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Monday, July 26, 2010

book review: "flight to heaven" by capt. dale black

On July 18, 1969, nineteen year-old Dale Black boarded a Piper Navajo along with the pilot and co-pilot. Shortly after taking off, they crashed into the Portal of the Folded Wings’ dome in Los Alamitos, California. Both of the other men died shortly after impact but Dale survived. The doctors didn’t think he’d pull through and during his year-long road to recovery he often wondered why he’d been spared when the others weren’t. Dale’s injuries were severe, including memory loss. Even today, his short term memory doesn’t function. It wasn’t until later that he began remembering things from that day. He remembers suddenly being in midair, looking at his body while doctors operate in the ER. He then traveled out of the hospital and found himself quickly speeding through a narrow pathway. He was escorted by two angels. “I was fast approaching a magnificent city, golden and gleaming among a myriad of resplendent colors. The light I saw was the purest I had ever seen. And the music was the most majestic, enchanting, and glorious I had ever heard.” He describes the colors as being “alive” and light emanating from everything. At one point he encounters a group of people who he feels were there to greet him. “They came here for me. The looks on their faces, their excitement at seeing me, at welcoming me, was overwhelming. I felt so special, so loved. I had never felt such a deep sense of belonging. They radiated profound joy at seeing me. Everyone smiled, their eyes warm and kind; their hearts so filled with unconditional love that it spilled out of them onto me. No one was recognizable as an earthly acquaintance, but all seemed remarkably familiar. I didn’t know these people, but somehow I knew they were my family – my spiritual family, my brothers, my sisters, spanning generations.” He talks about feeling as though he was about to receive a gift and all of these people knew what it was. Before he could accept it, he was swept away.

This encounter with heaven has colored Dale’s perspective every since. He had been told he’d never walk again but he refused to believe it. On the one year anniversary of the crash, he flew back over the Folded Wings’ dome. He overcame setback after setback, stumping the doctor who couldn’t understand why Dale would seemingly need surgery one day and then as he was about to operate, find out he didn’t need it after all. It wasn’t until a few years later that Dr. Graham would give his life to Christ, finally believing in the God who had remarkably healed Dale. He now is a missionary pilot, having been to fifty-one countries and flown over 1,000 mission trips.

This was an interesting read. I had thought there would be more than a chapter or two devoted to Dale’s experience in heaven though his recovery consisted of miracle after miracle. The one moment that stood out to me was when he made his first anniversary flight and the dialogue between him and the tower:

Dale: “Burbank Tower, this is Cherokee 37 November. One year ago today a Piper Navajo crashed into the air memorial Portal of the Folded Wings, just south of the airport. Two pilots were killed. I alone survived. I dedicate this anniversary flight to the glory of God.”
Tower: “37 November, two of us were on duty that day…we didn’t think anyone survived…37 November, we’re glad you made it! Congratulations!”
Following his landing, the Tower had one more thing to say, “37 November, Burbank Tower. A very…big…congratulations to you…from all of us.”

Note: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their book review program. I wasn't asked to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. 世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。..................................................

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