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PTS Emergency and Night;
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Notes; …A. Task: EMERGENCY DESCENT; ...Emergency Descents; ...Emergency Addendum; ...Emergency Descent Differences; ...B. Task: EMERGENCY
AFTER LANDING; ...B Task: PARKING AND SECURING; …Least familiar FARs; …Landing Light; …Logging Time; Making the PIC Decision at Night; …When Is Night; ...When It Is Night; … Emergency Training; ... Saving Your Life Once Is Enough; …To Land Is Your Only Option; ...Night Flying Afterthoughts; ...An Account of a Night Emergency; ...Night Fright; ...Night Flights; ... FARs; ...Equipment; ...Preparation; ...

No 'fast hands' is good advice in an aircraft emergency.

Don't just do something, sit there.

Air Force: Wind the clock.

REFERENCES: AC 61-21, operating handbook, flight manual

Reasons for an emergency descent. Leave 3000 feet for 1500 feet in power dive as though having engine or cockpit fire. Compare with power off nose high slip to lose altitude.

P 1. Knows and can discuss factors of urgency, aircraft limits, and techniques relevant to both emergency descent and survival.
P 2. Recognizes the urgency of an emergency descent.
P 3. Establishes the recommended emergency descent configuration and airspeed, and maintains that airspeed, + 5 knots.
P 4. Demonstrates orientation, division of attention and, proper planning. No descents below 1500' or above Vne
P 5. follows the appropriate emergency checklist.

EX The nature of the emergency helps decide the best descent procedure. A major cockpit or fuel fire would require a Vne descent. An engine fire could be kept away from the cockpit by a nose high, power-off, slipping descent. A descent through an overcast of unknown base might require slowing to Vmc with power on to control the descent and hands-off rudder flying for heading. A black hole situation would use a similar descent where the surface was unknown. A descent through a hole in an overcast could be made with full flaps and power off in a descending spiral with flap removal below the bases to expedite the descent. There are probably more.

To get down quickly you must reduce power and create as much drag as possible. The emergency descent is found under Task A of Emergency Operations in the private pilot PTS guide. Unfortunately, most light aircraft POHs do not contain information on emergency descents.

There are several emergency descent procedures that can affect the technique selected. An engine fire in a fabric aircraft would give the nose-high slip as a means of keeping the fire from the fabric. If you were directly over a good landing site then a high-drag descending spiral would be best. I have tried descents with and without flaps and find that there is little or no difference in the descent times per on-thousand feet. Kershner suggests a spin down to 1000' as a good option.

In no case should you exceed the V-speeds during the flight test. Examiners expect the pilot to put the aircraft into a high drag configuration and initiate a maxim rate of descent close to but not exceeding any critical speed.  Maximum G-load on flaps is 2-Gs.

The fact is that any extended emergency descent poises an engine-damaging problem due to shock cooling. Explain to the examiner that you will terminate the maneuver after you have completed any POH prescribed procedures and established a stabilized descent. When you are faced with the need for an emergency descent you have several options that give nearly the same rate of descent for the required 1500' altitude loss.

Procedure #1
Carburetor Heat, power off or on and descend at structural cruise speed (where the yellow and green meet). Descent should level off after losing 1500' and no descent below 3000'. This descent is at a relatively high speed and covers considerable distance. On arrival at the 1500' descent point you are going so fast that even more distance (read time) will be required for any landing. This is not the descent you would use to get below a cloud deck. It is visually very difficult to tell your relationship to clouds. Clouds are all of indeterminate size and distance you are quite likely to reach the clouds before getting below them.
Procedure # 2
Carburetor heat, power off, at white arc put in full flaps and descend at top of the white arc. This descent will get you down in the same amount of time as #1 but has the advantage of covering less distance (where distance is not a factor) and your lower speed will allow rapid deceleration to a landing speed.
Procedure # 3
Carburetor heat, power off, enter a full slip into your best estimate as to wind direction. Depending on the wind velocity the descent can be anywhere from straight down to an angle approaching that with full flaps. Not to demonstrated with flaps but will be useful information in a true emergency.
Procedure # 4
Carburetor heat, power off, at white arc put in full flaps while initiation a turn of not over 45^ while maintaining airspeed at the top of the white arc.

Emergency Descents
(From FAA text)
An emergency descent is a maneuver for descending as rapidly as possible to a lower altitude or to the ground for an emergency landing. The need for this maneuver may result from an uncontrollable fire, a sudden loss of cabin pressurization, or any other situation demanding an immediate and rapid descent. The objective is to descend the airplane as soon and as rapidly as possible, within the structural limitations of the airplane.

Simulated emergency descents should be made in a turn to check for other air traffic below and to look around for a possible emergency landing area. A radio call announcing descent intentions may be appropriate to alert other aircraft in the area. When initiating the descent, a bank of approximately 30 to 45-degrees should be established to maintain positive load factors ("G" forces) on the airplane.

Emergency descent training should be performed as recommended by the manufacturer, including the configuration and airspeeds. Except when prohibited by the manufacturer, the power should be reduced to idle, and the propeller control (if equipped) should be placed in the low pitch (or high revolutions per minute (RPM)) position. This will allow the propeller to act as an aerodynamic brake to help prevent an excessive airspeed buildup during the descent. The landing gear and flaps should be extended as recommended by the manufacturer. This will provide maximum drag so that the descent can be made as rapidly as possible, without excessive airspeed. The pilot should not allow the airplane's airspeed to pass the never exceed speed (VNE), the maximum gear extended speed (VLE), or the maximum flap extended speed (VFE), as applicable. In the case of an engine fire, a high airspeed descent could blow out the fire. However, the weakening of the airplane structure is a major concern and descent at low airspeed would place less stress on the airplane. If the descent is conducted in turbulent conditions, the pilot must also comply with the maneuvering speed (VA) limitations. The descent should be made at the maximum allowable airspeed consistent with the procedure used. This will provide increased drag and therefore the loss of altitude as quickly as possible. The recovery from an emergency descent should be initiated at a high enough altitude to ensure a safe recovery back to level flight or a precautionary landing.

When the descent is established and stabilized during training and practice, the descent should be terminated. In airplanes with piston engines, prolonged practice of emergency descents should be avoided to prevent excessive cooling of the engine cylinders.

Emergency Addendum
There is good reason for those who advocate making training takeoff climb-outs at Vx. Vx will get you high while relatively close to the runway. Your return to the runway turn is a more viable option than were you to climb-out at Vy. In any event you do not want to waste of your four seconds thinking about what to do. Get the nose down and on the way down make your decision. Straight ahead is historically the best survival way. Getting into the 45-degree turn into any wind will be the most practical way to get around with the nose down. The four-seconds is the mathematical time it takes a climbing C-172 to reach stall speed once the engine fails.

