I’m a really big fan of daylight savings time. I enjoy the extra hour of evening light during the late spring, summer, and early fall. I find it a little depressing when it gets dark early.
Everyone knows how the time change works. Well, not everyone. I had a roommate in college from Indiana. Prior to 2005, Indiana did not observe daylight savings time. (Arizona and Hawaii still stay on standard time year-round.) Both times we changed the clocks, he became annoyed and defiant about the change. But, I digress.
So, this time of year, we “fall back.” One second after 01:59:59am on the designated Sunday, the clock snaps back to 01:00:00am. Presumably, most of the nation is sound asleep. Hello extra hour of rest. Bye bye extra evening daylight.
But, not everyone sleeps through it. For the first time ever, I was flying during the change. I lifted off out of SFO at 11:55pm on that Saturday night and headed southeast towards Ft. Lauderdale.
For flight operations, we record everything in Greenwich Mean Time. How that relates to local time is really irrelevant. Five hours is five hours… on the Zulu clock. But, for a guy always looking for new ways to stay alert on a red-eye, it gave me something to ponder.
We flew out of California and clipped the southern tip of Nevada. Around 1:30am California time, we were over Arizona. This time of year, since Arizona stays on Mountain STANDARD Time year round, it was still 1:30am. We soon entered New Mexico. The local clock jumped ahead into the Central Time Zone, so we completely missed 2:00am.
So, if there was no 2:00am, when did “our” time change happen? (Mr. Einstein? Little help here?)
Who knows… when we blocked in at Ft. Lauderdale, it was 6:55am Eastern Standard Time. So, accounting for the normal time zone change, we flew a five hour flight in four hours.
Some friends of mine were discussing the “effect” of the one hour local time change on their bodies. As a pilot, here’s how I see it:
That Saturday, I started in Denver in the Mountain Daylight Timezone. I flew to San Francisco, napped, then stayed up all night flying to Ft. Lauderdale. I jumped ahead three hours and fell back one. I slept all day in a hotel, had dinner, and crossed the time zones on the way back to Los Angeles. Slept again, flew back to Dulles and rested again in the Eastern Time Zone. Finally, I flew back to San Francisco, commuted home to Denver, and settled back into Mountain Standard Time for my days off.
So, the one hour change in local time has absolutely no effect on me.