Night Rating

To fly as Pilot in Command at night, with or without passengers, a helicopter pilot must hold a helicopter Night Rating. Additionally, if you plan on gaining a Commercial Pilot Licence (H), a Night Rating is a prerequisite for the issue of a CPL(H) licence.

The Night Rating can be completed in a Robinson R22 or R44 helicopter. Once completed it allows a pilot to fly any helicopter during official night (defined as the period between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise).

The completion of the Night Rating consists of: 

  • Five hours ground school instruction
  • 10 hours of dual instrument flying
  • Five hours of night flying, including five solo circuits with take-off and landings.
  • The Rating must be completed within six months

Once the Night Rating is completed, the pilot is able to fly a suitably equipped helicopter at night.


Night Rating — Course Syllabus


An applicant applying for a Night Rating must have completed the following: 

  • At least 100 hours of flying time as a pilot of helicopters after the issue of the PPL(H) including:
    • 60 hours as Pilot in Command of helicopters and
    • 20 hours cross-country flying time 


License Validity:

  • The holder of a licence that does not include a valid instrument rating (helicopter) shall not act as pilot-in-command of a helicopter carrying passengers at night unless, during the previous 90 days, at least three take-offs and landings have been carried out by night. 


Night Rating Air Exercises Syllabus:

  • Exercise 1: Revise basic manoeuvres when flying by sole reference to instruments, demonstrate transition to instrument flight from visual flight, and revise recovery from unusual attitudes by sole reference to instruments.
  • Exercise 2: Demonstrate use of radio navigation aids when flying by sole reference to instruments, to include position finding and tracking.
  • Exercise 3: Explain and demonstrate the use of Radar Assistance.
  • Exercise 4: Demonstrate use and adjustment of landing light, demonstrate night hovering, and demonstrate night emergency procedures.
  • Exercise 5: Solo night circuits.
  • Exercise 6: Demonstrate night cross country techniques and practice night cross-country dual and as SPIC to a satisfactory standard. 


Theoretical Knowledge Instruction:
Five hours of theoretical knowledge instruction, covering the revision and/or explanation of:

  • Night VMC minima
  • Rules regarding airspace control at night and facilities available
  • Rules regarding aerodrome ground/runway/landing site/obstruction lighting
  • Aircraft navigation lights and collision avoidance rules
  • Physiological aspects of bight vision and orientation
  • Dangers of disorientation at night
  • Dangers of weather deterioration at night
  • Instrument systems/functions and errors
  • Instrument lighting and emergency cockpit lighting systems
  • Map marking for use under cockpit lighting
  • Practical navigation principles
  • Radio navigation principles
  • Planning and use of safety altitude
  • Danger from icing conditions, avoidance and escape manoeuvres