In any emergency, make what you do as near normal as you can. Don't do anything new or strange. The familiar will make things easy. In a controlled situation don't ask. Tell the facility what you are planning and going to do. By declaring an emergency you have gained the right to do what it takes to make the safest operation possible.

Emergency Descent Differences
Now required by the PTS, the emergency descent used is specific to the type of emergency. A structural problem requires a different descent than an engine fire, a cockpit fire a different descent from an engine fire and so on. At altitude any descent is going to take several minutes. It behooves the instructor to show the student several modes of descent.

I have timed no-flap high powered speed descents as might be used to blow out flames with full flap power off descents for 1500' land have found that the time involved are within seconds of each other. My leaning is toward the use of flaps since it reduces the time and distance required for landing and exiting. Both of these descents can exceed 2000 fpm if performed in a steep bank. If vibration or structure noises get worse in the descent, slow your rate and create as much drag as you can to increase the rate of descent without an increase in airspeed.

1. REFERENCES: AC 61-21A, Airplane handbook and Flight Manual

Best glide speed + 10 knots.

P 1. Knows and discusses which descent, approach, and landing is appropriate to the situation.
P 2. Establishes and maintains the recommended best-glide attitude, configuration, and airspeed, + 10 knots.
P 3. Selects a suitable emergency landing area within gliding distance.
P 4. Selects best option for field, speed + 10 knots, flies arrival pattern with respect to terrain and wind.
P 5. Contingency options opened and selected, seeks cause of problem, flaps only when field is certain.
P 6. Maintains positive control of the airplane at all times.
P 7. Follows the appropriate emergency checklist.

EX Able to explain emergency sequence in a variety of possible situations. Be ready to demonstrate emergency process from start up to tiedown.

For single-engine certificates, simulated emergency approaches and landings, as well as system and equipment malfunctions are specified items. Judgment is most evident when a flight doesn't proceed as planned. Good judgment during aircraft operations that are critical to flight safety must be tested and demonstrated. An example of a simulated engine failure test of judgment often occurs during low level ground reference maneuvers but can occur over an airport. The ability to determine relationships and alternatives and then make reasonable decisions is judgment. The ability to adjust one's actions to meet the surprises that come in the PTS and flying is essential. The student /instructor combination must give opportunity to develop this judgment.

--Because throttle has been misused to prime the engine the carburetor overflows. When started the exhaust sets fire to the overflow.
1. If the engine has not started, continue to crank the engine with the mixture out. This will suck much of the fire into the exhaust, and use up fuel in the system. If this doesn't work, bail out and call authorities. Use radio?
2. If engine is running, pull mixture and apply full throttle. Use radio to call authorities.

-- At application of full power, seat slides back, door opens, or a loud bang occurs.
1. Pull power and clear runway
--Shortly after lift off, seat slides back, door opens or a loud bang occurs.
1. Power off and land on remaining runway.
2. Power as needed to maintain control. Radio.
Altitude needed to safely land. May be off airport.
During climb out at best rate, the engine fails
1. Land off airport within 30 degree of heading
2. If altitude permits (800' or more) make steep turn to airport. 240 degree turn required to make it back to departure runway. During climb out, the cockpit fills with smoke.

1. If electrical, turn off master. Return for landing.
2. If petroleum, pull mixture, forward nose high slip to landing. Flaps if possible.
3. In event of fire, get on the ground.
. Engine failure at altitude

2. An imminent stall will stop the propeller from windmilling and improve the glide ratio. The starter can be used to level the prop and minimize damage.
3. If descent is being made against the wind, add 1/3 of the wind velocity for best penetration glide.
4. If descent is being made with the wind, reduce best glide speed slightly.
--Fuel gauge on empty, lost
1. Land. Note: Don't fly below 1/4 tanks. The gas gauge is the least accurate instrument on the aircraft. Factors such as load, winds, and carburation can affect fuel flow.
--Lost-possibly flew off the edge of the sectional.

1. CCCC Climb, communicate, confess, comply. Note: Don't delay. Get on the radio and indicate that someone has misplaced your destination. A common fault is to descend in the belief that something will appear. Nothing so interferes with mental functioning as being lost or misplaced.
--Partial engine failure
1. Your first rule is to maintain positive aircraft control as you refer to your printed checklist. Check the critical items so that in an actual failure you will deal with the essentials first.
2. Smoothness and airspeed control in obtaining and maintaining the best glide airspeed and configuration is essential. Failure to maintain just the best glide speed will prevent accurate decisions related to gliding distance and touchdown. Be sure to consider factors as altitude, wind, terrain, obstructions in your planning. If you have made a poor choice of an emergency landing area, don't hesitate to make only one new choice.
--Engine failure with full flaps

1. Get the flaps up while applying enough back yoke pressure to maintain the best glide speed. Best power off glide speed is usually midway between Vx and Vy. (Check) Trim down four turns from full flap descent at 60 knots and 1500 rpm.


REFERENCES: AC 61-21, operating handbook, flight manual

Partial or complete power loss, engine roughness or overheat, carburetor or induction icing, loss of oil pressure, fuel starvation, electrical system malfunction, flight instrument malfunction, landing gear or flap malfunction, inoperative trim, open door or window, icing, smoke and fire in cabin, smoke and fire in engine compartment, any other emergency, follows prescribed checklist.

P 1. Knows and discusses the systems, malfunctions, and symptoms appropriate to the aircraft used. You are expected to be able to draw all the systems given in the POH.
P 2. Takes action for simulated emergencies, such as--
a. degrees of power loss
b. engine roughness or high temperature
c. carburetor or induction ice
d. low oil pressure
e. fuel starvation
f. electrical system problem
g. instrument malfunction
h. gear or flap problem
i. inoperative trim
j. open door or window
k. structural ice
l. any smoke or fire
m. other emergency
P 3. follows the appropriate emergency checklist.

The examiner is not PIC during the flight test. The examiner test of emergency procedures should be discussed with the applicant before entering the aircraft. Components should only be disabled by mutual agreement.

--Partial power loss.
Possible causes: Magneto position, Carb Heat position or door, mixture position, fuel system problem, shorted spark plug, air filter plugged, and many more.

--Rough running engine or overheat
Possible causes: Carburetor ice, fouled or shorted plugs, magneto short or lead, fuel system, etc.
Never kill a running engine. Use what power you have to get to the nearest landing area. Descent cools, rich cools.

--Structural icing
Do a 180 at first sign. Gain altitude for as long as possible using the fastest speed possible. No flaps and do not slow down in the air. Land hot. the ice on the tailplane is the most dangerous.

