What to Expect When Flying at Night

Topic: Night flying means more visual allusions, and the need to pay more attention to your flight and traffic around you.
On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 19:00 Pacific Daylight Time (20:00 MDT, 21:00 CDT, 22:00 EDT, 16:00 HST, 18:00 AKDT, 19:00 Arizona, 02:00 GMT)

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On November 1st, Daylight Saving Time will be ending, and with it brings early nightfall. For those of us who work a regular 9-5 schedule, early nightfall means an increase in night flying time. How current are your night skills? Maybe now is a good time to focus on the difference between day VFR and night VFR flight.

Obviously, less ambient light adds challenges for anything requiring eyesight. This includes preflight inspection, taxi safety, obstruction avoidance, IMC recognition and avoidance, cockpit resource management, and a number of other things. Most familiar to pilots is probably the differences in landing. The sight picture of a normal approach to a runway is very different with reduced external visual cues from night. Flashing lights can help or hurt pilot attention and recognition.

So should night flight be avoided? Not necessarily. Night flight brings with it reduced ATC workloads, often calmer winds, cooler temperatures that help performance, and the ability to spot traffic from farther off. Your decision about flying at night can be aided by attending a Night Flying Refresher seminar like this one.

Herb Patten is the Chief Pilot at the San Carlos Flight Center, a CFI and an FAA certificated advanced and instrument ground instructor who teaches private pilot ground school at San Carlos Flight Center. He is a commercial pilot with an instrument rating, has flown over 1,500 hours into at least 120 different California airports. He is the current chairman of the Upwind Foundation, famous for its Upwind Summer Scholarship Program. In 2015, Herb was named a Master Instructor by the National Association of Flight Instructors.

To view further details and registration information for this webinar, click here.