Expect Left Traffic

Flight 43 – Pretty Lights

Flight 43 was my first foray up after dark. Pre-flighting the plane with a flashlight was an interesting experience, and I think given the chance I’d rather check the oil before the sun goes down. We flew north a bit past Longmont, trying to identify landmarks and did some steep turns and some instrument reference maneuvers. We flew around with all the lights except the taxi on, and it was interesting how the light scatters at night, making it seem almost as if we were flying through a haze even though the city lights were nice and clear. We went back to Metro and I got in three full stop landings on the south runway before the tower had us switch over to 29R for a CH-60 coming in requesting the other runway. As they were entering the airspace they requested a low fly-over with the lights off. There was a brief terse exchange between the two that I didn’t fully catch as I tried to keep my downwind where it needed to be. Immediately afterward the tower controller seemed to relax and said, “now that we’re legal, we can leave you in the dark, let us know when you want the lights on.” It was disconcerting knowing the helicopter was over there and even with his position reports I was always worried I’d overshoot my base leg. We got in four more full stop landings before calling it a night, since it was just as and the CH-60. We taxied back to the school, leaving the Air National Guard chopper to play with himself in the dark, and I am now night current.

December 30th, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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