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Quiz: Are You Ready To Fly At Night?

Flying at night totally changes the view from the cockpit and gives your passengers some great photo opportunities. Are you ready to fly at night? Let's find out!

  1. 1) In many countries, you'll need an instrument rating to fly at night. All of the following are reasons for this EXCEPT:
    Jason Pineau

    Air traffic control, if able, offers services to private pilots regardless of the time of day. Flying VFR at night can be extremely similar to flying in IMC, which is why many countries require night pilots to hold an instrument rating. Between flying into IMC, spacial disorientation, and the prospects of a nighttime forced landing, you should become comfortable flying at night before taking passengers along with you. 

    Air traffic control, if able, offers services to private pilots regardless of the time of day. Flying VFR at night can be extremely similar to flying in IMC, which is why many countries require night pilots to hold an instrument rating. Between flying into IMC, spacial disorientation, and the prospects of a nighttime forced landing, you should become comfortable flying at night before taking passengers along with you. 

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      It's easier to fly VFR into IMC at night.
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      Spacial disorientation can be challenging to deal with.
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      Performing a forced landing at night is much more dangerous than during the day.
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      Air traffic control doesn't offer services to private pilots late at night.
  2. 2) You need _____ of fuel reserve to fly VFR at night.
    Jay-Jerry

    According to FAR 91.151, to fly VFR at night, you need to carry enough fuel to reach your first point of intended landing, and then an additional 45 minutes at normal cruising speed. Consider planning a flight to include a larger fuel reserve, since headwinds, navigation errors, and unexpected weather will deplete your reserves rapidly.

    According to FAR 91.151, to fly VFR at night, you need to carry enough fuel to reach your first point of intended landing, and then an additional 45 minutes at normal cruising speed. Consider planning a flight to include a larger fuel reserve, since headwinds, navigation errors, and unexpected weather will deplete your reserves rapidly.

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  3. 3) Planning a VFR cross country flight changes if you're flying at night. Since many visual references used in pilotage navigation are taken away, you should consider:
    Jason Pineau

    Since many visual references are taken away at night, you should plan a route by using VORs, NDBs, or GPS. Always use these navigation tools for flying at night, because as compared to during the day, you have a much higher likelihood of getting lost. 

    Since many visual references are taken away at night, you should plan a route by using VORs, NDBs, or GPS. Always use these navigation tools for flying at night, because as compared to during the day, you have a much higher likelihood of getting lost. 

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      Flying low and slow, so you can follow roads.
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      Navigating only by using lighted towers, cities, or airports.
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      Planning your route using VORs, NDBs, or GPS to navigate.
  4. 4) Roughly how many minutes does it take for your eyes to adapt to low light?
    Andrew Stover

    It takes roughly 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to low light. Avoid bright, white lights before flying, and use a dim, red light inside the cockpit to have the best night vision. 

    It takes roughly 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to low light. Avoid bright, white lights before flying, and use a dim, red light inside the cockpit to have the best night vision. 

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  5. 5) As a courtesy to other pilots, don't turn on your _____ until you're on the runway.
    Jason Pineau

    Flashing strobes can temporarily blind a pilot or cause vertigo in a pilot on approach. Make sure you don't turn them on until you're on the runway, and definitely don't blind the entire ramp crew with your strobes as you start up.

    Flashing strobes can temporarily blind a pilot or cause vertigo in a pilot on approach. Make sure you don't turn them on until you're on the runway, and definitely don't blind the entire ramp crew with your strobes as you start up.

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  6. 6) You want to take your friends up for a night flight to tour the city in your Cessna 172. In the past 90 days, you've logged 4 night touch-and-go landings and 2 night full-stop landings in your plane. Can you take your friends on the flight?
    GolfCharlie232

    To meet night takeoff and landing experience (FAR 61.57(b)), you need to make at least 3 takeoffs and 3 landings to a full stop between 1 hour after and 1 hour before sunrise. Since you've only performed 2 night landings to a full stop, you're not night current to carry passengers.

    To meet night takeoff and landing experience (FAR 61.57(b)), you need to make at least 3 takeoffs and 3 landings to a full stop between 1 hour after and 1 hour before sunrise. Since you've only performed 2 night landings to a full stop, you're not night current to carry passengers.

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  7. 7) You're landing at an airport surrounded by unlit, featureless terrain. If the runway doesn't have VASI lights or any other vertical guidance, you have a natural tendency to fly a:
    GolfCharlie232

    You got it. Above featureless terrain at night, there is a natural tendency to fly a lower-than-normal approach. The phenomenon is often called the 'black-hole' effect, and you need to be extremely careful about it.

    Above featureless terrain at night, there is a natural tendency to fly a lower-than-normal approach. The phenomenon is often called the 'black-hole' effect, and you need to be extremely careful about it.

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Not bad! But you might want to brush up on your night flying with an instructor.

You scored %. Not bad.


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Nice work, you know a lot about night flying.

You scored %. Well done.


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Awesome work, you're a night flying expert.

You scored %. Looks like you pretty much know it all.


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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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