To be eligible to fly at night using Visual Flight Rules (VFR), pilots must be able to meet various requirements as dictated by the Federal Aviation Regulations.
To fly at night, pilots must have sufficient “night pilot currency.” Pilot currency is a quota that pilots have to meet that shows their ability to fly at night is up to date. This currency is on 90 days intervals and specifies that a pilot must have conducted at least three takeoffs and landings during the times between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. The pilot during these flights also must have been the only one who was using the flight controls, and the aircraft must be of the same category, class, and type if there is a required type rating associated.
Aircraft equipment that is used during normal daylight VFR flight is required to perform night flights, as well as a few more. For the extra equipment that is required for night flight, an aircraft must have aircraft fuses, aircraft landing lights, anti collision lights, position lights, and a source of electrical energy. Pilots use the acronym “FLAPS” to remind themselves of the required equipment.
Along with aircraft equipment lights that are required for night flight, pilots also have restrictions and requirements in place for how they utilize aircraft lights during night. Anti collision, position, and anchor lights are required to be utilized by pilots. These lights also have specific circumstances that pilots operate them, such as illuminating the aircraft when parking in an operations are of the airport or that anchor lights must be lit for anchoring the aircraft.
There are other requirements that pilots must ensure they met as well, such as having at least 45 minutes of extra fuel than for what they need to land in the specified destination. This is similar to the day, where Federal Aviation Regulations require an extra 30 minutes of fuel. Altogether, without meeting all of these mandated steps, pilots are not able to conduct a night flight during VFR.
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