Notes of the Chapter ‘The Black Aeroplane’: This lesson is from the book ‘First Flight’ published by NCERT for Class 10 Literature. The Notes comprise a summary, theme, character sketches and literary devices.
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The Black Aeroplane by Frederick Forsyth sheds light on how one wrong decision may lead to catastrophic results. The narrator in wanting to reach home heads straight into storm clouds. The story also explores the element of the supernatural through the mysterious black aeroplane and its pilot.
Broadly, The Black Aeroplane can be divided into:
- Flying Back to England
- The Risk
- Inside the Storm
- The Appearance of the Black Aeroplane
- A Safe Landing
- A Shocking Revelation
Flying Back to England
- The narrator was eager to fly to London and meet his family.
- He dreamt of having a hearty breakfast and a nice holiday with them.
- Even though he was on his last tank, he decided to head back to England.
- As the narrator left Paris about 150 kilometers behind, he saw black clouds hovering before him.
- The dark clouds indicated an upcoming storm.
- The narrator did not have enough fuel to fly around the dark clouds, nor did he wish to go back to Paris.
- The narrator, thinking of home and breakfast, decided to risk it.
Inside the Storm
- Once he entered the clouds, everything went black.
- His Dakota twisted and jumped in the air.
- His compass and instruments had gone dead.
- He couldn’t call Paris Control for help. Nor could he see anything in the dark.
The Appearance of the Black Aeroplane
- Suddenly, a mysterious black aeroplane appeared by the author’s side in the storm.
- The pilot of the mysterious aeroplane told the narrator to follow his instructions.
A Safe Landing
- The narrator followed the black aeroplane for more than half an hour.
- He was down to his last fuel when they began to make descent.
- With the help of the mysterious pilot, the narrator made it safe to an airport runway.
A Shocking Revelation
- After the narrator landed, he wanted to thank the pilot who saved his life.
- He was shocked when the woman at the Control Tower told him she hadn’t seen any other aeroplanes on the radar.
- This left the narrator with a lot of questions about the pilot in the black aeroplane.
The two major themes of the story are:
- Adventure and Suspense
- The Element of the Supernatural
Adventure and Suspense
- The story explores elements of adventure through the narrator’s flight over Paris and his decision to head back to England.
- His decision to fly into the storm clouds also signifies the elements of adventure.
- This decision also explores suspense. The storm clouds look ominous and yet the narrator decides to risk it.
- The appearance of the black aeroplane and the narrator’s discovery at the end are also examples of how the story uses suspense.
Element of the Supernatural
- The appearance of the black aeroplane mysteriously explores the element of the supernatural.
- Throughout the story, the author hints that this pilot and his aeroplane could be something other than human.
- This is most strongly seen at the end of the story when the woman at the Control Tower informs the narrator that there were no other aeroplanes on the radar.
- By questioning the identity of the mysterious pilot at the end of the story, the author subtly weaves in the supernatural element into a straightforward adventure story.
The major characters from the story are:
- The Narrator
- The Unknown Pilot
A pilot flying his Dakota aeroplane from Paris to London who lost his way due to a storm.
Loving: The narrator loved his family and risked his life so that he could see them as soon as possible.
Brave: He took the risky decision of cutting through the storm, knowing that it would be extremely dangerous.
Reckless: Even though he knew the risks of flying on the last tank or flying inside the storm, he still went ahead with the flight.
Grateful: As soon as he landed, he wished to thank the pilot who helped him in making a safe landing and had saved his life.
The Unknown Pilot
The pilot, flying the black aeroplane, who helped the narrator find his way in the storm and make a safe landing.
Helpful: The mysterious pilot only wanted to help the narrator so that he could make a safe landing through the storm.
Selfless: He did not expect anything in return for his help, not even acknowledgement.
Mysterious: The identity of the pilot remains a mystery at the end. We don’t know who he is and where he came from.
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