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8 Answers

Private Pilot Instrument/Night time combination

Asked by: 4277 views Private Pilot

I am preparing a student for his flight test. If instrument time (3hrs req) is given at night (3 hrs req) does this go towards covering both requirements?

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8 Answers

  1. Marc Santacroce on Jul 24, 2011

    No! There arestill visual references, even at night.

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  2. Earl Kessler on Jul 24, 2011

    Years ago the FAA didn’t require any instrument time.  They were inspired to add this to the private requirements by the horrific amount of inadvertent VFR into IMC encounters followed by loss of control of the airplane.  I transition my private students from day to night explaining it as a partial deprivation of visual reference then to the 3 hours of instrument immediately next.  Seems to give them a better perspective on how to control the airplane without visual references without the panic factor.

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  3. Andy Neumann on Jul 25, 2011

    Yes.  Simulated instrument time logged at night counts towards instrument and night time. 
    Opinion: I prefer to do quite a bit of it at night because it’s the best time to really experience flight with no outside references.  During the day there’s always shadows moving and the occasional hint about what the airplane is doing.  At night, that’s all gone and you have to actually rely 100% on the instruments. 

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  4. Andy Neumann on Jul 25, 2011

    PS You still need to use a hood at night!

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  5. James MacGregor CFI on Jul 25, 2011

    +1 for doing it at night.

    This also when they are most likely to end up in a VFR into IMC situation. Most times the only way they might know they are getting into it is when they loose the ground lights.

    Also think about giving your student some IMC time, going from VFR into IMC is a good experience for a soon to be private pilot.

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  6. Wes Beard on Jul 25, 2011

    I think it is a good idea to get “flight by reference to instruments” in both day and night time as well as in actual conditions.
    I’m not quite sure I completely understand the original posters question but this is how I read it and will provide my thought.  Can I give 3 hours total to a private pilot candidate to fulfill both the night and flight by reference to instruments criteria?
    I don’t think so.  The 3 hours at night require a short cross country and 10 takeoff and landings at any airport.  The requirements to log cross country time are the use of pilotage, dead reckoning and navigational aids  with a landing greater than 50NM (§61.1).  It’s conceivable to plan a night flight using Victor airways to fly with navigational aids but then subjects like emergency landings at night, illusions and off center viewing get put on the back burner when combining the tasks or at least the student can’t experience them like they should.  The takeoff and landings have to be done in visual conditions.  It seems to me that saving a few dollars in training will have an undesired after effect later on in their flying career.  I think the method Earl Kessler uses is a good method.

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  7. E Storo on Jul 25, 2011

    Thanks for answers, and let me apologize for the poor wording on my part.
    I am asking a technical question in that: if the student flies under the hood for one hour at night, does the student get credit for both night and instrument. My feeling is yes, because it is not addressed specifically. On the other hand I feel it is cheating in a way due to being under the hood it could be anything outside.
    So…will the examiner look askance at the combination time?
    I totally agree that trying to save money, and the night into IFR conditions are very valid points and I teach such. But you certainly do not want to send a student to his exam, and “I” fail reading and arithmetic.
    Thanks again.

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  8. Wes Beard on Jul 27, 2011

    Will the examiner frown upon the combined night/simulated instrument time?No.  In fact most examiners I have dealt with expect around .5hrs of hood time at night in the logbook of the applicant.  Their reasoning is the same that we have already discussed above.  They will frown upon the times if the applicant has exactly 3hrs of night and simulated time on the same flight without logging night and simulated instrument time separately somewhere else.  At that point, it becomes pretty clear the applicant hasn’t had everything taught to them according to the regulations.
    For what it is worth, the FAA has defined the term “actual conditions” to me not only when the conditions outside are IMC (clouds, between layers, etc.) but also to mean anytime outside references cannot be used to control the airplane.  This means on a really dark night, where you can’t see anything outside, it can be considered and logged as actual time.   See the Carr Interpretation on this website: http://www.offhand.org/amb/pic-time.txt  Since the interpretation was given in 1984 it won’t be listed on the FAA website.

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