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Question Night VFR

Discussion in 'Student Pilot and Further Learning' started by Tomo, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Tomo

    Tomo "Young Enthusiast"

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    Howdy folks!

    Just thought I'd put it out there... I'm starting my night rating next week, so thought I may as well hear from all the highly experienced folk, whether you have any stories you'd like to share. The good, bad etc...

    Something an experienced pilot told me once was, Night flying is much more dangerous than IFR, in cloud, because you have no safety nets. Pretty wise words to keep in the back of your head I reckon, so you don't let yourself get to blasé about it.
  2. XP503

    XP503 Active Member

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    Used to go night flying over the GC with Grandpa - it is the most magical experience with all the lights. - However many will say that a Night VMC rating is for the sole purpose of departing before sun up and getting home after sunset without killing yourself, not for joyriding around at all hours of the night.
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  3. PapaFox

    PapaFox Member

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    Best advice I've heard is, if you're faced with an off-field landing at night, turn your landing light on. If you don't like what you see, turn it off!
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  4. Ferris

    Ferris Member

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    Tomo, I just finished mine a few weeks ago. The instructor was very up front. If I wanted a rating to fly anywhere at night in VMC, train with him, if I wanted a rating to get home after dark, then look for another instructor. I chose the first, knowing that this particular instructor sets as a standard, double of everything in terms of hours, that CASA set as a minimum, and his syllabus was a fair bit wider. He insisted on doing everything I could expect or not expect on a night flight. Heaps of circuits on totally black nights, & no ground lighting; unfamiliar strips, adverse weather, in and out of mountainous strips, controlled airspace, and just about every combination of instrument and equipment failure he could manufacture. I reckon about every second landing involved either a partial or complete electrical failure! It was worth doing the whole course just for the flight into Melbourne at night. Absolutely spectacular. Just don't try to get back in the gate at Essendon after 10.00pm!! I'd feel confident to take off across the continent at night. Night flight carries a higher risk and I can only suggest that you seek out an instructor who sets a very high standard. Cheers Ferris
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  5. turboplanner

    turboplanner Well-Known Member

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    Just remember that night VFR may be at night, but it's Visual Flight Rules - you have to be able to see a horizon - it's not IFR.
    Very applicable to wide open paddock country where lights are few and far between.
  6. frank marriott

    frank marriott Active Member

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    I agree. If you want to do long Xcountry trips at night do at least a PVT IFR rating with an aerodrome approach added or a CIR. Weather changes, and from LSAL to deck needs to be VFR on a night VMC [obviously Visual Met Conditons] rating.

    Ok for local joy flights etc where weather can be observed before flight.

    Frank
  7. facthunter

    facthunter Well-Known Member

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    Good advice so far. I have never been a promoter of Night VFR. I have always advocated the Private IF Rating. If you want to land just afer dark or depart just before daylight it is a different matter.
    A lot of people don't make a good fist of Day VFR.. In the dark, you don't even know you are flying into cloud or fog till you see the nav lights shining into the milk.
    You still rely on your electrics. An emergency torch in the hand doesn't make for good map reading and flying at the same time.
    A forced landing without an engine doesn't really bear thinking about on a dark night.
    I know plenty of instructors and ex CASA people who think the concept is flawed . On a clear moonlit night over the lights of a town it's fascinating.
    When it's as black as the inside of a cows guts and your AH has failed and you are not sure what the little patch of lights below, beside, above you, ( where are we now, and which way up),is, you wonder why you put yourself in that position. Nev
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  8. farri

    farri Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Tomo!

    Q: What do you do, if you have an engine failure on a dark night?
    A: Switch the lights on.

    Q; What do you do if you don`t like what you see below you?
    A; Switch the lights off.

    Frank.:wink:
  9. dazza 38

    dazza 38 Well-Known Member

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    I dont think I would like to be flying at night in a piston single.:drive:
  10. dazza 38

    dazza 38 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry fellas, the above was Posted Twice.
  11. turboplanner

    turboplanner Well-Known Member

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    I know one who isn't doing it any more - killed himself and two passengers. 1000 hours experience but flew into big acreage wheat area where there are very few lights.
  12. Tomo

    Tomo "Young Enthusiast"

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    Thanks everyone for your thoughts, exactly what I love to hear, keep them coming.

    I agree with you all, that it's not a thing to just go joy riding around the night with, but I'm doing it more for the fact I can leave on a flight (GA of course) a bit before sun up, and if it stretches into the afternoon get home again.. or whatever. And for the added skills.

    I would love to do the PIFR but can't afford that at this stage! One step at a time...

    Frank, yes that's what I've heard, if you don't like what you see, turn the light off! If you read in the latest Flight Safety magazine a guy tells his story of an engine failure on a black night. What saved him that night was that he climbed to altitude over the aerodrome before setting off. When his engine stopped he just scraped it back to the runway. Jim Davis often says to never take off into a black hole, so if you can take off in such a way that you can see some lights, either the town, or house/car etc... seems like pretty good advise I reckon.
  13. Potter

    Potter New Member

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    Night VFR is great for doing say Brisbane-Gold Coast where there are lots of lights. Or if there is a full moon it can be just like the day time. However, on a dark night away from the cities it is dangerous, but so is IFR. The equipment in the aeroplane has a big influence on safety. As for single engine at night, would only bother me if I was in something hot like a Lancair. Single, multi, NVFR or IFR at night, it can still be dangerous. It's definitely a good idea Tomo, you just have to set your own limits.
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  14. old man emu

    old man emu Well-Known Member

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    Tomo,
    Good for you. As part of your training you will have to eat lots and lots of carrots to improve your night vision.

    OME

    PS: I bought the bike in Warwick. Pick it up beginning of April
  15. Bandit12

    Bandit12 Active Member

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    Who are you doing it through Tomo?

    As an aside, every mechanical/electrical issue I have ever had while flying happened when NVFR. Enough to make you a little nervous when the dash lets out a puff of smoke, the radio stops working and you need a radio to turn the runway lights on! Or the oil pressure/temp guages that acted like yoyos for an hour between Toowoomba and Gundi....
  16. av8vfr

    av8vfr Active Member

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    You have to climb above your LSALT within 3NM of the runway before you depart from memory.

    I flew into a storm downdraft (microburst?) at night flying YSGE to YROM in a PA28-151 several years ago... Not nice knowing you were at best climb angle (on instruments) and still 500fpm descending at full power....
  17. farri

    farri Well-Known Member

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    Tomo, Top marks for all the training you are doing, it will make you a better pilot.

    Ultimately, it comes down to how and why you want to fly.

    Stay safe.

    Cheers,
    Frank.
  18. Tomo

    Tomo "Young Enthusiast"

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    Booked in to do it with DDAC in Toowoomba, I wanted to do it down in Brisbane, but with work lately being busy etc... it just wasn't happening, so decided to do it in Toowoomba, it's only 100klm each way rather than the odd 300klm to Brisy. One of benefits of Toowoomba is the nav's will be out west where there's nothing, whereas down the coast you can pretty much follow the lights...

    I think I'll stick to the 172 or 182 since I know those aeroplanes fairly well. I got the choice of doing it in the G1000 172, but figured that's cheating rather, and would be much easier than steam gauges and things that you can't see in the dark... if the lights don't work.
  19. eightyknots

    eightyknots 1st Class Member: $50/year to support the site First Class Member

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    Sounds like a great yarn but a horrendous experience. But, you survived to tell us about it!
  20. HeadInTheClouds

    HeadInTheClouds Active Member

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    One thing I can imagine night VFR being useful for - Taking off while it is just still dark and watching the sunrise from the air :smile:
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