Night flying is certainly a fun part of any RC pilot’s experience. However, it can be a little bit intimidating to get started with flying at night when you have never taken to the skies at night before. I wanted to give everyone a few tips that may help with getting started in this exciting part of the RC experience that can help to make sure you will not only just not crash but really enjoy flying at night.
Make sure your plane is setup properly
Always make sure you start by flying a plane that you are familiar with and that is trimmed out well before jumping into the night skies. Obviously, if you have a plane that you are not familiar with and possibly has trim problems, you are setting yourself up for a night flying disaster. You want to already know and expect the flight characteristics because your visibility of the plane is not going to be what it normally is during the day with full sunlight and being able to see what every side of the plane is doing.
Also, if you are flying an untrimmed plane, then you will most likely have difficulty correcting these issues in the air at night with only the night LEDs to help. Always make sure your plane is trimmed and flying very well before attempting a flight at night.
Make sure your LEDs are using an orientation scheme you can identify
The most obvious thing to do when selecting LED lights for night flying is use the FAA standard in this regard. A real plane has a RED navigation light on the left wing and a GREEN navigation light on the right wing. This helps you to know which wing is toward you or away from you allowing you to determine the correct orientation of your plane and whether it is going away from you, coming toward you, upside down, or right side up.
If you are not using FAA navigation colors, just make sure you know your scheme and don’t have to think too much about which color tells you what. After all, you may only have seconds at the most to correct an orientation issue in the night sky before you either run out of ideas or altitude, whichever comes first.
Know your airspace
It is also very important to know your airspace where you are flying at night. It would be very difficult to start flying at night in a completely new area without knowing trees, structures, or other obstacles that could lead to crashing. It would be wise to pick a location that you have flown many times before so that you are very familiar with the terrain and obstacles.
This will ensure that you don’t have to worry as much about the terrain and concentrate more on your plane for any orientation corrections.