Night Rating

The following article is designed to be an introduction into night flying and can be used to compliment preparatory ground instruction from a flight instructor. Night flying can be very fun and enjoyable for pilots and passengers alike due to more smooth air and more flexibility in your flying schedule. Special considerations must be given to flying at night due to an increased risk in some aspects such as human factors, emergencies and navigation.

Planned Activities

• Exercises 24, 25

Reference Material


• Pilot Operating Handbook

• Aeronautical Information Manual

• Human Factors in Aviation


• Review aerodrome lighting and their standards (beacons, colours of lights, VASIS/PAPI etc,.)

• Review navigation using traditional Nav Aids such as VORs and NDBs

• Review emergency procedures

• Have an airport diagram with you along with the required charts and review the airspace around your airport.

• Review aerodrome lighting (type J/K) and how they are controlled. 

• Review the basic instrument scanning techniques for climbs/descents and turns. 

• Describe human factors considerations for night flying.

• Be able to answer the following questions:

1) Why is it important to check the CFS and NOTAMs before a flight? What information is important when flying at night from the CFS? NOTAMs?

2) Explain how to set up a VOR to go direct to a VOR station.

3) Why is an alternator failure more important at night in your aircraft?

4) What colour are taxiway edge lights? What is the maximum spacing between lights?

5) What are the colours of the lights in the aircraft (wing and tail)?

Tips/Rules of Thumb/Theory

• All entrances and intersections at airports will have double lights. Ex an exit from an apron to a taxiway has two amber lights.

• Type K airport lighting has three lighting intensities.

• Always review airport lighting before going into a new aerodrome to anticipate what kind of airport lights you will see on approach. Information available from the CFS or CAP.

• Complete walk-arounds in a well lit area if possible and confirm the area is clear around the aircraft before going.

• Taxi slower than normal when at night and follow centerlines where available. Be aware of unintended movements when parked or doing run-ups.

• When taking off, use the runway lights in your peripherals to help maintain centerline. Confirm positive rate of climb after lift-off or in an overshoot.

• When landing, avoid the tendency to look at the landing light. Make sure you are at a safe speed before turning off the runway.

• Be well aware of the “black hole”

• Review aircraft light etiquette:

  • Nav Lights: On when aircraft has power to it
  • Beacon: When engine is started or about to be started
  • Strobe lights: From entering the runway to leaving the runway (not req’d to fly at night)
  • Taxi light: When moving around on the ground, when stopped turn it off. Also can be used as a reminder when given a landing clearance. (not req’d at night)
  • Landing light: Turn on when cleared to take-off and turn on when approaching an aerodrome at night. (req’d when pax are on board)
  • All of this information on pilot training and flight training in Canada is also available at