Presentation on theme: "Night Operations This presentation was prepared by the"— Presentation transcript:
1 Night Operations This presentation was prepared by the New Mexico Wing, Civil Air PatrolJanuary, 2005
2 October, 1994 Aircraft destroyed, but no injuries. Pilot was trying to land in the pre-dawn darkness of a moonless night and was unable to turn on the runway lights (had not read the A/FD, assumed the lights were PCL whereas they were on a timer that had clicked off.) Pilot decided to make a low pass and see if he could see the runway. Pilot saw what he wanted to see, not what was really there, and touched down on what looked like the runway, but what was actually the lighter strip of grass between the dark runway and the dark taxiway. Landing was rough and pilot thought he had blown a tire, never realized he had not landed on the runway until the next day. The axis of the grass strip was depressed for drainage, and the rollout was interrupted by a raised turnoff between runway and taxiway, which acted like a ramp and launched the plane 30 ft back into the air. Airspeed was too low for control. The plane drifted sideways, touched back down, skidded along the taxiway, and eventually punched holes into the side of a block-wall hangar.
3 Statistics Night is 5 x more dangerous than day flying Night accidents are more likely to be fatal28% of fatal GA accidents occur at nightLandings are 3 x more hazardous than takeoffsMost night accidents occur during DARK nightsRecent night experience helps prevent accidentsDoes an instrument rating help? [26% non IFR]CFIT, plus VFR into IMC, = 60%Statistics are hard to come by. One source suggests that 5% of night flying is done by GA pilots and 25% of GA accidents occur at night, while another suggests that the respective figures are 10% and 50%. Regardless, it appears that in general, GA flying at night is about five times more likely to result in an accident as flying during the day.Although 26% of the GA night accidents are by non-IFR rated pilots, we don’t know what percentage of all GA night flying is done by these pilots. We can’t say for sure whether having a an IFR rating improves the chances of avoiding night accidents or not, but it is a safe bet that it does.CFIT accounts for 30%, and VFR into IMC accounts for another 30% of all GA night accidents. If you can’t see the ground or the clouds to avoid them, you better be avoiding them by procedure.Sources for statistics:-Duncan, Feb 2000, FAAviation News-Waldock, Dec 1995 Aviation Safety-Allen, July 2004 MAPA Log-Achtel, May 2002, MAPA Log-Lacagnina, Dec 1995, Aviation Safety-Landesberg, July 2004, AOPA Pilot-Leis, Nov 2003 Aviation Safety
4 Risk factors Night = Day risk x 5 Landing = takeoff risk: x 3 Dark night: ?No recent night flying: ?Non IFR rated: ?If you are flying at night, if there is no moon or no city lights, and f you have not flown recently at night and are not IFR rated, then the hair on the back of your neck should be standing out straight during your landing approach.
5 1. Night flying has more risks because you can’t see well. 2 1. Night flying has more risks because you can’t see well. 2. You can’t see well because there’s less light.This is a transition slide to the next topic, which is the variability and unreliability of lighting available to a pilot at night.Example of the importance of lighting, from Feb, 2005, AOPA Flight Training: Cessna 172, approaching Ocean City, airport, MD on a “very clear, very dark night.” One witness reported seeing the wingtip strobes one over the other as if the airplane were in a 90-degree bank. Another witness thought the airplane was a helicopter because of its low altitude. The airplane “completed a half turn and descended straight into the water.” NTSB determined the cause to be spatial disorientation due to the dark night and lack of visual references.
6 Moonlight: Night vs. DARK Night A full moon gives over half a million times less light than the sunHalf moon: 10% of a full moonCrescent moon: 1% of a full moonA moon low in the sky gives less lightSnow cover helps; cloud cover hurtsCity lightsOn a DARK night, there is essentially NO lightThe figures for moonlight come from an article in the January, 1995 issue of Private Pilot.On a dark night, over water or over the vast unpopulated areas of some states, a pilot has absolutely NO outside visual references.Snow cover helps by reflecting starlight and defining the ground contours. Cloud cover, of course, negates the starlight and you’re back to nothing.Landing at a well-lighted airport in the middle of a city might as well not count for night-flying experience if the next landing is to be at a remote strip.
7 Moon phases If the moon rose at 19:30 yesterday: About what time will it rise tonight?What phase is it?Will it give more or less light than yesterday?Where is it?28 divided by 24 = almost one hour/day changeThis slide is meant to raise awareness of moon phases: if the moon is rising near sunset time it is almost a full moon and it will be in the eastern sky, but it will also always rise almost a full hour later each night, and give significantly less light until it reaches the New Moon phase.
