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The Mechanics of Flying a Helicopter at Night

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Helicopters are marvels of technology, but what’s really amazing is how they can fly at night. According to the General Aviation Survey by the FAA, around 16% of all helicopter missions take place at night. Here’s how helicopters can navigate in dark conditions safely.

Why Would Helicopters Fly at Night?

There are a few reasons why someone might fly a helicopter at night, but the simple answer is that sometimes you have to. Generally speaking, the helicopters that fly at night are used for specific purposes, medical, military, police, new, and corporate VIP helicopters. Standard passenger helicopters typically don’t fly during the night, although some pilots can fly at night if they have the proper certification. Generally speaking, though, the helicopters you see at night are used for one of the previously mentioned purposes.

How Does It Work?

In order to fly at night, a helicopter must have certain helicopter parts, including working lights. This includes red, green, and white position lights, an anti-collision light, landing lights, and lighting in the cockpit to see the instrument panel. Pilots may be equipped with night vision goggles to help them get a clearer view of the skies at night, and they typically fly over well-lit areas where it’s a little easier to see where you’re going.

Night Flight Certification

Aside from having the proper helicopter parts, you typically need to obtain a special type of certification to fly at night. Keep in mind that certification requirements may vary based on country, so some helicopter pilots can fly at night without obtaining night certification.

Are Helicopters Safe at Night?

You might be wondering if it’s safe to fly a helicopter at night. Thanks to certain helicopter parts and the skilled pilots that undergo extensive training, flying a helicopter at night is usually pretty safe. That being said, you shouldn’t fly at night if you don’t have proper helicopter parts and gear, which includes night vision goggles and proper onboard illumination.

You might not expect helicopters to fly at night typically, but there are many types of helicopter pilots who frequently fly at night. You can visit the FAA website to learn more about flying at night and the helicopter parts you need. If you need lights and other helicopter parts for nighttime flying, check out the parts we have to offer at Rotair Aerospace.