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"The Long Night"
by Lowell D. Blanton

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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.

 

 
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Last modified: June 04, 2015