"Into the Darkness"

For most people, the ability to see is by far the most important of the five senses. In fact, we rely on it almost constantly every day. Navigate without eyes? Almost unthinkable for many people. So how does it feel to sit in a metal box moving through the darkness at almost 1000 km/h?

The year 2014 is my first night training flight on the Eurofighter. A few seconds ago I took off from Laage airfield into the night sky - this sight is already familiar to me from basic training in the USA - but there is a huge difference: Now for the first time I am trying to fly in complete darkness in close formation with the lead aircraft . The radar helps me catch up, but then I have to rely on what little my eyes can tell me: two red flashing anti-collision lights, the red-green-white navigation lights and the flat green formation lights indicate the other's position airplane in dark space. The plane itself cannot be seen; it is a new moon night and the sky is pitch black. I ask the formation leader to turn off his flashlights and as the distance decreases my pulse noticeably increases. Concentrate and try to get enough information from the colorful lights. My forehead is sweating, my hands are tense, I continue to approach. My own anti-collision lights slowly begin to illuminate the lead aircraft. With each flash you can briefly see the red silhouette of the other Eurofighter. We're now only a good meter apart and I'm still a long way from the end of my training.
"In die Dunkelheit"
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