Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
  Home | Login | Schedule | Pilot Store | 7-Day IFR | IFR Adventure | Trip Reports | Blog | Fun | Reviews | Weather | Articles | Links | Helicopter | Download | Bio

Site Map

Subscribe

Private Pilot
  Learn to Fly

Instrument Pilot
  7 day IFR Rating
  IFR Adventure

Commercial Pilot

Multi-Engine Pilot

Human Factors/CRM

Recurrent Training

Ground Schools

Articles

Privacy Policy
About Me

Keyword:
  

Support this Website
What You Need to Know About Night - "Night" for Pilots

by Darren Smith, CFII/MEI

from IFR Checkride Reviewer, August 2004
Updated March, 2009

The first thing pilots need to know about "night" is that there are three different definitions of "night" depending on what you're referring to.

1.  Your Logbook. 

FAR 61.51 requires you to log in a pilot logbook any training time and aeronautical experience that is (1) used to meet the requirements for a certificate, rating, or flight review and (2) to prove you meet flight experience requirements.  Under 61.51b3 "Logbook Entries Conditions of flight", it requires you to log whether it was Day or night.  This FAR does not specify a definition for "night" so we must refer to FAR Part 1 which defines "night" as:
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.

2.  Your Aircraft. 

FAR 91.209 states No person may:
(a) During the period from sunset to sunrise (or, in Alaska, during the period a prominent unlighted object cannot be seen from a distance of 3 statute miles or the sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon)—
(1) Operate an aircraft unless it has lighted position lights;

3.  Your Passengers. 

FAR 61.57b "Night takeoff and landing experience"  requires:
For night flight with passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise

There are other FARs that create additional requirements or special consideration for night flights.

Part 61

FAR 61.87 requires a student pilot to have flight training on night flying procedures that includes takeoffs, approaches, landings, and go arounds at night at the airport where solo flight will be conducted, if night solo priviledges are given.  Additional training will include naviation at night in the vicinity of the airport where the solo flight is approved.  The flight instructor must place an endorsement in the student's logbook.  That endorsement is valid for 90 days.

FAR 61.89 prevents a student pilot from flying at night with less than 5sm visibility at night (3sm day).

FAR 61.107 requires private pilot applicants to have logged ground and flight instruction on night operations.

FAR 61.109 requires private pilot applicants to have 3 hours of night flight training (in the appropriate category and class of aircraft)  that includes 1 cross country flight of over 100nm total distance and  10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop at an airport.

FAR 61.110 exempts flight students from the night flight training requirements of FAR 61.107 & FAR 61.109 if they receive their flight training in Alaska.  If the student takes this exemption, their certificate will be issued with a "Night Flying Prohibited" limitation on their certificate and must obtain the flight training described in FAR 61.107 & FAR 61.109 within 12 calendar months or the private pilot certificate expires.

FAR 61.125 requires commercial pilot applicants to have logged ground and flight instruction on night and high altitude operations (para 14).

FAR 61.129 Section 3(IV) requires commercial pilot applicants to have one cross country flight of at least 2 hours in the appropriate category and class of aircraft in VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight ling distance of more than 100nm from the departure airport.

FAR 61.129 Section 4(II) requires commercial pilot applicants to have five hours of night VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings at an airport with an operating control tower.

FAR 61.131 exempts commercial pilot flight students from the night flight training requirements FAR 61.125 & 61.129 if they receive their flight training in Alaska.  If the student takes this exemption, their certificate will be issued with a "Night Flying Prohibited" limitation on their certificate and must obtain the flight training described in FAR 61.125 & 61.129 within 12 calendar months or the private pilot certificate expires.

FAR 61.133 prohibits commercial pilots without instrument ratings from carrying passengers for hire in airplanes on cross country flights in excess of 50nm and provides for a limitation to the pilot's certificate.

FAR 61.159 requires Airline Transport Pilot applicants to have 100 hours of night flight time, 25 hours must be PIC (para 4ii). 

Part 91

FAR 91.151 requires pilots of have enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and assuming normal cruising speed, fly after that for at least 45 minutes.

FAR 91.155 requires pilots to maintain at least 3sm visibility, 1000' cloud clearance above, 500' below, and 2000' laterally when flying within Class G airspace at night below 1200AGL.  Normally, Class G requires 1sm visibility and clear of clouds (below 1200AGL).  Above 1200AGL to 10,000MSL, pilots are required to maintain 5sm 1000' cloud clearance above, 1000' below and 1sm laterally when flying within Class G airspace at night.  Normally, Class G at those altitudes requires 1sm visibility, 1000' cloud clearance above, 500' below, and 2000' laterally (between 1200AGL and 10,000MSL).

91.205(c) requires pilots to have minimum equipment for VFR day (91.205b) plus additional equipment for VFR Night: (1) spare fuses, set of three for each type, (2) landing light if for hire, (3) anticollision lighting if type certificated after August 11, 1971, (4) position lights on the wingtips, and (5) an adequate source of power for all installed electrical equipment.

FAR 91.503 requires pilots of large turbine and multi-engine aircraft to have a flashlight having at least 2 D cells in good working order and appropriate navigational en route, terminal area, and approach charts.

FAR 91.507 requires pilots of large turbine and multi-engine aircraft to be equipped according to section 91.205(d) and 1 electric landing light.  All equipment must be in operable condition.

FAR 91.515 prohibits pilots of large turbine and multi-engine aircraft from operating below 91.177 IFR minimum altitudes (MEA or MOCA) at night and at least 2000 feet above the highest obstacle in mountainous areas with 4nm lateral separation.  In addition, pilots of large turbine and multi-engine aircraft must follow minimum safe altitudes of 91.119 except during takeoff and landing.



"There I was, fog was so thick I couldn't see the instruments. Only way I knew I was inverted was my flying medals were in my eyes. But I knew I was really in trouble when the tower called me and told me to climb and maintain field elevation."
— Anon

Your Thoughts...

Name: (Anonymous posts deleted)

E-mail: (if you want a reply)

How did you hear
of this website?
Message:  (What should I write?)
Business Card
WebSearch
News Group
Safety Seminar
Advertisement
Word of Mouth
Other(specify)
(Required) Enter number from image to send:

    

Check this out...
   Home | Login | Schedule | Pilot Store | 7-Day IFR | IFR Adventure | Trip Reports | Blog | Fun | Reviews | Weather | Articles | Links | Helicopter | Download | Bio
All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.