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7 Ways To Find An Airport Hidden By Nighttime Darkness

Have you ever had trouble finding an airport at night, especially in an urban environment? Here are some strategies you can use on your next flight to safely find the runway.

1) Compare the airport's location to a nearby charted town or city. Use the relative location of the airport in comparison to your compass to find a general direction.

Google Earth

2) Search the night sky for the single white and green flash of the airport's beacon.

PJ Nelson

3) When available, always back up a visual approach with horizontal and vertical guidance from an instrument approach.

Boldmethod

4) Study the airport diagram to familiarize yourself with the layout of runways and taxiway, so you can look out for familiar airport lighting layouts.

Boldmethod

5) If pilot controlled lighting is available, consider turning the airport lights to the brightest setting, at least initially.

Boldmethod

6) Study the approach light systems in use for each runway so you can spot the airport. You can find a generalized layout of approach lighting on any instrument approach plate.

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7) If there are highways nearby, be sure to avoid mistaking runway lights for well-lit roadways.

Boldmethod

Have you ever had trouble finding an airport at night? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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