Friday Photo: on top in a Cirrus

It had been a long day already - 2 hour flight training in Naples and then dodging thunderstorms in southern GA on my way to Louisville. The peace in that view was a welcome sight which relaxed me before I arrived in Louisville with a 40 KT blow from 290, forcing me to abandon 2 approaches at KLOU and divert to KSDF.

Friday Photo: a wingtip rainbow in Colombia

When you're practicing aerobatics, it helps to have a good visual reference for your maneuvers. Santiago Arbelaez found the perfect one on a flight in his RV-4 - a vivid rainbow off the right wing. Here's hoping 2019 brings you many spectacular views like this from the cockpit.

Friday Photo: Merry Christmas from a floatplane

My loving wife let me implement "my Retirement Plan" a little early and purchase this airplane this past fall. I raised two US Marines, hence the USMC mascot - and yes Rock has been flying as well for the past 8 years! I will be offering seaplane instruction soon.

Friday Photo: a French chateau from the air

The historic Chateau de Chantilly is just 30 miles north of Paris, but looks like a time capsule from the 19th century. Philippe Platek was flying over it on a beautiful day when he took this photo from his Tecnam P-2008JC. It shows the Grand Chateau and the stunning formal gardens. The perfect flight for a general aviation airplane.

Friday Photo: the Swiss Alps

The weak sun of October had not completely removed the fog in the south of the Black Forest and over Switzerland. The Alps were sticking out of the cloud layer in the South. The air was smooth at FL090. I was crossing the arrival sectors of Zurich and the controllers had given me the most direct route that I could dream of.

Friday Photo: rainbow off the left wing

The old saying reminds us that behind every cloud there's a silver lining. Most pilots know that behind every line of summer showers, there's a rainbow. Ed Loxterkamp was in the perfect position to capture this beautiful sight when he was flying home from EAA AirVenture in his Piper Arrow.

Friday Photo: Music City at sunset

Getting the perfect nighttime photo is part skill and part timing. Glenn Ford had both for this fantastic shot of Nashville, Tennessee. The high wing of his Cessna 172 left a sprawling view of the lights that make "Music City USA" so vibrant.

Friday Photo: leaving storms on the other side of the mountains

Sometimes the ever-changing weather means you have to be patient and creative. For corporate pilot Duane Mader, the reward for one of those days was a beautiful view of the Wyoming Big Horns from his CJ2. As he was climbing VFR and waiting to pick up an IFR clearance, it occurred to Duane that that type of maneuvering is true freedom.

Friday Photo: Mt. Ida, British Columbia

Oftentimes all you have to do to get a great photo is to look outside. In this gorgeous photo from Clint Schamehorn, Mother Nature sets the scene perfectly, with high broken clouds, a setting sun, and the dramatic shape of Mt. Ida in the foreground. Not bad for a flight where the only mission was "boring holes in the sky."

Friday Photo: above the clouds in Argentina

Agustin Rubiños took this photo "on a tourist flight to observe the city of three streams, in the typical climate of the southwest of the province of Buenos Aires in the winter season. With a FL030 roof of clouds over the terrain, we crossed the layer of thin clouds to provide an incredible view to our passengers who took a unique postcard for the rest of his life."

Friday Photo: backcountry flying in a Super Cub

When Jody Kochansky signed up for a course at McCall Mountain Canyon Flying School in Idaho, he knew he would learn a lot. And learn he did. As he says, "I'm a better pilot for the experience!" Along the way, he captured this beautiful backcountry scene, with Loon Creek winding its way through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The picture is made complete by the yellow Super Cub cowl.

Friday Photo: sunrise over a Cirrus wing

Sometimes, Mother Nature knows best. After evening storms delayed Salim Helou's flight home until the next morning, the sun made a grand appearance over the co-pilot's wing. The Cirrus SR22 meant Salim made it to work on time, but the view was the real prize.

Friday Photo: Phoenix sunset

Photographers call it the golden hour for a reason. As this Friday Photo from Kimberly Prodan shows, the time just before night falls is utterly amazing - especially from an airplane. This photo captures the emerging lights of Phoenix below, while the sun's fading light paints the horizon.

Friday Photo: Colorado mountains

A cool, clear day in the mountains of Colorado is hard to beat. As Greg Chestnut shows in this photo, it's even better with a high wing airplane. He took this photo while flying his Cessna 182 to Las Vegas, as he passed over the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area near Telluride.

Friday Photo: a not-so-dry lake in Australia

Lake Eyre in Australia covers half a million square miles, but it's almost always dry. Not for Jeff Brooks. He captured this otherworldly picture of the lake after it had filled up with water that flowed 1000 miles down hill to the lowest point in the country. The sleek wingtip of his Long-EZ perfectly frames the scene.

Friday Photo: an Austrian castle

A European vacation turned into an unexpected flying adventure for Bob Bickford. In this Friday Photo, he shares the view from the cockpit of a brand new Diamond DA40NG, which he got to fly from the Diamond factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. As he says, it's not every day you get to see a castle on final approach.

Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

Viewing a sunset from the cockpit of a small airplane is always beautiful, but add in some clouds and maybe even a little rain and things get even better. Rick Spencer took this photo from his Cessna 182 on the way home to Arkansas from South Carolina, and the variety of colors makes for a gorgeous end to the trip.

Friday Photo: snowy mountain peaks

The Rocky Mountains are famous for offering stunning views of snowy mountain peaks, but the Monashee Mountains in Canada are close behind. In this Friday Photo, Ken Finlayson shares a picture he took of the range while on a cross country training flight. Not a bad office view.

Friday Photo: San Juan Islands

Many people outside the Pacific Northwest don't know about the San Juan Islands, but to those who do know, they are a favorite flying spot. Bill Lombard shares this photo of the deserted islands just outside of Seattle in this Friday Photo. He took it from his Cessna 182 on a return flight from completing some IFR training.

Friday Photo: Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

New Zealand sometimes looks like another planet, and this Friday Photo shows why. Andre Michaelides took this photo of the Banks Peninsula from his Piper Warrior, which shows ancient volcanic rock, a beautiful blue-green lake, and the Southern Alps mountain range all in one shot. As he says, it's "scenery for the soul."