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."

Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls is undeniably breathtaking from any perspective. With a height over 3,200 feet, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth and a powerful testament to nature's power. Some 80 years after American pilot Jimmy Angel first flew over the falls, Douglas Olivares snapped this photo from his Cessna 172, complete with a partial rainbow.

Friday Photo: The Tetons

The Northwest United States offers plenty of stunning vistas, making it a favorite for pilots - especially when the weather is good. In this Friday Photo, Duane Root shares a beautiful shot of the snow-capped Tetons, shot from his F.8L Falco as he flew to Montana for an AOPA Fly-in. As he says, "It's views like this that remind us why we love flying!"

Friday Photo: Western Australia from a 172

Geoff van Schie flies his Cessna 172M on volunteer missions to teach Christian Value Educational classes to mainly indigenous children in four remote schools in Australia. This photo was taken at the end of a five-day trip, for a total of 8 hours for the week, much of around IFR weather.

Friday Photo: Santa Barbara smoke

Ronald Hays has been flying for a while - over 3,000 hours in 18 years, from Alaska to Guatemala - but he says "the scariest departure ever was from our home airport." This week's Friday Photo shows why, as thick smoke from the Thomas fire in Southern California fills the air. It was a scary sight, but at least Hays was on his way to cleaner air.

Friday Photo: Oshkosh!

The world's largest fly-in starts next week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. To celebrate, this week's Friday Photo shows a great scene from AirVenture 2017, as a 1944 Howard is parked beneath a deep blue sky that is punctuated by a skywriter's "EAA script." Happy Oshkosh week!

Friday Photo: bridge across Sarasota Bay

Florida is a pilot's paradise, as Todd Sullivan's photo shows here. He was flying a Cessna 182 on a beautiful day in February when he took this photo of the John Ringling Causeway Bridge, which connects Sarasota and the beaches. The best part is soaring above that traffic stuck on the bridge.

Friday Photo: The Hague from a Cessna 172

Long before 9/11 it was already prohibited to fly over the city centre of Dutch adminstrative residency The Hague. The royal palaces, the medieval court housing the parliament and senate are strictly forbidden to overfly below 3,000 ft AGL. To take pictures of the city I flew exactly along the border of the prohibited airspace.

Friday Photo: Trimotor view

This isn't your everyday wing photo. One look at the aileron and the back of the underwing engine reveals this to be an antique Ford Trimotor. Rick Torres snapped this photo from a passenger seat in the iconic airliner, as he flew over the Salinas Valley in California.

Friday Photo: sharing a sunset

Gary Travis has been flying for over 40 years, but he admits that "skies like this always take my breath away." This picture was taken on one of his many flights in his Piper Dakota, which he often uses to share the beauty of flying with others. Sharing aviation and enjoying the view never get old.

Friday Photo: Sportstar sunrise

There's no better time to fly, as Tom Smith shows with this Friday Photo. He was in his Evektor Sportstar on his way to a safety seminar when he snapped this photo of the sun rising over the horizon. The high clouds are painted that magical shade of orange, and you can tell the air is perfectly smooth.

Friday Photo: Misty Mountain Hop

The best aerial photos combine a great scene, dramatic lighting, and an element of mystery. Vaughn Schultz has all three in this photo of the volcanic lava domes called the Sutter Buttes. A soft sunlight comes through the clouds and highlights the jagged edges of this unique area, as seen from a Cessna 172 XP.

Friday Photo: sunset over the Chesapeake

November 11, 2017 was one of the nicest days of the year to be flying. The chilly air made for a smooth ride, and the early sunset cast a gorgeous light across the water. This was one of those days to turn the radio down low and just enjoy the view out the window.

Friday Photo: Arizona canyons

We were heading from the mountains of Show Low, Arizona to the desert of Phoenix, Arizona for the day so Krista and I could spend the day with her son Casey. The trip would normally be a six plus hours round trip by car.  However, being blessed and fortunate enough to fly, it is a 90-minute round trip allowing us to spend more time with Casey and still be home in time for dinner.

Friday Photo: sunset in the rain

Dale Walton was flying his 1967 Cessna 150G at historic Minter field in Shafter, CA (MIT), an old World War II training base when he took this photo. As he says, "My first landing in the rain! No wind to speak of, but what a thrill it was watching the rain speed by my landing light in the wing Cessna. One of many more adventures to come. Shot with my iPhone 7+."

Friday Photo: Chicago fly-by

I had been in Chicago on business the day before. It was a beautiful morning. Skies were mostly clear. Visibility was unlimited. Air was calm. Temperature was cool (it was late-September). Great day to fly. I had just departed O6C (Schaumburg Regional), about to head home. I decided to take a tour of downtown Chicago, from out over Lake Michigan.

Friday Photo: commuting home at sunrise

After a nearly 30 year break, I finally had a mission: visiting and tending to my two oldest children who began attending a boarding school in Dillard, Georgia. My wife and two youngest children have now relocated to the area and I commute there on the weekends to be with them. I'm now treated to amazing views like this one, and a warm homecoming, nearly every weekend.

Friday Photo: touch the sky

Flying with kids is always more fun than flying solo, and this photo is a great remind why. As Fernando Gonzales-Fisher says, "My grandson touches the window of a Mooney as if he is trying to touch the clouds. What is going through his young mind? We will never know; he will never remember. A moment I will never forget."

Friday photo: skimming the clouds at sunset

It's one of the best views any pilot can find, and Antonio Rodriguez shares a great picture of it in this Friday Photo: skimming along the top of the clouds at sunset. He was flying a Piper Archer II to Nebraska with family when he snapped this photo, which beautifully shows the soft colors of the sun on the clouds below.