Chapter 10 Night Operations

Night Vision
Night Illusions
Pilot Equipment
Airplane Equipment and Lighting
Airport and Navigation Lighting Aids
Preparation and Preflight
Starting, Taxiing, and Runup
Takeoff and Climb
Orientation and Navigation
Approaches and Landings
Night Emergencies
Table of Contents


Before beginning a night flight, carefully consider personal equipment that should be readily available during the flight. At least one reliable flashlight is recommended as standard equipment on all night flights. Remember to place a spare set of batteries in the flight kit. A D-cell size flashlight with a bulb switching mechanism that can be used to select white or red light is preferable. The white light is used while performing the preflight visual inspection of the airplane, and the red light is used when performing cockpit operations. Since the red light is nonglaring, it will not impair night vision. Some pilots prefer two flashlights, one with a white light for preflight, and the other a penlight type with a red light. The latter can be suspended by a string from around the neck to ensure the light is always readily available. One word of caution; if a red light is used for reading an aeronautical chart, the red features of the chart will not show up.

Aeronautical charts are essential for night cross-country flight and, if the intended course is near the edge of the chart, the adjacent chart should also be available.

The lights of cities and towns can be seen at surprising distances at night, and if this adjacent chart is not available to identify those landmarks, confusion could result. Regardless of the equipment used, organization of the cockpit eases the burden on the pilot and enhances safety.

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PED Publication