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A Helicopter Night Qualification is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and to learn a new skill. Once gained, as pilot in a helicopter you will be able to fly at night, enjoying the views and the different world of aviation. It is also a huge convenience factor as you will not have to rush to get home or divert before sunset. Once completed the Helicopter Night Qualification is valid on all types of helicopters held on your pilots licence.
In order to fly in command of a helicopter a night, with or without passengers you must have a helicopter night rating. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) definition of official night is the time between 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
To apply for a Helicopter Night Qualification you must have met the following requirements,
100 hours of flight time as pilot of helicopters after the issue of a PPL (H) 60 hours pilot in command of helicopters; and 20 hours of cross country flight.
Once you have met these requirements you can start a Helicopter Night Rating Qualification. The features of this course are as follows.
5 hours theoretical knowledge instruction 10 hours dual instrument instruction (this is an addition to any instrument instruction completed prior to the course). 5 hours of helicopter night training, including 3 hours dual instruction and 5 solo night circuits. Each circuit shall include a take-off and landing. The course must be completed within 6 months.
Once a Helicopter Night Qualification has been acquired, to be able to fly with passengers 3 take-offs and landings must have been completed within the previous 90 days.
If you plan to become a Commercial Helicopter Pilot, the night rating is often combined with the Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL (H)) course.