Tonight I did my night flight cross country. It was scheduled for a 3 hour flight, to complete 10 take off and landings, as well as a 2 hour cross country.
We stayed in the pattern here at Vero to do 8 touch and goes, and then departed north to Daytona Beach. This flight was an excellent demonstration of the night environment here in Florida. Basically I followed the interstate north, from airport to airport. Along the east coast, there is literally an airport every 10-20 miles. Tune in the airport frequency, and key up the lights 🙂 It was a pretty calm flight, didn't have much of anything come in the way. Ducked for a few clouds, but that's about it.
Once we got about 40 miles north, around Melbourne, we picked up flight following, and they helped us along to Daytona. Once we got it trimmed out, and was pretty easy flying, keeping the interstate in view.
Approach called the airport at 12 O'clock, 5 miles. Tower cleared us to land, and we were on our way back before I knew it.
I haven't flown at night for a very long time, and even then I don't think I did very well. It's a much different flying experience. The landscape completely changes, and you have to watch out for different things. You have to think about which way traffic is oriented, as far as nav lights. If you see a steady red light, you have to know which way that traffic is going, and determine if it's a factor to your course.
It's not really 'harder' to fly at night, just much different I guess. I like doing landings at night, because the runway is all you see. No distractions, nothing else to look at. Although the runway will jump up at you at night, but you get use to it.
If everything goes as planned, I should be taking my check ride by the end of next week. I'm super pumped to get this first speed bump out of the way. I can't wait to take some friends up, or my parents. To show them what I've worked so hard to accomplish. Show them how much I love what it is I'm doing.