Helicopter Night Operations

Pilots rely more on vision than on any other sense to orient themselves in flight. The following visual factors contribute to flying performance: good depth perception for safe landings, good visual acuity to identify terrain features and obstacles in the flightpath, and good color vision. Although vision is the most accurate and reliable sense, visual cues can be misleading, contributing to incidents occurring within the flight environment. Pilots must be aware of and know how to compensate effectively for the following:
  • Physical deficiency or self-imposed stress, such as smoking, which limits night-vision capability
  • Visual cue deficiencies
  • Limitations in visual acuity, dark adaptation, and color and depth perception

For example, at night, the unaided eye has degraded visual acuity. For more information on night operations refer Charting the Course of the Pilot's Aeronautical Knowledge section.

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