Friday Photo: dreaming of flights to come

Fathers and sons have been bonding over airplanes for over 100 years. In this special Father's Day edition of the Friday Photo, Robert Bready shares a wonderful picture of a very young but enthusiastic pilot trying out the left seat of an S35 Bonanza.

Friday Photo: early morning lava

On this particular early morning trip I was a passenger on a Lear 45 business flight when I witnessed the most amazing sunrise. We were somewhere over Illinois, headed to Boston from Wichita. As the sun began to shine, it illuminated the cloud layer from below and reminded me of a lava field. Sometimes, a guy is just blessed to have such a great view from his office window.

Friday Photo: turns around Padres Butte

Lake Powell offers some of the most incredible views of anywhere in the southwestern United States, and Richard Garnett capture one such view in this Friday Photo. He was on a training flight with Jeniffer Kiraly in a Piper Archer when he snapped this photo of Padres Butte rising up out of the water.

Friday Photo: New York City at night

My sister and her husband were visiting for a short trip and we started talking about airplanes. It was evening but the weather was perfect and the next two days looked terrible so we spontaneously decided to go right then and there. They had a phenomenal time and were enchanted by the beauty of NYC at night. It was my first time through the VFR corridor at night as well, and the views didn’t disappoint.

Friday Photo: snowy Teton

Grand Teton National Park never disappoints, with soaring peaks and a flat valley floor below. Even better is when the mountains are draped in snow. That's the view Charlie Tillett had from his Piper Meridian recently, as he shares in this Friday Photo. From 20,000 feet it looks peaceful and majestic. From the ground it might look cold.

Friday Photo: wilderness camping

Flying is usually about the journey, not the destination, but this Friday Photo might be an exception. Jim Mateski shares a photo of his campsite at the Shearer wilderness airstrip in Idaho, complete with a hammock and a Piper Super Cruiser. As he says, the plan was, "Solitude, hammock sleeping, a good book, and great native cutthroat fly fishing."

Friday Photo: Ohio sunset from a 172

I am so fortunate to be able to see and do things like this. When I took this picture the only thing I could think about was that the people I am flying above right now will probably never see what my two eyes are seeing right now at this very moment. It is such an honor and a privilege to be able to see views like this from an airplane.

Friday Photo: frontal passage

This photograph was taken just after a cold front associated with a low pressure system passed over the field. The system's passage was preceded by a pulse of moisture with intense precipitation and a dramatic shift in wind. Twenty minutes later the leading edge of the front spawned a tornado - unusual in central California.

Friday Photo: California poppy bloom

The Walker Canyon poppy bloom made national news for its beautiful scenery. But Fred Greensite had the best view: "Vastly more extensive, and much more awe-inspiring, than the ground level media views online and on TV had indicated. The mountains looked like they were on fire. The throngs of people arriving by car and exploring on foot missed out on so much."

Friday Photo: sun painting the clouds

Sunsets are always beautiful from the cockpit, but they're even better when a high cloud layer is involved. This photo from Joe Creecy, taken from his Cessna 182, shows the low sun over Nashville as it paints the clouds with shades of orange, yellow, and purple. Another "why I fly" moment.

Friday Photo: sunset over Istanbul

While flying his Piper Meridian back from Balikesir, Necmi Cicekci "flew over Turkey's most beautiful western coast. After investigating the Syrian migrants who had to cross the Aegean Sea, I had a great sunset on the way back to Istanbul. The sun was saying to us, 'goodbye.'"

Friday Photo: Boulder from a 172

Colorado is a beautiful place to fly, and you don't have to be in a high performance airplane to enjoy the view. This Friday Photo comes from Rob Hitchcox, who was flying a Cessna 172 over the flatirons around Boulder when he took this photo. The best part? He had passengers along.

Friday Photo: Angel Flight passenger

For doctor and pilot Ruffin Benton, flying patients for Angel Flight is the most rewarding kind of trip. He took this photo on a recent flight to Baltimore with a patient on board. While she's headed for tough cancer treatment, the picture is all about the peace of flight.

Friday Photo: sunset in Denmark

Fly 20 miles west of Copenhagen, Denmark, and you'll find a beautiful coastline of islands and peninsulas. That's where Natalie Kjaergaard was flying in her Aeroprakt A22 one afternoon when she took this beautiful photo of the sun going down over the water. Another classic sunset view from the left seat.

Friday Photo: Chicago lights

For John Banas, this flight was anything but routine. As he describes, it was the "first time my wife went flying with me. She’s somewhat of a white knuckle flyer, but she was thrilled with the view from the little Skyhawk. Chicago seems to be laid out specifically for people why fly GA aircraft at night."

Friday Photo: an ocean of clouds

Sometimes the sun and clouds combine for the perfect cockpit view. That's what helicopter pilot Scott Monroe saw on this day over Oakland, California. The rolling wave of clouds was highlighted by a low sun angle and framed perfectly by Mt. Diablo in the background. For folks on the ground, it just looked like a cloudy day.

Friday Photo: Swiss peaks on a solo cross-country

This week's Friday Photo comes from Aaron Ochsner, who says, "When I was a kid, I used to hike up this mountain every weekend with my dad (you can see the trail snaking up the side). Today I got a bird’s eye view of that same peak. Soon I’ll be able to take my dad up to see it with me."

Friday Photo: FL430 from a Lear 45XR

Paul Bowen says, "This was taken on my first ever flight in the Lear 45 since my sim training at CAE Dallas West. Watching the sun set from 43,000ft on your first ever real jet flight is a truly unforgettable experience. And what better aircraft that the truly iconic Lear!"

Friday Photo: Chicago sunset

Why we fly - that's Scott Fernandez's three word summary of this photo, and it explains pretty well the magic of being a pilot. Watching the last light fade from the western sky as you climb out in a light airplane is both exciting and peaceful, and it is indeed why we fly.

Friday Photo: T-34 formation

The T-34 Mentor has a long history as a military trainer, and training is exactly what Facha Reynaldez and Gabriel Freijo were doing when this photo was taken. But instead of a single T-34, this photo shows off four of them in formation over a dam south of Córdoba State, Argentina. The water an the sky are both blue, both the pilots were too busy watching their wingman to notice.