Yet Another Logging Question.... Instrument / Night

SpiceWeasel

Tre Kronor
Ok here are two seperate questions about logging flight time.....

1st, I can log night time as sunset to sunrise? I'm not using it for currency, don't need to, just logging night time. (As opposed to the 1 hr after evening civil twilight to 1 hour prior to morning civil twilight for landings).

2, and this just piqued my interest as something I've talked about before. What can be logged as instrument time "actual"?
According to 61.51
(g) Logging instrument flight time. (1) A person may log instrument time only for that flight time when the person operates the aircraft solely by reference to instruments under actual or simulated instrument flight conditions.
This means to me, as long as I'm not looking outside, I'm on an instrument flight plan, etc., I can technically log all of that time as actual? Where is the requirement that says actual can ONLY be logged in the clouds, because that's how I was taught at the great school of the west.... ERAU. Under my lowly interpretation, if you wanted to, you *could* do it during the day if you weren't looking outside. At night, I don't see why you couldn't, as a lot of the places I flew before had little to no ground lighting; and even so the illusions could take over in a major way.

Question 1 is more important for me since I just want to get a good idea of how much night flying I've done (and I can go back after the fact and figure out when it was night time), vs instrument flight. Word on the street is that you can take 10% of your 121 time and count that as "actual"..... legal, probably not, but conservative and won't put you over what you've actually done.... sure...

:panic:
 

tgrayson

New Member
1st, I can log night time as sunset to sunrise?
No, that only applies to using navigation lights.

As opposed to the 1 hr after evening civil twilight to 1 hour prior to morning civil twilight for landings
That isn't what the regulation says. It says "during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise".

The definition of "night" is
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.
This means to me, as long as I'm not looking outside, I'm on an instrument flight plan, etc., I can technically log all of that time as actual?
No, the conditions outside the aircraft must require using the instruments.
 

KC Jake

Well-Known Member
It seems to me like it would be a better idea to just log what you did when you did it. If it is night time and you aren't in the clouds, log it as night. If you are in the clouds, log it as actual. If you have a hood on, log it as simulated. If you are in a passenger seat, log it as actual nap time. If it requires you to get creative with the rules, you will probably also have to get creative when explaining it at a job interview. Just log what YOU did when YOU did it.
 

SpiceWeasel

Tre Kronor
Ok then... for number 1:

If:
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.
is the case, what is loggable as night time? How the heck am I supposed to figure out end of evening civil twilight (because it's obviously not sunset).

#2: Makes sense, as long as the conditions outside the aircraft dictate the use of instruments; but that is not to say that on a clear but dark night you can't log instrument time....
 

SpiceWeasel

Tre Kronor
It seems to me like it would be a better idea to just log what you did when you did it. If it is night time and you aren't in the clouds, log it as night. If you are in the clouds, log it as actual. If you have a hood on, log it as simulated. If you are in a passenger seat, log it as actual nap time. If it requires you to get creative with the rules, you will probably also have to get creative when explaining it at a job interview. Just log what YOU did when YOU did it.
Well I'm just going back over my stuff. My logbooks are about 2 months behind. heh. Such is life.
 

mjg407

Well-Known Member
NIGHT [ICAO]- The hours between the end of
evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning
civil twilight or such other period between sunset and
sunrise as may be specified by the appropriate​
authority.
 

butt

New Member
Ok then... for number 1:

If:
is the case, what is loggable as night time? How the heck am I supposed to figure out end of evening civil twilight (because it's obviously not sunset).

#2: Makes sense, as long as the conditions outside the aircraft dictate the use of instruments; but that is not to say that on a clear but dark night you can't log instrument time....
My rule a thumb is when the sun starts to change color from white/yellow to orange/red, thats sunset and you can start logging night.

Once the sun has dropped below the horizon and it's what you'd call "dark" in layman's terms, thats civil twilight, which is usually around a half hour later. Thats when night currency comes into play.

For general logging, I just wing it. Lets say I take off at 6PM (still light) and I land at 10PM, I just use guess work to determine night time. Back when I was a CFI, I'd write down the time on my watch when we shut down, then look up the sunset time on airnav, then do all the math work, but now-a-days I just can't be bothered.

As far as instrument time, the FAA doesn't even define "actual instrument". All the FAA cares about is "Instrument time", which can be either in actual conditions, or under the hood. Have you ever noticed the 8710 form only has a space to put "Instrument" time? The whole actual/simulated dichotomy is not defines anywhere, so all you can do is go by what is generally accepted.
 

mjg407

Well-Known Member
No takers on 10% of total 121 time = actual instrument time??
Here's what the Navy uses
Actual Instrument Conditions.​
Conditions external
to the aircraft in flight that do not permit visual

reference to the horizon.
 

tgrayson

New Member
My rule a thumb is when the sun starts to change color from white/yellow to orange/red, thats sunset and you can start logging night.

Once the sun has dropped below the horizon and it's what you'd call "dark" in layman's terms, thats civil twilight, which is usually around a half hour later. Thats when night currency comes into play.
Both your rules of thumb are wrong. :rolleyes:
 

butt

New Member
Both your rules of thumb are wrong. :rolleyes:
What? One time I wrote down civil twilight time and sunset time, before going up up for a flight. At those times took note of how the sun looked, then used that as a guide to judge for the future.

What exactly is so wrong about them?
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Here's what the Navy uses
Actual Instrument Conditions.​
Conditions external
to the aircraft in flight that do not permit visual

reference to the horizon.
Here's what the FAA uses (from an FAA Legal opinion):

==============================
"Actual" instrument flight conditions occur when some outside conditions make it necessary for the pilot to use the aircraft instruments in order to maintain adequate control over the aircraft.
==============================
 

tgrayson

New Member
What exactly is so wrong about them?
thats sunset and you can start logging night.
That's wrong. Night means:
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.
thats civil twilight...Thats when night currency comes into play.
That's wrong. The regulation says "during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise".
 

butt

New Member
That's wrong. Night means:
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.

That's wrong. The regulation says "during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise".
Oh, I misspoke. The sun turning red is civil twilight, and "dark" is one hour after sunset. I just had my terms switched.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
No takers on 10% of total 121 time = actual instrument time??
I think you're getting this a little backward.

I have heard that a good rule of thumb for how much actual instrument time 121 operators want potential hirees to have is approximately 10% of their total flight time.

I've definitely never heard of just arbitrarily going the other way and "declaring" 10% of your time as actual instrument though.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
So, here's what's fun.

It seems like you can log instrument time in VMC.

Why?

Because let's say it's clear and a million over the water, where you have no ground references to use.

Guess what?

You've got to use the instruments to keep the plane right side up.

So, BY DEFINITION, you are in actual instrument conditions even though you are flying in VMC.

Is your head going like this yet? :panic:
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
That's wrong. Night means:
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.
That's wrong. The regulation says "during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise".
Tgrayson is correct.

Sunset = Lights on, not loggable as "night", not valid for landing currency

End of evening civil twilight = Lights on, loggable as "night", not valid for landing currency

1 Hour after Sunset = Lights on, loggable as "night", valid for landing currency.

Given that most of us probably don't pull out the almanac as we should, nor do most people even know what "civil twilight" is versus "astronomical twilight" versus "nautical twilight", a good rule of thumb is that the end of civil twilight generally occurs about 30 minutes after sunset. In practice, I personally don't log night time until the "sunset + 1 hour" timeframe. That's the only way I can, without adding extra complication to my logbook, to guarantee that the takeoffs and landings I log at night do indeed qualify for currency purposes.

10% of Part 121 time counting as "actual" = bogus. That's not written anywhere as being legitimate.
 
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