Night abort procedures are the same as during the day. However, since the visual cues are limited,
neither the lead nor the wingman should hesitate to radio in order to clarify intentions. Voice
Even though the procedures for a night TACAN rendezvous are the same as for day, some techniques
are different. The lead makes sure his strobe light is on. The wingman maintains stepdown of 500 ft
below the briefed rendezvous altitude.
When the wingman sees the aircraft he believes to be the lead, he confirms sight of the lead by
transmitting "[flight call sign], strobes." When the lead hears this transmission, he turns off his
strobe lights. When the lead's strobe lights go off, the wingman calls "Visual." If the lead aircraft is
still not in sight, the wingman flies to Point 1 at 500 ft below rendezvous altitude and commences
30-degree AOB turn at 250 KIAS. After the wingman is established in the working area and after
confirming visual with lead, the wingman should "strangle parrot" (IFF to standby) and secure his
own strobe light.
When the wingman is visual and established on bearing with relative fuselage alignment, he then
moves up to co-altitude and conducts a night rendezvous. The wingman flies a maximum of 45
degrees AOB to intercept the bearing line, using the lead/lag method to align fuselages. When the
wingman is close aboard and has transmitted "Lights," the lead turns his anti-collision light off and
his external lights to dim and steady, or as briefed.
Differences exist between day and night rendezvous, both in procedure and technique. You conduct a
nighttime carrier rendezvous at co-airspeed using turn radius instead of airspeed to achieve
closure. During the initial part of the rendezvous, the wingman needs to maintain an inside/outside
scan, monitoring airspeed and altitude on instruments while maintaining rendezvous position on the
lead by looking outside.
You will find it difficult to get bearing line information
using day visual cues on the lead's aircraft. As a
wingman intercepting the bearing line, turn across
the lead's tail toward the rendezvous bearing line.
With fuselages approximately aligned, place the
lead's lights in the windscreen just in front of the
canopy bow. Use instruments to control closure and
altitude until you can discern relative motion and
altitude off the lead. Maintain the lead in this position
until you can distinguish individual position lights on
the lead. If the lead's anti-collision light appears
above and midway between the tail light and wingtip
light, forming a light triangle, you are on the correct
bearing (see Figure 44). All night rendezvous
reference this same light triangle.