Ingo Noka

Flying in the Dark …

In Airmanship, Flight Log on January 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Sunset over Gunung Pulai

A good start into the new year.  I did an hour of night flying yesterday (4 January 2012).  The weather was gorgeous – calm air, an almost full moon and a bright orange sunset.  Night flying is in many ways similar to the normal day flying, but of course there are many differences as well.   For every FRAS member, who has not done the night flying, I would strongly recommend to try it.  The tropical night is truly magical.  Click here for a couple of pictures i took while I was waiting for Paulo to come back from his sortie.

Generally distances are hard to judge.  The flare is especially tricky, because the aircraft appears to be higher than it actually is.  During the first landing Captain Singh was busy explaining this very fact while I was slamming the aircraft into the ground.  The other landings were somewhat better, at least not life threatening, which is the definition of a good landing.  Altogether I did 6 landings.

Because of the cooler air, the engine setting is somewhat lower than the usual 2300 for a standard 90 kts cruise.   The ground is visible because of the many residential and industrial areas around the airport.  However, there is barely any horizon, which means you have to fly by Artificial Horizon and Directional Gyro.  You cannot see the usual ground features (e.g. the water tower in the approach path of runway 16).  Street lights make up for it, but you basically have to know which one to use.  That is ok if all you need is a light in the distance to keep your course.  For the right timing to turn into the base leg however, you will have to experiment or ask the instructor.

Night flying at FRAS is always done with an instructor.  We only do circuits and no cross-country flying at night.  In fact, I don’t think there is a VFR Night endorsement available for PPL holders in Malaysia.  For cross-country night flying, you would need a full IFR qualification.  Night flying is also not part of the PPL training curriculum.

Next time I will take a flash light, or even better some light I can attach to my cap.  The aircraft has no lights during the pre-engine-start checks.

I spent the night at the Le Grandeur Palm Resort, which is located right next to the airport.

  1. Well done, interesting reading this after having been there during day time!

  2. Congrats Ingo, you did it! Been wanting to do night flights but am engaged. Nice and interesting photos…! Will definitely try to make the next one!

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