2.8 Flying at Night

Lecture Text / Video Transcript

Part 107 prohibits operation of an sUAS at night, which is defined as the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in The Air Almanac, converted to local time.

If you'd like to fly your drone at night, you or your company/department will need to apply for what's called a Daylight Operations Waiver. In our 'Night Ops' online course, you'll get the required training and endorsement certificate, and we'll help you get your Waiver, which usually takes just a few weeks.

In the continental United States (CONUS), evening civil twilight is the period of sunset until 30 minutes after sunset and morning civil twilight is the period of 30 minutes prior to sunrise until sunrise. In Alaska, the definition of civil twilight differs and is described in The Air Almanac.

Here's a website you can use to research sunrise and sunset times: https://avcams.faa.gov/sunrise_sunset.php

If you’re flying in that 30-minute civil twilight period, your aircraft must be equipped with special anti-collision lights that are capable of being visible for at least 3 miles in all directions.

So let’s take a pause and here and make sure we understand this.

The Part 107 rules state that you can only fly during the day. And that “daylight” is from 30 minutes before official sunrise, to 30 minutes after official sunset. And that if you’re flying during that 30-minute civil twilight period, you need to have lights that are visible for at least 3 miles.

I often get asked what kind of lights satisfy this requirement.

There are a number of options, but our staff and many of our flight instructors use drone anti-collision lighting from a company called LumeCube (Use code UAVCOACH10 for a 10% discount).

Practice Quiz

Need help understanding the answers to these practice questions? Check out our Answer Key below. Don't scroll down until you've taken the quiz at least once on your own. Thanks for being such a good student! We'll see you in the next lecture :)

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Answer Key

1. It’s 40 minutes until official sunrise. How long must you wait to operate your unmanned aircraft if you don’t have anti-collision lighting?

A) 10 minutes
B) 40 minutes
C) 140 minutes

If you’re flying in that 30-minute civil twilight period, your aircraft must be equipped with special anti-collision lights that are capable of being visible for at least 3 miles in all directions. If you don’t have those lights, you are not permitted to operate during civil twilight, only during the time between official sunrise and official sunset.


2. According to 14 CFR Part 107, what is required to operate a small unmanned aircraft within 30 minutes after official sunset?

A) Use of anti-collision lights.
B) Must be operated in a rural area.
C) Use of a transponder.

If you’re flying in that 30-minute civil twilight period, your aircraft must be equipped with special anti-collision lights that are capable of being visible for at least 3 miles in all directions. If you don’t have those lights, you are not permitted to operate during civil twilight, only during the time between official sunrise and official sunset.


3. As defined in (14 CFR Part 107), civil twilight in the continental U.S. exists from

A) 30 minutes before official sunrise to official sunrise, AND 30 minutes from official sunset to after official sunset.
B) 1 hour before official sunrise to official sunrise, AND 1 hour from official sunset to after official sunset.
C) official sunrise to official sunset.

In the continental United States (CONUS), evening civil twilight is the period of sunset until 30 minutes after sunset and morning civil twilight is the period of 30 minutes prior to sunrise until sunrise.