Just did my first cross country (120nm) at night in ! KORL to KOCF back to KORL.

Most important lesson I learned? Don't at night under visual flight rules. I should wait until I get my instrument rating if I want to fly at night.

@freemo Out the window? I'm flying a 50-year-old Cessna. If I open the window in flight, the window will be what gets thrown out! 😆

@LouisIngenthron great lesson learned. I really wish that the private pilot license would need more than 3 hours of night.

@WiredForFlight Honestly, when you look at it from an experience perspective, all the requirements for private pilot license should probably be doubled at least.

But when you look at it from a financial perspective, I can see how some think it's too high a barrier of entry already.

@LouisIngenthron I see both sides. Really one option is to do what other countries do and make it an IFR requirement or special endorsement.

@WiredForFlight @LouisIngenthron Gotta chime in here and agree with Sam on the IFR requirement. Once you go through IFR training, just chasing hamburgers in clear and a million is much easier and safer. I remember once night I went out with about 80 hours to get night currant (with zero IFR training) on a dark night, and struggled for a bit on climb out with straight and level. Had I had some IFR training, I would have known where to look on the panel quickly. PPL did not really teach that.

@Av8rdan @WiredForFlight @LouisIngenthron When my dad left the Navy in 1963 after serving as a flight surgeon on carriers (which required him to fly missions like the other pilots, so he would understand their pressures), he considered getting a civil aviation license but was too horrified at the low requirements and decided he didn't want to risk sharing the airspace with the inept.

@LouisIngenthron could also bring a CFI with you or safety pilot who has lots of night experience to help build your experience.

@WiredForFlight That would certainly work for any round trips, but I might have trouble convincing my CFI to stay at my mom's house for a weekend, lol.

@shibao @LouisIngenthron
Certainly, flying at night is a little different. For example, an emergency landing carries a greater risk. You must also manage your light. In the past it was all about not getting blinded by your flashlight when looking at your sectional, while now it's about not getting blinded by your cellphone's backlight. But beyond that, it's not that big a deal. It is made a requirement for Private candidates specifically so they don't have to learn the ropes when they're not prepared.

Personally, I observe two simple rules:

1. Don't fly when there's any cloud cover. Has to be clear. A slight high altitude layer is acceptable, but no more than that.

The reason for this rule is that it's extremely easy to fly into a cloud at night unexpectedly. A VFR pilot cannot accept that risk.

2. Do not fly during new moon or when Moon is below horizon.

Away from major cities, the ground lights can create dangerous illusions when alone.

But with a strict adherence to these 2 rules, night VFR is not something to fear in particular. I flew around Mt. Taylor at night when I was a student and landed at Milan, which is in a valley. In a flat state like Florida it's nothingburger (although I dunno if they ever have clear skies in Florida).

@avia @shibao We don't often have clear skies, but last night the ceiling was high and visibility was >10sm, so pretty good.

Really, the biggest concern I had is that Florida is *covered* in small lakes. So, whenever you're trying to keep an eye out for potential emergency landing sites at night, you're always wondering "is that big dark area a field or a lake?"

@avia Have to do it to get my license, lol. (This flight was dual with an IFR-rated CFI).

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