--Flight instrument failure
Cover face of failed instrument(s). Proceed to destination. For pitot you can apply pitot heat. For altimeter and airspeed you can break face of VSI or use alternate air. Knowing where trim is set and power setting should allow you to proceed to a safe landing if you have learned how to establish a stabilized approach.

--Carburetor or induction icing
Symptom: rough engine caused by ice blockage of air intake or butterfly venturi.
Options: Cure:
Full Carb Heat. Will cause additional power loss and then a rise as ice melts. Carb Heat off will restore normal power. A climb attitude will increase engine heat. Use magnetos to make engine backfire. May clear ice. Try to climb, lean the mixture
--Loss of oil pressure
Symptom: Gauge, high oil temperature.
If oil temperature is normal it may be gauge. Make precautionary landing. If oil temperature is high, reduce to minimum power and get on ground. Don't try to make the next airport. A partial power landing is always a better option than a fire or dead engine. Reduce power, check oil temperature for rise that indicates loss of oil, get into landing area and down before engine quits

--Fuel starvation
Cause: Usually pilot error or contamination.
Option: Cure:
Get on the ground if you have any power at all. Be sure to get the power off for landing. Switch tanks, change fuel selector, check mixture movement, rock the wings. Once you are committed to landing it is better to forgo any effort to get engine running. A sudden full power engine just prior to touchdown is very dangerous and unlikely to continue. Many accidents have been caused by a sudden resumption of power just as the plane hits the ground. Intermittent engine operation will cease at the worst possible time.

--Engine compartment fire.
Shut off fuel, pull mixture, full power to use fuel in system. CHECKLIST Nose high slip to landing as fast as possible. Another option is to dive vertically in an effort to blow out the fire.

--Electrical system malfunction
If fire, kill master. CHECKLIST Inoperative equipment check fuse/ breaker system. If alternator, try to reset, reduce electric load and proceed to nearest airport. Check switches and amp meter readings. Initially, shut off the master. Then turn off all electrical equipment. Turn on master switch check for operation and problem. Turn on one electrical element at a time and check for problem. Try to locate and isolate problem. If problem continues shut off master and proceed to destination using NORDO procedures for IFR or VFR no radio procedures.

--Gear or flap malfunction.
Undo what you did, first. Aircraft will be controllable if flap positions are equalized. Landing gear up need not be an accident. If flaps are stuck in position, trim for best performance and proceed for landing. If flaps are asymmetric, get them up if possible.
Maintain best control and get to ground in best landing configuration.
CHECKLIST. Gear, fly to nearest large airport and use your radio
--Door opening in flight
This will not affect flight or operation except for noise. If you do not know how to close the door in the air, don't try. Land at nearest airport. Not an emergency. Close the window. It is possible to close door while in the air. For hard to close door, best option is to land and close it.

--Trim Inoperative
An inoperative trim in neutral position just makes flying more difficult but constitutes no danger. In any other position it is best to get the plane on the ground at reduced power to reduce control pressures and get the trim repaired.
Flying an out of trim aircraft is not pleasant but it is possible. Shifting some weight might help relive pressure. Work with the pressure until you can get on the ground. Not an emergency.

--Vacuum Failure
Vacuum Gauge at zero. Heading indicator begins to spin. Attitude indicator stops in one position. May be level or cocked.

--Other malfunctions
Loss of throttle control:
Control what ever engine power you have by magneto switch.
Stuck elevator movement
Use trim and power combination for control
Stuck rudder
Use doors for rudder control
No brakes
Full flaps, yoke back, ground loop

D. Task:  

REFERENCES: AC 61-21; operating handbook, flight manual

Emergency locator transmitter, battery life, on/off/arm positions, required inspections, battery changes, how to activate after emergency landing.

P 1. Knows survival gear and equipment available in aircraft
a. location on/in aircraft
b. operation and use
c. required servicing
d. safe storage
e. gear according to climate and topography
P 2. Follows the appropriate emergency checklist.

The ELT must be replaced as placarded on it by date of 1/2 battery life followed by A&Ps signature. It must have aircraft logbook entries as to date of installation and A&Ps signature. Since 6-21-94 ELT inspection required annually as part of annual inspection. It must be replace if activated for one hour. Data, dates and location required information for PTS. (Flight test). Test of ELT is limited to three audio sweeps during the first five minutes of any hour. ELTs in storage must have battery removed.

The aircraft shutdown checklist includes putting 121.5 on the com radio prior to turning it off. This ten seconds is used to save the time and money that would be wasted if an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) false alarm is pursued by the U. S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) now located on the East Coast.

ELT Update
Only second generation ELTs (TSO-C91a) can be installed after 6-21-95
Battery expiration dates on ELT and maintenance record
New inertia switch will not activate on hard landings.
Can interface with Loran and GPS
Next generation is:
Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacons (EPIRB's)
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB's)
406.025 MHz ELT's
System can receive and download information such as position and identification in one satellite pass.

Crash Survival
#1 survival item is to let a responsible person know where you are going, your route, and ETA. Insurance is to make contact after arrival. If you are not found quickly, you are not likely to be found at all. Survival items that are nice to have, short-term and essential for longer are:
Flashlight, digging tool, foul-weather gear, blankets, food, water, matches and candles. A real plus would be a portable GPS, a handheld radio, or a cellular phone. Dehydration is the worst threat usually facing a downed pilot.

Winter clothing:
Combine high-tech and traditional materials. It is easier to keep warm by wearing multiple layers. Inner lawyer should not absorb moisture and wick it away from the body. 1/4 if body heat leaves via the head. Waterproof headgear may be the most important single survival item.

Pilots are optimists that believe bad things happen to other people. They believe that flying is so safe that there is no need to be prepared for catastrophe. Before leaving home you should prepare the 'what if' options. Whenever you go flying you should be dressed to walk home. You should have required items within cockpit reach. You should stay with aircraft and survive until conditions allow foraging. Short-term rescue is usually within a day. The greatest danger is exposure to conditions causing hypothermia. The right condition of wind, temperature, and moisture can expose anyone to hypothermia. The body loses heat most rapidly when wet.

Making your position visible can help rescue. Make a clearing, start a fire, and make large SOSs. Use common sense, have confidence in yourself and be patient. Prior planning, preparedness, practice and training will enable you to make the best decision possible.

REFERENCES: AC 61-21, AC 61-23, AC 67-2, operating handbook, flight manual

To be discussed as part of oral, airport lighting, illusions, visual acuity and night physiology, chart-reading techniques, effect of age.

