Friday Photo: solo cross country view

Wow, this was an crisp and beautifully clear morning for my second solo cross country flight. The marshes of southern Louisiana and Texas fade into the Gulf of Mexico. This was my first time into Galveston Scholes Airport and doing it solo was a great confidence builder.

Friday Photo: San Juan Mountains

Sometimes waiting is the smart thing to do. Dan Littmann spent an extra day at the FBO before taking off for Oklahoma in his Cessna 182, and was rewarded with this beautiful view of the San Juan Mountains topped with snow. Most importantly, he had a safe flight. As Dan says, "it's better to arrive alive."

Friday Photo: mountain sunset over Vancouver

Is that beautiful shot from deep in the wilderness? No. Actually, Joel Gagnon captured this snowy sunset over Vancouver. As he says, it's very rewarding to "enjoy the freedom and wilderness so close to the city."

Friday Photo: Colors of Denmark

Danish pilot Andreas Christensen and his wife were flying their Diamond DA-40 to a birthday party when he snapped this colorful picture. It shows the island of Funen, with yellow fields and green trees nestled against the sea. The warm colors contrast nicely with the sleek wing of the Diamond.

Friday Photo: Lessons from Dad

My Grandpa and Dad learned to fly in short wing Pipers. Then my Dad taught my two brothers and me to fly in short wing Pipers as well. Now my son Caleb wants to learn to fly so what better airplane than another short wing Piper to learn in - a Piper Vagabond.

Friday Photo: attic insulation in the sky

Larry Brock was flying home to Williston, Florida in his M20F Mooney when he looked out the window and saw a beautiful sight. Beneath the bright Florida sun, the white, puffy clouds reminded him of attic insulation. As he says, that's sort of what they are.

Friday Photo: nature’s beauty and danger

Weather is a constant challenge for pilots, but every once in a while, it's also responsible for great beauty. This week's Friday photo was taken from Larry Emmons's Cirrus SR22, while flying home to Denver from Mexico. His view was of a dark cloud and a rain shower over New Mexico, but also of a beautiful rainbow.

Friday Photo: First Flight Airport

It's an airport that should be on every pilot's bucket list: First Flight Airport at Kill Devil Hills, NC. Steve Ellis captured the sight from his RV-4 on a day trip to the airport, which perfectly shows the Wright Brothers monument in the foreground and the runway behind it.

Friday Photo: sunrise over Kansas City

Sunrises always look best from the cockpit, and this week's Friday Photo proves why. The tip tank on Craig Cameron's F33A Bonanza is just visible in the foreground as the sun slowly rises off the wingtip. Craig was headed home, and this view over Kansas City as he climbed out offers a reminder to all pilots that the early bird gets more than just a worm.

Friday Photo: Mt. Adams pokes through the clouds

Breaking out on top of a cloud deck on a gray day is an amazing feeling. Patrick McClure did that recently and found a companion off the left wing: the second tallest mountain in the lower 48. In a turbo 182 with G1000, there's plenty of performance and situational awareness to sit back and take in the view.

Friday Photo: Scottsdale takeoff

Not every photo has to show a stunning sunset or a towering mountain to capture the fun and adventure of flying. This week's photo shows a Cessna 172 taking off from one of the US's busiest general aviation airports: Scottsdale. Braxton Norwood was chasing his shadow on a gorgeous day in Arizona.

Friday Photo: Seaplane in Australia

This week's Friday Photo raises the bar for $100 hamburger missions. Nic Fabert sent in this picture of a Cessna Caravan on floats, beached in a cove in Australia. His mission was simple: lunch on a beach. But it's enough to make any pilot dream of the ultimate getaway.

Friday Photo: Colorado colors

Fall in the Rocky Mountains is a beautiful thing. In this week's Friday Photo, Jim Densmore shares a gorgeous shot of the aspens in Wolf Creek Pass. The view was from his Cessna 180 on a trip home from the AOPA Fly-in in Arizona.
J3 Cub ride

Friday Photo: a memorable first flight in a Cub

This is what flying is all about. Steve Ellis loves to give airplane rides to kids (he's working on his 3rd guest logbook), and this early morning flight with 12-year old Luke Kallaher was just about perfect. In this week's Friday Photo, you can enjoy the smile of a kid at home in a J-3 Cub with the windows open.

Friday Photo: fall colors in the UP

It was a perfect day for flying, with light winds and unlimited visibility. We took off from our home base at KSAW and flew north along Lake Superior. The areas of peak color vary dramatically and seeing it from the air is really the best way in this remote area.

Friday Photo: God’s light in East Tennessee

After a long day of waiting for some storms to pass, James Heidbrink was just hoping to get up in the air for a quick flight. Little did he know that he would be rewarded with such a beautiful view out the window of his Cessna 172. This week's Friday Photo is a reminder that even the most simple flights can offer a memorable experience.

Friday Photo: Grand Teton from a Comanche

There are plenty of stunning mountain ranges in the western US. But for sheer drama and beauty, it's hard to beat Grand Teton National Park. Dale Morris took this week's Friday Photo of Grand Teton from the cockpit of his Piper Comanche 250, on a gorgeous VFR day.

Friday Photo: threading the needle

Weather transitions from warm to cold fronts often produce fair weather scattered to broken cumulus clouds. These had a ceiling of about 5000 feet and ragged tops up to 9500 ft. Flying VFR through cloud alleys on a sunny day can be very enjoyable, but should only be done if you are also IFR rated just in case.

Friday photo: Cincinnati river view

On a return trip from Georgia, while being vectored by ATC, Ed Loxterkamp took this beautiful picture of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Seven bridges and an airport are all visible on a gorgeous day. As he says, "The freedom and perspective that flying provides is extremely unique and memorable!"

Friday Photo: Grand Canyon from a Cherokee

We flew direct to the Grand Canyon to fly northbound on the "Zuni Point Corridor" (depicted on the Grand Canyon National Park Special Flight Rules Area chart). We then turned back southbound to land at Valle (40G) just south of the Grand Canyon airport (GCN) to stop for fuel and some friendly conversation. The views of the Grand Canyon were spectacular. It's truly one of those awe-inspiring moments that you will never forget.