As a two-time chrononaut myself, I know how disorienting it is to inexplicably teleport to another place in time. Sir Victor Goddard knows what I’m talking about, because in 1935 he had his own bizarre experience over an airfield in Drem, Scotland.
One day that year, he was flying to Edinburgh from Andover, England. And while on this perfectly ordinary flight, he passed over a dilapidated airfield in Drem, Scotland. This place had long been abandoned, to the point where foliage had overtaken most of the area and cattle had made themselves at home. That’s what Goddard saw as he flew over — a farm, with a whole lot of nothing going on.
So he continued on his way, until he reached his destination at Edinburgh.
A few days later, Goddard began his trip back to Andover. He took the same route, which would lead him once again over Drem, but before he could get there, he ran into a peculiar storm. I call it peculiar, because along with high winds and torrential rain, the storm clouds were yellow. It didn’t take long for Goddard to become disoriented and lose control of his plane.
He tried to regain control by climbing above the yellow clouds, but they seemed to have no end. His plane began to fall. Fortunately for him, that’s when something unexpected happened: the clouds broke, and he could see the ground again.
Off in the distance was the Drem airfield.
Flying Through Time
As he approached the airfield, hoping to reorient himself, suddenly the storm vanished and the sky turned bright and sunny. It stopped raining. Everything became clear. But something was different, this time.
The airfield at Drem was no longer abandoned. In fact, it looked good as new. He could see mechanics down below, and four planes, each painted yellow, sat on the runway.
One was a model he’d never seen before, a monoplane unlike anything in the Royal Air Force in 1935. And what were the mechanics wearing? Blue overalls? This, along with the yellow planes, Goddard found strangest of all — RAF mechanics in 1935 wore brown overalls, not blue, and there were no yellow planes, to his knowledge.
Goddard didn’t have much time to think about it, though, because he was flying too quickly to truly understand what he was seeing. By the time he’d passed over the airfield, the storm had suddenly returned, and the bright sunshine dissolved into hard rain and those strange yellow clouds engulfed him once more. Once again, he found himself battling for control of his airplane. But this time he won, and was able to land safely at his home base.
When he finally landed, he couldn’t help but tell his friends what had happened. As you’d expect, he was met with skepticism, and afterward he mostly kept the story to himself. He didn’t want anyone to think he was crazy, after all. He’d later retell it (among other things) in his 1975 book Flight Towards Reality.
The final twist to this bizarre account? In 1939, the vision that Sir Victor Goddard saw at the Drem airfield actually came to pass. The RAF began to paint their training planes yellow, and a new monoplane, the Magister, just like the one he witnessed in 1935, joined the roster. By that year, even the mechanics’ overalls had been updated to blue. And, of course, the airfield at Drem had made a comeback.
Had Sir Victor Goddard truly experienced a time slip, or could there be another explanation for what happened that day in 1935? Was he an inadvertent time traveler?
P.S. I’m not actually a chrononaut, but according to a few emails I’ve received over the years, some people think I am. So I’ve decided to just go with it.