He turned his aeroplane slowly to the north, in front of my Dakota, so that it would be easier for me to follow him. I was very happy to go behind the strange aeroplane like an obedient child.
After half an hour the strange black aeroplane was still there in front of me in the clouds. Now there was only enough fuel in the old Dakota’s last tank to fly for five or ten minutes more. I was starting to feel frightened again. But then he started to go down and I followed through the storm.
Suddenly I came out of the clouds and saw two long straight lines of lights in front of me. It was a runway! An airport! I was safe! I turned to look for my friend in the black aeroplane, but the sky was empty. There was nothing there. The black aeroplane was gone. I could not see it anywhere.
I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota near the control tower. I went and asked a woman in the control centre where I was and who the other pilot was. I wanted to say ‘Thank you’.
She looked at me very strangely, and then laughed.
“Another aeroplane? Up there in this storm? No other aeroplanes were flying tonight. Yours was the only one I could see on the radar.”
So who helped me to arrive there safely without a compass or a radio, and without any more fuel in my tanks? Who was the pilot on the strange black aeroplane, flying in the storm, without lights?
The pilot was stuck inside a storm cloud. He had not expected it to be so dangerous. It is difficult to be stuck in a place where one does not get help easily and cannot find human presence. It was a relief for the pilot to find a companion. The pilot from the black aeroplane provided hope and guided him. He made sure that he flew north in front of the Dakota plane so that the pilot could follow him out. The pilot follows him like an obedient child, as it is his only option.
Although the cloud appeared just as a barrier in front of them, ramming into it made him realise that it was no easy task to get out of it. In spite of following the black aeroplane for around half hour, he did not reach out. He was getting even tenser as he only had enough fuel to last for five or ten minutes. He was unsure of how long it would last. If the fuel gets over, he is in more danger. He started to feel scared again, as even if he found a way out, he could not move forward without fuel. When the pilot had multiple anxieties, he saw the other pilot swoop down with his flight. The storm was still at its peak, but the pilot followed him with all hopes. All of a sudden, he finally found himself coming out of the clouds. He found two straight lines of light right in front of him. It was a runway. A runway is a long road from which a flight takes off and lands. He had finally reached the airport safely.
Flight landing in runway
This was one of the scariest moments of the pilot's life, and if not the guidance from the other pilot, he would have faced a threat to his life. He wanted to thank him with all his heart as it was a great gesture to help someone in trouble. But he couldn't find him anywhere once he landed. There was nothing in front of him as both the pilot and the black aeroplane were no longer there. All control rooms in the airport have a detailed list of all flights crossing the city. This is for them to guide the flights navigate through. Only if the control room knows the location and destination of the flights will they be able to guide them. The pilot, therefore, asks the lady in the control room about the whereabouts of the other flight. He was shocked when she replied that she could not see any other flight on the radar, especially in the storm. The pilot is awestruck, wondering who had saved him and how the events unfolded.
Meaning of difficult words:
|Runway||The road where a flight lands or takes off|
|Radar||Using radio waves to find the position of planes|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Black Aeroplane - Frederick Forsyth (pp. 37-42). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.