The night can be a fantastic time to fly. Usually the air is stationary and the airspace is silent. And most would agree that the sight of the stars against the dark sky is a sight not to be missed. But night flying has its challenges, and while there is nothing inherently dangerous about flying at night, a night flight can quickly become dangerous if you are not properly prepared.
Preliminary planning – and I’m not just referring to the preflight itself – is so important to fly and night flight is no different.
Here are some preliminary planning tips to avoid surprising you on your next night’s flight.
Give yourself extra time
During the day, many of us get used to jumping on the plane only after checking the windsock and a quick preliminary check, but at night things can be a little more demanding. For one, you may not be able to see the windsock clearly, so you may need to call AWOS or listen to ATIS in advance. And your preflight will take a little longer than usual. You will have a flashlight in one hand and the checklist in the other, and in general, it is more difficult to see things in the dark. The documents of the aircraft, the fuel you pumped, the surface of the aircraft, your dashboard, etc. – everything will require closer examination.
Bring at least two torches
You will need one to hold on to, and another easily accessible for when you drop the first one, and roll on the back of the plane.