The Black Aeroplane


Introduction

Frederick Forsyth’s lesson “Black Aeroplane” explores how fantasising allows one’s judgement to be biassed and how this leads to problems. The narrator of this chapter is a pilot who is so excited to see his family and have a nice breakfast that he takes the risk of facing the storm rather than doing the right thing. He miraculously manages to flee with the assistance of a mysterious aeroplane.

Summary

Many time we heard the story of angels,(the person of god) who comes and takes us from the troubles as the same thing we will read in this story ‘The Black Aeroplane’ by Frederick Forsyth. It is a mysterious story. The author was flying his old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England around midnight. Suddenly he was caught in dark storm clouds. The compass, radio and other instruments in his aeroplane all failed. Nothing was visible outside the plane. Luckily, the writer saw another aeroplane quite near him. It was a black aeroplane. Its pilot waved to the writer to follow him. The writer kept following the black aeroplane. At last, he came out of the dark storm. He was able to land safely. The other aeroplane had disappeared in the sky. The writer walked to the central room. He wanted to know who that other pilot was. But a woman in the central room told him that there had been no other plane in the sky that night. She said, “yours was the only one I could see on the radar.”

Comprehension Passages

Passages – 1

The moon was coming up in the east, behind me, and stars were shining in the clear sky above me. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was happy to be alone high up above the sleeping countryside. I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England. I was dreaming of my holiday and looking forward to being with my family. I looked at my watch: one thirty in the morning.

Q. – Who is I?

Answer- ‘I’ refers to the author who is the pilot of the Dakota plane.

Q. Which aeroplane was the pilot flying?

Answer- The pilot was flying his old Dakota D S 088 plane.

Q. What made the pilot happy?

Answer- The pilot was happy for two reasons he was dreaming of his holiday and he was looking forward to be with his family.

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Q. What does the sleeping countryside mean?

Answer- The sleeping countryside refers to all the people who lay asleep at night in the countryside.

Q. Where was he flying and why?

Answer- He was flying over France. He was flying because he was coming back to England.

Q. Which phrase in the passage means the same as ‘expecting/anticipation’?

Answer- The phrase ‘looking forward to’ means the same as expecting/anticipating.

Passages – 2

He knows that I am lost, ‘I thought. ‘He’s trying to help me.’

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.

Q.1 Who do you think was trying to help the narrator?

Ans- Some stranger was trying to help the narrator.

Q.2 Why did the narrator go behind the strange aeroplane?

Ans- The narrator thought that the stranger was trying to help him, so he followed the aeroplane.

Q.3 How did it become easy for him to follow the other aeroplane?
Ans- The other aeroplane had started going slowly in front of him.

Q.4 Why was he starting to feel frightened.

Ans- He starting to feel frightened because he was left with very little fuel.

Q.5 What did the black aeroplane begin to do in the end?

Ans- It started to go down.

Q.6 Find a word in the passage that means the same as ‘astray’.

Ans- Fast.

Important Question & Answer

Q.1 Describe the narrator’s experiences as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.

Answer – As the narrator entered the stormy clouds, his aeroplane started jumping and twisting. Inside the clouds, it was suddenly black. It was impossible to see anything outside the aeroplane. He did not know which direction to go. He could not contact the Paris control. The pilot locked at his compass. It was dead. The other instruments also were dead. He was last in the storm. Luckily he saw a black aeroplane next to the narrator it had no lights on its wings, the narrator could see the pilot’s face turned towards him. Its pilot waved to him to follow him. The pilot of the old Dakota obeyed him like an obedient child. At last, he was out of the clouds. Now he could see an airport in front of him.

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Q.2 What made the Woman in the control centre look at the narrator strangely?

Answer- When the narrator asked the woman in the control centre who the other pilot was, she looked at the narrator strangely. This was so because in such very bad weather according to her there was no other pilot except the narrator, no other plane was seen on the radar. His question seemed silly to her.

Q.3 Who do you think helped the narrator reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.

Answer- When the narrator was lost in the stormy clouds, the pilot of a black aeroplane without lights guided him to come out of the stormy clouds and land safely. He only dreamed of the help of a dark aeroplane and his inner sub-conscious mind helped him in the adverse situation.

The Black Aeroplane Questions and Answers

Q. 1. “I’ll take the risk.” What is the risk? Why does the narrator take it?
Ans. The “risk” here refers to not doing the right thing, which is flying back to Paris when he came to know about the storm. Despite being aware of the bad weather, the pilot headed straight into the storm and risked the lives of his fellow passengers. The pilot’s decision making was clouded by his wish to meet his family. He so desperately wanted to be with his family and have that English breakfast he had been dreaming of all day, that he took the risk of not going back.

Q. 2. Describe the narrator’s experience as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.
Ans. The narrator was frightened as he lost control of the plane. He felt helpless as the compass and other instruments had stopped working. Nothing outside the aeroplane was visible when suddenly in the midst of nowhere, an unknown plane was visible and the pilot was eager to help him. The narrator was panicking because there was very less fuel left but somehow, he managed to escape the storm with the help of the strange pilot who he could not thank.

Q. 3. Why does the narrator say, “I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota…”?
Ans. The narrator had landed at an unknown place as his compass and radar had stopped functioning in the storm. He was not scared to leave the plane unattended and go to the control centre to inquire about the mysterious plane which had helped him out of the storm.

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Q. 4. What made the woman in the control centre look at the narrator strangely?
Ans. The woman in the control centre looked at the narrator strangely when he asked about the other pilot that helped him escape the storm. This is because there was no other plane in the sky during such bad weather.

Q. 5. Who do you think helped the narrator to reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.
Ans. It was the pilot’s own conscience that helped him out of the storm. There was no other plane out on that stormy night. So, probably, he was hallucinating. It was his own capability as a pilot which led him out of that black cloud.

Write a summary on Black Aeroplane

The story “Black Aeroplane” is about a pilot who feels happy and contended to fly over a city that is sleeping (at the night time). He is flying from Paris to London. While taking his flight, he dreams about a long holiday with his family. He also fantasizes about the scrumptious breakfast he would have upon landing. As soon as he crosses Paris, he gets a look at the dark clouds that were a sign of the upcoming storm. The right decision would have been to turn back to Paris for the sake of safety. But he being overshadowed by his dreams and not wanting to delay them, risks the life of his passengers and heads straight into the storm. Everything gets dark, he is unable to see, all his direction instruments stopped functioning and he lost control of the plane. When all hope was lost, he saw another plane whose pilot was more than willing to rescue them. The author was panicking as there was a very less amount of fuel left. The anonymous pilot guided them out of the storm and disappeared as soon as they saw light. Upon landing, when he asks the lady in the control room about the other pilot, he is left in shock when she says that he was the only plane in the sky.

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