As we discussed previously, it is possible to operate outside of the standard operating conditions and be allowed to conduct special operations. Within standard operating conditions, we cannot conduct night operations and are restricted to daylight hours only. This means that half of the day cannot be used or fantastic images like above cannot be captured.
One of the most important aspects of any night operation, is to conduct through pre-flight planning and preperation.
Jerome from InFarm can be seen here preparing to conduct a night operations during our training.
Pre-flight planning of a night operation usually includes scouting the area during the day prior to the operation taking place to identify any ground based hazards that are going to be an issue to your operation. This includes looking carefully for things such as powerlines, street lights, tall trees, or towers. During the day we take for granted that we can see all of these clearly and usually have good depth perception. Remove the ability to see shadows on the ground, changes in light patterns or see the small changes in the craft behaviour, the night time operations become visually extremely difficult.
There are a number of optical illusions that you will face, when you drive your car at night, you would be aware of some of these. But other optical illusions will be new to you, these include autokinesis, false visual references, or vection. In some cases, these can become detrimental to the operation if the pilot is not aware of them, and then how to work through them.
There are a number of benifits that come from operating at night, this includes: lower tempratures, visually interesting photos and videos, more stable weather conditions, no birds to contest with and the operations are more exciting! All of this and more is covered in a good night training course, and we offer night training for pilots who wish to be able to conduct these sorts of non-standard operations. This is for pilots who operate under our ReOC as well as those who operate under their own ReOC.