CHAPTER 12. Night Operations

Pilot Equipment

Before beginning a night fl ight, carefully consider personal equipment that should be readily available during the fl ight.

At least one reliable fl ashlight is recommended as standard equipment on all night fl ights. Remember to place a spare set of batteries in the fl ight kit. A spare fl ashlight is the better choice, eliminating the need to change batteries during fl ight.

A D-cell size fl ashlight with a bulb switching mechanism that can be used for white or red light is preferable. The white light is used while performing the prefl ight visual inspection on the ground, and the red light is used when performing fl ight deck operations. Since the red light is nonglaring, it does not impair night vision. Some pilots prefer two fl ashlights, one with a white light for prefl ight and the other a penlight with a red light. The latter can be suspended by a string around the neck to ensure the light is always readily available. Be aware that if a red light is used for reading an aeronautical chart, the red features of the chart will not show up.

Aeronautical charts are essential for night cross-country fl ight and, if the intended course is near the edge of the chart, the adjacent chart should also 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, confusion could result. Regardless of the equipment used, organization of the fl ight deck eases the burden on the pilot and enhances safety. [Figure 12-5]

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