YouTube user Carl Vause recently uploaded a side-by-side shot of two identical aircraft carrier landings — one during the light of day and one in pitch black. The result is absolutely stunning.
Inspired by similar side-by-side surgical videos, Vause got the idea to combine the two S-3 Viking landings from 1997 in hopes of offering even a modicum of an idea of what it’s actually like to try to land one of these things in the dead of night.
Other than the time of day, nearly every variable in the two landings is kept as consistent as humanly possible. Both occur on the same day, use the same crew, land on the same carrier, and are performed by the same plane. The only difference is that one shot takes place at around 4pm in the afternoon, while the other touches down just after midnight on a moonless night.
Landing on an aircraft carrier in the middle of an ocean seems nerve-wracking enough, but turn off that lights and that task starts to seem near impossible. All the pilot really has to guide him are the lit edges of the runway — a few glowing red lines in a one-dimensional sea of black. So seeing the two side-by-side really does help impart the difficulty of the task at hand.
And to think, as terrifying as that seems with an actual person in the cockpit, we’re now guiding drones into performing the very same landings. Although, we’re still one up — they’ve yet to land by night. [YouTube via Forbes]