Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


Amazing Night Flight Sights

September 12, 1993

Unless you're a pilot, and you fly regularly, you probably don't really appreciate all the amazing things you see upon and above this amazing, wonderful and beautiful Earth. And especially at night. Some of the most amazing things I've seen were seen in the night sky.

Like the time a meteor came streaking down toward us at our 10 o'clock position while southbound at FL 350, passed down through our altitude a couple miles or so off our left, and broke up in a shower of sparks behind and below. Sorry, FO, you missed out on that one. Left-seat window privilege. Or like the many times watching lightning flash from towering CBs in a squall line. Did you know that lightning can flash UP? What fireworks shows!! Or like seeing the the full moon rising from behind a flat and solid undercast out to the horizon. I can tell you, my first thought was that it was something else entirely!! (And no, I've never seen a real UFO. Bummer.)

But the best night-flight-time shows are the Northern Lights, and the best of these I've seen is logged here, on a return trip from Las Vegas in the Lear. What made this display memorable is not only how fantastically bright, huge and colorful these Lights were, but also how long they lasted. They were still flashing across the sky after we got home around midnight. Some looked like great arc-like sparks that flashed from horizon to horizon (east to west, if I remember right). No wonder the ancients invented tales of warring gods. What other explanation could they have for such a light show in the heavens? After I got back to the house I stayed up and watched them until they started fading around two a.m.



References for Non-Pilots: