Synopsis of the play.
It is late afternoon on May 30, at the airport
control tower in Rockford, Illinois, when Carl Black and Frank Williams take
over the evening shift. Later on that evening, Carl, an air-traffic controller,
receives an emergency radio message from a pilot flying a small private plane.
The clouds are thick, visibility is low, and the pilot is lost. The pilot was
flying from Indianapolis, Indiana to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when his automatic
direction finder stopped working. He had been flying around looking for a hole
in the clouds. The lost plane has two passengers, the pilot and his son.
Carl talks the situation over with his partner
Frank Williams and they decide that the best chance is to try to bring the lost
plane to Rockford and talk him down through the cloud layer. Carl thinks there
is a chance that the lost pilot might, while flying closer to Rockford, come
across a hole in the cloud layer and then be able to make a forced landing on a
highway or an open field.
The pilot makes it to the Rockford Airport
without finding a place to land. Carl gives the pilot specific instructions and
tells him what to expect. It looks as if the lost plane is going to make it, but
the pilot panics and takes the plane back on top again. Before the controller
can talk the pilot into making another try, the plane runs out of gas. The story
ends with the engine dead and the plane over Rockford.