EX Discuss what you know about:
1. Physiological aspects of illusions, health, visual acuity.
2. Airport lighting systems and controlled lighting.
3. Aircraft light systems
4. Personal lights
5. Night pilotage, navigation, chart reading
6. Night precautions and emergency options

Carry several flashlights. Physiologically, night vision ability decreases with age, altitudes above 3000' have significant influence. Mountain flying is quite different from urban area flying. You should either do a great deal of night flying or none. Night flight eliminates 90% of your emergency landing options. Night flight constitutes only 4% of General Aviation flight time by 25% of the accidents.

Know the lighting systems in use at various airports. Be aware of how to obtain "pilot controlled" lighting and lighting aids not in use at controlled airports. Know how to obtain ATC/FSS/RADAR assistance in the event of being lost or disoriented. Be able to determine airport entry and pattern by interpreting ground aids.

The landing light is a useful identification aid at night. You may be requested to flash your light for identification. However, when landing, if you can see the light beam ahead while coming in for a landing you would be well advised to turn it off. Under these circumstances the landing light can create an illusion which results in a far too high flare. In any event you should always practice using the landing light every other time to maintain no light proficiency.

Blindfold Training
Just sitting in the airplane can be time well spent. You want to be able to touch every switch, control, instrument, and circuit breaker with your eyes closed. By knowing where the controls, switches and knobs are, you won't have to divert your attention to find them. You are minimizing the distractions that cause IFR vertigo. By using mental imagery it is possible to improve your flying performance.


REFERENCES: AC 61-21, AC 67-2, AIM, operating handbook, and flight manual
Preflight, aircraft lighting systems, and checklists to be covered as part of the oral.

P 1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to night flight. Since it is doubtful that a demonstration will be required, be prepared to review your past night flying experience.
P 2. Inspects the interior and exterior of the airplane with emphasis on those items essential for night flight. Preflight inspection for night essentials
P 3. Taxies and accomplishes the before takeoff check adhering to good operating practice for night conditions. Night taxiing procedures and night operating practices
P 4. Performs takeoffs and climbs with emphasis on visual references. Visual references used in night flight
P 5. Navigates and maintains orientation under VFR conditions.
P 6. Approaches, lands, and taxies, adhering to good operating practices for night conditions.
P 7. Completes the appropriate checklists.

EX Be prepared to discuss flight factors of night flying as different from day. This includes equipment, navigation, lighting, physiology, weather, terrain, and airport operations.

Be aware of these differences. Preflight to include interior and exterior lighting system. Navigation to cover emphasis on terrain clearance, proximity of check points, and 45 minute fuel reserve. Be able to select checkpoints that will be viable a night. Severe VFR at night is best flying weather with 1/4 moon or more. The night pilot is semi-IFR. Airports at night harbor optical illusions and minimal crosswind references. Any fog or low clouds can completely change the appearance of an area.

The most difficult aspect of night operations just happens to be taxiing. Be prepared to ask for assistance or that the lighting be turned up. The night takeoff becomes critical if disorientation should occur. You should be reasonably able to fly on instruments any time at night. Be sure you have set your gyro and predetermined your departure heading. Know your terrain. The actual landing is done with power on and not at a full stall.
See instructional material on night flying.

A. Task: 
REFERENCES: AC 61-21; Airplane Handbook and Flight Manual

P 1. Knows and discusses importance and sequence of after landing procedures
P 2. Taxies to the parking/refueling area using the proper wind control technique and obstacle avoidance procedures.
P 3. Completes the appropriate checklist.

EX Able to explain positioning of controls for taxi, reason for power to taxi and position for parking, reasons for shutdown checklist and procedure. Reasons for securing procedure and post flight inspection. Checklist, clearing runway, cleaning up airplane, clearance and read back

When landing in a crosswind the controls are correctly positioned for taxiing on the runway. The controls must be positioned during each turn from the runway and every taxiway to configure the aircraft for the wind. Flaps should be removed prior to application of brakes. It is possible to lock the brakes while the flaps are down at moderate speeds. Such braking will give a destructive "flat" on the tire in just a few feet. Carburetor heat should be removed during ground operations since the heated air is unfiltered and potentially damaging to the engine. The aircraft must be taxied across any hold bars on a taxiway or well clear if on an intersecting runway. You should acknowledge any change of tower frequency to ground but do not ever change until across the hold bars. Stop while contacting ground.

Taxi on the centerline even around corners. Remember that an aircraft to your right has the right of way. Be sure to acknowledge any ground communications directed to you. On entering the parking area use only the amount of braking/power required to make a smooth turn and smooth stop.

--Straighten the nose wheel during the last few degrees of your parking turn.
Idle at 800 rpm.
--Get out your shut down checklist and follow it regardless of how emotionally exhausted you may be. Radio to 121.5. Radios, electrical, off.
--Magneto check, mixture out, momentary increase in throttle then retard. Magnetos off. Control lock. Log time. Exit.

While you push back the plane check tires. Listen! Let the examiner know that you are making a visual inspection of the aircraft as to tie down the aircraft. Check the oil. With repetition you can learn how much oil a hot engine holds. Get all your materials organized. Clean up the cockpit. Order fuel for the next guy. You might level the prop if it can be done safely.

B Task: 

REFERENCES: AC 51-21, operating handbook, flight manual

P 1. Knows and is able to discuss parking and securing procedures, hand signals, precautions
P 2. Parks carefully and properly with consideration of others.
P 3. Uses checklist to shut down engine sequentially and securing the cockpit.
P 4. completes the appropriate checklist.
P 5. Makes post flight inspection

Least familiar FARs 91.11
Prohibits any person from interfering with a pilot in the performance of being a pilot.
Dropping of objects from an aircraft is allowed if it does not endanger persons or property.
Prohibits air transport of illegal drugs with pilot’s knowledge.
Pilot may not operate or allow to be operated any electronic device without finding out that it will not interfere with radios or navigational equipment.
FAR 91.137
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) in certain areas when emergency operations are underway. A pilot is required to know about these prior to every flight by getting appropriate NOTAMS for the flight route.
FAR 91.141 and 91.143
Protects airspace operations for public figures or space rockets.
FAR 91.187
Failure of any nav/com equipment when IFR must be reported to ATC.
FAR Part 43 and Appendix A
Pilot maintenance
FAR 91. 43.9 (a) and 91.407(a)
Related paper work and required logbook signature for return to service.

Landing Light
The landing light is the only part of the electrical system in which replacement by the owner/pilot is specifically authorized to troubleshoot and repair by FAR Part 43. The system consists of a power source, a safety device, an on/off switch and the light itself. The landing light is the only electrical part that FAR Part-43 authorizes owners to repair. Any repairs must be entered into the aircraft logbook.

