I was once blinded by my best friend while flying at night. He was trying to help me read a map. We were out of KDAL, heading to KSMO.
Inbound to KSMO, at night, over California’s high desert, the earth below looked black as pitch, the sky above a planetarium ceiling’s worth of stars. I’d purposely kept cockpit lighting low to preserve my night vision.
When ATC descended us from12,000 to 8,000, I dropped my sectional. Thinking he was being helpful, my non-pilot friend saw this as an opportunity to show off the new, high-intensity headband flashlight he’d brought along, the kind intended for caves, not cockpits.
“Check this out!” he said. I turned toward him just as he flicked on the flashlight.
“AHHH!” I screamed and jerked away, but not before being blinded completely. [Read more…]