Visual Flight Rules require that pilots flying VFR maintain visual contact with the ground at all times and that they only fly during daylight hours. For pilots holding a PPL without a valid instrument rating, this precludes flight during the hours of darkness.
The Night Rating may be added to the Canadian Private Pilot License and allows a rated pilot to fly under VFR during the hours of darkness, provided that certain conditions are met.
The Night Rating does not permit flight into cloud, and flight must be conducted with visual reference to the ground. However, flight is often conducted without a clearly discernable horizon, and navigation may have to be conducted with reduced ground references. Furthermore, 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 flight instructor may then recommend the candidate for the Night Rating.
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: