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Glider Night Flights

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Glider Night Flights

Old 26th Sep 2008, 07:34
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Glider Night Flights


Anyone here has any night flight exprience by gliders? I'd like to know under what conditions the flight gets possible and also about the facilitis and techniques they use for staying up?!

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Old 26th Sep 2008, 08:38
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I know that Poland used to have a night glider rating, and some UK pilots did aerotow night checks.

Lights on the tug aircraft, low level cockpit instrment lights and normal runway lighting.

There is apparently to be an EASA Glider night rating, and I suppose the same training would apply?

When duration records existed, beacon lights were put on ridges and ridge soaring was used; duration records were discontinued after they reached several days, and pilots fell asleep killing themselves in the subsequent crash.

While wave lift certainly exists during night hours I am not aware of any intentional night wave flights (although a number of landings have taken place after sunset, it is easy to be deceived by the sun being well above the horizon at 20,000ft when it's sunset on the ground, and it takes a finite time to descend - too fast and it's easy to get an iced up canopy. Car headlights can make a very good makeshift 'flarepath'.)
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 09:24
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Gliders at night, without lights, silent and virtually invisible to radar. Your location is given as Iran.

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Old 26th Sep 2008, 10:22
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Similar thoughts crossed my mind Rod1
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 11:35
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Rules of the Air Regs 2007, Statutory instrument 734 Rule 50

"At night a glider shall display either a steady red light of at least 5 candela showing in all directions or alternatively standard red, green & white aeroplane lights"

A glider can remain airborne at night in ridge lift (the duration record for a glider flight is I believe 56 hours by ridge soaring) or in mountain wave.

Duration flights in gliders were getting to silly lengths pre & immediately post war and are no longer recognised on safety grounds (I think)

Night flights in wave would technically be possible but the prospect of a night field landing doesn't appeal and I've never heard of it being done.

The gliding distance record (now around 2400 km in South American wave!) must be completed in daylight to be recognised

Edit - Chris N got there before I could check - 3009 km!!!!

Last edited by astir 8; 26th Sep 2008 at 12:50.
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 12:06
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Longest recognised glider flight;

Free distance using up to 3 turn points : 3 009 km

Date of flight: 21/01/2003
Pilot: Klaus OHLMANN (Germany)
Course/place: Chapelco, Airport of San Martin de los Andes (Argentina)

Glider: Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 4 DM
Registered 'DKAHG'
IIRC, it was only barely completed within legal daylight a nail biting finish to get in before official night, which was (just) successful.

I dont know if the Nimbus 4 DM used had navigation lights, but they are available on at least some gliders. The M means it is a motor glider and could be legally operated as a powered aeroplane (with limitations), though its design is optimised for gliding.

Chris N.
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 13:07
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Gliders at night, without lights, silent and virtually invisible to radar. Your location is given as Iran.
Are you trying to get out of, or into?
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 13:26
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Gliders at night, without lights, silent and virtually invisible to radar.
Yeah, Gods, and dont tell me, without a transponder.
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 16:09
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Yeah, Gods, and dont tell me, without a transponder.
S'okay, he's got hi vis on.
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 19:25
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Had a late check flight in a Puchhaz. The checker in back was happy with everything except that I felt a sudden bit of stick back at what I thought was a few feet high.

It's been 20+ years since my last night landing and those were always to lit runways. In any case judging the moment to flare to a wide grass runway without lights in the dark can be difficult.
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 19:28
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What are the climatic conditions at night over the Iranian desert?

PS... Hi to the guys at Menwith Hill
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 20:16
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Sir George Cayley
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Good evening Rauxaman,

If you care to peek out of the curtains you'll see 2 metallic grey Merc Vitos with blacked out windows pulling up.

Don't struggle, Malvern is quite nice this time of year

Sir George Cayley (C)
Old 27th Sep 2008, 10:31
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Thumbs up

I flew a Bocian at night at Leszno Poland. The Poles are the only country i know that regually fly gliders at night. They use to insit on a parachute jump from a glider too!

The only recent night flight in a glider in the UK was done in the late 70s by Humty Dumty (Humphry Dimock) at Cranfield. He fitted a single Red light to his glider, just to make a point it could be done.

My father use to tell me stories of the duration record flights at Dunstable on the ridge. A two seater would be launched & lower baskets of food & drink to the glider below. They were all open cockpits then. It was the single seater flights that caused the Ban. Too many pilots falling asleep & killing themselves. I believe the record exceeds 48 hours, longer in two seaters.

In Leszno they use Goosenecks, with a clump of them in a shape of a triangle at the touchdown point to use as an approach guide. The glider was fitted with Nav lights run on a dry cell battery. The instruments were illumanous, & had to have a torch on them every 5 minutes to brighten them up! We were launched by a Wilga & i found the tug nav lights difficult to see when over the towns. I found it to be great fun & was told You Flare 1 meter Too High!
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 17:39
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Similar sort of thing?

Not having a night rating, nor being a glider pilot myself...but my Father did most of his glider operations at night circa '43-'44. So people have been landing gliders at night in all sorts of places for a while now.

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Old 27th Sep 2008, 17:57
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Similar sort of thing?
Nah! You have obviousely never seen one hit the ground. Never could be described as "landing" the beast.
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