8 Moon Phases: there’s a lot of DARK out there fullnewfullsunrisemoonsetmidnitemoonrisesunsetThis is a chart of the moon phases and rising/setting times for December, The same pattern will apply to any month except for more varied times of sunrise and sunset during spring and fall months. Most of our flying is done during the lower third of this chart, from sunset to say 10 PM. Fully half of that time is DARK NIGHT, when the moon provides little or no illumination.dateMoon Phases: there’s a lot of DARK out there
9 FAR’s Fuel reserves: FAR 91.15a2 Three definitions of “night” Position lights req’d: FARLogging night landings for carrying passengers: FAR bLogging night flying: FAR 1.1FAR : requires additional equipment for night flyingNext slide actually gives the requirements stated by the FAR’s: this slide is meant to make people think about what those requirements are before giving them the answers, and the reference FAR’s in case they doubt you.
10 FAR’s Fuel reserves: 45 minutes after destination Position lights req’d: sunset to sunriseLogging night landings for carrying passengers: 1 hr after sunset to 1 hr before sunriseLogging night flying: after evening civil twilight, before morning civil twilightAdditional equipment: Anti-collision and Position lights, Electrical source, and Spare FusesThe answers to questions posed by previous slide. I can’t find the FAR that requires a flashlight with two “D” cell batteries; has that been rescinded?
11 End of Civil Twilight = Center of sun 6 deg below horizon Sun: ¼ deg radius, moves at ¼ deg per minutehorizonJust to confuse the issue, Civil Twilight is a constantly changing entity, varying with the time of year and with latitude. It’s easy to calculate at the equator where the sun goes down at right angles to the horizon. But when the sun is “moving” (yes, I’ve heard of Da Vinci) at ¼ degree per minute along an arc that is inclined to the horizon, it is difficult to calculate how it long it takes to get six degrees below the horizon, and of course for parts of Alaska in summer it never gets below the horizon. Easiest to look it up on the web, but for much of the US, for much of the year, a 30-minutes after sunset rule of thumb works for logging night flying. The kicker is that you can log 20 minutes of night flying if your flight progresses 20 minutes after civil twilight on the way back to the airport, but not the night landing at the end of the flight, at least not to satisfy the passenger-carrying currency requirements.Full darkness, where the sun gives no illumination at all, is when it’s at least 18 degrees below the horizon. There are no regs based on that, but it wouldn’t be prudent to count on any lingering twilight to help you land anyway.6 x 4 = 24, = 23 minutes after sunset at equator.Longer at higher latitudes because of inclined descent(Full dark: 18 deg below the horizon, but we don’t care)
12 Currency vs. proficiency: FAR currency requirements say nothing about moon phases or artificial/city lightsA pilot who has not flown at night for ten years can satisfy all of the FAA currency requirements with three stop and go landings at well-lit municipal airport during the full moon, and then legally take passengers out to a remote, unlit strip in the dark of the moon. It ain’t smart, but it’s legal. This would be a good place during the class for some soul-searching discussions.
13 FAR’sFAR : Cloud clearance and visibility requirements at night, E and G below 10,000’1000’2000’These are the regs: see next slide for discussionVisibility: > 3 miles500’
14 FAR’sFAR 61.3e: an instrument rating is required “in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR flight”What is “weather”?What is “visibility”?How do you maintain cloud clearance if you can’t see one?Typically the inability to see caused by an absence of light at night is not considered to be “weather”, therefore an IFR rating is not required. But if the terrain or clouds cannot be seen and avoided because it is night, does the pilot have three miles of “visibility”? Is “visibility” the distance you could see if the terrain or clouds were actually lit up or do they actually have to be lit?These are questions for lawyers to haggle over: what we need to know, what we care about, is that if the night-time conditions (cloudy, dark night, etc.) are such that a pilot cannot maintain separation from the ground and/or from clouds visually, and if the pilot cannot use outside visual cues to keep the airplane upright, then that pilot is navigating and flying by instruments and damn well needs to have the full training required of an instrument rating. The US is one of the few countries to allow any kind of VFR flying at night, and we need to be well enough prepared and smart enough to know when the legal ability to fly VFR at night is not the smart choice.
15 CAPR 60-1, para 20-2For over-water operations: “both front-seat crew members must be CAP qualified mission pilots and both will be instrument qualified and current.”CAPR 60-1 acknowledges the lack of visual reference over water. Although the over-water CAP pilots need not be flying in the FAA’s IFR system, they need to be prepared to control the airplane and navigate using IFR techniques.Many of the remote stretches of the US west are without ground lighting and are equivalent to over-water operations in terms o lighting for hundreds of miles.
