Night Rating London

For London-based pilots wanting to do a night rating, HQ Aviation are organising night training that takes advantage of the late opening at Denham until late October.  5 hours of night flying counts as a skill for your Bronze AHP certificate, too.

At EGLD Denham, the airfield closes at 20:00 on October 23rd (it changes to 6pm on the 24th).  Sunset that day is at 17:52 which means night starts at 18:22 (CAA rules).  Sunset moves by 2 or 3 minutes a day so that gives a good 1 1/2 hours each day all week without requiring any costly airfield extension.  

If you have an EASA pilot’s licence (PPL or LAPL) you can add night ratings to allow you to fly in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions at night. Night in the UK is from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, but is defined nationally in each ICAO country.

You’ll need to be trained at an Approved Training Organisation (e.g. HQ). The course includes theory, dual instruction and solo flight time at night.  The night rating is valid for life. But if you want to carry passengers at night the normal passenger rules of ‘3 take-off and landings in past 90 days’ apply, with the addition that, unless you have a valid instrument rating, at least one of each must have been at night.

To add night ratings to a helicopter (H) licence you must have completed at least 100 hours of pilot flight time after the issue of your licence including at least 60 hours as pilot in command and 20 hours of cross-country flight. The course must be completed within a period of 6 months and include:

  • 5 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction
  • 10 hours of dual instrument instruction which can be done in day time
  • 5 hours of flight time at night including at least:
  • 3 hours of dual instruction
  • 1 hours of cross-country navigation
  • 5 solo night circuits

If you already hold an instrument rating (IR) in an aeroplane you can credit 5 hours towards the requirement of 10 hours of dual instrument instruction time.  See CAA’s CAP804 for details.  They will charge £88 for the application.

EASA’s ‘Night’ means the period between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight or such other period between sunset and sunrise as may be prescribed by the appropriate authority, as defined by the
Member State. 

The CAA’s ‘Night’ means the time from half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise (both times inclusive), sunset and sunrise being determined at surface level.

Outside aviation-speak ‘Civil twilight’ is actually defined when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. In the morning this is known as dawn, in the evening it is called dusk. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination.

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