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Airplane Flying Handbook
Night Operations

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



Prominently lighted checkpoints along the prepared
course should be noted. Rotating beacons at airports,
lighted obstructions, lights of cities or towns, and
lights from major highway traffic all provide excellent
visual checkpoints. The use of radio navigation aids
and communication facilities add significantly to the
safety and efficiency of night flying.

All personal equipment should be checked prior to
flight to ensure proper functioning. It is very disconcerting
to find, at the time of need, that a flashlight, for
example, does not work.

All airplane lights should be turned ON momentarily
and checked for operation. Position lights can be
checked for loose connections by tapping the light fixture.
If the lights blink while being tapped, further
investigation to determine the cause should be made
prior to flight.

The parking ramp should be examined prior to entering
the airplane. During the day, it is quite easy to see
stepladders, chuckholes, wheel chocks, and other
obstructions, but at night it is more difficult. A check
of the area can prevent taxiing mishaps.


After the pilot is seated in the cockpit and prior to starting
the engine, all items and materials to be used on the
flight should be arranged in such a manner that they
will be readily available and convenient to use.

Extra caution should be taken at night to assure the
propeller area is clear. Turning the rotating beacon ON,
or flashing the airplane position lights will serve to
alert persons nearby to remain clear of the propeller.
To avoid excessive drain of electrical current from the
battery, it is recommended that unnecessary electrical
equipment be turned OFF until after the engine has
been started.

After starting and before taxiing, the taxi or landing
light should be turned ON. Continuous use of the landing
light with r.p.m. power settings normally used for
taxiing may place an excessive drain on the airplane's
electrical system. Also, overheating of the landing light
could become a problem because of inadequate airflow
to carry the heat away. Landing lights should be used
as necessary while taxiing. When using landing lights,
consideration should be given to not blinding other
pilots. Taxi slowly, particularly in congested areas. If
taxi lines are painted on the ramp or taxiway, these
lines should be followed to ensure a proper path along
the route.

The before takeoff and runup should be performed
using the checklist. During the day, forward movement
of the airplane can be detected easily. At night, the
airplane could creep forward without being noticed
unless the pilot is alert for this possibility. Hold or
lock the brakes during the runup and be alert for any
forward movement.


Night flying is very different from day flying and
demands more attention of the pilot. The most noticeable
difference is the limited availability of outside
visual references. Therefore, flight instruments should
be used to a greater degree in controlling the airplane.
This is particularly true on night takeoffs and climbs.
The cockpit lights should be adjusted to a minimum
brightness that will allow the pilot to read the instruments
and switches and yet not hinder the pilot's outside
vision. This will also eliminate light reflections on
the windshield and windows.

After ensuring that the final approach and runway are
clear of other air traffic, or when cleared for takeoff by
the tower, the landing lights and taxi lights should be
turned ON and the airplane lined up with the centerline
of the runway. If the runway does not have centerline
lighting, use the painted centerline and the runway edge
lights. After the airplane is aligned, the heading
indicator should be noted or set to correspond to the
known runway direction. To begin the takeoff, the
brakes should be released and the throttle smoothly
advanced to maximum allowable power. As the airplane
accelerates, it should be kept moving straight
ahead between and parallel to the runway-edge lights.

The procedure for night takeoffs is the same as for normal
daytime takeoffs except that many of the runway
visual cues are not available. Therefore, the flight
instruments should be checked frequently during the
takeoff to ensure the proper pitch attitude, heading, and
airspeed are being attained. As the airspeed reaches the
normal lift-off speed, the pitch attitude should be
adjusted to that which will establish a normal climb.
This should be accomplished by referring to both outside
visual references, such as lights, and to the flight
instruments. [Figure 10-3]

Establish a positive climb.
Figure 10-3. Establish a positive climb.