16 Physiology: Vision Cones vs rods Colors Two blind spots Retina cones Optic nerveconesrodsCones used for day vision can discern colors, but the rods used for night vision do not, thus night vision is black and white. (Does not apply of course to distinguishing colors of internally-lit lighting).Demonstrate daytime blind spots caused by the optic nerve by having students draw two dots about 2” apart on a piece of paper, closing left eye and looking at the left dot with the right eye from a distance of about 6-8 inches: the right dot will disappear when the distance is such that it is projected onto the retina at the point where the optic nerve enters. With two eyes, the blind spots do not overlap, thus this blind spot is not normally apparent.In the darkness, however, the central parts of each of the two retinas, containing the day-vision cones, overlap, thus there is a blind spot when looking straight at something in low light. Shift the gaze off-center for better vision with the rods.2”
17 Physiology: vision Adaptation time 100 x sensitivity in 5-10 minutes Pupil dialation100,000 x sensitivity in minutesChemical generation within rodsChemicals quickly destroyed by white lightIf one is going to go night flying by reference to the dim outside lighting, it is important to be fully night adapted before starting out. However, in the environment of most modern cockpit lighting, combined with bright outside airport lighting, it is very difficult to become night adapted and then maintain it. It is important to be able and facile flying and navigating by instruments when night adaptation is so hard to achieve and so easy to lose.One mathematically-inclined wag in the class we taught here in NM pointed out that if vision becomes 100,000 times more sensitive, and if the moon is half a million times weaker than the sun, then night vision should be only five times worse than day-time vision. Not sure about that.
18 Physiology: vision Altitude Depth perception loss 20% night vision loss at 6000 ftOxygen helps restoreDepth perception lossJudging distanceMap and instrument reading requirements vs. ability to see outside referencesI don’t know if the same 20% vision loss applies if one is acclimated to a home airport altitude of 6000 ft and climbs to 12,000 ft. Someone always asks. Regardless, vision deteriorates significantly with altitude, in part because of oxygen deprivation.Unrelated, but just as important, is that depth perception deteriorates under night vision conditions: a pilot cannot discern relative distances to potential obstacles or targets.As discussed in an earlier slide, the need for adequate cockpit lighting to read maps and instruments runs counter to the need to maintain night adaptation for flying and navigating. Flying IFR, with the cockpit flight and navigation instruments as the primary references, takes care of this problem to a large extent.
19 Physiology: Fatigue Circadian rhythms End-of-the-day fatigue Stretching, eatingCrew interactionsIn addition to other advantage, multi-person crews are important in combating the pitfalls of physiological rhythms and fatigue. Stretch often, and do not fly on an empty stomach.
20 Illusions must be anticipated This concept is important enough to warrant its own slide. An illusion is not obviously an illusion, does not announce itself as such, and its seeming reality is insidious and dangerous. The awareness that the pilot is reacting to an illusion as if it is the real thing often only comes with the slam-bang consequences of the illusion. The only defense is a good offense: if a pilot recognizes the conditions where the potential for an illusion is high, that pilot will not be trapped by the illusion.
21 Illusions: Banking seems like a climb A light or group of lights off the wingtip does not offer any pitch information. It is analogous to the pilot doing ground-reference turns around a point who concentrates solely on the ground reference point and winds up having to chase altitude because he/she is not aware of the changes in airplane pitch. The pilot who does not use instruments when turning away from isolated lights on the ground commonly thinks the airplane is in a level or even a climbing turn when it is really descending. The most obvious danger is when the airplane is close to the ground.
22 Illusion aftermath June, 2004, Las Cruces Airplane totaled, pilots hospitalized but survived.A chain of events: dark night, IFR rated pilot but not current or proficient, no recent night experience, cockpit lighting inoperative (non-pilot passenger holding a flashlight on the instruments, which instruments we don’t know), a decision to return to land after an alternator failure on climbout, position and landing lights turned off to conserve the battery. The pilot called downwind and final for runway 26 but was actually set up for landing on runway While this airplane was on short final for 22, another airplane pulled out to depart on 22, not seeing the unlit approaching airplane and having heard its pattern calls for 26.The accident pilot, thinking he was at least 500 ft AGL (lack of depth perception) initiated a 360 circle on final (poor judgment) for spacing. The flight profile was duplicated later, and suggests that he was only ft AGL. The accident pilot turned away from the airport into the blackness of the unlit desert and lost all visual reference except the airport lighting off his left wing. The pilot retracted the 10 degrees of flaps that had been deployed for landing, thinking he was in a climb; he could not see or did not check his instrument panel to confirm the climb. The aircraft struck the ground in a shallow descent, skidded, and finally flipped, heading about 140 degrees away from the runway of intended landing.
