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Logging night training time

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FAA Regulations, Private Pilot, Student Pilot

I am finishing up my PPL training. There are several definitions of night for various purposes. When logging a "night" flight training time, which do I use? 

My instructor says I have to use the hour after sunset. I think this is incorrect as that is only necessary for currency of carrying a passenger. For logging  night time hours to qualify my practical test I seem to think this is appropriate:

(14 CFR) part 1: “Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the begin- ning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.”

I found that last paragraph from an FAA article:  https://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/2008/media/NovDec2008.pdf


Thanks everyone!

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2 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Apr 13, 2017

    You are right that there are three separate definitions and application of night time. The first deals with position lights which are required to be on from sunset to sunrise. Second, you can log night time in your logbook from the end of civil twilight to the beginning of civil twilight. Finally, you can count night takeoffs and landings one hour after sunset to one before sunrise for the purposes of maintaining night currency for passengers.

    You need a total of three hours of night flight (civil twilight) but the 10 takeoffs and landings must be done one hour after sunset to qualify for the practical test.

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  2. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 25, 2017

    There is no language in 61.109(a)(2) that requires that the 10 takeoffs and landings be performed 1 hour after sunset. It just says “night flight training.”

    RyGuy’s thoughts are correct and his instructor is wrong.

    However, the landings must be to a full stop. If he started exactly at civil twilight, I doubt that he could accomplish the 10 landings in a half hour. Further, while it might be allowed, the training benefit from waiting until an hour after sunset would be enhanced.

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