Sunday, July 30, 2006

I went for my first flight of night circuits on Friday. Went better than I expected. Strangely enough I found taxiing on the ground more challenging that flying.

It is impossible to judge how distant a light source is at night. Your mind gets fooled into thinking that large bright lights are near and dull pinpricks of light are distant. When you encounter a very small dim light close to you your brain plays all sorts of tricks.

The best demonstration came when we were taxiing back to the tie down spot. We could hear over the radio a large twin preparing for an IFR departure. As we turned down the final taxiway we saw an aircraft dead ahead coming from the opposite direction. He appeared to be quite close so we moved to one side of the taxiway to allow him to pass. Everybody on board the aircraft thought this was the large twin taxiing past us. When it was abeam out position it became clear that it was only a small Cessna 152. With limited visual information available, we saw what we expected to see.

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