Many landing lights have been moved from the nose of the aircraft to the wings because of frequent outages caused by landing shock and engine vibration. Initial troubleshooting begins with a close look at the landing light filament. Then comes a power check with a voltmeter. This includes a continuity check of the landing light wiring with special attention to the connector from the cowling to the firewall.

The absence of a landing light is not a no-fly situation in Part 91 operations. Every pilot should be proficient at night with and without the landing light. Night currency is required within 90 days for carrying passengers.

Logging Time
For logging purposes, VFR fuel requirements and VFR cloud clearances, night is from the end of civil twilight to the beginning of civil twilight. Currency is from one hour after to one hour before. The tower turns on its beacon at sunset and sunrise. This is also when aircraft are expected to turn on position lights

Making the PIC Decision at Night
--Why is the 'One-Eighty' so difficult to make?
--Teaching the required decision making skills takes real-time exposure to the conditions
--Have an alternate plan before making the flight.
--Use a dark night as a means to expose student to IFR flying.
--Teach that night VFR conditions may not be VFR.

When Is Night?
--Night means the time between end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight.
--Turn on navigational lights including beacon and anti-collision at sunset. May go off at sunrise.
--Night flight currency time must be logged between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.
--Currency landings must be performed in category and class of aircraft.
--All night currency landings must be made to a full stop. Stop and go landings are o.k.
--Currency lasts 90 day from the date in which the first of the last three night landings took place.

When It Is Night
--The number of accidents are six times more than the same percentage of daytime flying. (4 to 5 percent)
--Requirements are minimums. I previously required twice as much including a mountain night flight.
--Private PTS requires three hours of instruction, a 100 mile night flight and ten full stop night landings.
--90-day currency requires three full stop landings.
--Night landings and flight for meeting requirements must take place one hour after official sunset.
--Safe night flying requires considerations not necessary during the day.
--The eyes function differently and more poorly at night. A pilot needs to learn to see at night.
--The older you get the longer it takes for your night vision to adjust and the quicker it can be destroyed.
--At 4000' night vision is 5 percent decreased, at 6000 it is 20 percent decreased…use oxygen.
--A smoker at 6000' has 40 percent decrease in night vision. Quit flying or give up smoking.
--You may not see something at night unless you look slightly to one side of where you expect it to be.
--Light aircraft pilots have a disproportionate number of fatal accidents at night.
--The risks of night flying in familiar areas is far less than the same flying where unfamiliar.
--Whitt's safety rule of thumb: Don't fly into an airport at night that you haven't seen in daylight.
--Far more aircraft are damaged on the ground during night taxiing than in night flying.
--The darker the night the greater the risk. I require 1/4 moon light for night cross-countries. Fly ifr (I follow roads)
--Any night flight that can bring on IFR conditions should only be flown as an IFR flight.
--Make a practice of listening to all available AWOS and ASOS frequencies
--A night VFR into IFR conditions has a five times greater fatal accident rate than planned IFR flight.
--When lights get a halo around them it is a sign that partial obscuration exists due to condensation.
--Figuring out aircraft directions by the lights you see can be difficult
--Red to your right and green to your left means the plane is coming toward you.
--You want to avoid by turning right so that you can see only the red light on his left side.
--Turn off strobes when in IFR conditions at night to prevent vertigo causing situation.
--If you see a green light to your right it is coming toward you and passing you on your right.
--Any time you see a red aircraft light at your altitude you should change altitude and turn right.
--Strobe lights on the ground can cause all kinds of perception problems depending on visibility.
--The FAR minimum fuel reserve is a minimum and not nearly enough. Fill up before dark.
--Half of all engine failure accidents at night are related to fuel problems.
--Out of options…Slow, full up trim, full flaps, minimum forward speed and descent speed, secure cockpit
--Scud running does not work at night.
--Lights at night are Siren songs tempting IFR pilots to bust minimums…don't
--Safest night landings are made using visual approach slope guidance especially in low visibility.
--Any sort of problem is most difficult to handle at night when in IFR conditions. Luck is your best friend.
--Planning and operational mistakes are even more unforgiving at night.

Emergency Training
--Do not let distractions take you away from flying the aircraft
--Do what it takes to get to the ground in landing position
--Training that does not expect the unexpected is not preparing you for what will happen
--The emergency question is not if; it is when and to what extent.
--All emergencies would be better practiced with cockpit smoke
--Only current emergency training is adequate to the situation
--It takes ten seconds to run an engine operational check of C.H. mixture, throttle, mags , master & selector
--A true emergency only allows you to be wrong once.
--Major negative of simulated emergency is absence of realism.

Saving Your Life Once Is Enough
--One lesson doing the Dutch Roll enabled a new pilot to land in 39 knot crosswinds.
--Reading the windsock correctly is a necessary skill 
--Practice reading wind socks by estimating wind before listening to ATIS
--You need to be ready not to land
--Clearing the approaches to a runway only has to save your life one time.
--Excess speed in the pattern always creates problems
--Winds are always a variable and a factor in landings and approaches
--Certain structures or land/water features can affect the pattern known only to locals
--Plan to land on the first third of the runway or go-around
--It is better to go off the end of the runway than to crash in a failed go-around.
--Never fly below the VASI slope, even VFR.
--Obstacles that move down your windshield will pass below you..
--A two-percent down slope will require up to 20 percent more runway for stopping.
--A 10 knot tailwind component will double all aspects of the obstacle clearance and stopping distance.
--We should practice for the one-percent of landings where our best skills will be required.

 To Land Is the Only Option
--Identify the problem as solvable or insolvable
--Select only fields you can reach easily.
--You have one minute useful time per thousand feet.
--Trim all the way if you don't know how much, hands off.
--Make two choices, first and second
--Use your checklist
--Secure the cockpit
--If low, limit heading changes for into wind
--Its to late to change below 1000'
--Talking is the last thing to do.
--Think behind you land wind direction
--Once committed to spot use takeoff procedures
--Slide seats back, block doors, tighten belts
--Sterile cockpit below 2000', plan your pattern.
--Avoid using brakes when down.
--After crash, deplane to the rear

Night flying Afterthoughts
--Make day flights in plane before making night flight
--Avoid night flights into airports you have not flown into during the day
--Check all exterior and interior lighting during preflight.
--Carry multiple flashlights
--Choose moonlit cloudless nights as first choice.
--Last choice is solid IFR at night
--Fly an airport vicinity route over lower terrain
--Use all ATC facilities possible
--Fly conservative fuel numbers.
--Practice/prepare for electrical and other system failures
--More than twice as many night accidents result in fatalities as daytime
--Striking unseen objects on the ground
--Dark night with no references in poor weather
--Dark night with no references in good weather
--Oxygen above 5000
--If you see light twinkle, climb
--Always fly a full pattern at night
--Dim lights are best seen to the side
--Narrow runway will appear farther away
--Unfamiliar narrow runway at night makes you think you are higher than you are.

