As every fledgling pilot learns, either by instruction or by experience, night doesn’t fall; night rises. That is to say that as sunset approaches first the surface of the earth under the pilot gets dark, while the sun shines brightly (or at least the clouds are bright) up in the air. This is, of course, a consequence of the curvature of the earth. So the unpleasant surprise for the novice who is accostomed to flying about in nice weather in the middle of the day is that a late-planned approach to landing could well be conducted in the dark of night. This is especially true in the summer, when the sun descends rapidly under the horizon. If the hapless pilot has no training yet in night landings, then the lesson in doing so is readily at hand.
Now you may ask: Why am I running off on this particular subject? Probably not many of you readers are about to make your first night landings in a small airplane. And now I get to the point. I am not thinking literally; I am thinking allegorically. My real target here is the European debt crisis, about which I now wax.
The Honorable Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Central Bank, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, the various Presidents of distressed European states, and other luminaries and functionaries to that extended establishment are all flying their little airplanes in the sunny sky as sunset approaches. “There still are choices, things to do, and time left for us all to make the right decisions,” they all say. Well, as we know, night rises, and it is rising right now. Will all those little airplanes make safe night landings? These pilots are all inexperienced in such maneuvers. To make matters worse, a storm approaches from the west.