By Kevin Shaw
For those of you lamenting the late sunrises and early dusks these days, have no fear! Just because you can’t see anything doesn’t mean you can’t chuck a plane in the air. RC flying is available 24 hours a day, with the right equipment.
Ken Dresser, Jeremy Hirst, myself, and others have gone down to the field for sunset and night flying, and it’s a BLAST! If flying line-of-sight, it’s important to have adequate LED lights on your plane. There are many options available on the market (Night Radian, Night Timber, etc.) or you can make your own. We’ve had great luck buying the Ready Made RC “Fire” LED lights, which are available in a variety of colors. Make sure to put lights of different color on top, bottom, right and left for nighttime orientation. We like to place bright lights on the bottom to light up the ground during low passes or landings.
For those of you who really like a challenge, try it FPV! RunCam sells the Night Eagle 2 Pro which has an incredible low-light sensor, allowing FPV flight with very minimal ambient light. We’ve found it works the best on a full moon with a thin cloud layer for optimal light diffusion. Place some flashlights or glow sticks on the runway so you can find it in the dark. Bringing a headlamp is key.
When you get tired of safely flying around in the dark and need something to up the stakes, there’s always Night Combat! This can be done line-of-sight or FPV, and is best with a group of people. Probably best to fly your older planes that have seen better days. No matter what happens, Night Combat always ends with a mix of laughter and regret – which is really the only way to fly RC.
Please send me an email if you’d like to fly with us. firstname.lastname@example.org