23 Illusions: Black hole illusion When there are no other references (when the airport is surrounded by terrain with few lights and it’s dark), the mind latches onto the near and far ends of the lit runway for reference. As the plane approaches, the pilot unconsciously tries to keep the angle formed between the eye and the near and far ends of the runway at a comfortable constant. However, as the runway gets closer, that angle gets bigger, and the only way to keep it constant is to let the airplane descend. Many pilots do so and winding up landing short of the runway. This does not happen during the day because there are so many other visual cues--trees, cars, roads, even the ground.Example, from the January, 2004 Aviation Safety: the pilot of an Ercoup said he planned a low approach at 100 ft AGL to determine if he could see an unlit strip in the middle of a corn field in Illinois well enough to land. The airplane flew into the corn crop about two tenths of a mile form the airstrip and was substantially damaged.
24 Illusions: Which light is closer? The right answer of course is that you can’t tell; there’s no reference. But one light sure looks closer even though it’s at the same horizontal position (assuming the airplane is wings-level) and therefore equidistant (assuming it’s on the ground).
25 Illusions A bright light seems closer A dim seems farther away But it ain’t necessarily soImportance to landing sight pictures, mountainous terrain, etc.
26 Illusions Which view out the windshield shows a climb? Again the answer is that you can’t tell without some other sort of clue, but an isolated light low in the windshield gives the illusion that the airplane is climbing regardless of the actual attitude, whereas an isolated light high in the windshield makes it look like the airplane is nose down. The pilot who doesn’t anticipate this illusion can wind up diving into the ground in the first case, or pulling up into a stall in the second case. The point to hammer home is that isolated lights give no reference and must not be used for flight information. Use the instruments.
27 Illusions Answer: Neither. Nose up/nose low illusion Adding some sort of horizon gives a better feel for what the lights are or are not telling you
28 Illusions Planets, street lights False horizons Size illusions I read a real story where a pilot took violent evasive action to avoid what he thought were the landing lights of an approaching airplane (upper right) only to realize that the lights were Venus and Saturn.A row of lights can look like a city on the horizon, making the pilot want to align the wings with the line of lights, whereas in fact they may only be headlights on a highway that is slanting off diagonally to the upper right.Which runway is closer? You can’t tell. Maybe the left runway is bigger but farther away. Check your altimeter.
29 Illusions Window reflections Snow Dark left/bright right When banking, bright or numerous ground lights can reflect on the side windows, and the motion of the reflection caused by banking gives the illusion that the airplane is banking in the opposite direction.Landing in a snowstorm can produce a whiteout when the landing light reflects on the thousands of passing snowflakes.Bright lights (a city) on one side of the aircraft contrasted with utter darkness on the other side can produce the illusion that, in order to be level, the plane should be banked so that the wing points to the bright lights.
30 Vertigo Vertigo is more common at night Flicker vertigo Vertigo avoidanceDon’t close your eyesDon’t move your head in a turnVertigo is more common at night because there are fewer stable visual cues to counteract it.Flicker vertigo can be caused by strobes in clouds: turn them off (the strobes, not the clouds).Closing your eyes shuts out the source of the vertigo but also eliminates the possibility of fixing the problem by reference to instruments. Maintaining head position during a turn keeps the fluid motion in the inner ear to a minimum.
31 Preparation Risk reduction: Consider the two-pilot crew Familiarity with aircraft systems and performanceBlindfold cockpit checkMiminum distraction finding somethingFinding the right knobAvoid pulling wrong knobThrottle/prop/mixture/fuel pumpLightingAlternatorThere’s a lot more to be said about crew interactions and the benefits of teamwork, multiple sets of eyes, etc, than implied by the first line, and it’s all the more important for night flyingThe electrical system is probably the most important for this discussion: does the pilot know how to read the ammeter (discussed later under Emergencies), re-set the alternator, change a fuse or reset a circuit breaker? Does he/she know which systems (gear, flaps, radios, etc) would not operate if the electrical system went down?Pilots should know that the knobs on the throttle, mixture, and prop controls have different textures, what texture is which control, and the position of each. They should know where things like the alternator circuit breaker and the various light switches are without having to look for them in order to avoid distractions.
32 EquipmentFlashlightspare batteries and bulbsspare flashlightClear glasses (transition from sunglasses at dusk)spare glassesPortable GPSHandheld radioKeep all items within easy reach!A spare flashlight is better than spare bulb and batteries, less distraction.I had one lens of a pair of glasses fall out and fall on the floor once, lost to humanity for at least the duration of the flight; spare glasses are not to be sneezed at.A portable GPS offers navigation backup, and a handheld radio offers communication backup (or at least the ability to turn on pilot-controlled runway lighting!) in case of electrical failure.It’s obvious but it needs to be said: if this spare equipment is in the baggage compartment, or even just “somewhere” in the back seat, you might as well not even have brought it for all the good it does you in an emergency. The equipment MUST be in a known and easily accessible place. The pickle suit has lots of handy pockets, fisherman’s vests are useful, but regular pants pockets are useless since they’re trapped under the seat belt.
