CHAPTER 12. Night Operations

Night Emergencies

Perhaps the pilotís greatest concern about fl ying a singleengine aircraft at night is the possibility of a complete engine failure and the subsequent emergency landing. This is a legitimate concern, even though continuing fl ight into adverse weather and poor pilot judgment account for most serious accidents.

If the engine fails at night, several important procedures and considerations to keep in mind are:

  • Maintain positive control of the aircraft and establish the best glide confi guration and airspeed. Turn the aircraft toward an airport or away from congested areas.
  • Check to determine the cause of the engine malfunction, such as the position of fuel shutoff, magneto switch, or primer. If possible, the cause of the malfunction should be corrected immediately and the engine restarted.
  • Announce the emergency situation to Air Traffi c Control (ATC) or UNICOM. If already in radio contact with a facility, do not change frequencies unless instructed to change.
  • Consider an emergency landing area close to public access if possible. This may facilitate rescue or help, if needed.
  • Maintain orientation with the wind to avoid a downwind landing.
  • Complete the before landing checklist, and check the landing lights for operation at altitude and turn on in suffi cient time to illuminate the terrain or obstacles along the fl ightpath. The landing should be completed in the normal landing attitude at the slowest possible airspeed. If the landing lights are unusable and outside visual references are not available, the aircraft should be held minimum controlled airspeed until the ground is contacted.
  • After landing, turn off all switches and evacuate the aircraft as quickly as possible.
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