Objective: Understanding of particularities of night flight and corresponding procedures, including night vision difficulties, use of lighting, navigation and airport work at night.
Content: physiological conditions including night vision and illusions, clean windows, interior lights, flashlight, night preflight, use of position and anticollision lights, airport procedures, in-flight orientation, attitude instrument at night, recovery from unusual attitudes, emergencies such as electrical failure and emergency landing, approaches with and without landing lights, go-arounds
Ground lesson: 25 minutes
First night flight: 90 minutes, including
Night approaches and landings: 20 minutes
Postflight feedback: 10 minutes
Preflight: (see lesson plan) motivate, explain
In flight: Demonstrate proper night operations and instruct student in procedures. Coach and encourage student.
Postflight: Give feedback and suggestions.
Preflight: Attend to explanation, answer questions
In flight: Perform safe night-flying operations while being instructed
Postflight: Ask questions.
Student pilot understands physiological aspects of night flying, can identify and use airports and lighting systems, correctly operates the aircraft's lighting systems, has correct personal equipment for night flight, does proper preflight, orients plane correctly, navigates, understands proper emergency procedures, can conduct correct taxi and takeoff and approaches and landings, completes all appropriate checklists
Review: Airport lighting: taxiways, runways,
beacons, VASI, etc.; flight following
Objective: Comprehension of night flight, including vision and illusions, lighting, and operations procedures, prior to conducting an initial night flight.
INTRODUCTION: Attention/motivation: (1 minute)
What do you think is the main difference between flying and night, and flying during the day? Obvious, huh? It's dark. You can't see things the same way. Literally
DEVELOPMENT: Overview and explanation: ( minutes)
I. Literally a different way of seeing: Physiological aspects of night flying
1. Rods vs. Cones.
Use off-center viewing at night. Stay out of bright light for 30 minutes:
Cones adjust in 5-10 minutes, and eyes become 100 times more sensitive to light
Rods adjust in 30 minutes, and eyes become 100,000 times more sensitive
Back in light, eyes readjust almost instantly: readjustment must be repeated
White light can cause temporary blindness and illusions
Use peripheral (off-center) viewing at night
2. Oxygen and vision
Dilution, even by going as high as 5,000 feet, can result in poor vision
Use supplemental oxygen, if available
Smoking is bad. Fatigue, colds, vitamin deficiency, alcohol, drugs, also.
1. False horizons as a result of sloping cloud banks, slanted freeway lighting or other ground lighting, moving trains, northern lights
2. Autokinesis: staring at a point of light makes it appear to move
3. Flicker vertigo: flashing lights including the strobes can cause physical reactions including nausea, dizziness, headaches, confusion, even unconsciousness
4. Lights in clouds/haze/smoke can cause distortions.
5. Black-hole effect when approaching over water or non-lighted terrain: runway as only source of light may make orientation difficult: use instruments and VASI, go around
6. Bright lights appear closer, dim ones farther away: can result in high or low approach
1. Clean windows and windshield
2. Flashlights work, spare batteries available
3. Position light and navigation lights work
4. Adjust interior lights to minimum brightness
IV. Airport procedures
1. Position lights on sunset to sunrise, anticollision lights whenever engine running, landing light as necessary for taxi. Try not to blind other people. "Operation Lights On"
2. Blue taxiway lights, white runway lights-yellow in last 2000 ft, rotating beacon colors
3. Check the A/FD for lighting specifications and pilot-controlled lighting
V. Flying: Do everything the same way, but use more instrument data 'cause visual clues absent.
1. Do not make flights in marginal or poor weather conditions.
2. Take care not to fly into clouds. Indications may be haziness or haloes of ground lights.
3. Learn straight-and-level, climbs/descents, turns, steep turns, unusual attitude recovery
4. emergencies such as electrical failure and emergency landing
5. approaches with and without landing lights, go-arounds
I would strongly recommend doing flight following whenever you fly at night. You will get traffic advisories, can request assistance (e.g. headings) if you need it, and if you run into a cloud by accident, or in emergencies, you're on the radio with someone who knows where you are.
Common errors: (2 minutes)
Not all equipment (e.g. flashlights) ready
Poor cockpit organization
Inadequate instrument cross-check
Poor pattern work: final too low/high
Off-center viewing not used
Checklists not being use