Returning from KTOA to KWHP after dark...

PeterFromLA

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Sometimes the day just runs away on you, and you have to fly home after dark. I have a PPL Gyro, so night flying is not a problem, but what I noticed is that most of my "darkness" flying have been done before 1 hour after sunset, so technically every Sport Pilot out there would have been legal to do it. The problem is that "Legal" is not always equal to "Capable". And that applies not just to the pilot, but to the aircraft itself.

Even with the required external lights fully functional, you should always keep in mind that the cockpit gets pitch black once the sun goes down. Being organized and knowing the layout of the switches and instruments is important, but nothing beats proper illumination.

I suggest to all Sport Pilots out there to take a trip in the darkness with their favorite CFI, so they can see first hand how it feels...

 

Resasi

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Another very nice video Pete. Particularly liked the choice of music, it went extremely well with the spectacular city lights, and the lights of LA at night are amazing. There were shades of Blade Runner’s night sequences and Vangelis type ambient music.

Always loved night flying, over built up areas generally afford a great spectacle. Flying at very high altitudes, FL 410 and above over oceans and deserts where one is well above air pollution gives one the most incredible views of the stars. Used to turn all interior lighting off or as low as safe then put one almost into an astronaut's viewpoint. Seeing the starting of the Northern lights as we picked up a Eastbound Oceanic Nat Track another rare night flight privilege.
 

okikuma

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Santa Clarita, CA
Thank you Peter for another wonderful evening flight.

Resasi, I'm in complete agreement in regards to flying over a large metropolitan area at night. In my younger and single years, I was constantly taking pretty young ladies flying at night for a date and landing at airports that had a restaurant on the airfield. Other times, I would fly at night for my own amusement and for relaxation. I also enjoy flying over a cloud deck with a full moon.

Wayne
 

Tyger

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For the purpose of legally flying as a sport pilot, "night" is defined as:
"the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time." (14 CFR 1.1)
This depends on latitude and time of year but, except for extremely high latitudes in summer, it is nearly always a lot less than one hour after sunset (or before sunrise).
 

PeterFromLA

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May 15, 2019
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Los Angeles
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American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
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For the purpose of legally flying as a sport pilot, "night" is defined as:
"the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time." (14 CFR 1.1)
This depends on latitude and time of year but, except for extremely high latitudes in summer, it is nearly always a lot less than one hour after sunset (or before sunrise).

You are correct, and for Los Angeles this is around 25 minutes... BUT... I was told by a person on the know (let's just leave it at that) that since the FAR mentions in §61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command. (1) …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, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise… it is widely accepted that night flying is between 1 hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise... of course lights are required immediately after sunset to sunrise. Very confusing if you ask me, so I wish the FAA give us a definitive answer...
 

Tyger

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