Night Rating

Course Outline

The Night Rating allows a pilot to operate an aircraft in night VFR conditions. Night time is one of the best times to fly – the winds die down, as does the thermal turbulence so the ride under the stars is usually smooth. It can give you more flight options as a recreational flyer and the training time required for a Night Rating can be applied towards obtaining a Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane.

Night flight with this rating must be conducted with visual reference to the ground. There are reduced ground references; there may be a lack of a clearly discernable horizon; there is an increased risk of inadvertent flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) when flying at night due to an inability to clearly see clouds.  Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) therefore specify that the following requirements must be satisfied to obtain a Night Rating:


The candidate must hold a valid and current Canadian Private Pilot Licence- Aeroplane


The candidate must complete a minimum of 10 hours of dual instrument flight instruction (5 can be from PPL training) and 10 hours of night flying (5 hours dual, including 2 hours of dual night cross country, and 5 hours solo) prior to being granted the Night Rating.

Skill and Knowledge

There is no flight test or written examination required.   The candidate must demonstrate to a licensed flight instructor that he/she has adequate knowledge and skill to:

  • control and operate the aircraft under simulated instrument conditions,
  • fly the aircraft under Night VMC conditions, and
  • navigate by dead reckoning or pilotage with reduced ground references, with the ability to use radio navigational aids or GPS as supplementary navigational aids

The flight instructor may then recommend the candidate for the Night Rating.

Ground Instruction

While Transport Canada has not established a ground school requirement for the Night Rating, there is a knowledge requirement for issuance of the rating that is best met through ground instruction.  Ground instruction for the Night Rating will consist of a three-hour multi-media classroom session that covers the following topics:

Instrument Flying Review Ground and Flight Operations
Night Rating Requirements Night Circuits
Aero Medical Considerations Night Cross Country
Required Equipment for Night VFR Night Emergencies
Aerodrome Lighting Aircraft Considerations

Flight Instruction

Flight instruction will be tailored to individual student experience and skill to meet the requirements for issuance of the Night Rating. Typically, this will commence with a minimum of 5 hours of dual instrument instruction, with a concentration on full panel instrument flying and recognition of and recovery from unusual attitudes under instrument conditions.  The candidate then commences the Night Flying phase, which typically sees a progression from dual instruction in the circuit, solo practice in the circuit and a dual cross country flight.  There is no solo cross-country requirement for the Night Rating.