33 Airport Facilities Directory A/FD For Destination AND Departure AirportLighting (runway, PCL,etc)Check NOTAMS for inop lighting systemsObstaclesTower/FBO hoursCall ahead for local infoAt this point in the class we started to discuss the various important factors we needed to know for any airport of intended operations. The A/F D is the official source but it isn’t the only one.I once planned a trip to arrive at an airport after dark and was startled, considered myself lucky, to discover before takeoff that the airport was not lit after dark. The A/F D does not always give all the important information, for example it does not always indicate how the airport lighting gets turned on. Online sources are good (see below), Flight Service has NOTAMS, and calls to the airport manager can be invaluable.We handed out copies of the A/F D and other sources, for the airports they would be flying from and to during the flight part of the exercise. The plan was to 1. Have them arrive night current so that we could throw some dark-night flying at them, reveal the dangers and maybe expand their proficiency; 2. Execute a few landings locally at a well lit airport; 3. Do a 35nm cross-country over an unlit, remote area during a DARK night; 4. Experience black-hole approaches and landings at a poorly lit airport; 5. Do an approach to a near-by reflector-only airport; 6. RTB.
34 Santa Fe Elevation: 6348’ Lighting: VASI on runways 2, 02PVASI on runway 15 but NOTAMed inopREIL on runway 33Lighting control: constant low intensityFrequencies: CT, CTAF after 10 PMSome of the more important information on the point of departure, where we would do preliminary landings at a well-lit airport
35 Example of information from an online website (airnav Example of information from an online website (airnav.com) regarding the Moriarty, NM airport, the intended destination airport, including photo. Arrow highlights some of the lighting info.
36 Additional Moriarty airport info Additional Moriarty airport info. The A/F D indicated that it is the REIL lights that are OTS whereas this source indicates that it is the MIRL: the A/F D was correct. This site also gives a weather forecast.
37 Moriarty Elevation: 6199’ Lighting: MIRLREIL (“OTS indef”)Lighting: available, control not specifiedFrequencies: CTAFImportant facts for night-flying consideration for the destination airport. Note that nowhere does it warn the pilot that an approach to runway 26 at this airport is over unlit, absolutely black terrain and that a black hole illusion should be anticipated. Nor does it say that most of the MIRL’s on the north side of the runway at one end have been ripped out by the tow ropes from glider operations. A call to the airport manager might elicit this information.
38 EstanciaElevation: 6100’Lighting: ODALS; runway edge “retro-reflective” lightingLighting control: unspecifiedFrequencies: 122.9Other: cattle; soft when wetThe A/FD doesn’t give much information here, but there’s not much to know. It’s a black-hole runway in the middle of a black desert, but someone thought it was worth putting some sort of lighting system in for after-dark landings. I flew a practice run to this airport a few weeks before the class and was unable to turn on the ODALS. A call to the airport manager enlightened me: 7 clicks, which I had been trying, turns the system OFF; it only takes 5 clicks to turn it on. You have to be flying runway heading approaching the ODALS in order to have the landing lights aligned with and thus hitting the reflectors. They’re good, but you’re out of luck if your landing light burns out or if the cross wind is such that you have to crab significantly on final.We made the decision not to allow landings here during the exercise, and that approaches would be broken off at 200 ft AGL.“ODALS”: Omni-Directional Approach Lighting System. I had to look it up.
39 Preflight Airplane Inspection Perform in Daylight if possibleFuel sample colorStains, leaksInclude aircraft lighting testsNav/taxi/landing/interior/panel/strobesIt’s much easier to detect colors and stains in daylight. Strong flashlights are necessary if a preflight must be done after dark but are cumbersome and too bright for cockpit use in flight; a separate preflight flashlight might be a good idea.Preflight includes tests of lighting systems not normally done during preflight for a daytime flight.
40 Taxiing IFR instrument checks Strobes off Landing lights off Melted lensesBlind oncoming trafficBattery drainKeep the centerline, especially when turning off the runwayPedestrians: you can’t see them, they can’t see the propYou just might wind up flying in IFR conditions so you might as well do the IFR taxi check (T&B or TC, Ball, AI, VSI, Mag compass, DG).Be considerate of other ground traffic with your strobes and landing lights, might even consider stopping and turning off the a taxi light if taxiing towards an aircraft on short final.A lot of pilots tend to cut corners when taxiing, especially when turning off runways onto taxiways. This has led to prop strikes on taxiway lighting and other unpleasantness. Stay on the centerline: you can say that at least YOU were in the right place if you hit something.
41 Always have an airport diagram available for the big airports Always have an airport diagram available for the big airports. They can be downloaded from a variety of web sites. Don’t hesitate to ask for progressive taxi instructions from the tower if there is one. Airport lighting and layouts are more difficult to see from the low AGL altitudes of a Cessna cockpit than they are from the lofty heights of a 737.
