Longest Day ! night flight ? ... FBO said: "Take the Champ out, but be back by "Dusk"

What really is ‘Dusk’; am I legal to be flying and logging today ??

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1521 Posts

Growler At AOPA: 

What really is ‘Dusk’; 

There is no FAA definition if “dusk” – you'll have to get the FBO to specify.

am I legal to be flying and logging today ??

No way to say without a whole lot more information, starting with your pilot qualifications, logbook endorsements, and recent experience.


At our school back in the mid-1990's, we had 6 tailwheel trainers, all without electrical systems (believe it or not, I am telling the truth; we honestly did!).

Every day, I updated the dispatch board with a time - that time was local sunset minus 5 minutes; regulatory cushion. Since operation past sunset without position lights was illegal, and none of them had position lights, all airplanes had to be in their tiedowns by that time. No exceptions. It worked surprisingly well.

“Dusk” was and still is open to interpretation. 8:37 PM, or else, was not!

1521 Posts

Just so's everyone is clear on the FAA's three different definitions of night depending on context…

For logging night time for things like Private and Commercial required night hours, it means from evening civil twilight until morning civil twilight.  You can get the times here, but in the USA it's typically about 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise (Alaskan pilots will see much larger and highly variable numbers).

For logging night takeoffs and landings for 61.57(b) recent experience, it means from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.  Again, find those at the Naval Observatory site.

Finally, for aircraft lighting purposes (91.209(a)), it's sunset to sunrise, also from the site above.

And of course, whoever provides the airplane could have their own rules above and beyond the FAA's about pilot qualifications and permissions to fly during whatever the provider decides is “night”.