When you start out on a major life moment, make sure you know what your bailout strategy is. Somethings don’t turn out as planned and you may be forced to turn back around. In this episode, Jon talks about how he almost got killed flying his airplane in Canada and Alaska. But the reference is as you plan for anything, there has to be some considerations if you know you won’t be able to make it to your “destination” that you had planned. However, the most important consideration is if you are forced to move forward, then don’t look back. Trust that everything will be okay. What happens to a lot of people is they go “comatose” because what lies ahead of them is not according to the plan. Worse yet, they can’t turn back around for whatever reason. So they start making mistakes because what lies ahead is scary, unknown, and it wasn’t part of the plan. The best thing to do is just relax and “press through it”. Whatever happens, happens and you will be okay in the end. If you don’t take this attitude approach, then what will be good about being nervous, scared, or uncertain. There is nothing positive gained by “freaking out” when things start going south according to your plan.
Jon has an extreme example of how “the point of no return” can also be life or death related. When traveling in his Pitts Bi-plane from Arizona to Anchorage, Alaska, he had to fly over some really high mountains over Canada. He performed some intensive pre-flight planning for flying from White Horse, Ukon Territory Canada to Northway, Alaska. Due to fuel limitations with the Pitts Bi-plane, he had to fly direct over some very high mountains. If he had more fuel, he could follow the Alkon Highway for safety and to fly through passes. So the route of flight he had to make was much more dangerous by flying direct. Checking the weather, it just had puffy cumulous type clouds, but nothing that you could fly around. After departure from White Horse, Jon climbed to 12,000 feet and headed on his route. Although he had to fly around a series of clouds, it was a real issue. However, after flying around a large cloud, he ran into a straight wall of clouds. Since the Pitts has no instruments to tell if the plane straight and level, this was a “grave” situation. In less than a minute, Jon was out of control with the airplane and could hear the engine oscilating as he was in a spin within the clouds heading straight for the mountain tops. While spinning, Jon saw the sun passing through his canopy. Using pure aerobatic experience, he stop the rotation of the spin. Then, he centered the sun on his upper left canopy, gave the plane full power, and started climbing. It took several minutes, but he climbed above the clouds and now was at over 16,000 feet. Oxygen there is much less than at 12,000 feet so he was forced to pressure breath to garner as much oxygen in his lungs as possible. Looking at the tailwinds, fuel load, and amount of time left that he could fly, he had two choices. The first choice was to head back the way he came which would mean he might not make it back to White Horse. The other option was to forge ahead to Northway, but there was a bank of clouds over 8,000 feet think he would have to descend through. Again, without instruments this would be dangerous. Since he passed the “Point of No Return”, in his mind he had to commit to the inevitable whatever that was. He had to fly just above the cloud bank at 16,500 feet for over 40 minutes to Northway, Alaska and eventually started seeing black and white due to lack of oxygen. He descended into Northway for several minutes through the mile and a half of clouds. Ultimately landing at Northway recollecting the crazy adventure he just experienced. From that point on, he knew that anytime he flight planned a flight…he had to always have that “Point of No Return” in mind and without question.
Today, Jon applies that to every part of his life whether it is life and death related or not. He imparts this experience on to his listeners so they too might gain knowledge from his experience.
More information can be found at Jon’s website which is www.jonmelby.com. There is plenty of information on how to engage with Jon and learn more about how to live outside your comfort zone and have a rewarding life in the Danger Zone.