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Meticulous Musick  

Captain Edwin Musick was a man’s man, a true adventurer. He learned to fly just before World War I and became one of the first pilots in history to log more than 10,000 hours.

Known as “Meticulous Musick,” he demanded precision of himself and his crew—from the way they maintained the aircraft to the creases in their uniforms.

He was hired by Pam American as their chief pilot and went on to set ten world records, including the first flight to the Pacific aboard the China Clipper flying boat. In recognition of this stunning achievement—and many other aviation firsts—Time Magazine put his face on the cover of their December 2, 1935 edition.

The Time article said of Musick, “He refuses to show off or make wisecracks for newsmen. He has never been known to stunt in a plane, never makes a flight without the most meticulous preparations.”

On January 11, 1938, Captain Musick took off from Pago Pago (in American Samoa) pioneering a new route for PamAm to New Zealand. Shortly after takeoff in his S42 flying boat, he reported an oil leak in engine number 4, radioing his decision to dump fuel and return to Pago Pago.

But the dangers of dumping fuel in the S-42 were well known. The draining fuel tended to flow back over the wing, toward the dangerously hot engines.

Shortly after reporting their intention to dump fuel, the S-42 exploded.  The bodies of Captain Musick and his six crew members were never recovered.  Tiny pieces of the plane were all that remained.

When someone as careful and as experienced as Captain Musick makes a fatal error in judgment, it makes me pause.  It should make ALL of us pause and ask, “What kind of foolish error am I making in life?  In my faith?  What danger have I allowed into my spiritual journey?”

Pondering foolish choices—Captain Musick’s and mine—I’m drawn to Ephesians 5:15: “Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise.”


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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