Today’s Illustration: Flying Uncharted Territory Most Days


Kitty Hawk – The Wright Brothers
Not Even A Generation Ago

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Date: October 14, 1947

Event:  First Person To Break The Sound Barrier

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“Gen. Charles Edwood “Chuck” Yeager, the legendary American test pilot, passed away on December 7, 2020 at age 97, his wife Victoria announced late Monday night. On October 14, 1947, Yeager—a U.S. Air Force Captain at the time—flew the Bell X-1 experimental plane 45,000 feet over the Mojave Desert, becoming the first person on Earth to travel faster than the speed of sound.”

Various Useful Sentences & Phrases:  There are a good number of useful sentences and phrases that can be used in a simply styled introduction, or for creating and then pulling down into an analogical illustration.  You can go back to the full article and see these phrases and sentences in context.

the first person on Earth to travel faster than the speed of sound – changed the future of aviation forever

set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age

the Mach indicator stuttered off the scale barely 5 minutes after the drop from our mother B-29, America entered the second great age of aviation development.

the B-29 Modernized the U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force continued to “investigate the effects of higher Mach numbers.’

we were flying through uncharted territory

the “ugh-known’ as we liked to call it.

It was thought that a full-scale airplane with a trained pilot at the controls would yield more accurate data than could be obtained in a wind tunnel

The X-1 No. 3 had a turbo-pump-driven, low-pressure fuel-feed system. It was destroyed in an explosion on the ground in 1951. The X-1A, X-1B and X-1D were also test-flown. The A and D were also lost to propulsion system explosions.

You get the idea that designing, maintaining–and particularly flying–these research tools was not without hazard.

The pilot’s reports I wrote afterward were devoid of these sensations–as a professional test pilot, you were expected to maintain a dispassionate tone.

That flight, on October 10, signaled enormous progress in the X-1 program. We thought it was only a matter of time before we’d push through the sound barrier.

What would it be like? A pebble in the road of aviation we had merely to step over? Or an insurmountable Chinese Wall that would destroy the X-1–and me with it?

After the X-1 was fueled, I returned to the ready room with Ridley to don my flight suit. Briefings continued, peppered by admonitions and warnings: “Under no circumstances are you to . . .,” “In the event of . . .,” “You’d better be sure to . . . .” Their whole point was to make sure I didn’t take the X-1 over .96 Mach if I didn’t think the plane could handle it.

Fear crouched in the deep recesses of the mind–present, accounted for, but well controlled.

We were really hauling! I was excited and pleased, but the flight report I later filed maintained that outward cool:

“With the stabilizer setting at 2 degrees, the speed was allowed to increase to approximately .95 to .96 Mach number. The airplane was allowed to continue to accelerate until an indication of .965 on the cockpit Machmeter was obtained. At this indication, the meter momentarily stopped and then jumped up to 1.06, and the hesitation was assumed to be caused by the effect of shock waves on the static source.”

I had flown at supersonic speeds for 18 seconds. There was no buffet, no jolt, no shock. Above all, no brick wall to smash into. I was alive.

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Key Words & Statements:

  • the first person on Earth
  • changed the future
  • dreams
  • uncharted territory
  • the “ugh-known’
  • accurate data
  • not without hazard
  • maintaining a dispassionate tone
  • only a matter of time
  • pebble in the road of aviation
  • insurmountable
  • peppered by admonitions and warnings
  • fear crouched
  • outward cool

. . . . . . . 

Key Biblical Illustrative Thoughts::

  • prophecy
  • trials
  • fear
  • attitudes
  • barriers
  • faith
  • warnings
  • the unknown
  • change
  • courage
  • death
  • unpredictable
  • threats / danger
  • opportunity
  • trials
  • human ingenuity
  • achievement
  • limits of human power
  • omnipotence
  • science
  • creation

. . . . . . . 

Sermonic Example: This is one of three ways (and the most basic or simple) to use this kind of illustration.

While we take the experience of flying as a quite common event, whether it be aboard a commercial flight from here to California, or watching a military jet streak through the skies, there was a time — not even a generation ago, when flight in a fixed-wing aircraft was uncharted.

A lot was being discovered during the industrial age — and the laws of aerodynamics were not even fully understood.

Even after the first flight in Kitty Hawk — December 7, 1903 — there was still much unknown ground which would mark the development and science of flight.

Chuck Yeager, only 44 years after the first flight by the Wright Brothers, knew that there was no way to know what the future held.

Listen to what Yeager said . . . .

“We were flying through uncharted territory.”

Chuck Yeager, even in 1947, after years of military warfare involving aircraft, was on the forefront of discovering what could and could not be done when it came to flying.  Yeager was a seasoned military pilot, but when it came to high speed flight, over 767 miles per hour,  no one knew if it could happen and what would happen.

For every generation, with all of its cultural changes and challenges, the Christian life is a life of flying through uncharted territory!

We are flying uncharted territory most everyday
in this rapidly changing society and culture! 

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Other Information & Links:

Fixed-wing aircraft

Flying Machine
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is a flying machine, such as an airplane, which is capable of flight using wings that generate lift caused by the aircraft’s forward airspeed and the shape of the wings. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft, and ornithopters. The wings of a fixed-wing aircraft are not necessarily rigid; kites, hang gliders, variable-sweep wing aircraft and airplanes that use wing morphing are all examples of fixed-wing aircraft.

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