Helicopter Night Rating Course

Updated 24th March, 2017

Night Rating

After you obtain your Private Pilot’s License PPL(H), you may want to further your skills and train for a night rating. You will not be allowed to fly at night without having completed a night rating course.

EASA Part-FCL tells us what we need to do. Before starting the night qualification course, you must have completed 100 hours of flight time as pilot of helicopters after the issue of your license. You must have at least 60 hours as pilot in command of helicopters and you must also have completed at least 20 hours of cross country flight.

The course must be completed within 6 months so make sure you budget accordingly. The course will involve 5 hours of ground school and 5 hours flying.

The Night Rating Course

The night rating course consists of ground school covering the theory requirements and also the flight portion covering the flying training. The course must be conducted at an Approved Training Organisation (ATO). There is no flight test at the end of the course. On completion of the course the night flying restriction on your pilot’s license will be removed.


Theory will take at least 5 hours of instruction. Topics covered are:

  • 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 night 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
  • planning and use of safety altitude
  • danger from icing conditions, avoidance and escape manoeuvres


The flying training is the fun part of the course and consists of 5 hours flying. Of the 5 hours night flying, you will have to complete 5 solo circuits.

The flying training will cover:

  • basic manoeuvres when flying by sole reference to instruments
  • transitions to instrument flight from visual flight
  • recovery from unusual attitudes
  • use of radio navigation aids
  • use of radar assistance
  • night hovering
  • night take-off techniques
  • night circuit technique
  • night approaches
  • engine failures at night
  • hydraulic control failure at night (if applicable)
  • emergency procedures
  • night cross country techniques
  • night solo circuits

Course Completion

On completion of the night rating course you will be issued with a course completion certificate. The paperwork will be submitted to the relevant Authority of the country where you were issued your license and you will have the night flying restriction removed from your license. For further information you can refer to The EASA Website or at any training school or search on the internet.

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Nice post on the night qualification

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