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CHAPTER THIRTEEN
INTRODUCTION TO NIGHT CONTACT
1300. INTRODUCTION
You are now ready to enter one of the most interesting stages of your flight training - NIGHT
CONTACT. There is no reason for you to approach it with any more apprehension than you did
the transition from day to night driving in an automobile. In fact, you will find much in common
between the two experiences. Just as you did not try to drive at night until you had perfected
your skill in handling an automobile in the daylight, you now come to night flying with an
improved feel of the airplane and the ability to make your airplane do precisely what you want it
to do. You will further these same qualities under the conditions of restricted vision present at
night.
Your first night flight is not intended to teach you all there is to know about night flying, but to
familiarize you with the fundamentals. You will come to realize that there are differences in
night flying, but that a careful study of these differences will make flying at night fully as safe as
in the daytime.
Good night flying, like good night driving, requires increased care. You will have to identify
obstructions and other aircraft, not by entire outline, but by such small identifying features as a
few colored lights. This is not difficult if you leave the ground well prepared for the conditions
you will meet, and if you remain constantly alert. Once you are in the air, clear of all ground
obstructions, the only possible obstruction remaining will be other aircraft. Obviously it is
essential that you know the location of other aircraft.
1301. NIGHT FLYING PHYSIOLOGY
1.   Night Vision. You will remember from lectures on flight physiology that the eye uses
different parts for night vision than for day vision. Because of the difference in function of the
rods and cones, technique must be changed in order to spot objects at night: Do not stare at a
spot, but scan the vicinity of the sky in which you believe the object to be located.
The eyes must be adapted for night vision; the pupils must dilate and the rods must be brought
into full use. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the eyes to become completely adapted, and
only 10 seconds for all adaptation to be lost in bright light. Adaptation may be accomplished by
total darkness or by gradually approaching darkness such as normal daylight to sunset to night.
2.
Vertigo. Vertigo, in aviation, is a feeling of dizziness and disorientation caused by doubt
in visual interpretation of your attitude. This feeling is often experienced at night from lack of a
well-defined horizon. The period immediately after takeoff, leaving a well lighted runway and
entering complete darkness, brings on this feeling of disorientation. Trust and use your attitude
3.
Moving and Stationary Lights. Often you will not be able to see anything of the aircraft
ahead except its tail light or strobe lights. In such cases, it will be difficult to judge distance,
INTRODUCTION TO NIGHT CONTACT 13-1


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