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According to 14 CFR 61.57, "no person may act as PIC of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise as published in the American Air Almanac unless, within the preceding 90 days, they have made at least 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop during that period."

But the definition of nighttime is "the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight." (CFR 1.1)

So, when exactly does a student pilot for a PPL complete their night time landings? Do I go off of one hour after sunset time or "official nighttime" time?

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  • $\begingroup$ The private pilot night requirements are in 61.109, so you should check there rather than 61.57. Although it’s definitely good to know what 61.57 says because that could easily come up during your checkride. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Pondlife: the answer in your first comment makes the OP's question almost a duplicate. The missing part seems to be the absence of a specific reference to takeoff and landings (10) that are required for the PPL. The inference is there in the answer you reference but it's not directly addressed. The takeoffs and landings are the central question this OP is asking. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ For PPL training if you do your "night" t/o & landings at or just after civil twilight, but before 1 hour after sunset (for example) you will meet the 61.109 requirements but may not meet the 61.57 requirements. The first paragraph of your answer below (with the charts) suggests that time period for counting the takeoffs and landings for 61.109 purposes and 61.57 purposes are the same (which they aren't). Excellent info in the charts below, but 61.109 and 61.57 regulatory takeoff and landing time periods are different. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @757toga The reason I think it's a dupe is that the currently accepted (and very good) answer to the linked question covers "Aeronautical Experience Requirement". That's exactly what 61.109 is, and what I understand the OP is asking about. 61.57 doesn't apply to student pilots because they can't carry passengers, although it does become relevant as soon as they become private pilots and it is important to know about. As you said too, the OP shouldn't apply the 61.57 wording to 61.109. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Pondlife: No disagreement on my part. But, reading the first paragraph of the OP's answer (to his own question) he (and at least 8 others) believe that the PPL night lndgs have to be done no earlier than 1 hour after sunset instead of at/after twilight. I imagine that he probably still believes this even in your earlier (now deleted comment) you reference the other question. It's less clear from the answer to the other question that the 61.109 landings are referenced to twilight. A careful reading shows that but I don't think the OP gets that. It's important he gets a correct understanding. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 21:20

2 Answers 2

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I figured it out actually. Night time flying hours can be logged between evening and morning civil twilights. However, the takeoffs/landings must be between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.

This site makes it clear: https://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/regulations/logging-night-time-and-night-landings-explained-2021/

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    $\begingroup$ This is a good answer, and would be worth migrating to the duplicated question if this one gets closed-as-duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ For PPL tng if you do your "night" t/o & landings at or just after civil twilight, but before 1 hour after sunset (for example) you will meet the 61.109 requirements but may not meet the 61.57 requirements. The first paragraph of your answer above suggests that time period for counting the takeoffs and landings for 61.109 purposes and 61.57 purposes are the same (which they aren't). Excellent info in the charts above, but 61.109 and 61.57 regulatory takeoff and landing time periods are different. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 16:23
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In my opinion, you should use the FAR 1.1 definition of night time when meeting the requirements of FAR 61.109 (a) (2) for your PPL.

Then use FAR 61.57 (b)(1) when meeting the requirements to carry passengers (1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise as published in the Air Almanac).

Keep in mind that the required FAR 61.109 (a)(2)(ii) 10 takeoff and landings are to be done in accordance with the night definition contained in FAR 1.1., not in accordance with the 61.57 night takeoff and landing experience requirements to carry passengers (to be done 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise as published in the Air Almanac).

These two separate regulations should not be conflated. When satisfying each regulation a night time takeoff and landing (per FAR 1.1 definition) for 61.109 is different than the takeoff and landing requirement in 61.57, which is 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise. These two different regulations are met only within the meaning of each separate paragraph (61.109 and 61.57).

Importantly, For PPL training if you do your "night" takeoffs and landings at or just after civil twilight, but before 1 hour after sunset (for example) you will meet the 61.109 requirements but may not meet the 61.57 requirements.

Of course, effective timing of your flight time and takeoffs/landings can be done so as to meet both 61.109 (a)(2)(ii) and 61.57 simultaneously.

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  • $\begingroup$ Students can’t carry passengers, so 61.57 is moot. But the darker the night, the more valuable the learning. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenS: of course students can't carry passengers. But since the OP was associating the 61.57 (1 hour after sunset etc.) passenger carrying requirements in his question with the 61.109 night t/o & lndgs requirement (and misunderstanding the diffence) it was important to address that in my answer. Also, if the student did 3 full stop t/o & ldgs (1 hr after sunset etc.) he would meet 61.57 requirements for 90 days. If he got the PPL 30 days later 61.57 pic passenger currency would last for 60 more days. 61.57 then probably relevant. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ If he had a night solo endorsement, sure. My understanding is that non-PIC landings don’t count for currency. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenS: 61.57 says "sole manipulator of the flight controls." If the student did his takeoff and landings (at least 3 to a full stop) during 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise as "sole manipulator..." he would meet the 61.57 requirements. Why not? The very day you get your private license you can carry passengers and as long as you have met the 61.57 requirements for carrying passengers at night within the preceding 90 days nothing in the regulations precludes this. Where did you get your understanding that "non-PIC" landings don't count? Maybe I can learn something. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ From my school’s Chief CFI, plus ForeFlight’s logbook. Both could be wrong, of course; I don’t see it in the regs either. Few students get a night solo endorsement, so it’s not a widely understood topic. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 16:21

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