The black aeroplane
The black aeroplane, written by Frederick Forsyth is a mystery story. The story revolves around the mystery, ‘who was another pilot?’
The narrator was on his way to England hoping to have a good English breakfast with his family. But he saw great storm clouds ahead of him. There were huge, mountain shaped clouds. The narrator risked to enter in the clouds. No sooner he entered in the clouds everything turned black. He saw anther aeroplane without lights on its wings. The pilot waved his hand to the narrator and asked him to follow him. The narrator followed the pilot of another aeroplane as his compass, radio went dead. Even there was not enough fuel in his tank. With the help of another pilot, he landed safely and when he went to receptionist to thank the pilot he was informed by the lady that there was no any other plane flying in the sky that night.
Q1: Describe the atmosphere when narrator was flying his old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England.
Ans: When the narrator was flying his old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England, the moon was coming up in the east, behind him, and stars were shining in the clear sky above him. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. He was happy to be alone high up above the sleeping countryside.
Q2: What are the questions remained unanswered for the narrator?
Ans: The questions remained unanswered for the narrator are:
1. Who helped him to arrive there safely without a compass or a radio, and without any more fuel in his tanks?
2. Who was the pilot on the strange black aeroplane, flying in the storm, without lights?
ANSWERS OF THE TEXT BOOK
Q1. I'll take the risk.” What is the risk? Why does the narrator take it?
Ans: The risk was to fly through the black storm clouds. The narrator took the risk because his home was beckoning him. He was dreaming of a holiday and looking forward to be with his family. He also wanted to get in time to enjoy a good English breakfast.
Q2. Describe the narrator’s experience as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.
Ans: As he flew into the storm, everything went black. It was impossible to see anything outside the plane. It jumped and twisted in the air. When he looked at his compass, he saw that it was turning round and round. It was dead. Along with it, the other instruments, including the radio, were also dead. Suddenly, he saw another aeroplane. Its pilot waved at him, asking him to follow. He was glad to find a helper. He was using his last fuel tank and there was only enough fuel to fly five or ten minutes. Then, the other pilot started to go down and he followed. He suddenly came out of the clouds and saw the runway, on which he then landed his plane safely.
Q3. Why does the narrator say, “I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota…”?
Ans: After landing, the narrator was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota because he had a horrific and scary experience flying that plane. He was happy that he had landed the plane safely. That is why he was not sorry to walk away. Instead, he wanted to know where he was and who the other pilot was.
Q4. What made the woman in the control centre look at the narrator strangely?
Ans: The narrator had asked the woman in the control centre about the identity of the other pilot. She looked at him strangely as there was no other plane in the storm. She told him that no other plane was flying that night. His was the only plane she could see on the radar.
Q5. Who do you think helped the narrator to reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.
Ans: Probably, it was the narrator’s own self that helped him through the storm. There was no other plane in the storm as the woman at the control centre could see only his plane on the radar. Also, no other plane was flying that night. In his fear, he might have been hallucinating. He was a good pilot, and it might have been his own self that came to his help.
Working with Language:
Try to guess the meanings of the word ‘black’ in the sentences given below. Check the meanings in the dictionary and find out whether you have guessed right.
1. Go and have a bath; your hands and face are absolutely black __________.
2. The taxi-driver gave Ratan a black look as he crossed the road when the traffic light was green. __________
3. The bombardment of Hiroshima is one of the blackest crimes against humanity. __________
4. Very few people enjoy Harold Pinter’s black comedy. __________
5. Sometimes shopkeepers store essential goods to create false scarcity and then sell these in black. __________
6. Villagers had beaten the criminal black and blue. __________
1. The meaning of ‘black’ in this sentence is that the face and hands are dark with dust and heat.
2. Here, ‘black’ refers to an angry look.
3. Here, ‘blackest’ refers to the darkest and cruelest crime against humanity.
4. Here, ‘black’ refers to dark and gloomy comedy.
5. The meaning of ‘black’ in this sentence is that the shopkeepers sell the described goods ‘at a higher price’.
6. Here, ‘black’ means that the criminal suffered excessive beating at the hands of the villagers.
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