42 Watch your taxi speed and keep your attention outside the A/C when it is in motion Don’t be looking up headings on a map or changing radio frequencies while taxiing. There are a lot of expensive things to hit very close by when taxiing; all attention should be on avoiding them, especially at night.
43 Airport Lighting Runway Taxiway lights are blue White (last 2000 ft are yellow)REIL strobesThreshold (Red/Green)Taxiway lights are blueTaxi centerline lights are greenTurnoff lights are “peas and carrots”Hold-short lights are flashing yellowBeacon (green/white, green/white/white)REIL: runway end identifier lightsThreshold lights show green on one side, looked at from the takeoff position, red on the other side.Useful information, but there are still a lot of non-standard and much simplified runway lighting color systems around.
44 Taxiing: Lighting colors You had best be down to taxi speed when approaching the red lights on the left after landing.Don’t take off or land on a set of lights like that on the right.
45 Taxiing: runway turnoffs I couldn’t get Powerpoint to do alternating green and orange for turnoff lighting. A yellow turnoff line will be unlit but can be picked up with the airplane’s taxi light. Stay on the centerline and stay out of the ditches. If there’s a gap between white runway lights in the general direction of the taxiway you want to get to, or a gap in the blue taxiway lights in the direction you want to go to get to the runway, DON’T go through the gap unless there’s a yellow centerline through it.
46 TakeoffsBack-taxi on a remote runway to clear it of animals and parked loversRunway lights are a necessity for takeoffIFR if black night: no attitude referenceUse airspeed, AI, altimeterRemote runways can hide all sorts of hidden obstacles that you would be able to see during the day but can’t see at night since the landing/taxi lights don’t reach out far enough. Wildlife, livestock, and machinery are all possibilities.If the runway lights are inoperative, the landing light will not suffice to keep you on the centerline during acceleration since it does not reach out far enough. Do not attempt to take off.A black/dark night takeoff is an IFR departure and must use IFR techniques. Remember Buddy Holly.
47 Verify that all passengers are properly seated and secured
48 Climbout and Departure Use IFR Departure Procedures when availableTransition to instrumentsUse the AIUse standard rate turns to minimize chances for vertigoKnow the terrainReview the sectionalView the terrain in daylight if possibleThe more a pilot knows about the local lay of the land, the safer that pilot is when it can’t be seen. If unfamiliar, stay out of the dirt by using IFR techniques.
49 Types of Departure Procedure ATC (clearance/departure control/tower)SID or Std IFR ProcedureUse the sectionalGPMTGPM: Guess and Pray Method [not recommended]
50 Eastbound IFR departures from Santa Fe avoid the mountainous terrain (to over 12,000 ft MSL/6000 ft above airport elevation) directly to the east.
51 En RoutePlan route via airports, over interstates, and using available lightingAvoid rough terrain and stay over lower elevationsDifferent landmark/checkpoint strategy for pilotageRadio navigation is often primaryFly high:Avoiding terrain by procedure (routing & altitude) rather than visual separationAltimeter setting is important to avoid marginal terrainMore glide distanceIFR techniques and competencies are usefulUse airways, MEA & MOCA for terrain clearanceMonitor engine instruments more thoughtfullyElectrical more criticalAmmeter is usually the first hint of troubleDimming lights – weak radio reception are also indicatorsWX - Respect low ceilings and visibilitiesThis is a wordy slide but entirely worth reviewing. At this point we had the students start looking at the en route considerations such as airways, terrain, obstacles, night-time landmarks, distances for the night practice mission we were going to do. The following slides are attached as an example of how we planned and ran our actual flights.
52 Initial routing looks reasonable. SAF to MoriartyInitial routing looks reasonable.But:What if the turn to ‘on course’ is delayed perhaps at the towers request to clear traffic?What if the compass, DG. Or your attention to heading wanders?What if the visibility is only the ‘legal’ 3 miles?Santa Fe is at 6348 ft and Moriarty is at 6199 ft, so 7500 ft would be a reasonable en route VFR altitude, but there is 8900 ft terrain to consider not too far off the direct route ft would work, but lateral terrain separation is more comfortable.
53 Using V83 thence the 200° Radial will add one minute to the flight, yet assure positive positional awareness.IFR chart of the same route shows the MEA is 9000 ft. Flying the airways does not add significant distance or time to the flight.
54 Descent Delay descent until positive ID of destination airport Rotating BeaconSurrounding lightingSudden foreground occlusion is a warning bellModified IFR approachMake regular cockpit callouts of airspeed and AGL altitudeLandings at the wrong airport, or on a highway that is near and that looks like the airport, are not rare. It’s easier to positively identify your airport at altitude if ATC allows.If the runway disappears, something (a cloud, or worse, a hill) has come between you and the landing site: take appropriate action.With fewer visual cues, it is easy to loose track of your airspeed and altitude, so you must make a conscientious effort to keep track of them, particularly on final. Verbal airspeed and altitude callouts every 100 ft of descent, even if (especially if) you are alone, are one way to avoid getting low and slow without realizing it.
