NIGHT FORMATION FLIGHT PROCEDURES
Because at night relative motion is harder to discern and the wingman is more susceptible to vertigo
due to limited visual cues, most maneuvers are performed slower at night using different techniques
than daytime to identify positional errors. The techniques and gouges for night formation are
referenced in the appropriate procedure.
The pilots perform preflight, start, and taxi to marshal exactly as they would in the Night Fam stage.
The wingman's lighting configuration (Figure 43) is
similar to the Night Fam stage, except that strobe
lights are not used during night formation. In
general, the lead flies with his external lights on dim
and steady and with his anti-collision and strobe
lights off, or as briefed. The interior lighting should
be adjusted as dim as possible to prevent glare on
the canopy but still enable scanning of the
These procedures are the same as daytime
Night taxi/hold short procedures are similar to the
day procedures with a few exceptions: 1) taxi speed is slower (twice the caution, half the speed), 2)
the flight taxis on the centerline with the wingman maintaining 300 ft separation, 3) as the lead arrives
at the hold short area, the flight switches to tower, and 4) individual takeoff procedures apply. The
lead calls for takeoff, and then the wingman calls for takeoff.
Due to the difficulty in seeing relative motion at night, the wingman must draw on all available visual
cues--for example, using the number of taxi lights between the lead and the wingman to maintain
proper taxi interval. Use the taxi light, if it is desired, whenever it will not blind other pilots or ground
Night takeoffs are performed on instruments from rotation until the aircraft is safely airborne.
Normally individual takeoffs followed by TACAN rendezvous are performed at night. The lead positions
on the runway the same as in day formation with lights on bright and anti-collision on. The wingman
holds short of the runway. When cleared for takeoff, the lead performs his runup, completes his checks,
and performs an individual takeoff. When cleared by the tower, the wingman taxis into takeoff position
and completes his checks. With checks complete and lead safely airborne, Dash-2 begins his takeoff
roll. The lead and the wingman perform the night takeoff as in the Night Fam Stage.