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landing VFR at night

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Giggity giggity goo!!!
Oct 20, 2004
for you G.A. pilots out there, i was wondering how you approach landing using VASI or PAPI lights at night. do you make it a habit to stay right on the glideslope or do you always descend high, to assure a safe margin between you and obstacles? i know the descent path is supposed to keep you clear of obstacles, but is it safe/smart to descend above the glideslope, especially if the runway is long and wide? do your day visual landings differ from your night landings?
gkrangers said:
On or just above the glidepath at night.

If there is no visual aid..then I'll make it steep.


Also, if the runway has an ILS...I almost (almost) always key it up and follow that as a backup. Not that I fix on the needles, but...a quick look every little bit keeps ya out of the trees.

You're guaranteed obstacle clearance out to 4 miles on those light systems. I avoid landing at night if there isnt a papi or vasi, its spooky.

PS, the US is the only country that allows night VFR. Elsewhere you need an instrument rating. Go figure; calculate risk carefully. :)
The important thing to remeber is at night it will appear that you are higher than you really are. If there is VASI or PAPI, use the runway lights to pick a spot about where the 1000 foot markers are and simply fly to it. Your appraoch shouldn't change from what you do in the day unless your habitually shooting a low approach then you should work on your approaches some. But if you fly the pattern the same i.e. pull the power, descend, get flaps, and make you base and final turns at the same altitutdes it should still work the same.

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