Rivière (ree-VYAY), the director of an air-mail service. Completely dedicated to making night flying regular in spite of all its attendant dangers, he imposes on his men a rigid discipline that is taken for callousness. When Fabien and his wireless operator are lost in a storm, Rivière’s deep concern reveals that his unbending severity springs not from any lack of feeling for his pilots but from a complete sense of consecration to his mission.
Fabien (fah-BYAH[N]), a pilot. On a night flight carrying the mail from Patagonia to Buenos Aires, he and his wireless operator enter a violent storm and are lost. Their deaths prompt the revelation of Rivière’s real concern for his pilots in spite of his severe demands on them.
Robineau (roh-bee-NOH), the inspector. Inclined to make friends with the pilots, he resents Rivière’s undeviating discipline and insistence that the supervisors maintain complete impersonality toward those whom they may have to send to their deaths. Only after Fabien is lost does he realize Rivière’s real concern for his men and experience a sense of communion with him.
Pellerin (peh-leh-RA[N]), a pilot who comes safely through the great storm in which Fabien is lost.
Mme Fabien, Fabien’s bride of six weeks, who hears from Rivière of the enormous price men must pay to conquer the skies. She understands.
Roblet (roh-BLAY), an old former pilot.