Using professional techniques
Having thoroughly explored the spatial and visual illusions that night pilots are subjected to, we can turn to more practical skills using flight simulators and in this issue we’ll start to learn some flying techniques that the professionals use when they venture out after dark...
Preparation is the key
First up, let’s point out that the information contained here relates to flight simulation. Real-world procedures and requirements vary around the world and are far more detailed than what is presented here. Many a daytime VFR pilot will simply look at the sky to determine if it is safe to go flying. This approach isn’t possible at night because the darkness may be hiding clouds, haze etc which may suddenly reduce visibility below the required minima for VFR flying, so it is essential that any night pilot obtain a weather forecast before making the decision to fly. Not only will the forecast provide details of current conditions but also those expected for the duration of the flight (Figure 1).