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Night Flying


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Now this is a purely hypothetical question (it would have to be, I'm not even flying in daytime yet), so please don't get all moral or legal on me.

If one was going to make a flight at night on a paramotor, what practical aspects would you consider, and how would you work around them?

Ie, would you use navigation lighting, or go stealthy, how would you light your landing spot to make it easy to judge your flare, etc. ?

Whatever you can think of as difficulties, and preferably how you personally would work round them.

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A good starting point might be to ensure either that your GPS shows a position north of the arctic circle and your calendar shows third week in June, or a GPS position south of the antarctic circle with a date in third week of December.....

It's scary enough (while still legal) in the later half of twilight as regards wires, trees etc and the impact, oops, I mean effects of degraded depth perception as the efficiency of the retinal cones drops away in the reduced light levels and the rods have to cope on their own.

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One of my flights was watching a sunset and I ended up landing in dusk, it's scary how fast the light fades when you drop from altitude, just before I touched down it was really hard to work out exactly how high I was. As I packed away the owls were hooting. Imagine an engine out landing in an unfamiliar field in the dark - no thanks.

note to self - land 20 mins earlier.

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Apparently car headlights arranged at one end of a field aid night landings.....

Problem would be that the brightly lit area would be all you would see, night vision in the surrounding darkness would be zip - if for any reason you were prevented from landing in the illuminated area (bit of sink, engine problem, cross wind gust, misjudgement) you would be in a much worse position re safety.

OK, let's be really boring - the biggest no no to considering it is that breaking the rules on things like this is simply playing into the hands of those who would dearly love to regulate us out of the sky all round the clock! [/pontification]

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Apparently car headlights arranged at one end of a field aid night landings.....

Problem would be that the brightly lit area would be all you would see, night vision in the surrounding darkness would be zip - if for any reason you were prevented from landing in the illuminated area (bit of sink, engine problem, cross wind gust, misjudgement) you would be in a much worse position re safety.

How about landing light/s on the motor/harness as a solution to that?

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Umm, you can't, its illegal so I guess there's not much point in trying!

Thanks for your input.

Well no offence meant Phil but you didn't indicate if you were aware of the laws of this, or even why you want to achieve it.

It only needs for you to have an incident or get in to trouble and it stuffs up the sport for the rest of us, I cringe every time I see someone taking off without a reserve or liability insurance for exactly the same reason.

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Not that i'd recommend it either... but if I had to, id choose a very big level field, and fly on a cloudless night with a full moon. A back up team on the ground would be essential with illumination for the landing point, but if emergency struck- engine out, etc.. the chances of a safe landing would be slim.

GD

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Well no offence meant Phil but you didn't indicate if you were aware of the laws of this, or even why you want to achieve it.

Well I thought this might have given it away;

Now this is a purely hypothetical question (it would have to be, I'm not even flying in daytime yet), so please don't get all moral or legal on me.

As for why, I have read about it being done, and I have seen videos of it, so my curiosity was piqued to the extent that I'd be interested to know the best way of doing it.

Perhaps I'm the only weirdo who wanders into a bank and thinks to himself 'now how would I rob this place?'. Funnily enough, I understand that to do so would be illegal.

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Forums a usefull thing Phil. Keep it friendly. You can learn much from all comments (negative or positive.) When you progress to flying really good gear, climb faster than your mates, bank steeper turns, use less fuel and still get a good turn of speed, you'll let it all slip by anyway. I made my previous "Damm busters" comment in humour but 2 strong torches with a narrow beam should do it. :twisted:

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Dave, it's the negatives as much as the positives that I'm interested in. I have heard it said that there are two types of people in the world, 1) Problem orientated & 2) Solution orientated. Both are needed to create a balance. As it happens, I tend towards being solution orientated. I did however discount the legal aspect as that is already set in stone so discussion on that is pointless.

The 'two beams' approach (pun?) strikes me as interesting. Kill two birds with one stone, provide light AND give a reliable height indication.

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I agree with all of the legality and safety limitations/concerns but here are some people who are doing it! (and some with added lasers, pyrotechnics, streamers, ground fired fireworks and incredibly - attached mounted horses to contend with!)

Now for a Youtube-athon -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvWUb6Z5tM

Pretty amazing! Looks like the Chinese have a different view of night flying.

It seems that beaches would be the preferred takeoff/landing sites. Nice and flat with no power cables or other obstacles and probably reasonably visible even in low light.

Take care!

Best regards,

Ian.

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FYI: at night, aircraft must display lights as are specified for the particular category of aircraft. No other lights that would impair the effectiveness of the required lights should be displayed. A glider may show either the basic lights for a flying machine (red on port wing, green on starboard wing and white on tail) or a steady red light visible in all directions.

NIGHT is defined for the rules of the air as being;

· from 30 minutes after sunset

· until 30 minutes before sunrise

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  • 3 years later...

Circling vehicles in the corners of a landing field works nicely to orient and home a lost para-owl with sufficient light to get them down safely. Yes, it washes night vision, but that's the point when landing zone is known, just not visible at night.

Ask me how I know, but regs won't let me tell you.

Cheap stealthy high risk alternative might be a static field strobe and motor mounted LED floods good for a 100 feet out or more.

A couple 4D cell mag lights with a 3/5W LED bulbs would do, one beam, one wide.

Wheels.

Rollcage.

Radio(s)

"I lived" Champagne.

In either case a foray far afield would lean pretty heavy on backlit GPS, which will not help picking out reference lights on the ground. It has most certainly been done, however hypothetically ;-)

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First thought is: Not a good idea! That said, I started with the creative aspects to try and show some respect for the regulations. Lights could be made with red/green glowsticks. Would be neat to light the whole wing with something. Then red/green fabric patches could be sewn in the winglets. Night vision goggles would be a must for safety. Flying over water at the beach could lead to spacial disorientation, better to fly over a well lit area. i.e. Fly in daytime. Paint motor frame with glow in the dark paint. And lastly, have a bail bondsman on standby.

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Flying at nightwould bring other dangers as well

ones that we dont have to contend with during daylight hours :?

Chinese Lanterns....they are everywhere.....also

U F O s ........ :shock: As anybody worth their salt will tell you they are only ever spotted at night :lol:

ps I also am legally not allowed to say something I know on this subject :wink:

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Good thought provoking topic [and i am speaking as a wannabe, still not even a newbie] but question. When fixed wing pilots fly at night or in cloud, they have no visual references and fly by intruments. In a PG how would you 'fly straight' or will the natural pendulum confidguration keep you straight unless pilot inputs dictate something else? :dive:

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Good thought provoking topic [and i am speaking as a wannabe, still not even a newbie] but question. When fixed wing pilots fly at night or in cloud, they have no visual references and fly by intruments. In a PG how would you 'fly straight' or will the natural pendulum confidguration keep you straight unless pilot inputs dictate something else? :dive:

PPG pilots at night follow IWG guidelines.......

IWG = Impact With Ground

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  • 5 years later...

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