Late Night Flying (SBFT)

Too many accidents occur in the last few miles of a long trip. Flying while tired or not mentally alert especially late at night or really early in the morning, your risk increases due to reduced situational awareness and physiological consequences. The pilot becomes unwilling to divert or land knowing they were so close to home.

The physiological aspects of flying at night, during long durations include significant deterioration of night vision, and slowing of metal judgement effected by your circadian rhythm or biological clock.

Pilot:

  • Private Pilot with 200 hours total time

  • Not Instrument Rated

 

Scenario:

It is 0330L, you are three hours into a late night cross-country flight, returning home, and flying solo. You are flying VFR at 9,500 feet MSL. You are sleepy and are having difficulty staying awake. It’s another hour flight time to your home airport.

Environment:

  • Weather – Clear skies

  • Wind – 15kt tailwind

 

What should you do?

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