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amillet    174

On Thursday evening at 6:45 PM PST one of my clients died when his C182 crashed.  His fiancé and two of her grandchildren also died.  It appears that he ran into low ceilings (dark night) and lost control.  He departed Boeing Field (Seattle) for KCLM (Port Angeles), a 40 min. flight.

Departure weather was marginal VFR, destination VFR.  Enroute the closest reporting station KPWT (Bremerton) was worse though.  A great tragedy.  Be very careful out there.

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Piloto    1,285

For any flight at night it is advisable the pilot be IFR rated. In many countries night flying is considered IFR, the pilot and plane must be IFR rated. I totally agree with this policy.

José

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201er    1,630
1 hour ago, Piloto said:

For any flight at night it is advisable the pilot be IFR rated. In many countries night flying is considered IFR, the pilot and plane must be IFR rated. I totally agree with this policy.

José

I disagree Jose. There's VFR flying on a moonless night between cloud layers and then there's flying around NYC lit up bright as day by a full moon. You can see the horizon, ground, and airport at all times, nothing to do with instruments. It's up to the pilot to have the prudence to understand the difference and his limitations.

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Skates97    858
34 minutes ago, 201er said:

I disagree Jose. There's VFR flying on a moonless night between cloud layers and then there's flying around NYC lit up bright as day by a full moon. You can see the horizon, ground, and airport at all times, nothing to do with instruments. It's up to the pilot to have the prudence to understand the difference and his limitations.

That's like flying around So Cal at night, everything is lit up.

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Hank    3,356
1 hour ago, 201er said:

I disagree Jose. There's VFR flying on a moonless night between cloud layers and then there's flying around NYC lit up bright as day by a full moon. You can see the horizon, ground, and airport at all times, nothing to do with instruments. It's up to the pilot to have the prudence to understand the difference and his limitations.

I learned night flying over WV, southern OH and eastern KY (coal country), and even there, if the skyways visible it was easy. Made several,night crossings of the Appalachians headed back and forth to GA and NC with nary a problem. But flying across Charlotte at 6500 msl at night was a magical experience. It all ended at the KY line, the ground went dark but there were still stars in the sky . . .

Night flying is great!

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MHemperly    125

So sad... non of us are immune from making the same mistake. Speculation is easy on the ground. Very sad. Prayers to the family. Fly safe my friends! 

Mike

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kortopates    807

Scud running at night is another thing entirely; especially with reduced visibility and dew point spreads of 2 down to zero. It's very easy to get overly complacent about a flight that is both very short and very familiar and then allow yourself to get IMC unintentionally. Not saying that's what happened here, but it happens all too frequently.
I love night flying too and learned in the bright SOCAL area.
Very Sad loss indeed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Raptor05121    907

 

4 hours ago, Piloto said:

For any flight at night it is advisable the pilot be IFR rated. In many countries night flying is considered IFR, the pilot and plane must be IFR rated. I totally agree with this policy.

José

 

I also disagree. I work nightshift so on my days (nights) off, my only time to go flying is from 6pm-6am. On cloudless nights it is beautiful and smooth, some of the best flying is at night.

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M016576    542
1 hour ago, Raptor05121 said:

 

I also disagree. I work nightshift so on my days (nights) off, my only time to go flying is from 6pm-6am. On cloudless nights it is beautiful and smooth, some of the best flying is at night.

On moonless nights over the ocean, it's like flying in a black orb.  I agree with 201er above: but it's a complex issue- the pilot must not only know the conditions, but have the experience to judge if it will be "IFR dark" or "VFR dark"... and this isn't necessarily something that is widely discussed, although is in the regulations somewhere, if I remember correctly, and involves the ability to see a horizon...

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bonal    1,827

Very sad end to the year for this and the mid air as well as the C Citation going down a few days ago. May they all find peace.  Praying for all those left behind.

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Piloto    1,285
17 hours ago, 201er said:

I disagree Jose. There's VFR flying on a moonless night between cloud layers and then there's flying around NYC lit up bright as day by a full moon. You can see the horizon, ground, and airport at all times, nothing to do with instruments. It's up to the pilot to have the prudence to understand the difference and his limitations.

Not everybody flies around NYC. Try flying over the Andes, Sierra Nevada or the Amazons at night with no GPS and no moon. And you will understand why IFR at night is advisable or required. The shadow of a mountain against a lighted city can be mistaken for a lake and you end up crashing into it. Approaching Quito at night I got the impression of a lake in the middle of the city but it was actually a mountain in between. By luck I remembered that there were no lakes in Quito.

Then there is the other issue that at night you do not see the clouds so you could be in the clouds without knowing it. This could be fatal when flying in the vicinity of mountains or raising terrain. Or icing conditions.

José

Edited by Piloto
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bonal    1,827

It's like every time we fly day or night we have to make a decision about the weather the condition of our airplane and our own health and state of mind and where we are going to fly. Yes there are big differences flying at night urban vs rural and knowing the terrain is essential and does not require a gps. Remember using your paper charts selecting a rout and knowing time to waypoints including potential issues with obstacles. Calculating time to distance based on speed sticking to your heading computing wind correctly having an appropriate altitude and of course being absolutely clear on what the sky condition is. This is what we are trained and it's so important to being safe. We all make mistakes sadly sometimes fatal ones. When in doubt think it out. 