An Account of a Night Emergency
Thought I would share my first emergency....

I was flying from MBO (Madison MS) to L31 (Covington LA) to meet my sister for dinner, and get some night time hours on the return trip. I have done this trip many times.

Left Madison at 5:00 p.m. with an expected arrival at 6:15. I am starting my IFR training, so figured to really focus on holding altitude and heading working on "precision flying". I was doing great all along
the trip, and looking ahead, saw major buildups in my path. Called 122.00 and asked for an in flight advisory. Weather was moving SSW and though close, they said I should make my destination. Little did I know the weather would be the least of my concerns.

15 miles from my destination cruising at 3500, I got a horrible vibration throughout the engine. First thing I did was put the carb heat on. Made the vibration even worse. I held the carb heat for about 10 seconds, and turned it off. Immediately saw a "target farm field" should I need it and never let it leave my sight. Next, switched tanks, no change in vibration. Next fuel pump, no change. Next, checked my mags, left, then right, no change in vibration.

Next, turned to 121.5 and said, This is Sundowner 12345L declaring an emergency, anybody monitoring the frequency. As I am doing this, I am setting myself up for the "best glide" speed of 78 knots. Guard responds with Sundowner 12345L, go ahead with your emergency. I replied back, I have an extremely rough running engine, I am 12 miles from destination, I have an alternative field in sight should I need it, I will be sqawking 7700. I then turn the transponder to 7700. In this short time, I lost 500 valuable feet altitude.

As I reduced my power, and enriched the engine, trying different "power" settings, I noticed the vibration reduced somewhat. I watched my VSI, and noticed that I was able to "maintain" a 200 foot descent. Quick math in my head said, I had "15 minutes" flying time if I left my configuration the way it was, and now I was 10 miles from destination. 121.5 gets New Orleans approach, and New Orleans approach gets on 121.5 and tells me to squawk 4026. I acknowledge New Orleans approach, change my transponder to 4026, and said to New Orleans approach, that I have a stable 200 foot descent rate, engine is running rough, and my intentions is to proceed on to L31. Once I made my decision, I pretty much left what I had going alone. 4 miles out, I said "New Orleans approach, Sundowner 12345L request to change to 122.80. New Orleans approach said frequency change approved, please call FSS to let us know you are safe on the ground. I said Sundowner 12345. will call FSS after touchdown.

I set the radio to 122.80, called in Unicom and said, St Tamminy Sundowner 12345L declaring an emergency, inbound for runway 18 straight in approach. In my nervousness, New Orleans approach says, Sundowner 12345L, you are still transmitting on 121.5. Duh, helps to change the button from Com 1 to Com 2. So, I switch coms, and repeat my broadcast.

2 miles out, see that I am way too high for straight in, I decided instead of a straight in approach, that I would enter on the downwind leg, and proceed to use runway 36 to lose my altitude. I announce on
122.80, Saint Tamminy, Sundowner 12345L declaring emergency, changing intentions, entering downwind for 36. I left my power settings the way I had it, for the first half of downwind, and then abeam the numbers, I reduced the power ever so slowly, and also enriched the mixture ever so slowly. Engine got rougher, but kept running. Trimmed for landing, extended first set of flaps, and the second set of flaps on downwind. I
did this so all I had to do was really concentrate on flying the plane for base and final rather then "finess the plane". Kept my downwind closer to the runway then normal and turn base much sooner then normal. On final, I was 1200 feet above field elevation. On final, I heard that little voice say, better to hit the trees at the end of the runway then the beginning, so I made sure, that I had a higher then normal approach.

Seeing I was way high, I put in full right rudder, full left aileron, and pretty much turn the plane perpendicular to the runway. Slip worked great, ears starting popping on descent, and when I cleared the trees, turned forward. Saw I was still too high, returned to the slip, for another 5 to 10 seconds, and then straightened out. Cross the numbers about 25 feet AGL, speed, just above glide speed, cut the throttle to a fast idle. I get major vibration in the engine Started to lower the nose, felt my speed increase, and then raised the nose. Hit ground effect, halfway down the runway, ballooned to about 5 feet above the ground, I raised the nose to bleed off the speed, landed on the last third of the runway. Runway is 2999 feet, so I knew I wasn't stopping at the end of the runway, applied firm brakes, rolled off the runway, with the yoke clear to my chest. I was able to stop about 50 feet after leaving the end of the runway in hard ground with about knee high grass.

Engine was really rough, I turn around and limp back to the ramp, airframe and gear fully intact. Go to shut down, and the engine did not want to shut down. It finally shut down. My brother in law was waiting for me at the airport (he is a pilot), we decide to start up the engine to see if he could figure out the problem. Engine was rough on idle, tried to increase RPMs, but the best we could get is 1800, so we shut down.

We start calling A&P's around the area, and finally found one that could come out the next day. After describing the symptoms, first thing she thought was a fuel related problem, and asked me the usual questions, did I sump, did I see water, and so on. Nothing in the fuel, I told her runup was absolutely normal.

She pokes around the engine, pulling all fuel related hoses, saw lines and screens were clear, so next, she pulled the prop through and found that a cylinder lost all compressions. So, now the obvious occurred,
now to find why.... She pulled the cylinder out, and after opening the cylinder, we saw an unbelievable sight. Piston head had shards of metal pounded in it from the exhaust valve, even more amazing was the cylinder walls were smooth, and rings remained intact! She suspected that most of the exhaust valve was ejected out the exhaust pipe as she found fragments of metal through the exhaust manifold but very little in the intake portion of the engine. Problem "solved" so we thought, replace the cylinder, and off I go.

She comes back the next day, installed the cylinder, changed the oil, leak tested the engine and closed the cowling, she wanted to go up with me, as she had never been in a Sundowner. It is dark by this time, and while she was getting her tools together, I preflight. I taxi to the runway, call UNICOM to advise that I was back-taxing to 36. The runway has a runup area at the very end of the runway, I do the runup, all looks good. I get to the end of 36, and the A&P says, before departing, I need you to do a full throttle test. I hold the brakes, put the throttle full forward, and only get 2200 RPM. POH requires 2700. She says, lean it a tad, see what happens. No change to RPM. Lean it more, EGT and CHT goes up, engine starts running "normal rough". Needless to say, not good. She says taxi back to the ramp. No flying tonight. We taxi back, we pull the cowl. She says, the engine is acting like it is getting too much hot air for the RPMs not to go full throttle,
re-verifies the duct work, and all looks good. Last thing to look at is the carburetor as the engine was purring like a kitten, just could not get 2700 RPM. We called it the night (11:00 p.m.)

