Well, it's that time of year when the days are shorter and the nights are longer: perfect conditions for night flying, or, if you've never flown at night, night training. This is also an excellent way to scrape the rust off after the Xmas break.
Of course, winter solstice has passed, so the days are already gradually getting longer (and the nights shorter!). So, if you want to take adantage of the extra darkness, now is the time!
Why fly at night? Well, aside from the sheer joy of it, night flying is an excellent skill builder. If you're working on a night rating, your aircraft control, instrument useage, and positional awareness will all improve. If you have the rating and are simply using it, the benefits you recieved from your original night training will now be used, refined, and improved upon.
Remember when flying at night that you need some extra instrument crosscheck—especialy over featureless terrain with little or no artificial lighting. Although the attitude indicator is not a legal requirement for night flying, I think it would be unwise to launch without one.
If you're working with an instructor on your night rating, make sure to see the syllabus plan he/she has for you. Look for specific learning objectives (and exercises to reach those objectives) on each lesson. Don't just fly the hours to put time in your logbook and get signed off. Instead, get your money's worth out of the training, and make sure there is a plan to follow.
About the Author
- Steve Pomroy
- Southport, Manitoba, Canada
- Steve Pomroy is a professional flight instructor and aviation writer. He has been teaching since 1995 and holds an Airline Transport Pilot License, Class 1 Instructor and Aerobatic Instructor Ratings, military QFI, and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. He's written and published three flight training books through his company, SkyWriters Publishing, and has several other books under development. Steve currently teaches RCAF pilot candidates on their Primary Flight Training course.