Pilot Equipment Pilot Equipment

   The pilot, before beginning a night flight, should carefully consider certain personal equipment that should be readily available during the flight. This equipment may not differ greatly from that needed for a day flight, but the importance of its availability when needed at night cannot be over emphasized.

   At least one reliable flashlight is recommended as standard equipment on all night flights. A "D" cell size flashlight with a bulb switching mechanism that can be used to select white or red light, is preferable. The white light is for use while performing the preflight visual inspection of the airplane, and the red light for use in performing cockpit operations. Since the red light is nonglaring, it will not impair night vision. Some pilots prefer two flashlights, one with a white light for preflight, and the other a penlight type with a red light. The latter can be suspended by a string from around the neck to ensure that the light is always readily available during flight. One word of caution; if a red light is used for reading an aeronautical chart the red features of the chart will not show up.

   Just as for daylight flights aeronautical charts are essential for night cross-country flight and, if the intended course is near the edge of the chart, the adjacent chart also should be available. The lights of cities and towns can be seen at surprising distances at night, and if this adjacent chart is not available to identify those landmarks which lie off the primary chart confusion could result, particularly if the pilot strays off course.

   To prevent losing essential items in the dark cockpit, the pilot should have a clipboard or mapboard on which charts, navigation logs, and other essentials can be fastened. Map cases in which to store needed materials should also be considered.
   A reliable clock is essential for both day and night flights.

   Regardless of what is used, organization of the equipment and material in the cockpit into a simple well arranged manner, eases the burden on the pilot and certainly enhances safety.