Just when you start feeling comfortable in air it's time for the night flights. The rules state that to fly at night there must be sufficient ground lights and/or celestial illumination. The timing with the full moon worked in my favor. We discussed illusions specific to night, did a pre-flight and talked about fast-food (all you Arbie's lovers know that the roast beef shows up at the franchises in a forty pound bag of grey gelatinous goo that the minimum-wagers add water to with a special implement, after which it turns brown and hardens enough to be sliceable for your five for six bucks sandwiches, right?) until civil twilight.
We headed north after fueling up and even with a moon, it was black as. There isn't much out there for the first twenty miles north of the airport. Savvy pilots spend flights looking for spots to land in the event of an emergency. I could hit that golf course, there's a turnout next to the highway, that beach is pretty wide, etc. At night, it be different. It all looks the same, mostly. Well actually you can see the road if there are cars on it. So you could shoot for right in front of the traffic which would be sweet except then you'd get smashed.
On the Big Island it's easy enough to tell the ground lights from starlight cuz it's against the rules to have white ground lights. The orange tinted ones are the law of the land. They produce less light pollution which is important for the biggest telescope on the planet which lives on the top of Mauna Kea. But it's easy enough to imagine how hard it would be if the lights were white. Then there are the lights that go up the ridges. You could easily align yourself level with them and trick yourself into thinking you were flying level as you banked a gentle right turn way off course or into the mountain.
Just when I started to think I was getting it down, Corbin had me turn back to the south over the ocean. Black on black is a great combo for a cocktail dress and silk panties but for flying it's creepy shit. You can't really tell if your climbing, diving, or Goldilocks.
24 years ago this very day
7 hours ago