by Charles Gulick
|North Position: 17100||Rudder: 32767|
|East Position: 16931||Ailerons: 32767|
|Altitude: 591||Flaps: 0|
|Pitch: 0||Elevators: 32767|
|Bank: 0||Time: 0:00|
|Heading: 250||Season: 2-Spring|
|Airspeed: 0||Wind: 10 Kts, 300|
|Do not precede this mode with
another night flight mode.
Sorry to disappoint Archer pilots, but the twilight zone exists only in the Microsoft world. But go ahead and read, and then fly out with the Cessna pilot, if you don't mind taking off in pitch darkness.
Surely, this is a grass strip somewhere, because you're in your airplane and ready to take off. If not for the fact that there's no runway as such, everything seems normal.
|Or does it? Look at the clock.
A few seconds after midnight.
If it's midnight, then where's the darkness? And if there's no darkness, is it daytime? Is the clock wrong? Or are we on the other side of the Arctic night? Or what?
That sky so blue. That grass so green. And that hour so late. Zero hour. Witches and spells. Midnight. In a world-where?
|Should your lights be on or off?
Toggle them, and see if it makes any difference. Do lights a nighttime
|Take a look off your right wing
Weirder yet. Since when was your airplane black?
Take a look behind you. Tail, too. Jet black.
If it weren't for the fact that there's daylight all around you, this could be scary. No matter what view you take, there's the daylight. You're sitting in the middle of daytime. But at midnight.
A mystic might venture a guess that you are the night. You and your plane. You've reversed roles with the darkness. You are the pilot of darkness. And your plane is the aircraft of darkness.
|Let's get out of here. Take off.
Straight ahead. Let's see if we can fly out of this insanity.
That monotonous green horizon drops under our nose. And that sky is a notorious blue. It continues blue. And it's only minutes past midnight.
Did the takeoff seem a little slow to you? It did to me. Everything seems a little slow in this strange place.
|Maybe climb on out until we can
see something, anything,
|Climbing to 500...2000. The
horizon now seems to stay put. Only a look
out the side tells us we're climbing normally. If anything lofted on
that ominous black wing could be said to be normal.
To 2500 ... 3000. Still no landmarks. Anywhere.
Now at 3500 ... 4000. No. Nothing but daylight. Daylight at midnight. Weird.
|Try radar. Zoom out three, six,
a dozen notches. What do you see?
Where are the landmarks? Where on Earth is Earth?
|Start planning to level off at
But perhaps even before you reach 6000 or perhaps by the time you read this or slightly after, something will happen. That familiar whirring sound. Sort of like strange wings. Maybe flying you into something. Or out of something. Read no further until it does.
Now time has caught up with you (or you've caught up with it) and things are normal againat least for the hour you're flying into (or out of).
|Turn toward those lights at the
right of your windshield. To a heading
of, say, 270 or 275, so the two rows of lights come together at center
screen. And do what's necessary to get an altimeter reading of 6000.
Note, as you do, that there's a blinking light just to the right of that little island of orange dots. That must mean an airport, mustn't it?
|Point your aircraft toward the
beacon. There'll be still another beacon
to the right of that one. In fact, two of them, one slightly above the
|Go into radar and zoom in or out
until you see the beacon flashing (on
radar) ahead of you. That shape you're flying on the edge of look a
Just keep pointed toward that leftmost beacon. And start a gradual descent to 3000. You've a distance to go.
While you're flying, you might try to figure out where you've come from. Somewhere where night was daytime and your beautiful plane was painted anthracite.
Let's just say it was somewhere not on your charts. Like a different state.
Or a different State.