Flight 28: Night Training

We did the first full night lesson tonight. I had logged close to an hour of night time, but half of that was from my intro flight, when I was much more of a passenger than a pilot.

We discussed the regulations for night flight, and then went for an hour of local practice. I did some stalls and steep turns, then I was introduced to the hood. I put on a pair of foggles and did more steep turns solely by instrument reference. That was not too difficult, but it did make it clear that instrument flying requires much more precision.

Then my flight instructor had me close my eyes and try to do some maneuvers. He had me attempt level flight, turns, climbs, and descents. The point of the lesson is that you can’t rely on your sense of feeling. It was interesting to see where we were aimed when I opened my eyes.

(I knew what was coming as soon as I closed them. I was glad to not get airsick as some people do. It was actually pretty fun, like an amusement park ride, but to enjoy it I had to totally trust my flight instructor.)

We then headed over to Plant City (PCM) to do some touch & goes after I reminded my instructor that they’re not allowed at night at our airport. I had some trouble seeing the runway among the other lights, especially on the downwind leg. On the approach it was much easier to see than it is during the day.

I learned how to turn on and adjust the brightness of the runway lights by clicking the mike. I found that I was lower over the runway than it looked, and touched down too soon a couple of times. During the day I’m able to judge my height over the runway pretty well by now, but at night it was a different story. I went back to what worked in the early days, looking out the side window before touching down.

Today: 1.1 hours
Total: 36.3 hours
Total Solo: 6.3 hours

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