AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 24

WAYPOINTS

BY THOMAS B. HAINES
EDITOR IN CHIEF

Into the night

A

s soon as we sat down to brief the flight I knew I had underprepared. “So there’s nothing else we need to know about flying into Maryland

IFR en route charts show off-route obstruction clearance altitudes—all of which should be considered minimum altitudes at night unless you are certain of the terrain around you). With the briefing complete, we launched from Manassas, Virginia, in my Bonanza for what was my first nighttime proficiency flight that included air work—after more than three decades of flying. The ILS approach to Virginia’s Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport started out just fine under the bright DecemAirport tonight?” Adrian Eichhorn probed after I ber moon. As the glideslope needle slid down to one had pointed out that according to the sectional the dot high, I selected gear down and instead of the Editor in Chief Tom Haines flies 3,000-foot runway has lights. Just the fact that he was expected groaning of the gear motor, all I got was a his Bonanza A36 asking the question confirmed to me that there was red indicator light. (Sigh.) As a Bonanza owner and on assignment something else we needed to know. Eichhorn didn’t BPPP instructor, Eichhorn knows all the tricks. He for AOPA—day or had pulled the gear motor circuit breaker, located leave me hanging for long before flipping open the night. Airport/Facility Directory to point out the note in just ahead of his left knee—or at least that was what very small type that prohibits nighttime takeoffs and I hoped had happened. We had agreed that I was on landings at the small airport just south of Washington, D.C. OK, my own; I was to operate as if he weren’t there. No way was I going so that’s one very good reason not to go there this evening. to troubleshoot a gear failure while sliding down a glideslope into Eichhorn, a CFII, aircraft owner, and airline pilot, confessed the night. I keyed the mic, confessed the anomaly, and asked the that he knew the details so well because he had once been tower controller for a climb and vector away from the airport to forced to leave an airplane at the airport years earlier after he troubleshoot. I declined his offer of a flyby to check the gear, susand a friend landed there at night. After a thorough chewing pecting that if I sacrificed my right shoulder muscles to the Gear out by the airport manager, they left the airplane there until Crank Gods that the electrons would once again flow successthe next day. The tidbit is just one that Eichhorn shares during fully. Sure enough, after I had struggled to crank the gear down, a night flying seminar he frequently gives at Beechcraft Pilot the push of the CB magically restored the system, and the gear Proficiency Programs (BPPP), AOPA Summit, and other pilot retracted as it should. But as I caught my breath after the laborious gatherings. Night flying safety is a passion of his, developed after cranking, something didn’t look right. The airplane was rolling to a friend and experienced pilot died in a night flying accident. the left, airspeed picking up. I leveled off and noted that the autoEichhorn is a big fan of the A/FD when it comes to night pilot was suddenly dark. Obviously the gremlin in the right seat flying. He says it is the only source that carries a complete had discovered the autopilot CB. A voice in the dark announced reference to types of lighting systems and other nighttime that it wouldn’t be working again for the rest of the night. nuances necessary for safe flying. We all learned to rely on The second attempt at the ILS approach went without a the A/FD as instrument students, yet frequently pilots ignore it hitch, the gear lowering as it should as we slid through the as they gain experience, relying on other information sources. smooth night air. After the missed approach, we headed for But with more than a dozen types of approach lighting systems a nearby VOR to do some air work. Stalls, steep turns, and and numerous variations of those, no source but the A/FD pro- emergency descents in the dark. While especially challenging vides complete information. Even then, few pilots understand at night, I was helped by a moon so bright we could pick out the nuances of one type of system versus some others. “Airport details in the fields below well enough that we felt we could lights are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re safely choose a landing spot if we had to. I would hope to be so going to get. But most important, do the lights work?” he asks. blessed in the case of a real nighttime emergency. “Always check notams before a night flight. A failed PAPI may And that was just the beginning of our nighttime adventure. be an annoyance during the day; it may be critical at night.” By the time the approach lights back at Manassas slid underTo help pilots prepare for night flights, Eichhorn uses an neath the wings, I was tired, but confident in my night flying acronym he created: NIGHT. Notams (check Notams D for —and anxious to fly some more. airport lighting outages and changes); Illusions (Aeronautical Information Manual Chapter 8 discusses them); Glideslope To download a copy of Eichhorn’s Night Flying safety card, (unless you know the area well, consider not landing at night which includes all sorts of night flying tips, go online (www. at an airport that doesn’t have an electronic or visual glide- aopa.org/pilot/nightflyingsafetycard). E-mail the author at slope); How do I control the lighting systems? (Refer to the thomas.haines@aopa.org; follow on Twitter: tomhaines29. A/FD); Terrain (VFR charts show maximum elevation figures, twitter.com. 24 • FEBRUARY
2012

AOPA PILOT •


http://www.aopa.org/pilot/nightflyingsafetycard http://www.aopa.org/pilot/nightflyingsafetycard http://tomhaines29.twitter.com http://tomhaines29.twitter.com

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
Contents
President’s Position
Hangar Talk
AOPA Media
AOPA Action
Letters
Waypoints
Proficient Pilot
Safety Pilot
License to Learn
Pilot Counsel
Fly Well
Pilot Briefing
Rally GA: Pay Up
Budget Buy: Classically Quick
Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
Flying Wild in Alaska
On Brand-New Wings
B-Ball to Biplane
2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
The Bird and the Leprechaun
Avionics: Pilot Friendly
Technique: Wind Warrior
Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
Products: Anywhere Map Septa
Never Again
Fly-Outs
Fly by Wire
Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - President’s Position
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Hangar Talk
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Media
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Action
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Letters
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Waypoints
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Proficient Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Safety Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - License to Learn
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Counsel
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly Well
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Briefing
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Rally GA: Pay Up
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Budget Buy: Classically Quick
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Flying Wild in Alaska
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - On Brand-New Wings
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - B-Ball to Biplane
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - The Bird and the Leprechaun
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Avionics: Pilot Friendly
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Technique: Wind Warrior
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Products: Anywhere Map Septa
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Never Again
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly-Outs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly by Wire
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover4
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