This week’s Friday Photo pretty well sums up why you became a pilot. Fitzwilliam King snapped this amazing photo from the cockpit of his PA-11 Cub, just as the sun peeked over the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Greenville, South Carolina. The rolling hills, the lingering valley fog, the warm colors of the sun, and the yellow fabric of the airplane – it’s recreational aviation at its very finest.
Sedona is one of the more unusual airports in the US. With a field elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the runway sits on top of a mesa, some 500 feet above the surrounding terrain. It’s a wonderful fly-in destination, but the conditions can be turbulent. This photo from Mike Landis shows the rolling terrain on short final.
David and Judy Smart were up for a sunset flight in their Cessna 172 when everything came together. The sun dipped in between clouds on the horizon, throwing a soft shadow over Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, in Northeast Oklahoma. David says it’s “perhaps the most beautiful sunset we have ever witnessed together.” Hard to argue with that.
Cross-countries are a little different in Alaska, as Herbert Mann proves in this photo. He flew across the Turnagain Arm, then used the Anchorage East Side Corridor to fly between Anchorage and the Chugiak Mountains on the east all the way to Palmer. He then departed Palmer behind a DC-3 and landed on the dirt strip at Willow before coming home to Soldotna. He says, “Dreams do come true if we work hard enough.”
Darin Moody and Paul Leadabrand were doing some backcountry flight training in a Kitfox when this photo was taken. As they traded seats on the grass runway at Big Creek airstrip, Paul writes, “Blue jeans, blue sky, and training with your wing man – what could make a better weekend outing?” Not much, we would say.
David Compo had a dinner scheduled near his hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, but wisely changed plans. Since he had flown down from Michigan in his Comanche, he decided to take another builder and fly to Key West for dinner on Duvall Street. Once he got past the southern tip of the mainland he climbed to 1,000, the sun started setting and David’s brother shot this beautiful photo.
It’s one of the great joys of being a general aviation pilot – the ability to fly almost anywhere you want, anytime you want. Chris Powell shows off that freedom in this week’s Friday Photo, with a beautiful shot of Manhattan from the cockpit of his Cessna 182RG. When the weather cooperates, the view from up high is absolutely stunning.
Scott Magie loves flying his 1950 Beaver on floats, and with pictures like this it’s easy to see why. He shares this week’s Friday Photo from shore, looking at the big seaplane at rest in the water in Minnesota. The moon is rising above the wings, the water is calm Scott says, “Time for another cocktail.” We agree.
Flying over Amsterdam isn’t easy, but Gerhard van Roon says he wouldn’t trade it for anything: “once over the target and the safety pilot has taken the yoke with me hanging with my cameras out of the window, I am sure that there isn’t a job in the world as beautiful and satisfying as mine!” As this week’s Friday photo shows, he does have quite the view.
Mount Shasta is a stunning sight from any altitude, but when it’s passing off the right wing the towering peak looks particularly good. That’s exactly the picture Dale Morris captured from his RV-6A on a sightseeing flight with his wife.
One of the best parts of our Friday Photo series is the wide variety of locations we get to share. This week’s photo is a great example: Thor Fredrik Eie took this beautiful picture of Torghatten in northern Norway on a recent sightseeing flight. The rocky coast and the blue skies make for a unique view over the nose of his Cessna.
The flight started out as an early evening flight to just go flying. I stopped and refueled at Ak Chin just as the sun was getting low on the horizon. I departed for KCHD in time to catch this fantastic sunset over Maricopa. It reminded me of the Arizona flag.
Combine a beautiful airplane and Mother Nature and sometimes you get a stunning view. Kevin Olsen snapped this photo while descending into Palm Beach in a Baron. As he says, “Even though I’ve been flying for over 50 years, I continue to be humbled and amazed at images like this. Such power and beauty.”
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.