Flying at Night
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Flying at Night

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Night flight in cockpitNight can be a beautiful time to fly. While there’s nothing different in the way an airplane flies at night, the air does tend to be smoother. However, there’s no special filter to make the plane perform at night the way that it does during the day. Most of the differences lie in the limitations of a pilot. The best way to approach flying at night is to spend some time with a Certified Flight Instructor.

Night Flying

In order to carry passengers during the day, a pilot needs to have completed 3 takeoffs and landings within the last 3 months (90 days). To carry passengers at night, a pilot must have completed 3 takeoffs and landings during the night within 90 days. Additionally, the physical challenges on a pilot can make night flying more difficult. It takes around 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark. It’s best to avoid bright lights during or before night flying. We suggest investing in a flashlight that has color options such as red, green, or blue. This helps to preserve night vision.

  • Lights – Position lights should be on at all times when night flying and anti-collision lights should be on at all times; day or night.
  • Fuel – For daytime flights, you must carry enough fuel to reach the first intended point of landing with at least 30 minutes to spare. However, at night, you must have at least 45 minutes to spare. These are the legal minimums.
  • The Flight – Lastly, the visual component of night flying is made up of whatever might be lit. In the daytime, pilots may plan to fly over large, open spaces. However, at night, stretches of fields below will look only like darkness and could just as well be forest or water. Plan a route that passes over more airports or follows major roads. This provides better situational awareness by providing landmarks below.

If you’re interested in learning to fly at night, we here at Elevate Aviation can help. We offer flight training, plane rentals, and aircraft management. For more information, please contact Elevate Aviation here in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Posted on Nov 12, 2019

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