She said, I had a better chance at winning the lotto then what happened to me. The carburetor was the top of the line carburetor, and she said in the 19 years she has been an A&P, she has never pulled one from an engine. So, today, she pulls the carburetor, and she tears it down. She noticed that the lever to the throttle would not push full forward. It would go it's full range. She felt that due to the severe vibration, something in the carburetor shook loose, and is preventing the full extension of the throttle cable. So, now I need a new carburetor put in.

Seeing the forest through the trees, I figure the outcome was as good as it got, considering the catastrophic engine problem I experienced.

One thing I cannot thank my instructor enough was to instill the "what if scenarios", as when it really happened, I heard him in my mind say, make a decision, stick to it, but most importantly FLY THE PLANE.

The only thing I could not do during this entire episode is to pull the POH for emergency procedures. I found as the real thing happens, you don't have time to pull a book, find the chapter, and go to the list.  My first instinct was to do what I could remember (I studied my POH big time when I bought the plane, and refer to it frequently, to be sure I know what to do) and FLY THE PLANE.

I have an emergency checklist separate, but in reality, the time it takes to pull the list, get yourself oriented, you lose very valuable time when you are in the plane by yourself. It may have been different if I had a passenger, but when I was alone, I relied on my memory. (which as it turned out was not so bad *smile*.

I could have possibly diverted to another airport in Slidell LA in "gliding range" with a longer runway, but the thunderstorms that I saw were over that airport, so I ruled out trying to make it to that airport.

In "hangar" talk, I asked some pilots, should I file an ASR report. It was split down the middle, some said yes, some said no. I am leaning on filing a report.

Night Fright
---Things look different at night
---At night you many not be where you think you are
---Alaskan pilots may need to wait a year to get the night requirements for the private pilot.
---Failure to get the night requirements will void an Alaskan pilotís license.
---Statistics show that night takeoffs are four times more hazardous than the same takeoff daytime.
---Dark-hole disorientation is a factor in 26% of the accidents
---The average life expectancy of a VFR pilot in night IFR is one minute.
---Older pilots become aware of inherent risks of single engine night flight.
---Early on ľ of all my private pilot flying was a night, now I do it only instructional.
---Finding airports at night is very difficult unless you know what to look for and where to look close by.
---Taxiing on an unfamiliar airport is the most difficult aspect of night instruction. We always taxi back.

Night Flights
The hazards of night flying are directly related to the physiological limitations of the human body. Night flying will be different. Night flight is more stressful than day flying and very near to IFR flight without the required training. It should be, a moderate amount of stress will improve performance, keep the pilot awake and motivated. However, subtle events occur at night that would be easily detectable in daylight. Night flight requires the pilot be very familiar with the area and have special knowledge that can be acquired only through experience. I suggest you get this experience along with a pilot who has already acquired the experience.

On of the most difficult operations at night is taxiing. Many aircraft have inadequate taxi lights and even lighted airports have unlighted areas. A tower signal light can be used to show the center taxi line. As age enters the picture, night vision fails. A year or so ago I taxied the nosewheel into the mud while showing a student how to taxi without lights. It was a good lesson, for the instructor. When taxiing use as much lighting as you can and get any available assistance from ATC. Being totally lost on your home airport is not uncommon. Once had airport truck assist taxiing at night in heavy ground fog.

Night flight is so completely different from day that it requires careful introduction. Any pilot deficiencies become magnified at night. The night horizon is often less visible and more indistinct. Night flight is semi-IFR with considerable reliance on the instruments. Terrain and clouds are difficult to impossible to see. On moonless nights, the objects seen are those which are illuminated enough to stand out. There can be a gradual loss of visual clues when flying into darker terrain. This leads to disorientation and loss of control. Not having instruments easily visible/readable is bothersome. A 30-degree turn that is unobserved can cause complete disorientation. The absence of a horizon can cause loss of control. Both situational and geographic disorientation is more likely.

Fatigue has greater influence on pilot skills at night. The retina is the first and fastest part of the body to react to reduction of blood oxygen. Cigarette smokers start out with an immediate night vision problem. Night vision can be improved by the use of oxygen. Night flying errors happen because of human lack of capability. Night vision is the key limit. Without surface lights, it is hard to know your altitude above the ground, with surface lights it is difficult to locate the airport beacon. Most night accidents occur on 'dark night' flights. 4% of flying is done at night with 25% of accidents.

The eye is much like a video camera. A view is focused on the retina, converted electrically to data sent to the brain. Rods and cones make the visual to electrical conversion. Cones, near the focal center give colors, brightness and sharpness when light is good. Rods are the night-vision part of seeing. The peripheral region of the retina is rod territory. Rods make it so we can see at night but not in color. Complete night adaptation of the eye to darkness can take over 30 minutes and be destroyed in seconds.

There is an oval shaped region of the retina known as the blind spot. It cannot see light. Binocular vision compensates for this in daytime. At night we often are unable to see objects if we look directly at them. To see at night we cannot look directly at what we want to see. Your central vision is inoperative. Looking off center at night uses peripheral vision, which is 100,000 times more sensitive than central vision at night. Your eyes can be adapted to night vision by wearing red glasses, patching one eye and using dimmed lighting. No matter how well you do this one flash of a strobe taxiing out destroys it all. It the lighted airports of today I prefer to work in a lighted cockpit. I like to see my strange charts clearly with all obstacle heights known and avoided. 90% of our orientation is visual even in the cockpit. NASA has proven that there is less oxygen at night than during the day. The eye is quite susceptible to oxygen deficiency so vision at night at 9000’ gives the visual acuity that you would have at 15000’ during the day.

The use of colors other than red in the cockpit has become more common in the 1990’s. Light-emitting diodes are more efficient than other systems and will be in all cockpits of the future. Blue lighting such as common in military aircraft requires much more lighting than white.

FAR Part 1 defines official "night" so pilots can log the conditions of flight, day or night required by FAR 61.51 (b)(3)(i). Twilight is the time of incomplete darkness after sunset or before sunrise. FAR 6157(d) defines pilot proficiency requirement that must be complied with before the pilot can be pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers at night. This is the time one-hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. This more restrictive "night" is designed to assure pilot proficiency. The less restrictive requirement can be used for meeting certificate requirements. FAR 91.209 requires that position lights and anti-collision lights be used from sunset to sunrise.