And again my thought and prayers to all that suffered loss at the end of 2016 doing what we all do.

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Danb    994

Maybe there should be something between instrument rated and the current rules for night flying. A few takeoffs and landings doesn't seem like adequate training if the need arises to fly by reference to instruments. Acquiring a full instrument ticket seems like quite a bit of training on approachs and all the other stuff we needed to get the rating to fly safely in the advent of encountering low visibility. Maybe a special vfr ticket where you get more training referencing the gauges? 

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yvesg    374

I am IFR rated and refuse to go through clouds when there is any risk of encountering ice. Returning from Florida yesterday morning I was VFR (because of the above) and encountered marginal conditions 30 minutes out of my home base. It was 2500 ceilings with 3 miles visibility and daytime. As I was navigating through this shit I was telling my copilot how fortunate we were that I was IFR rated and could keep the sunny side up and find my way in these worsening conditions. I knew things were worsening and I was all set on an emergency RNAV approach if needed. I could not imagine a VFR pilot going through this and not worry... and it was daytime with no mountains. At night in VFR, without 5 miles visibility and 2000 feet ceilings I think the risk is too high... but each have their own personal limits. The poor fellow who crashed probably had the wrong limits set for him. Prayers for families.

Yves

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JohnB    131

I enjoy flying at night. A night flight from Laughlin to Long Beach inspired me to get my IFR rating many moons ago around a year after getting my PPL. Completely VFR weather the entire route CAVU, with cirrus clouds at around 30k which partially blocked the stars. Was fine until I got over an unpopulated area which there were no more lights below, and the high clouds had become solid in an area, blocking the stars in this area, so net complete darkness out of airplane window. Fortunately i was paying attention in the IFR portion of my PPL, so I can talk about that 20 minutes of total darkness here today, but was very scary at the time! So I agree with having your IFR ticket if you plan on flying at night in any kind of weather, including above you clouds. I would imagine if you never flew over unpopulated terrain, and you always made sure there would be no clouds blocking your star/ moon view, you might be able to do fly safely over it at night, but if you're only VFR,  it doesn't take long to get disoriented if you lose both above and below you references.

Edited by JohnB
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gsxrpilot    2,977

Stupidity can't be regulated out of existence. I'm glad that in this county, we are still able to make the decision as to whether we are capable to fly in night conditions or not as a VFR pilot.  I'm IFR rated now, but did quite a bit of night flying before I had the rating. This was all in Texas and Oklahoma where you don't always have lights on the ground or stars in the sky. 

There are some countries, like Australia where you can get a Night VFR rating. I'm still glad it's not required here.

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N803RM    100

There are areas that you have no horizon departing VFR at night in So Cal.    Corona  AJO is one airport that you are dependent on homes that are lighted up to the side of the departure.   25 is pointed directly over a mostly dry lake.

Ron

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aviatoreb    1,899

I have rarely flown at night as a matter of policy in SE operations, even though I really enjoy it, but when I have, I seem to have always reached a moment (or more than a moment) when I find my self deliberately transferring attention to instruments as visual reference becomes a problem - remembering this is rural country up here - and I have found doing the approaches to be really helpful especially for away airports.

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yvesg    374
47 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

Stupidity can't be regulated out of existence. I'm glad that in this county, we are still able to make the decision as to whether we are capable to fly in night conditions or not as a VFR pilot.  I'm IFR rated now, but did quite a bit of night flying before I had the rating. This was all in Texas and Oklahoma where you don't always have lights on the ground or stars in the sky. 

There are some countries, like Australia where you can get a Night VFR rating. I'm still glad it's not required here.

We have it in Canada. Actually it is not a "VFR night rating", it is a "Night Rating". This is the first thing I did after I got my private many years ago. One of the requirements is to have 10 instrument hours (5 more than private). I believe even someone with Canadian IFR rating cannot land at night unless he has the night rating.

Yves

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tigers2007    141

All these recent forum references to these wrecks was the coup de grâce for me deciding on buying the Dynon D2 (w/ $100 rebate). I've probably got like 20hrs night out of my 140TT. In fact, my insurance mandated 5hrs of Mooney familiarization consisted of 4hrs of night. My personal minimums require either clear skies or a nearly full moon with scattered. Other than that, I'm too much of a chicken to take risks in the dark (until I get my IFR ticket...)


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carusoam    3,906

When the sky and the ground look similar in darkness.

You are in JFK Jr. territory.  We get this flying out over the ocean with low visibility and slanting cloud layers.

Slanted clouds give the appearance of the horizon.  A pilot trying to level the plane with respect to those clouds gets a confusing message to deal with...

Instrument training and having trust in those instruments works very well...

For Some a few hours of training is all it takes.  For others a full IR + is needed to become comfortable...

We are so different...:)

Best regards,

-a-

 

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M20Doc    2,952
1 hour ago, yvesg said:

We have it in Canada. Actually it is not a "VFR night rating", it is a "Night Rating". This is the first thing I did after I got my private many years ago. One of the requirements is to have 10 instrument hours (5 more than private). I believe even someone with Canadian IFR rating cannot land at night unless he has the night rating.

Yves

Yves,

You are correct, night and instrument are 2 separate rating, you could have an instrument rating and not legally land or fly at night.

Clarence

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