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Night flight over the Alps in a SEP

Also many Diamond DA20/DV20 airplanes are legal NVFR with Rotax engines.

EDKM, LSZC

Rotax powered aircraft can be cleared for IFR (Experimentals and AFAIK also the certified Tecnam-Twin is IFR approved). The engine is not the problem, rather the missions Rotax powered planes fly just don’t require it

EDLE

Peter wrote:

How many Rotax powered planes are night VFR legal?

Some are even IFR legal, like the Tecnam Twin.

LSZH, Switzerland

One of those planes is a well known regular at my local field. It’s a rental plane and flown by everyone. We all know what that means.

One can do a lot of things shrugging shoulders saying „it’s not gonna happen to me“, until it does.

The topography (and flying over water) between Croatia and Austria makes for a challenging deadstick landing even during daylight.

During daytime, the VFR route passes near some slovenian glider fields, so one can reduce the time enroute without an airfield in gliding range. I wouldn’t count on pulling this off at night!

Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide

Well, someone has decided that night flying in SEP’s is legal. So the risk assessment done by the regulators appears to have resulted in acceptable risks. The same goes for SEP IFR in actual IMC, particularly in low ceilings. And they also have not banned overwater flight for SEP’s. In all of those cases, in the case of an engine out scenario, your life is in acute danger.

In the end everyone has to decide for himself whether he wants to take that risk or not. I personally have a night rating, primarily however to be able to continue to destination in case of a few minutes into the night and because my home base has the night facilities needed. While I love flying at night in general (the view is simply one of a kind) I prefer twins for that kind of thing.

While I am quite risk averse for myself for several reasons, I would not like to see SEP’s limited to day VFR or even day IFR in VMC only. Seeing how people kill themselfs with SEP’s even in VMC at times one could argue that the whole class of airplanes has an inherent risk, but I think nobody will want to pull the plug on it.

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 17 Sep 08:20
LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

Seeing how people kill themselfs with SEP’s even in VMC at times one could argue that the whole class of airplanes has an inherent risk, but I think nobody will want to pull the plug on it.

Yes. The additional risk of night VFR or IMC flying in singles is marginal.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Peter wrote:


Now, that is doubly amusing How many Rotax powered planes are night VFR legal?

In Poland all ULs can be given approval for NVFR as long as they have cabin lights and a compass, IIRC, here is an example of a VL3 which is approved for NVFR. However although it might be approved for NVFR by the Polish authorities, it’s no good if the area you’re in (eg German FIR) bans UL flying NVFR…..

EDL*, Germany

Airborne_Again wrote:

Yes. The additional risk of night VFR or IMC flying in singles is marginal.

Is it?

Let’s say the probability (of e.g. an engine failure) is the same day and night. The outcome is much less favorable at night. So the risk increase shouldn’t only be marginal!?

Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide

Snoopy wrote:

The outcome is much less favorable at night. So the risk increase shouldn’t only be marginal!?

Not if you are in absolute terms, you set a risk threshold and live with it, no point comparing the ratio of two peanut numbers if you are doing 5000h at night in SEP we can talk more about engine failures stats as it’s no longer about personal feelings or opinions !

If you are 10 times most likely to die in engine failure at night than day, then you have the same probability of dying flying A(2000h in day) vs B(1000h at day and 100h at night) vs C(200h at night), as long as you keep the ratio of night time to day time close to the ratio of your risk increase, it’s the same thing, it’s the reason why people are happy to do the 5h night course and never fly at night again…also, it’s hard to log lot of night time, I fly at night every time I can but I barely have 30h of night in my logbook, 15h were in US (it’s impossible to fly night in UK without complex arrangements and lot of money)

Just like cloud flying, night flying is not very risky when it comes to “engine mechanical failures”, these are very rare anyway but it’s less forgiving to human errors or minor failures that are more frequent (dealing with diversion, fuel or weather is not easy at night and loss of horizon, radio, navigation, lights is less funny)

In the other hand, the time people have spend doing night flying is probably less than the one they have logged on day VFR takeoff or day IFR on ILS with literally zero landing options ahead…one good mitigant is to fly night under IFR at higher levels and plan a good route with airports in glide range but there are zillions of reasons why it’s safer to fly lower at night as well (if you have to pick between airframe icing or night hypoxia vs engine failure ), night flying over the Alps, it’s likely game over even if you magically pull a successful landing, you will have to sleep in the cold until tomorrow before they come to pick you up during office hours, by the time you will be eaten alive by the wolves (same could happen during the day)

On aircraft capability for occasional night flying, a SEP is more than enough probably better than a heavy SET? but as always one should usually get a decent answer on risk profile by looking at their logbook flying rather than imagining what happens on one single fictif or one-off mission…

Last Edited by Ibra at 17 Sep 10:38
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Snoopy wrote:

Let’s say the probability (of e.g. an engine failure) is the same day and night. The outcome is much less favorable at night. So the risk increase shouldn’t only be marginal!?

Yes, because engine failure is a very minor cause of accidents in SEPs.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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