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Share tips and insights for night flying operations

FlushVision

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A thread for users to share any pointers and experiences of night time operations.

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I know my areas for evening flights, so I would always check areas in daylight hours, but don't you find Cg3 camera quite poor for night/early evening use?
 

FlushVision

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but don't you find Cg3 camera quite poor for night/early evening use?
I think the CGO3+ would be poor particularly if you are relying on auto settings to save your bacon. On the rare occasions I've flown towards dusk I thought the images captured were quite reasonable...better than expected in fact, but dusk is not night time and having never flown in night time I have no experience other than what I've seen posted by others.
 
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I think the CGO3+ would be poor particularly if you are relying on auto settings to save your bacon. On the rare occasions I've flown towards dusk I thought the images captured were quite reasonable...better than expected in fact, but dusk is not night time and having never flown in night time I have no experience other than what I've seen posted by others.
Perhaps I'm comparing it to much to a DSLR, it's OK when you've found a setting your happy with like you say. Side note, it does look impressive in the dark.
 
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How does the Phantom 2 compare to the H camera in low light, better or worse?
I see the videos has disappeared.
 

FlushVision

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Perhaps I'm comparing it to much to a DSLR, it's OK when you've found a setting your happy with like you say. Side note, it does look impressive in the dark.
This video was shot in twilight (the TH section anyway)...well after the sun had set in late July 2016 so the time of flight for the Typhoon was probably around 9pm or shortly after (the earlier P2V+ footage was shot before I took to the air with the Typhoon H)). This video represents the darkest I've ever took off in.

Both aircraft using auto settings at 1080 resolution.

TH footage starts at around time 1:42
 
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FlushVision

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How does the Phantom 2 compare to the H camera in low light, better or worse?
I see the videos has disappeared.
the P2+ seems slightly better in twilight it must be admitted, though in the above video the P2 footage was shot earlier in the evening before the sun had set. Video reposted.

Edit. After reviewing the above video I now think that I'm being a bit unfair in saying the P2 gives better results in twilight. The P2V+ footage was shot in far better light than the TH. I now have no doubt that if I had taken off at the same time as I did with the TH the quality of the footage could well have been worse than what the TH produced. Indeed, only a like for like comparison with both aircraft in the air at the same time would have given a more meaningful comparison.
 
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PatR

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I believe Capt Drone did a side by side night video between a P3 or P4 and an H. The results were not dissimilar. The comparison was done in full dark.

As for night flying itself, I recommend people new to it perform a series of flights staying close to the take off point in the beginning. Become familiar with the boom lighting and what you see when executing turns.

Determine if your vision is up to night flying as our eyes do not see as well in darkness. If you are color blind, avoid night flying as the boom lights and mode indicator are your sole references to aircraft orientation.

Know the area you will be flying in. Become familiar with tall obstructions in the daylight and fly at an altitude that assures easy clearance. Unless you are flying in a wide open flat area with nothing around, low flight is high risk in darkness.

Walk before you run. There’s no need to see how far out you can see the aircraft at night. If something goes wrong you won’t be able to tell where it went down. We have almost no depth perception at night. If you get so far out the boom lights become blurred you have a great chance of losing the aircraft due to improper directional control input.
 
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FlushVision

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I believe Capt Drone did a side by side night video between a P3 or P4 and an H. The results were not dissimilar. The comparison was done in full dark.

As for night flying itself, I recommend people new to it perform a series of flights staying close to the take off point in the beginning. Become familiar with the boom lighting and what you see when executing turns.

Determine if your vision is up to night flying as our eyes do not see as well in darkness. If you are color blind, avoid night flying as the boom lights and mode indicator are your sole references to aircraft orientation.

Know the area you will be flying in. Become familiar with tall obstructions in the daylight and fly at an altitude that assures easy clearance. Unless you are flying in a wide open flat area with nothing around, low flight is high risk in darkness.

Walk before you run. There’s no need to see how far out you can see the aircraft at night. If something goes wrong you won’t be able to tell where it went down. We have almost no depth perception at night. If you get so far out the boom lights become blurred you have a great chance of losing the aircraft due to improper directional control input.
Good tips Pat. Thanks for that.
 
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I find the boom lights fade out of sight quite quickly, I fly rural and it's dark I use a head torch or handheld torch, it's pitch black and your trying to remove props and packing away the copter
 

FlushVision

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I find the boom lights fade out of sight quite quickly, I fly rural and it's dark I use a head torch or handheld torch, it's pitch black and your trying to remove props and packing away the copter
Well I do have some strobes. Let me clarify that: I have some light weight bicycle lights that have a strobe function and they fit to the legs of the TH by means of an elasticated fitting such that when I raise the landing gear they come up under the left and right booms. I've never used them in the dark but have used them in daytime poor light. They do help with orientation in poor light quite well but are fairly useless when flying in bright sunlight. However, I do expect them to make the TH really stand out in proper darkness.

I do intend to conduct a night time operation at some point (hence me starting this thread) but I note your comment about a head torch. I don't have one so that's one thing I'll need to get before I do that night time operation.
 

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I’ll suggest obtaining that torch with a red lens filter as a white light destroys our night vision.

It takes around 15 minutes for our eyes to adapt to the dark after leaving white light. After adapting, further exposure to white light “resets” our vision, leaving us vision impaired in darkness until our eyes adapt again.

For those that smoke, try not to smoke for at least an hour before flying at night. Don’t smoke while flying. Nicotine causes our blood vessels to constrict, which limits flow to the capillaries in our eyes and brain, reducing acuity.

The strobe light addition is a good one but in a single color don’t do much for aircraft orientation at distance. You’ll know where it is but not how it’s oriented. Another type of light that works extremely well are 12v LED strip lights, available in colors. Those that intend to do a lot of night flying could add them in standard navigation light colors to the bottom of the booms.
 

FlushVision

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I’ll suggest obtaining that torch with a red lens filter as a white light destroys our night vision.

It takes around 15 minutes for our eyes to adapt to the dark after leaving white light. After adapting, further exposure to white light “resets” our vision, leaving us vision impaired in darkness until our eyes adapt again.

For those that smoke, try not to smoke for at least an hour before flying at night. Don’t smoke while flying. Nicotine causes our blood vessels to constrict, which limits flow to the capillaries in our eyes and brain, reducing acuity.

The strobe light addition is a good one but in a single color don’t do much for aircraft orientation at distance. You’ll know where it is but not how it’s oriented. Another type of light that works extremely well are 12v LED strip lights, available in colors. Those that intend to do a lot of night flying could add them in standard navigation light colors to the bottom of the booms.
Good points again, Pat.

Though I've not looked yet, I'm sure that I could get a torch with a red lens from Amazon (I don't do ebay)
Yes, I do smoke. I'll keep what you said about that in mind. However, in day time operations I tend to leave my TH powered up with motors off prior to take off. During the time it takes me to have a smoke the TH is busy settling in with the GPS so that when i'm finished the TH is ready for flight.

The bike lights I have that can 'strobe' are red and white (obviously) so are good for orientation...no problem there...just have to try and ensure they don't mess with my night vision. However, since I don't imagine that I'll be doing many night time operations I'll just stick with my bike lights.
 
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PatR

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Most of the better head lamps on the market have either a red light setting or a separate red lens that can be installed. The head lamps keep your hands free for other things and the batteries last quite a bit longer than you might expect.

I've got some historical events that relate to head lamps but the most important lessons learned was to never wear a head lamp on the center of your forehead at night in a war zone:eek: I don't think you'll have to worry about that too much.
 
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