Night flight adds to the risk of single-engine flying. Emergency options are reduced. The new VFR minimums have increased the impact of weather. Mandated preparation for the flight such as lights and flashlights make a difference. You will be much more able to cope if you maintain radio contact with ATC and have a readily available frequency list. I avoid night training flights that have less than 1/4 moon. Common mistake is flying when combination of pilot, conditions, aircraft, and preparation are not up to making the flight. AIM recommends oxygen use above 5000’ at night and at 10,000’ daytime.

The ability to judge distances and heights at night is reduced at night. The absence of haze or its presence can cause illusions at night especially when using landing lights. Lights will vary in intensity and cause illusion effects. A mis-identified light source can cause total confusion. A single light gives no altitude information. Multiple lights may be in different geometric visual planes. Freeways become visible while country roads disappear. Aircraft and lighted towers become visible for miles. Airports have beacons, look for them.

Preparation for night flight must be more intensive and comprehensive. Make your initial night flight preflight during the day. Check all the lights and carry a spare bulb. Visual checkpoints are much closer. Fuel reserves are doubled. Charts are marked with black felt tip pens. Frequencies are written large. Terrain altitudes are noted and crossing extra altitude added. Weather makes a big difference. At night you can't see weather unless there is a moon. We get very used to seeing weather change during the day. Weather changes much the same way at night but quicker. You must expect weather changes at night to occur suddenly simply because we cannot see the changes as we can in daytime.

Nothing in the FARs requires lights for takeoff or landing at night at either controlled or uncontrolled airports. ATC cannot clear you to land at an unlighted runway. Any landing is at your own risk. Obstruction clearance and avoidance is a pilot responsibility. You can fly and log flight time at night without being night current.

FAR 1.1 Definitions
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air almanac, converted to local time.

New FAR: 3 mile visibility plus cloud clearance 500/1000/2000 unless in pattern 1/2 mile of airport. Above 10,000’ 5 mile visibility, 1000/1000/1 mile

PTS Pilot operation 9 (FAR 61.107) Pilot must have SOME night instruction before being qualified to be eligible to take flight test. To be fully certified for night flight a student must have at least three hours of instruction at night with ten full-stop landings.

Sec. 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command. [snip]

(d) Night experience. No person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise (as published in the American Air Almanac) unless, within the preceding 90 days, he has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during that period in the category and class of aircraft to be used. This paragraph does not apply to operations requiring an airline transport pilot certificate.

Sec. 91.209 No person may, during the period from sunset to sunrise...
a. Operate an aircraft unless it has lighted position lights.
b. park or move an aircraft... Unless the aircraft--
1. Is clearly illuminated;
2. Has lighted position lights;
3. Is in an area which is marked by obstruction lights.

d. Operate an aircraft (as required above) unless it has approved and lighted aviation red or aviation white Anticollision lights. (Unless pilot determines safety requires they be off.)

I suggest that you come equipped with at least three flashlights. I carry four but one is a headset with one light to each side of my glasses I like this for IFR work when cockpit lighting is poor. I understand that the use of a Velcro head strap can be used to hold a mini-mag in much the same manner. This method allows rapid removal or use as required. I use a full size D-cell flash for preflight and post flight operations. My first extra is a smaller 9-volt that has a clip for either clothes or lapboard. My second extra is a mini-mag. Spare batteries and bulbs.

One poster to rec.aviation.student has a recommendation for those who prefer the potential vision saving benefits of red. He says, "Don't overlook those bright LED taillights for bikes when shopping for a light for night flying. They are bright in a dark cockpit, small, red and mine CLAIMS to last for some ridiculous time (like 1500 hrs?) on a pair of AA's. Look for one made to clip on the back of your shirt or jacket when cycling, and clip it on your shirt pocket, or just hold it in the palm of your hand when flying. Works great, costs $15-20, batteries included..." I haven’t tried it. But in the poor lighting of older aircraft it sounds like a great idea.

At night you don’t want to run out of writing instruments. I loop rubber bands together and hang pens on the yoke, clipboard, and someplace else. These are in addition to the ones in my pocket and under by watchband. You don’t ever want to get caught without a pen at night.

You should review the physiology of night vision so as to better understand the operation of the eye. Over age 40, fatigue, and smoking affect visual acuity and adaptation to darkness. Do not look directly at an object at night because the optic nerve location may not let you see it. The decrease in oxygen above 4000' decreases visual efficiency. The Air Force requires full oxygen from the surface at night. The light smoker is physiologically at 3000' before he gets into the plane. Above 8000' at night it is a good idea to have oxygen. Since we don't see as well as might be desired at night we must compensate using experience (brains) and technology.

Before I stopped teaching smokers to fly, I would take my oxygen kit on my longer night flights. I would have the smoker use a coffin nail just before getting into the plane. We would climb to 8000’ and I would have him use oxygen. Invariably they would remark that lights all over the area had been suddenly turned on. This night flight along with recognition of the other health hazards made all of my students give up smoking. I can emphasize with smokers trying to quit. I gave up coffee last December and was able to drop my blood pressure 10 points. It’s tough to do unless you are properly motivated.

Any bright light effectively reduces night vision. Even the white flash of a rotating beacon is capable of destroying your preserved night vision. You might try protecting one eye from light until airborne. Try wearing sunglasses at dusk. My personal preference is to use full white cockpit lighting and rely on airport lighting for landing and taxiing.

A listing of areas that require preparation beyond that which is considered appropriate for day flights would be.
When you fly at night you should prepare by:
1. Being able to hand draw your approach and departure routes from the airports to be used.

2. Being able to hand draw your taxi routes regardless of the kinds of landing planned.

3. Becoming aware of the many illusions that occur at night you will see the necessity of (1) and (2) above. Causes of vertigo and disorientation.

4. Making an honest assessment of current skills, and familiarity with the aircraft with emphasis on fuel reserves and shorter-range limits. Biological clock and fatigue factors must be considered.

5. Making a route study of terrain heights, obstruction heights, minimum safe altitudes with night flight safety margins, airport information, and frequencies for com and nav. Checkpoints based on night conditions

7. Making a weather study of moon phase, cloud conditions, dew point spread, freezing level, and visibility. Where cloud decks may exist consider possibilities of over flying or under flying cloud cover and the hazards incurred thereby.

8. Comparing the new FAR requirements with forecast weather conditions.

9. Taking a blindfold test of the cockpit switches and controls.

10. Cockpit organized with charts in order and folded for use. Pens and flashlights along with spare batteries.

11. Emergency alternatives including non-electronic options. Airport options for diversion.

12. Familiar and unfamiliar airport preparation including phone contact for local procedures and advice. Planned fuel stops at FBOs and credit card pumps. When towers close you can expect to find left-hand traffic to right runways, but not every time.

13. Referral to the Airport/Facilities Directory to determine airport lighting changes, operational procedures, critical information, and cautions.

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