Geometry of the Night Sky

Position: 40 miles south of Chicago
Altitude: 39,000 feet
Groundspeed: 610 m.p.h.
Destination: New York City
Time: 2:30 A.M. local

The half way point is ten minutes ahead; thank goodness. Day number one of a night trip is always the toughest, because the pilot must switch the internal clock to the vampire mode after living in the sunlight for a few days. One's circadian rhythm starts kicking in about this time, though, and it is a mental battle to stay awake. A few minutes ago I visualized drifting over the center-line on my Japanese death missile and hitting a truck head-on; good-bye Captain Dave. My next thought: My buds lined up at the front door offering condolences to my beautiful wife, suddenly a beautiful widow. I am not sleepy anymore, because I know how pilots operate... Must make a note to myself... Slow down more in the curves.

Outside, soft white moon light bathes the air frame and the cloud deck far below. The air mass has been smooth this morning, so far. The moon is directly above the flightdeck, out of sight but not out of mind. I can see some of my favorite asterisms (constellations) overhead, showing me the way, as they have been showing Captains for centuries. Oh, how I love the geometry of God's night sky.

All systems operating normally... Fuel situation is acceptable: 50 minutes at JFK. The big aluminum bird is happy. The Captain is happy... Life is good.