IN THE JETSTREAM – October 2021

Is Your Airborne WX Radar Working?
October 2021

This is a question that you are never going to ask yourself unless you are a pilot or in the MX department working with this equipment. For any airplane flying a significant distance across the country, this Airborne WX (Weather) Radar must be working. This is such an essential piece of equipment that if it is not working, you’re not going to be flying. On top of that, most all flights would be canceled or without their normal operations. So you ask yourself, “How can this be?” Ok, this WX Radar is looking out for the crew, passengers, and aircraft safety, even if you are only carrying cargo. We turn the radar on for taxi out, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, approach, and landing until we are back on the ground safely.

This radar is so valuable that it has saved many airplanes from tragic accidents en route and on takeoff and landing. Sometimes what our eyes cannot see, our WX Radar will pick up. It is called a Predictive Windshear System, PWS, allowing pilots on takeoff to either reject or continue on with max thrust. If continuing with max thrust, pilots must use specific procedures on the climb out until they get through the dangerous situation and are safely on their way. The same with approach and landing. You may receive a red warning on your display unit and hear a voice calling “Windshear, windshear ahead, windshear.” When you hear this automated voice, you must decide to go around and wait for the weather to clear up and try it again. The NTSB will never actually know how many thousands of lives this WX Radar device has saved in all the years gone by.

I will now take you up to 40,000 feet heading out over the South Pacific Ocean late at night. Now there’s no full moon, and it is blacker than the ace of spades with a line of cumulonimbus thunderstorms North and South of the Equator. This is where you will rely on the Lord and your Airborne WX Radar. It doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is because 10° N and 10° S of the Equator there will  be storms all year round, so just get used to it, right?! You may think this is crazy, but I cannot tell you how many times I have requested up to 200 nautical miles left or right of course because I need to circumnavigate around these big powerful thunderstorms in the South Pacific. I do not need to tell you why but I know we all like a smooth ride, so we can call it the Friendly Skies! Think of this, in our life, we are either going into a storm, in the midst of a storm or we are coming out of a storm because life never stays too calm for very long.   But Hallelujah Jesus said, “He would never leave us nor forsake us” and we certainly want Him to help navigate our lives through the storms! Amen.

Here is the kicker … you try your best to get around these storms, which are big red echo cells that you are painting while looking at your radar screen. It may look good for the path you are on, but sometimes you get trapped in behind a cell you did not see on the other side. This is life. Yes, we all have been there in the midst of the storm, so now what do you do? Besides turning the seat belt sign-on, announcing, “Flight Attendants, take your jumpseats,” and setting your speed for penetrating turbulence, you must be sure to leave the autopilot on.  This autopilot will do a lot better job than you ever will at 40,000 ft. As you work the WX Radar and navigate correctly, you will finally get around the worst of it. Remember Jesus rebuked the wind and said, “Peace be still” (Mark 4:39).

RED…Danger Ahead

   Here’s where the rubber hits the runway for most of our lives. Red on the WX Radar means stay out/away because severe consequences will follow. I read this personally like in God’s Word as the Ten Commandments, brought to us from Moses, and I always ask what part of “Thou Shalt Not” don’t we understand? 1 Peter 5:8 says to “be sober, be vigilant, watch out because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  Also, Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 to not be deceived. So remember, at work or at play, your life is on display, being observed by others.


   Be very, very cautious because being in the yellow is way too close to the red. Ephesians 5:15-16 warns us, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise. Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” God help us to be diligent. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to put on “the whole armor of God so you can stand against schemes of the devil.”

GREENSafe to Proceed

    Green on the WX Radar means all is good. You will have showers of blessings as you live for the Lord … meditating on His Word, praying, sharing your faith, and spending time with Him. FCAP helps us in connecting with others while drawing closer in our relationship with Jesus. God is reflecting His image through you, so remember that your coworkers will notice when you’ve spent time with the Creator of all the Universe while getting through your storm.

CLEAR…Smooth Sailing

    Smooth sailing while allowing the Holy Spirit to speak, lead and guide you with your spiritual Airborne WX Radar in the ON position. Now you will experience God’s victorious navigation for His honor and glory.

“The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his ways.” Psalms 37:23 

   I pray that the Lord has spoken to your heart in a special way today. Because He lives…JAL

This article was written by Jerry Litwiller. Jerry is a retired United Airlines Captain and also serves on our FCAP Board of Directors in the role of President.


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