Night Preparation Here you will find question and answers to night flying procedures from Private Pilot Oral Exam Guide. Read this carefully and memorize it as you will be questioned by your instructor and soon after FAA examiner. This test highlights main points each student pilot has to know before flying at night. Name the two distinct types of light-sensitive cells located in the retina of the eye. (FAA-H8083-3) Rods and cones are the light-sensitive cells located in the retina. What is the function of the cones, and where are they located in the eye? (FAA-H-8083-3) The cones are used to detect color, detail and far-away objects and are located in the center of the retina at the back of the eye. They are less sensitive to light, require higher levels of intensity to become active, and are most useful in the daylight hours. What is the function of the rods, and where are they located in the eye? (FAA-H-8083-3) The rods are used for peripheral vision and are located in a ring around the cones. Rods are highly sensitive and are activated by a minimum amount of light; thus they are better suited for night vision. What is the average time it takes for the rods and cones to become adapted to darkness? (FAA-H-8083-3) Cones will take approximately 10-15 minutes to adjust to darkness. The rods will take approximately 30 minute~ to adjust to darkness. What should the pilot do to accommodate changing light conditions? (F AA-H-8083-3) The pilot should allow enough time for the eyes to become adapted to the low light levels, and then should avoid exposure to bright light which could cause temporary blindness. Give several examples of illusions related to ground lighting conditions. (AIM 8-1-5) a. Lights along a straight path such as a road and even lights on moving trains can be mistaken for runway and approach lights. b. Bright runway and approach light systems, especially where few lights illuminate the surrounding terrain, may create the illusion of less distance to the runway. The pilot who does not recognize this will fly a higher approach. c. When a horizon cannot be seen or distinguished, ground lights may be mistaken as stars resulting in the pilot placing the aircraft in a dangerous attitude. When approaching a well-lit runway surrounded by a dark area with little or no features, what illusion should a pilot be alert for? (AIM 8-1-5) Featureless terrain illusion-an absence of ground features, as when landing over water, darkened areas, and terrain made featureless by snow, can create the illusion that the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is. The pilot who does not recognize this illusion will fly a lower approach. What should the pilot do to maintain good eyesight? The pilot should be aware that alcohol, medication, fatigue, colds and other physical impairments can affect eyesight. What can the pilot do to improve the effectiveness of vision at night? a. If possible, allow 30 minutes for the eyes to adjust to the darkness. b. Adjust the cockpit lights for optimum night vision and avoid bright light. c. Do not look directly at an object, try to look off-center since this will be more visually perceptive. d. Be aware that depth perception is inhibited due to lack of visual cues; thus, attention to airspeed, altitude, sink rates and attitude indicators must be maintained e. Maintain a safe altitude until airport lighting and the airport itself are identifiable and visible. Many pilots have mistaken lighted highways for airports. What equipment should the pilot have for night flight operations? (F AA-H-8083-3) Pilots should carry two flashlights, a white one for inspecting the aircraft during preflight, and a red one for examining charts during flight. The red light will not affect night vision as it does not glare; however, be aware that items printed in red on aeronautical charts will be harder to read. What other items should the pilot have onboard for night flights? (FAA-H-8083-3) Pilots should have appropriate navigational charts, including any charts adjacent to the intended route of flight on board for night flight. These charts should be mounted on a clipboard or mapboard to prevent being lost in the dark cockpit. Explain the arrangement and interpretation of the position lights on an aircraft. (FAA-H-8083-3) A red light is located on the left wing tip, a green light is located on the right wing tip and a white light is located on the tail. If the pilot observes both a green and red light on another aircraft, then the other aircraft is generally approaching the pilot's position. If the pilot sees only a green light, then the other aircraft is moving left to right in relation to the pilot's position. If the pilot sees only a red light, then the aircraft is moving right to left in relation to the pilot's position. Position lights are required to be on during what period of time? (14 CFR 91.209) From sunset to sunrise. Are aircraft anticollision lights required to be on during night flight operations? (14 CFR 91.209) Yes; however, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off. What are Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL)? (AIM 2-1-3) REILs are installed at many airfields to provide rapid and positive identification of the approach end of a particular runway. The system consists of a pair of synchronized flashing lights located laterally on each side of the runway threshold. REILs may be omnidirectional or unidirectional facing the approach area. Describe a Runway Edge Light System. (AIM 2-1-4) Runway edge lights are used to outline the edges of runways. They are white, except on instrument runways yellow replaces white on the last 2,000 feet or half the runway length, whichever is less, to form a caution zone. These light systems are classified according to the intensity or brightness they are capable of producing. Examples are: HIRL (High Intensity Runway Lights), MIRL (Medium Intensity Runway Lighting) What are the different types of rotating beacons used to identify airports? (AIM 2-1-8) a. White and green ........................... Lighted land airport b. *Green alone ................................ Lighted land airport c. White & yellow ...........................Lighted water airport d. *Yellow alone .............................Lighted water airport e. Green, yellow & white ........................Lighted heliport f. White (dual peaked & green) ... Lighted military airport *Green alone or yellow alone is used only in connection with a white and green or white and yellow beacon display respectively. Describe several types of obstruction lighting. (AIM 2-2-3) a. Aviation red obstruction lights-flashing aviation red beacons and steady burning aviation red lights during nighttime operations. b. Medium and high intensity white obstruction lights-may be used during daytime and twilight with reduced intensity for nighttime operation. Not normally installed on structures less than 200 feet. c. Dual lighting - a combination of flashing aviation red beacons and steady-burning aviation red lights for nighttime operations and flashing high intensity white lights for daytime operation. d. Catenary lighting-medium and high intensity flashing white markers for high voltage transmission lines and support structures. How does a pilot determine the status of a light system at a particular airport? (FAA-H-8083-3) The pilot needs to check the AirportlFacility Directory and any Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) to fmd out about available lighting systems, light intensities and radio-controlled light system frequencies. How does a pilot activate a radio-controlled runway light system while airborne? (FAA-H-8083-3) The pilot activates radio-controlled lights by keying the microphone on a specified frequency. The following sequence can be used for typical radio controlled lighting systems: a. On initial arrival, key the microphone seven times to turn the lights on and achieve maximum brightness. b. If the runway lights are already on upon arrival repeat the above sequence to ensure a full 15 minutes of lighting. c. The intensity of the lights can be adjusted by keying the microphone five or three times within 5 seconds. During preflight what things should be done to adequately prepare for the night flight? (FAA-H-8083-3) a. Study all weather reports and forecasts. Particular attention should be directed towards temperature/dewpoint spreads to detect the possibility of fog formation. b. Calculate wind directions and speeds along the proposed route of flight to ensure accurate drift calculations, as night visual perception of drift is generally inaccurate. c. Obtain applicable aeronautical charts for both the proposed route as well as adjacent charts, and mark lighted checkpoints clearly. d. Review all radio navigational aids for correct frequencies and availability. e. Check all personal equipment such as flashlights and portable transceivers for proper operation. f. The aircraft should be thoroughly preflighted. g. All aircraft position lights, as well as the landing light and rotating beacon, should be checked for proper operation. h. Ground areas should be checked for obstructions that may not be readily visible from within the cockpit. 2. What are some guidelines to follow during the starting, taxiing, and run-up phases of a night flight? . (FAA-H8083-3) a. The pilot should exercise extra caution on "clearing" the propeller arc area. The use of lights prior to and after engine startup can also alert persons in the area to the presence of the active aircraft. b. During taxiing, avoid unnecessary use of electrical equipment which would put an abnormal load on the electrical system, such as the landing light. Additionally, other pilots taxiing in the area can be blinded by your landing light or strobes, so avoid using them during taxiing. c. Taxi slowly and follow any taxi lines. 3. What are some of the guidelines to follow during takeoff and departure phases of a night flight? (FAA-H-8083-3) a. During takeoff the pilot should: i. on the initial takeoff roll, use both the distant runway edge lights as well as the landing light area to keep the aircraft straight and parallel in the runway, and Remember that you primery instrument during take of phase is airspeed indicator b. During climbout: i. do not initiate any turns until reaching safe maneuvering altitude, and ii. turn the landing light off after climb. If an engine failure occurs at night, what procedures should be followed? (FAA-H-8083-3) If the engine fails at night, the same procedures apply for dealing with the situation in the daytime. Maintain positive control of the airplane-do not panic. A normal glide should be established and maintained and the airplane turned toward an airport or away from congested areas. A check should be made to determine the cause of the engine failure, such as position of the magnetos, fuel selectors, or primer. If unsuccessful in restart procedures, select 7700 on the transponder and 121.5 on your radio. Declare an emergency, stating WHO you are, WHERE you are, and WHAT your intentions are. In some cases, where radar is available (Approach Control, Center, etc.) you may obtain a quick vector to the nearest airport if within gliding distance. If you have done your homework, you planned your route of flight within gliding distance of lighted airports. If not, two possibilities exist for emergency landing areas: Lighted areas-interstate highways, roads, parking lots, etc. Advantages include being able to see where and what you are landing on, and having a relatively improved surface to land upon. Disadvantages include all kinds of obstructions to deal with, such as wires, poles, traffic, etc. Unlighted areas-dark areas with relatively few lights indicating an open area such as a field, lake, etc. Advantages include few or no obstructions to deal with. Disadvantages include not being able to see what you have selected to land on until illumination by your landing light, and the higher possibility that what you have selected is unimproved, rough terrain, etc. As nearly as possible, land into the wind, with flaps, at minimum approach speed. Complete a prelanding checklist, and immediately before touchdown, secure all systems (electrical, fuel) and open the doors. Whatever your decision, maintain positive control of the aircraft all the way down. A controlled crash will always be more survivable than an uncontrolled crash. What procedures should be followed during the approach and landing phase of a night flight? (F AA-H-8083-3) a. The pilot should identify the airport and associated airport lighting and runway lighting. b. The aircraft should be flown towards the airport beacon until the runway lights are identified. c. A powered approach should be used because visual perception during a descent at night can be difficult. d. The landing light should be switched on upon entering the airport traffic area. e. The pilot should avoid the use of excessive speed on approach and landing.