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Night Route Planning

Featuring Bob Nardiello

Subscriber question:

"Are there any special considerations when planning a route for a night flight?"
- Dominick H.

night route lights


"Good preflight planning in a single engine aircraft requires consideration of the route as it relates to hostile or remote terrain. Hostile or remote terrain includes terrain where a successful emergency landing is unlikely at night, or where rescue or emergency assistance may be a long time in coming.

The best way to route a flight is by including as many landing options as possible in case an emergency landing is required. Start with a route that has lots of airports along the way since they are the most friendly options if an emergency does arise, but be aware that not all airports are equally useful in an emergency situation. For example, an unpaved field without lighting is pretty much useless at night.

Also consider your ability to maintain contact with ATC along your proposed route.

Once you plan what you consider to be a route with an optimal number of safe options, be sure to obtain the necessary airport information for potential alternate landing sites.

Also be sure to re-compute the fuel requirements for your flight, as conservative route planning may increase the distance to your destination."

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