thousands of flight hours. I was 37, female, no college degree, and no flight hours. They were probably right, and thought they were doing me a favor in trying to make me face reality. But, I had my dream!
I worked hard. That is important to note. Dreams do not come true by sitting on the couch wishing, or dreaming. They come true by hard work, and I was willing to do that. I was able to get my Private Pilot’s License with less than 50 hours. I continued working and had my Instrument, Commercial and Instructor Licenses by the time I had 289 hours of flight time. That is not a record by any means, but it is my record, I am happy with it.
After a few years, it became necessary to find a job to support my flying habit. A student gave me an out of date copy of “Trade A Plane,’ which is an aviation classified ad magazine, to look through, in search of a job. As it turned out, John and Martha King had put an ad for a ground instructor in one issue of ‘Trade A Plane’ and it was that issue that my student handed to me. I applied for that job. To me, it was nothing short of a miracle that my student picked that particular copy out of his stack to hand to me. After a short interview on the phone, they wanted to meet me, and I was offered ‘The Best Job I Ever Had’ (which is the title of a chapter in my book). Working with John and Martha was a wonderful learning and growing experience.
Another blessing, or miracle, came after John and Martha had to let me go because of the recession in the early 80s. I had applied for a job at Flight Safety. I was fully qualified for that job, and wanted it badly. I had even prayed that I would get it, but I didn’t. The person who interviewed me said, “no real pilot would ever take instruction from a woman.” That shocked, and surprised me. Actually, I felt sorry for a person who’s self esteem was so fragile he had to put women down. It was several years later that I realized what a great blessing it was, being turned down. If they had hired me, I would have spent my entire career working there, and would have never achieved my dream of flying as captain for a major airline. Some blessings are very well disguised, but are still blessings, and this was one of those.
While still working for the Kings, a friend went on a trip with me. He worked for United Airlines. He was able to evaluate my skills as a pilot, and my knowledge as an instructor, on that trip. A few months after my being laid off, he called and offered me a job at United, as an instructor. Did I just happen to be in the right place, or did God put me in the right place? I know what I believe. I do not believe in luck, or good fortune. I believe in hard work, and God’s blessings.
I believe that if you put your trust in the Lord and let Him control your life, He will lead and guide you. I believe that He put that desire to be a pilot in my heart and mind. I believe that if He puts a burning desire in your heart, and you are willing to do the work, you will be successful. God does not fail! But, you have to be willing to follow your heart, and be willing to do the work that will lead to success.
There are other stories I could tell, but my whole career has been one case after another of God opening doors for me; putting me in the right place; and working miracles for me. I can only offer my thanks to Him for leading me.
Before retiring, I was able to get ratings on the Boeing 727; 737; 757; 767; and the DC-10. What a wonderful career I have had, because God put a dream in my heart in a little girl’s heart, and as an adult, I was willing to follow His plan for me.
Led By The Master’s Hand
by Mosie Lister, (1954)
Through the storm, through the night, I’ll keep holding on;
With His hand holding mine, Hope is never gone.
When I climb the last mile to heaven’s land, I’ll be lead by the Master’s hand!
Through the valley of despair thought I may wander, On the highest mountain top I soon shall stand.
And I’ll never walk alone, for my heart tells me I’ll be lead by the Master’s hand.