English : First Flight

Chapter 3 Two Stories about Flying

I. His First Flight

-by Liam O’ Flaherty


“Two Stories About Flying” includes experiences of a young seagull and a professional pilot under the two titles ‘His First Flight’ and ‘Black Aeroplane’ respectively. These are accounts of the thrill and fear that mark the ‘first-time’ experience of an individual. The young seagull’s native flight and the miraculous safe landing of a pilot include the common elements of risk, reluctance, courage and success. The reader’s interest is kept intact by the description about the emotional turmoil of the two’fliers’.


This story is about a family of seagulls. There was a young child in the family who was unable to fly even after several tries. The story highlights the importance of family and friends in one’s life. It also gives the message that one needs to believe in self to overcome all the hurdles of own life.

The Seagull Family
The seagull family consists of six seagulls-mother, father, three sons and one daughter. All of them except the youngest son are expert in flying high. His parents have tried several times to teach him how to fly but he is scared to do that and does not want to try anymore. He relies on the food that his parents bring back from their flights.

Young Seagull’s Fear of Flying
The youngest son is afraid of flying as he thinks that if he flies, his wings would not support him and he would fall down in the sea below and drown. Even his parents have rebuked him. They even threatened him if he doesn’t fly, he would die of hunger, but he does not try.

Parents Leave Young Seagull Alone
After so many failed attempts, his parents leave him alone on the rock without food. They even taunt him for his cowardice. The young seagull looks at his brothers and sister enjoying swimming, diving in the sea water for fish to feed themselves, but no one comes near him to offer food.

Hunger and Heat Increase
As the time passes, the young seagull could not tolerate the hunger and the heat. He moves closer to the ledge and pretends to fall asleep but nobody takes notice of him. His brothers and sister have already had hearty breakfast and father seems busy in admiring and cleaning the feathers on his back. The mother looks at him and tries to tempt him with pieces of fish. His begging and crying does not affect her.

Young Seagull Dives for Food
The young seagull was very hungry. He was surprised enough at his mother’s ignorance of his pitiful condition. Thus, he dives for food. He begins to fall down with a scream as soon as he dives.

Flight Begins
The young seagull begins to fall in the sea. He is afraid of drowning, so he tries to spread his wings outwards and begins flying. He feels a little dizzy but all his fear vanished (disappeared). He soars slowly downwards and upwards. He could finally fly on his own.

Joy of Flight and Reunion of Family
The seagull becomes so happy and soars higher calling ‘ga, ga, ga’. It was really a joyous moment for the whole family; his brothers and sister along with his parents come near to encourage and cheer him. The young seagull successfully made his first flight.


Two Stories About Flying
The title clearly conveys that the text is about two stories, both of which deal with the experience of flying. One story describes the maiden flying experience of a baby seagull, while the other story shares the flying experience of the pilot of a Dakota plane. Both these stories are gripping narratives of flying. Thus, the title is simple and apt.

His First Flight
“His First Flight”, the subtitle of the first narrative, is appropriate as it describes the maiden flight of a seagull. The entire episode deals with the inhibitions and fears of the seagull before the flight and the thrill and joy experienced by him after the flight. So, the title “His First Flight” justifiably sums up the importance of this firstventure in the life ofthe young seagull.


“His First Flight” is based on the theme that self-belief and confidence can be brought about through motivation. The parents of the seagull had tried in different ways to push him to learn the artof flying. When all efforts failed, the mother achieved success by tactfully helping her child conquer fear and take the plunge. After overcoming a momentary feeling of fear, the young bird finally experienced great joy in completing his maiden flight.


“His First Flight” conveys the message that self-reliance is very important and parents should encourage their children to have a strong self-belief. They should know that in order to overcome fear the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The mother seagull persuades the young one to get him to learn flying. This finally makes the baby seagull take the plunge and he flaps Iris wings to fly away freelyand independently.

II. The Black Aeroplane

-by Frederick Forsyth


The Trip to England
The narrator was flying his aeroplane at night over France to England. He was eager to meet his family. He was dreaming of his holiday. The stars were shining in the clear sky. Even the city-Paris could be seen down below. He called Paris Control to get instructed about the way. He was instructed to turn 12 degrees West.

