One of the first extensions to the basic PPL that many pilots go for is the Night Rating. It means that if you’re running a bit late, you can continue flying, although you can only land at an airfield or airport with runway lighting – and it can be a challenge in the UK to find one that doesn’t charge a fortune.
But many pilots do the Night Rating because flying at night is a very special experience. The air is often smoother, and if there’s a bright moon and clear skies, the views are fantastic.
It’s also a good way to sharpen your instrument flying. As ground features are hard to make out in the dark, you need to navigate using instruments. In fact, the Night Rating is part of the Instrument Rating (and the IR (Restricted)) and a good introduction to those more advanced ratings. The Night Rating course is five hours of night flying, including five solo take-offs and landings.