Ready for night flight? Not so much.

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Rich
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Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Rich »

I don't do much night flying anymore, so when it looks like I might need to be night current it takes a special effort. I'm planning a flight next week that might require that I be night current so last night, coming home from being in a performance in Bend, at about 11:00, I swing into the airport to do some patterns. Thus begins the lesson.

1. It's super dark in my row of hangars. No outside lights. Not something I thought about when arranging for the hangar last year :thumbsd:
2. Good news (I checked before I left the house): My flashlight batteries are not dead, though they've been in there for years. Duracell expiration date of 2017 :thumbsup:
3. My hangar lock is a combination lock which reflects the light of the flashlight so badly it's almost impossible to read the numbers. I should probably look into a different lock. :scratch:
4. Floodlight and compass light don't work. I'll track down next week, but it's likely that it's that connector between the instrument panel harness and the canopy swingarm - again :x
5. I needed the landing practice. Did 5 circuits, with the first two not flared properly. The remainder were back to my normal professional grade 8-)
6. Pilot-controlled runway lighting is prone to timing off at inopportune times :shock:
7. At night the area around Prineville airport to the South and Westward around to the North is REALLY FRIGGIN' DARK. (Did I mention that it was clear, but moonless at the time?) There are also a couple of not insignificant hills under the pattern with no lighted structure. Not at all like operating from a densely populated area such as Boeing Field or Paine Field. Good training, though, as you are really on instruments quite a bit.
8. XEVision lights are wonderful. Especially when pilot-controlled lighting goes out during the flare :D
9. Sooner or later, one needs to replenish gas in that Power Tow. Of course, this is most likely to have to be done in the dark :P
2002 DA40: MT, PowerFlow, 530W/430W, KAP140, ext. baggage, 1090 ES out, 2646 MTOW, 40gal., Surefly, Flightstream 210, Orion 600 LED, XeVision, Aspen E5
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Colin
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Colin »

Pilot-controlled runway lighting is prone to timing off at inopportune times
Had that happen during my PPL training's mandated 10 night landings. Took both me and the instructor by surprise. It does mean that I am *waiting* for it to happen in "real life."
Sooner or later, one needs to replenish gas in that Power Tow.


Go electric.
Colin Summers, PP Multi-Engine IFR, ~2,600hrs
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Lou
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Lou »

I was taught to reset the ARCAL every time you turn base. Otherwise, with the length of a typical circuit it will always shut off shortfinal on the 2nd circuit :shock: ! ( is ARCAL a Canadian thing? "ARCAL - Aircraft Radio Control of Aerodrome Lighting" -I'm guessing yeah!)
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Colin
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Colin »

PCL. Pilot Controlled Lighting down here.
Colin Summers, PP Multi-Engine IFR, ~2,600hrs
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Rich
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Rich »

The DA40 rips around the pattern rather quickly, even doing stop-and-go's. The lights went out just after the flare for the 4th landing. 5 landings: 0.3 on the tach, which is nominally 18 minutes.
2002 DA40: MT, PowerFlow, 530W/430W, KAP140, ext. baggage, 1090 ES out, 2646 MTOW, 40gal., Surefly, Flightstream 210, Orion 600 LED, XeVision, Aspen E5
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rwtucker
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by rwtucker »

Does anyone know if the delay time is a function of the airport usage? I fly into KMYL frequently at night. I plan it that way of I can, amazing beauty.

Unless I am practicing a no light landing, I activate at ~3 miles out. The lights are still on when I turn off of the runway.
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Rich
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by Rich »

rwtucker wrote:Does anyone know if the delay time is a function of the airport usage? I fly into KMYL frequently at night. I plan it that way of I can, amazing beauty.

Unless I am practicing a no light landing, I activate at ~3 miles out. The lights are still on when I turn off of the runway.
I think there's a simple, standard timeout of 15 minutes. That seems about what it was the other night.
2002 DA40: MT, PowerFlow, 530W/430W, KAP140, ext. baggage, 1090 ES out, 2646 MTOW, 40gal., Surefly, Flightstream 210, Orion 600 LED, XeVision, Aspen E5
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danno2000
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Re: Ready for night flight? Not so much.

Post by danno2000 »

Hadn't done any night flying since PPL six years ago and never in the DA40, so decided to get up early this morning and head over to Albany KALB. My local airport's a bit of a black hole and by going before sunrise, I had the out of just staying airborne until it got light if I wasn't comfortable.

Turned out to be beautiful and smooth and everything I hoped it'd be. Here's a pic but even with some editing it can't do justice to the crescent moon and amazing reds around civil twilight.
Sunrise 2021.04.08 edit.jpg
best,
dan
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