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A soaring buzzard gliding over Alabama collided with a turboprop Marine trainer. The collision, spreading feathers and broken glass through both of the trainer cockpits, knocked out the flight instructor and his student. The instructor, regaining consciousness thought the student was dead so he bailed out. The student, coming to, was quick to see that he and the dead buzzard were alone in the wild blue yonder. Although the student had never soloed before, he was able to bring the crippled aircraft to a perfect landing at the airport at Brewton, Alabama.

Authorities at the Pensacola Military Base where the buzzard-bumped flight originated had nothing but praise for the young student pilot who brought his unplanned solo flight to a successful completion. Although nothing was said in the news release of the instructor who had chosen to bail out, the absence of comment may say much of official displeasure with the instructor’s jumping ship before determining whether the aircraft could be saved.

When the church has difficulty, we often are ready to bail out like the instructor. Sometimes, though, the flight can be saved with someone remaining at the controls and guiding the flight to a successful completion.

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