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She was asked why she didn’t panic. She replied, “As long as I had altitude and ideas there was no need to panic. The she is Tammie Joe Shults, the pilot that successfully landed a Southwestern jet after catastrophic engine failure. Altitude and ideas will always get you through.

When I was learning to fly one of the first things my instructor said was, “Attitude equals altitude.” He explained that the attitude of the plane determines whether it’s climbing or descending. It’s true in life as well—attitude equals altitude.

Put it all together and you have attitude, altitude, and ideas. But there’s one more component in the mix—airspeed. That’s the motion of the airplane through the air. If you have the right attitude but insufficient airspeed you’ll stall—that means that the airplane quits flying. That’s very inconvenient, especially if you’re close to the ground! Remember altitude? Here’s something for all the people afraid of flying in small planes—if you stall at sufficient altitude the plane will lose a little altitude, recover, and keep flying. Plane want to fly! (Helicopters not so much so.) You need forward momentum to get you where you’re going.

You may be thinking, “I don’t fly, I’m never going to get into a small plane, and if I’m flying in a commercial airliner the chances of engine failure are almost nil, so none of this applies to me.” If so you’re thinking is wrong. All of this applies to you. If you want to get through whatever it is that you are going through.

There are always times of turbulence in life. Turbulence occurs when one air mass is moving at one speed and hits another moving at a different speed. (More flying stuff!) Turbulence is seldom the cause of a plane crash. But panic from turbulence is. And I’ve been panicked by turbulence more than once. In fact I flew through turbulence so bad on the first afternoon service founding our Dayton church that, if I had been moved by the ups and downs, I might have closed the project that day. But though I may be moved by the ups and downs I’m not moved by the ups and downs and know that staying on course and reaching your goals sometimes means that you experience turbulence.

So what can you do to get through the turbulence?


The one thing that you can control is life is your attitude. You read of Jesus, “Who for the joy that was set before Him”—in the midst of it all He kept a good attitude. What’s your attitude?

If you believe you can, you can. If you believe that you can’t you are equally right. “Once there was a little old ant…thought he could move a rubber tree plant… But everyone know an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant…But he had high hopes… a right attitude… inner certainty… expectations and (now the song is stuck in your head!) “Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant!” Stay positive. Ignore the naysayers. They won’t get it done because they don’t believe that it can be done. But you will. Because you believe that you can.


Do you want to fly high or fly low? Remember “altitude and ideas” and “planes want to fly?” If you have sufficient altitude and a problem arises there’s time to correct it or plan a contingency. If you’re flying low? The ground rises quickly.

I’ve had engines die twice while flying. Once I was the pilot and the other time another was piloting. Both times we had five or six thousand feet of altitude. When I was the pilot I took a quick look and saw that I was right above an airport. With that much altitude I knew that I could land safely even if the engine wouldn’t restart. I flew the plane, switched the fuel tanks, and the engine roared back to life. The linemen hadn’t topped the tanks as instructed. The other time the engine died I told the young pilot not to panic, fly the plane, and “by the way, did you remember the switch the gas tanks?” I had already seen an airport right below us and knew that I could land the plane from the right seat if necessary. He blushed, switched tanks, and off we went. And I never let him forget it!

Did you catch what I mentioned twice? Fly the plane. If you’re going through turbulence, facing uncertainty, have had a setback or two, fly the plane. Keep it under control. Don’t let events get ahead of you. Look for a place to land—even if it’s just a field. Why do you think they’re called airfields?

All of this is predicated upon altitude. Fly as high as you can. Accomplish as much as you can. And remember—you can’t fly with the eagles if you’re pecking with the turkeys.


Speed down the runway. When you hit seventy gently raise the nose. The rest of the plane will follow. Speed, airflow, creates lift. Lift causes flight. Without speed there is no lift. Ergo, watch your airspeed.

I wrote earlier that attitude determines altitude but that is in reference to airspeed. Forward motion keeps you in the air. Lose your momentum and you begin to sink. No, I’m not talking about flying, I’m talking about success in life. Don’t lose your momentum!

I’ve run out of time and space. I’ve had flying on my mind because I’m planning getting current on my pilots license for my sixty-fifth birthday. There are some things on the horizon that may require another plane. One never knows, do one?

Attitude, Altitude, and Ideas. Meet me “Behind The Door” and I’ll share some ideas that will help you to maintain attitude, altitude, and airspeed. Fly with the eagles or peck with the turkeys—the choice is obvious isn’t it? If you have your password you can go “Behind The Door” right now. If you don’t have your password hit the “Sowing” button, sow a seed of any amount (the default setting is $20. Many so more, and at this writing no one is sowing less but you do have that option. I set it up that way so that anyone willing to make an investment in their success can meet me “Behind The Door.” I’ll see you there!

Dr. Leon Stutzman

Pastor, Author, Creative Thinker, Problem Solver, More Than A Prophet, Legend, and Icon


Dr. Leon Stutzman has been called all of these things by the people that he has helped. But everyone calls him "Doc."

The Theory of Everything was written for ministries, business people, and everyone that's motivated to succeed in life. It's a free gift to all pastors.