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Thu, Jun 29, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (06.29.06): In The Dark

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.")

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network.

Aero-Tips 06.29.06

Cool summer evenings broaden through red dusk into the night. And you fly on. When must you turn on the lights?

FAR 91.209 tells us --

No person may, during the period from sunset to sunrise (or, in Alaska, during the period a prominent unlighted object cannot be seen from a distance of 3 statute miles or the sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon):

  • Operate an aircraft unless it has lighted position lights
  • Park or move an aircraft in, or in dangerous proximity to, a night flight operations area of an airport unless the aircraft
    • Is clearly illuminated;
    • Has lighted position lights; or
    • is in an area that is marked by obstruction lights;
  • Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless the anticollision lights are on.
    • 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.

Note: This gives the pilot authority to turn off strobes or other anticollision lights when they may interfere with the pilot of another plane's vision during ground operations, or when flying in reduced visibility, clouds or precipitation and the anticollision lights induce distraction, disorientation or unusual visual cues.

There are additional rules for seaplanes when anchored or operating on the water.

Aero-tip of the day (or in this case, of the night): Turn on anticollision lights when the sun goes down, or anytime they will enhance others' ability to see and avoid you.

FMI: Aero-Tips

 


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