The next phase in your pilot training, and one that improves your ability to fly in darkness, is to obtain a night rating. This allows you to conduct or continue a flight during the hours of darkness and the benefit is obvious in terms of being less restricted when planning and executing your particular flight.
South African civil aviation authority requirements for the issue of a night rating:
1. You must have a valid Private Pilots License (PPL).
2. You will have to complete 10 hours of Instrument Flight time, of which 5 hors may be carried out in an approved simulator, and the balance in an aircraft.
3. The law requires a minimum of 5 take offs and landings by night, as well as a night cross-country flight of at least 150 NM’s with 2 full stop landings at two separate airfields away from base.
4. A basic instrument flight test will be required, conducted by a Grade 1 or 2 flight instructor. This takes around 1 hour, and may be included in the mandatory 10 hours instrument training.
5. Once the requirements have been met, an application form is completed. This form, together with the required fee, is taken to the SA-CAA, for the night rating to be included in your license.
It is very important to note that the purpose of completing the Night Rating is merely to enable you to fly an Aircraft at night in good visibility (Visual Metrological Conditions – VMC). It does not authorize you, or give you the skills, to fly in poor visibility or adverse weather, called Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).