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Airplane Flying Handbook
Night Operations
APPROACHES AND LANDINGS

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Airplane Flying Handbook

Preface

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

Glossary

Index

Roundout when tire marks are visible.
Figure 10-6. Roundout when tire marks are visible.

Distance may be deceptive at night due to limited
lighting conditions. A lack of intervening references
on the ground and the inability of the pilot to compare
the size and location of different ground objects
cause this. This also applies to the estimation of altitude
and speed. Consequently, more dependence must be
placed on flight instruments, particularly the altimeter and
the airspeed indicator.

When entering the traffic
pattern, allow for plenty of time to complete the
before landing checklist. If the heading indicator contains a heading bug, setting it to the runway heading will be an
excellent reference for the pattern legs.

Every effort should be made to maintain the recommended
airspeeds and execute the approach and
landing in the same manner as during the day. A low,
shallow approach is definitely inappropriate during
a night operation. The altimeter and VSI should be
constantly cross-checked against the airplane's position
along the base leg and final approach. A visual
approach slope indicator (VASI) is an indispensable aid
in establishing and maintaining a proper glidepath.
[Figure 10-5]

After turning onto the final approach and aligning the
airplane midway between the two rows of runway-edge
lights, the pilot should note and correct for any wind
drift. Throughout the final approach, pitch and power
should be used to maintain a stabilized approach. Flaps
should be used the same as in a normal approach.
Usually, halfway through the final approach, the landing
light should be turned on. Earlier use of the landing
light may be necessary because of "Operation Lights
ON" or for local traffic considerations. The landing
light is sometimes ineffective since the light beam will
usually not reach the ground from higher altitudes. The
light may even be reflected back into the pilot's eyes
by any existing haze, smoke, or fog. This disadvantage
is overshadowed by the safety considerations provided
by using the "Operation Lights ON" procedure around
other traffic.

The roundout and touchdown should be made in the
same manner as in day landings. At night, the judgment
of height, speed, and sink rate is impaired by the
scarcity of observable objects in the landing area. The
inexperienced pilot may have a tendency to round out
too high until attaining familiarity with the proper
height for the correct roundout. To aid in determining
the proper roundout point, continue a constant
approach descent until the landing lights reflect on the
runway and tire marks on the runway can be seen
clearly. At this point the roundout should be started
smoothly and the throttle gradually reduced to idle
as the airplane is touching down. [Figure 10-6]

Roundout when tire marks are visible.
Figure 10-6. Roundout when tire marks are visible.

 

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