Flight 19 - Night Operations


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the pilot-in-training to the fundamentals of night operations.


Romantic Dinner in the foothills

You have decided to take your “significant other” on a special date!  This date includes a moonlit flight over your date’s house, followed by a landing at a nearby town for a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant, and then to another restaurant for dessert. Your date’s house lies approximately 2 miles south of town; so the plan is take-off, fly over the house, and then proceed to the nearby town.

  • Study these Jeppesen Private Pilot Maneuvers
    • Chapter 8 - Special Flight Operations
      • Maneuver 31 - Night Operations
  • Study Chapter 10 - Night Operations of the FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook
  • Prepare for a flight to the Placerville Airport.
    • Be sure to identify the lighting at this airport, and any procedures necessary for activating pilot-controlled lighting.
  • Obtain a weather briefing and be prepared to present it during the Preflight Discussion
  • Calculate weight and balance and takeoff and landing performance
  • Review aircraft maintenance records to determine compliance with inspection requirements.
  • Bring a flashlight, preferably with a red light or lens
Learning Objectives
Preflight Discussion
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Perform Discuss lesson objective and completion standards
Explain Night Illusions
Explain Required aircraft equipment
Explain Airport and navigation lighting
Perform Preflight Risk Assessment
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Practice Night flight preflight actions
Practice Ground maneuvering
Practice Normal and crosswind takeoffs
Practice Flight at various airspeeds and configurations from cruise to slow flight
Practice Stall recognition and recovery procedures; power on/power off, full and imminent
Practice Steep turns
Practice Normal and crosswind landings
Postflight Briefing
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Perform Critique performance
Completion Standards
The lesson is complete when the pilot-in-training can:
  • meet the desired outcomes listed in the learning objectives table.
  • perform preflight actions at night.
  • conduct maneuvers at night to include the traffic pattern and takeoffs and landings.
  • maintain directional control at all times during takeoffs and landings.
  • identify and correct for night illusions with instructor guidance.