Friday Photo

Friday Photo: New Mexico badlands

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The American West is an amazing mosaic landscape of deserts, mountains, rock formations, and barren nothingness. Flying a cross-country trip over much of it was a personal dream of mine come true. At the time, I was still in training for my instrument rating, and this trip gave me an excellent dose of real-world flying experience.

Friday Photo: a close encounter

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“Nature’s art gallery.” That’s what Elliott Meisel calls the view most pilots enjoy. In this example, the view isn’t necessarily beautiful or calming, but it is awe-inspiring. Meisel captured this photo as he deviated around some storms in his 2006 Cessna 172. A close encounter, but not too close.

Friday Photo: lunch at the Tin Goose Diner

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The Erie-Ottawa International Airport in Port Clinton, Ohio, is a great stop for general aviation pilots. The views of nearby Lake Erie make for a great low-level flight, the Liberty Aviation Museum brings World War II history to life, and the Tin Goose Diner is an authentic 1950s restaurant. Tim Hornyak captures the view from the ramp, with his beautiful AA-1 Yankee in front of it.

Friday Photo: Chicago on a clear day

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I was on a return flight, mid morning, deadheading back after an early Angel Flight. Downtown Chicago was basking in the morning sun and it was an excellent photo op. Soldier Field, the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Grant Park in the foreground and Willis (Sears) Tower to the John Hancock in the background.

Friday Photo: P-38 Lightning

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This Lockheed P-38L Lightning now is part of the “Flying Bulls” collection under the very wide Salzburg, Austria-based Red Bull corporate umbrella. It has had a long and highly public career that spans some three-quarters of a century. Built in 1944 and given serial number 44-53254, it was purchased surplus for $1,250 from the War Department.

Friday Photo: early evening in a Cub

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This photo was taken on the return leg of a day trip to Osceola, Wisconsin, from the Twin Cities, where there is still a grass runway to play on with this fun little taildragger. After a few landings with the wire and cork gas gauge telling us it was time to take a break, we took the courtesy car into the beautiful old town area for a look at Cascade Falls and lunch. Back to the airport for some gas, a few more times around the patch for good measure and then back home to finish off a perfect day of aviating.

Friday Photo: Lake Champlain

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Lake Champlain, lying north to south and bordered by the Adirondacks to the west and Green Mountains to the east, represents one of the beautiful natural environments to fly. Even when life feels overwhelming, flying is a reminder of a sense of calm and distraction and the good fortune of being a pilot.

Friday Photo: Cheyenne Bottoms

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The ecological significance of Cheyenne Bottoms is impressive. It is estimated that 45% of the North American shorebird population stops at the Bottoms during spring migration. It was a beautifully calm morning in Kansas and it was a true joy to see the area from above. Flying brings us so many different perspectives!

Friday Photo: IFR between layers

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It is 98 degrees and 80 percent humidity in Mississippi, and you are shooting practice approaches with an instrument instructor sitting in the right seat. It’s hard to remember why you are putting yourself through this for an instrument ticket. Then the day comes when you are able to turn a six hour drive into a 90 minute flight. I remembered that it was all worth it. 

Friday Photo: waiting to land

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SCTB is a busy general aviation airport on the eastern edge of Santiago, Chile, with a busy flying club and restaurant on the field. This photo from Gaspar Galaz shows the lineup for the runway as he approaches to land, with the airport looking like an oasis in a desert of buildings.

Friday Photo: Monterey Bay

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The low sun angle illuminating the ocean swell and surface wind waves in fine detail—flying home at the end of a beautiful day. We take turns with one flying outbound and the other back. I was lucky to have the right seat for this shot. To me this photo is reminder of why I love flying, purely for the opportunity to see the world in a different way.

Friday Photo: USNS Comfort in New York

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Flying is one of the few aspects of life that continues much as before during the COVID-19 quarantine. Today (4/12) was a beautiful spring day, and we took advantage of the near-empty airspace to escape our confinement in our cramped New York City apartments and fly in formation overhead Newark Airport (with one solitary Delta departure) and take the tour of the city we have flown single-ship many times.

Friday Photo: anticipating flight

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After a week in self-imposed quarantine, I decided to socially distance myself in the clear blue western sky over Texas. A creature of habit as all pilots are, I interrupted my preflight ritual of fully opening the hangar so as to avoid making contact with a fellow pilot who happened upon my same idea. Looking out through the partially opened hangar door as I’ve never before thought to look, I was rewarded with stunning contrasts.

Friday Photo: a quiet Dulles Airport

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Generally Friday afternoons are a hive of activity at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC, with a steady stream of incoming 777s and A380s from Europe and Asia all arriving within a few hours. Today, however, with all the coronavirus cancellations, Dulles was a perfect spot for a couple of touch and gos on runway 01C.

Friday Photo: a road in the clouds

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Charlie Tillett was flying east from Columbus, Ohio, in his Piper Meridian when he took this shot. There was an overcast layer between 1,000 and 2,000 ft, and he passed over I-77 just south of where the highway passes through New Philadelphia. You can clearly see the road’s path in the cloud, with disruptions caused by road heat.

Friday Photo: the White Mountains are white

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It was one of those beautiful, severe clear winter days we get in New Hampshire. From time to time I overfly Mt. Washington and visit my dad’s ashes, which I spread from a plane back in 2006, in accordance with his wishes. Here’s the view from my 1974 Piper Cherokee Six.

Friday Photo: Philadelphia at dusk

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There’s a time, right after the sun has set but before the sky is completely dark, when flying is just about magical. Kevin Davis captures this moment in his Friday Photo. You can see the soft blanket of a city turning the lights on while the horizon slowly fades away. A perfect time to be in a Cessna.

Friday Photo: shiny shoes

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Nearing the end of my rotorcraft private add-on, I accomplished the three-point solo cross-country. With the collective friction on, I had a hand free to grab a couple of photos. This one was actually taken by accident, but I thought it was kind of a fun view.

Friday Photo: formation flight on Remembrance Day

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Neil Sidwell shares this unique photo: a beautiful view of Melbourne and the Shrine of Remembrance (just visible over the inspection hatch on the cowl of our plane) as he flew in a formation of four aircraft over the Shrine in honour of those who had fallen in combat.

Friday Photo: the Rio Grande

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The route south from Albuquerque, New Mexico, follows the Rio Grande as it winds from Colorado towards the US-Mexico border. Jason Harrison got a great picture of big river, a patch of green in the desert, as he cruised along in his Cessna 182. If nothing else, it’s a great way to check your navigation skills.