Fear of Storm
Everything was going well before he saw the storm clouds and Paris was about 150 kilometres behind him. It was natural for the narrator to panic. He knew that it was not possible to fly up and over those storm clouds. He was confused for a moment.

A Risky but Brave Decision of the Author
As everything was fearful at the moment, the narrator decided to risk and flew into the storm, but everything went out of control. The compass as well as other instruments stopped working. He was unable to see outside the plane as the plane was jumping and twisting in the air. He tried to contact Paris Control but couldn’t. He was lost in the storm.

A Black Aeroplane Appeared
Suddenly, the narrator saw another black aeroplane in the storm by his side without lights on its wings. It seemed strange to him but he was glad to see another person in the storm. The pilot of another plane waved at him and signalled to follow so he did that because he did not have other option except it.

A Safe Landing
The narrator flew for half an hour which was quite strange to him as he had fuel only for five or ten minutes. He felt fearful but suddenly he saw two bright lines in front of him. It was a runway. He was able to land safely which gave him a sigh of relief. It was just like a miracle for him.

The Greatest Surprise
The narrator came out from his plane to thank the pilot of the black aeroplane but he was shocked to see no one there. He went to Control Tower and asked the woman about the place and the black aeroplane. Hearing his words the woman laughed and said that there was no other aeroplane except his. It was a big surprise to the narrator. He was dumb founded as he had no explanation for the miracle.

Conclusion of Two Stories About Flying
In the chapter – Two Stories About Flying, there are two stories that teach us that inner strength and determination is necessary to overcome fear. Having the courage to face tough situations helps us to overcome complex situations in our lives.


The title “The Black Aeroplane” arouses the curiosity of the reader as aeroplanes aren’t really black. In addition, the presence of black colour underlines everything in the story. The element of mystery, that makes this story gripping is enhanced by the colour black. The life-threatening flight of the pilot is amid the black clouds that dampen visibility. The rescuer too arrives mysteriously in a black coloured plane. The strange and inexplicable experience of the pilot is as intriguing as the black colour. Hence, this title is appropriate.


The story is based on the theme that there is a divine power that controls and guides human effort. The pilot of the Dakota could not have asked for an easier flight when he started from Paris. However, the sudden change in the flying conditions brings him close to death. It is at this time that a guide-plane appears mysteriously and rescues him. This plane disappears as mysteriously as it had appeared. But, it rescues the life of the narrator. So, the courage of the pilot to fly to safety is guided by supernatural elements.


The story conveys the message that courage is guided by faith. The pilot of the Dakota plane was an experienced flier but he panicked when he got engulfed by the black storm. Still, he kept trying to reach to safety with the help of the guiding instruments in his plane. When all the instruments too got jammed, he suddenly found a mysterious black plane that guided him. It was perhaps the pilot’s courage that gave him faith and he managed to find his way out of the storm. So faith is very important to guide courage in the proper direction.

The story also gives the message that one must never give up in the face of adverse times. Difficulties should be taken by the horns and hope should not be abandoned.


The Pilot

  • The narrator is a pilot by profession and flies the old Dakota DS 088. He is an Englishman who loves his homeland. This is evident from the fact that he takes the risk of entering the storm clouds because he is eager to reach home to his family to enjoy a good big English breakfast with them. He has proper knowledge about weather conditions and enjoys his job. He begins his flight at 1:30 in the morning because he is confident that the weather conditions are favourable. He is cheerful as he starts the flight and admires the sleepy countryside beneath. The narrator is also a brave man. He takes the risk of flying straight into the storm. Although later it proves to be an error of judgement, he does not ever lose courage. On realizing that he is in danger, he at once tries to contact the control room. He does not panic when his equipments fail one after the other. He tries to use the last device, radio, to contact the control room.
  • The narrator’s courage is strengthened by his faith. His will to survive brings a mysterious black plane by his side whose pilot guides him to safety. This illusion is so real that the pilot follows his guide like an obedient child till he lands safely.
  • The pilot is also a humble man who has deep sense of gratitude for his mysterious guide. The first thing he does on landing safely is to inquire about his saviour so that he could thank him. The narrator inspires the readers to always keep faith and never giveup in the face of adversity.
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