55 A professional crew in a Lear Jet recently lost track of their altitude, position, or both, and hit the ground, with predictable results, on a clear night while doing practice approaches at the Santa Fe airport.
56 Landings Determining wind direction ATISOnboard GPSIlluminated windsocksDrag a remote runway to clear it and to check the windUse VASI or ILS if availableOnce on final, only a landing or a full go-around are allowedAvoid straight-ins: difficult to judge altitude and distance at an unfamiliar runwayAn onboard GPS will read different ground speeds on final into or with the wind if it is strong, and can be used to determine approximate wind direction, but beware of low-altitude shear that can change the winds only a few hundred feed above the surface.As in takeoffs, make sure a remote runway is clear before attempting to land.Use any available aids to stay on an appropriate glide slope and avoid a black hole illusion. Making verbal airspeed and altitude callouts on final, keeping visual space between the runway lights until definitely over the runway, are other ways in the absence of a VASI.A full go-around starts with a climb straight-out parallel to the runway and doesn’t make any turns until 300 ft below pattern altitude. No 360’s on final.
57 Iraq, late Airfield was noted as being worked on by an earlier daytime flight but the word did not get around. The C-130 tried to land at night
58 LandingsDeliberately fly the approach to cross the runway threshold at 100 ft AGLAllows a margin for altimeter errorAvoids black hole errorFlare is typically inadvertently lowUse a soft-field techniqueJudgment – divert if conditions are unsafeIn addition to 100-ft altitude callouts on final, give yourself a bit of safety margin by crossing the threshold at 100 ft AGL unless the runway is short.Most inexperienced and/or frazzled pilots flare too low, touching down before they’re in a full flare because they think they’re a foot or two higher above the runway than they really are. This is especially pronounced when landing-light-failure landings are being practiced. If runway length permits, add a bit of power and flare slightly high, setting up a slow rate of descent, feeling for the runway, much like a glassy-water seaplane landing.Having pilots practice landings using their flashlights to illuminate the instrument panel, as if the cockpit lighting has failed, is also instructive, and gives a reality check to one’s concept of the “accessibility” of emergency equipment.
59 A little higher on final would have kept this pilot out of trouble.
60 Emergencies Loss of engine Head for the dark? Head for the light? Trim nose up, flaps, into the windSome people recommend heading for a dark area as having less potential for man-made obstructions. Others recommend heading for well-lit areas that indicate potential help is at hand and as areas where you might be able to see what you’re landing on. A devil’s choice. Flight over unlit terrain on a dark night should be a statement of faith in your engine, not in your piloting abilities.Another technique that’s been recommended if you can’t see the terrain below is to trim full nose up, lower the flaps, turn into the wind if you know it, and ride it out. This configuration should give a minimum forward speed and relatively low descent rate, but it should be practiced first, during the day and at altitude.
62 Emergencies Loss of electrical No aircraft lighting No navigation You can’t see (instruments, landing)You can’t be seen by other trafficNo Pilot Controlled LightningNo navigationNo flaps, landing gear?Soft field landingReview the previously presented Las Cruces accident chain where a departing airplane pulled out in front of the accident airplane as it was on final, because it did not have any lighting, because it had an electrical failure.If you do not have electrical energy, you do not have radios and can not activate PCL. Landing without runway lights is a formula for trouble. This is where the hand-held radio can save the day as PCL can be activated by a hand-held. Likewise, the portable GPS can help navigate after the panel radios go out.No electrical means no electrically operated flaps or landing gear, so be familiar with no-flap landings and how to manually operate the gear. No landing light either, so use a soft-field technique, runway length permitting, and feel gently for the touchdown.
63 Know your systems Loadmeter: “0” = emergency; +20 = normal Ammeter: “0” = normal; +/-20 = emergency60bussaltPipers tend to have loadmeters, Cessnas to have ammeters. It’s important to know the difference and to know which system the aircraft you are flying uses, since the emergency readings are different for the two systems. It’s also important to know what the normal reading is: typically it’s around 20 amps for a loadmeter, at or near 0 for an ammeter.-6060bussbatt
64 Electical Discharge Reset the alternator Turn off all but essential equipmentTransmitter: 5 ampsTransponder : 2 ampsNav radio: 1 ampReceiver: ½ ampLighting, heater, gyros?Most electrical systems can be re-set once by turning the alternator switch off and then back on or resetting the alternator circuit breaker. Preflight should include finding out where these switches are.It’s also worth knowing how much draw each system uses in order to assess which systems you might be able to continue using without sucking down the battery, vs which systems should only be used when absolutely necessary.
