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6 Answers

Night VFR for Commercial Pilot

Asked by: 710 views Commercial Pilot

VFR night flight requirement for commercial pilot: 

2 hours over at least 100 miles between 2 airports only,      or will

2 hours with 3 airports, two of which are more than 100nm apart?



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6 Answers

  1. Matthew Pollack on Oct 03, 2017

    14 CFR 61.129 (a)(3)(iv) indicates that a 2 hour cross country flight at night with a destination more than 100 nm straight-line distance is required as part of the training portion of the aeronautical experience required for a commercial rating. This would mean with an instructor and makes no mention of any more than two airports. Of course, this is assuming single engine airplane.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Oct 04, 2017

    I don’t understand your question. The exact words of the regulation for this dual flight is:

    “One 2-hour cross country flight in a single engine airplane in nighttime conditions that consists of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure.”

    1. A cross country flight, meaning at least one landing other than where you started.
    2. With a minimum total straight line distance of >100nm from where you started.
    3. Taking at least two hours.

    Where are you seeing restrictions on the number of airports you land at along the way, the distance between them, or a requirement for 100 nm leg?

    For comparison, look at the rule for the private long cross country. You will see the FAA has no trouble telling us when the want a specific leg length:

    “and one segment of the flight being a straight-line distance of more than 25 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations”

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  3. Mark Kolber on Oct 04, 2017

    Come to think of it, where are you seeing “night VFR “?

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  4. Chief Cook on Oct 07, 2017

    You’re right, the question was poorly phrased.

    What I wanted to know is whether the required night flight needs to be 2 continuous hours in the air between point A and point B, which are more than 100nm apart.


    can I meet the requirement by flying 110 nm from A to B taking 55 minutes, takeoff from B and fly 70 miles to C taking 35 minutes, then takeoff from C and return to A taking 40 minutes. 130 total minutes including 1 landing at a site that’s a straight line distance greater than 100nm from where I started?

    Both scenarios seem consistent with your points 1-3.

    Also, are you sure that the night flight has to be dual? I’ve made a number of similar flights in my years of flying. I just don’t have one that meets exactly the criteria in 61.129 (a)(3) (iv). Seems odd that I need to take an instructor on a trip that I could make tomorrow if I’m not looking to get a commercial ticket.

    Thanks for the input.

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  5. Best Answer

    Russ Roslewski on Oct 07, 2017

    Yes, your proposed flight meets the requirements. Don’t read too much into the regulations. The flight just has to be at least two hours long, and go to an airport at least 100 nm away from where you started. You could stop 10 times along the way and that would be fine.

    You’re right, this is one (actually two) of the commercial requirements that causes a lot of people to wonder what the point is. But, it’s the requirement. To make it more interesting and challenging, what I typically do is have the student plan a flight to somewhere about 2 hours away – so, maybe 200nm depending on airplane – with a restaurant on the field. From here in Oklahoma City, we often go down into the DFW Class B somewhere. We fly down in the afternoon, getting great Class B experience, then have dinner while the sun sets, then fly back at night, meeting both requirements. All done in one trip, and lots of good experience too.

    It does have to be with an instructor. These flights fall under 61.129a(3), the first few words of which are “20 hours of training … that includes…”

    From 61.1, “training” means from an authorized instructor.

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  6. Chief Cook on Oct 09, 2017

    Very helpful. Thank you.

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