This year at a pre-Christmas party, Lauren asked if I wanted to go flying the next day! Did I ever! I am an east coast 172 pilot, so this was a thrill. The plan was to fly to Big Bear Lake for fun, but it was IFR and below minimums. The snow showers over the San Gabriel mountains were astounding to see, and quite beautiful.
A hundred miles north of Los Angeles lies the beautiful Isabella Lake, nestled against the Sierra Nevada mountains. In addition to the scenery, the area also boasts a nice airport restaurant at the Kern Valley Airport. That’s where Craig Narr was headed in his Cessna 310 when he took this week’s Friday Photo. The snow-capped peaks tower over the scenic lake, and you can just barely see the airport on the northern shore of the lake.
This week’s Friday Photo was taken from the cockpit, as usual. But in addition to Mother Nature’s natural beauty, it also shows another airplane: pilot Cory Kittle’s friend flying a Cessna 180 over Prince William Sound. The combination of crystal clear blue skies, a classic bush plane and the snowy mountain peaks makes this picture the epitome of Alaska flying.
Greg Chestnut was flying his Cessna 182 to Alamosa, Colorado, for avionics work when he passed over the Great Sand Dunes National Park. His photo captures the almost-surreal scene, with the Rockies towering over remote dunes, the tallest sand dunes in North America. Just another unique view that only an airplane offers.
California pilot Rick Torres shares this week’s cockpit photo, and it’s a unique place. The Grand Island Mansion was once a celebrity destination in California. Today, the lush grounds take you back in a time portal to the speakeasy days of the 1930s. You can just imagine the famous guests arriving by paddle boat for an extravagant weekend.
The Sunshine Coast in Australia is a beautiful place to fly, and Gerard Merchant captures the scenery beautifully in this Friday Photo, taken from the cockpit of his Cessna 172. The Glass House Mountains, a group of hills that pop up from the coastal plains of Queensland, are draped in shadow as the early morning sun breaks through the clouds.
Taking a son or daughter for a first flight in a general aviation airplane is enough to make a flight memorable. For pilot Eric Villiger, though, his sunset flight in his Cessna 150 was even better because his daughter shot this beautiful picture on final for runway 25 at Indy Regional Airport. The lights of the runway contrast against the warm colors of the sunset to make a gorgeous view.
Wow, this was an crisp and beautifully clear morning for my second solo cross country flight. The marshes of southern Louisiana and Texas fade into the Gulf of Mexico. This was my first time into Galveston Scholes Airport and doing it solo was a great confidence builder.
Sometimes waiting is the smart thing to do. Dan Littmann spent an extra day at the FBO before taking off for Oklahoma in his Cessna 182, and was rewarded with this beautiful view of the San Juan Mountains topped with snow. Most importantly, he had a safe flight. As Dan says, “it’s better to arrive alive.”
Is that beautiful shot from deep in the wilderness? No. Actually, Joel Gagnon captured this snowy sunset over Vancouver. As he says, it’s very rewarding to “enjoy the freedom and wilderness so close to the city.”
Danish pilot Andreas Christensen and his wife were flying their Diamond DA-40 to a birthday party when he snapped this colorful picture. It shows the island of Funen, with yellow fields and green trees nestled against the sea. The warm colors contrast nicely with the sleek wing of the Diamond.
My Grandpa and Dad learned to fly in short wing Pipers. Then my Dad taught my two brothers and me to fly in short wing Pipers as well. Now my son Caleb wants to learn to fly so what better airplane than another short wing Piper to learn in – a Piper Vagabond.
Larry Brock was flying home to Williston, Florida in his M20F Mooney when he looked out the window and saw a beautiful sight. Beneath the bright Florida sun, the white, puffy clouds reminded him of attic insulation. As he says, that’s sort of what they are.
Weather is a constant challenge for pilots, but every once in a while, it’s also responsible for great beauty. This week’s Friday photo was taken from Larry Emmons’s Cirrus SR22, while flying home to Denver from Mexico. His view was of a dark cloud and a rain shower over New Mexico, but also of a beautiful rainbow.
It’s an airport that should be on every pilot’s bucket list: First Flight Airport at Kill Devil Hills, NC. Steve Ellis captured the sight from his RV-4 on a day trip to the airport, which perfectly shows the Wright Brothers monument in the foreground and the runway behind it.
Sunrises always look best from the cockpit, and this week’s Friday Photo proves why. The tip tank on Craig Cameron’s F33A Bonanza is just visible in the foreground as the sun slowly rises off the wingtip. Craig was headed home, and this view over Kansas City as he climbed out offers a reminder to all pilots that the early bird gets more than just a worm.
Breaking out on top of a cloud deck on a gray day is an amazing feeling. Patrick McClure did that recently and found a companion off the left wing: the second tallest mountain in the lower 48. In a turbo 182 with G1000, there’s plenty of performance and situational awareness to sit back and take in the view.
Not every photo has to show a stunning sunset or a towering mountain to capture the fun and adventure of flying. This week’s photo shows a Cessna 172 taking off from one of the US’s busiest general aviation airports: Scottsdale. Braxton Norwood was chasing his shadow on a gorgeous day in Arizona.
This week’s Friday Photo raises the bar for $100 hamburger missions. Nic Fabert sent in this picture of a Cessna Caravan on floats, beached in a cove in Australia. His mission was simple: lunch on a beach. But it’s enough to make any pilot dream of the ultimate getaway.
Fall in the Rocky Mountains is a beautiful thing. In this week’s Friday Photo, Jim Densmore shares a gorgeous shot of the aspens in Wolf Creek Pass. The view was from his Cessna 180 on a trip home from the AOPA Fly-in in Arizona.