65 Electrical Overcharge Turn off electricalTurn off the alternator field, let it cool and then try to reset itPull the alternator circuit breakerKnow the locations of switches and circuit breakersAn overcharge is the opposite problem, where the alternator won’t stop charging the battery. Eventually the battery goes dry and fails, but before that there is an over-voltage situation where equipment can get burnt out and even the possibility of fire. Panel lights that go dim-bright or flicker and then fail are an indication, but it pays to monitor the ammeter which gives an early indication.
66 Emergencies VFR into IMC Inop cockpit lights Execute the classic 180 turn and get out of Dodge. Now!Inop cockpit lightsJust how handy really is your flashlight?Have the copilot hold itA VFR pilot should never blunder into the condition of VFR into IMC, day or night. Best remedy is prevention.Use a dimmed flashlight. If the passenger is holding it, tell them which instruments are critical for you to be able to see.
67 Emergencies Inoperative runway lights Is it really pilot controlled lighting, or should you have called the manager and asked to have them turned on manually?Maybe you’re not where you think you are.If you don’t have runway lights, you don’t have a landing target. DIVERTMaybe you’re really just turning down the lights for some poor sap on final at the airport where you intended to be, while irritating the traffic at whatever airport you’re really at.The outcome of an attempted landing on an unlit runway is a gamble to make a betting man weep or shout for joy, depending on which side you let him choose.
68 Night Weather Temp-Dewpoint trends Clues for low level haze Can’t see clouds on a dark night: clues for cloudsBeware VFR into IMCSpatial disorientation: JFK Jr.Temperatures get lower during the night, meaning that there is more potential for fog as the temp approaches the dewpoint.Ground lights get indistinct, have a halo, when low level haze is forming. Stars do the same for a developing overcast.
69 Useful IFR techniques MEA, MOCA, MRA, MCA, etc. Standard rate turns Departure ProceduresAltimeter settingsSituational AwarenessIt’s legal to fly night VFR in the US, but there are many nights and many situations where it’s just plain stupid to do so. Anyone flying at night should have some inkling of what instrument flying and instrument navigation is about. If the acronyms and phrases on this slide don’t mean something to you, don’t fly far from a well-lit airport on a dark night.
70 Retro-reflector runway lighting Cannot see panels until 1.5 miles outMust be aligned with runwayPilot/radio activated strobesWing-mounted landing lights are off-centerX-wind crab vs. landing-light aimUse flaps for better vertical light aimingThis slide was used to brief the reflector approaches. Why it’s called a “Retro-reflector” system is beyond me, seems redundant unless it’s maybe a system out of the ’50’s or something.
71 Night Flight Training Profile PREFLIGHTDiscussion/briefing of flight profileReview Notams, A/F D for departure and destination infoQuery for Terrain awareness:departure and destination airports, enrouteObserve Preflight inspectionVerify Equipment inspectionChallenge Cockpit organizationPerform Blindfold cockpit testThis next set of four slides comprises a generalized outline of the flight profiles we actually flew and the points made by the instructors while flying. We generally used three-man crews: CFII in the right seat, student in left and back seats. We flew out with one student left seat, shut down and students swapped places, then flew back. Each student had about one hour and 5-6 landings in the left seat. We made it a point to tell the students that this short class and shorter flight did not qualify anyone as night-flying experts. We opened a lot of eyes and got some good experience under people’s belts.We made a point of using a dark, no-moon night to fly this profile. We also made sure that pilots did not fly fatigued or without having eaten supper, and that people listed their start and end duty-day times when they signed in so that they did not exceed them.
72 Night Flight Training Profile TAXIHighlight IFR instrument taxi tests,Verify ammeter checkDiscuss airport lighting during taxiDeparture AirportObserve take-off and transition to black conditionsPerform initial landing(s) at well-lit airportNote availability of VASI, PAPI, ILS as appropriate
73 Night Flight Training Profile EN ROUTETurn-off inside lightingNote lack of visual cuesVerifyInstrument scanNavigation abilitySituational AwarenessTerrain awarenessDemonstrateOff-center outside scanIllusions: bank = climb; nose up = high; stars = lights; false horizons
74 Night Flight Training Profile Destination AirportLocate destination airportIdentify traffic pattern entryDemonstrate pilot controlled lightingVerify altitude and airspeed awarenessPerform all turns at standard rateExecute landings at black-hole airportAlso practice emergency landings with no landing or cockpit lights, no flapsVerify judgment to abort or divert if conditions not suitableEven after just having studied it in the classroom, feedback from at least two students was to the effect that gravity sure was strong on final at the black-hole airport. Another was amazed at how fast it became totally dark and all visual references were lost when taking off into the same the black void.
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