Friday Photo: sunset on a first flight lesson

Sunsets are always better from the cockpit, and a thin overcast makes them a little more interesting. Daniel McPartland got to see one of these, but it was even more special because he was on his first flight lesson. Taking in the scenery while sitting in the left seat for the first time is this week's Friday Photo.

Friday Photo: San Francisco moonrise

San Francisco Bay is a unique place to fly, and Paul De Zan captures a lot of the activity in this week's Friday Photo. From the dark water to the shining city lights to the airliners landing at SFO, it's all visible from the cockpit of a Cessna 172. Off in the distance, a warm moon rises from the horizon.

Friday Photo: blue Bahamas water

The first time I flew to the Bahamas was in the spring of 1974 in a 1952 Piper TriPacer. On this flight, we're in our Aerostar following the magenta line - precisely knowing our position, ground speed, ETA, etc. The technology may have changed, but the beauty of the islands has not.

Friday Photo: Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

Mt. Bachelor, a popular ski resort in Oregon, makes for a beautiful subject in this week's Friday Photo. Student pilot John Belnap snapped this photo of the snow-covered peak from a Cessna 172 as he flew to Bend with friend and fellow pilot Jonathan Jenson.

Friday Photo: Sierra Nevada mountains at sunrise

The early bird gets the worm, but he also gets the beautiful sunrise. Pilot John Krikorian shares this week's Friday Photo, with the sun peeking out from behind a few clouds over the Sierra Nevada mountains. He was on a trip in a Cessna 182 to Mexico to support the Flying Doctors of Mercy.

Friday Photo: why we love flying

Take a beautiful airplane and a beautiful vista and you get a special photo. This week's cockpit photo comes from Greg Pepper, who snapped this one on the way home from Dallas in his Cirrus. As he says, it's a great reminder of why pilots love what they do.

Friday Photo: small New Jersey airport

It was one of those beautiful afternoons in December when the sky was so clear, crisp and my workday was cut short by my longing to fly. Being a new pilot, every time I fire up the plane I get goosebumps. The excitement of not knowing what to expect keeps me going further, like a child sneaking out of his yard for a look around. This afternoon I decided to go north, not really having an absolute destination but just enjoying the view of the New Jersey landscape.

Friday Photo: Ercoupe sunset

After 35 years as a professional pilot (Boeing 747s on down), I now fly a Light Sport-qualified Ercoupe 415-C. It is a fantastic airplane, and “low and slow” is great after so many years of high and fast. The view from, the speed of, and the pleasure of flying this “no-purpose-but-to-enjoy-it” airplane are all just what I was looking for at this end of my career.

Friday Photo: Stearman over the Salton Sea

There's nothing like the yellow fabric of a Stearman to evoke the golden age of aviation. This week's beautiful Friday Photo shows that view, with the unique Salton Sea in California just beyond the wingtip.
Marine layer

Friday photo: marine layer at night

Big city lights? Check. Ocean? Check. Marine layer rolling in? Check. Jim Yares shares a beautiful picture in this week's Friday photo, one that combines a city view, a sunset and a unique weather phenomenon. Just another view that's only possible from an airplane.

Friday Photo: Lexington sunset

Sometimes it's the simple flights that bring the best views. This week's Friday Photo was captured by Jack DeBrunner, who was sitting in the right seat as safety pilot while a friend practiced for his instrument rating. As he says, "it was a great sunset to cap off a great flight with a good friend."

Friday Photo: snow-covered Utah mountains

For sure one of the best looking mountains in the whole state. Sundance ski resort is located here, and so is Robert Redford’s residence. It’s also a popular, long all-day hike to the summit in the summer. Flying here never gets old.

Friday Photo: Toronto skyline aglow

Toronto, Canada has a unique skyline, with the sprawling city spread along the coast of Lake Ontario, and the massive CN Tower looming over the island airport. Pilot Mark Nye captured the beauty of this city in a stunning nighttime flight in his Cessna 185. Here's a photo you'll want to view full size.

Friday Photo: sunset over a composite wing

Newly-minted private pilot Dominic Carpenter took advantage of a beautiful night to fly down the western coastline of Michigan in his rented Diamond DA40. The results was a fun cross country flight to celebrate his license, and a beautiful image.

Friday Photo: glacier in France

A ski vacation turned into much more for Hrag Sarkissian. In this week's Friday Photo, he shares a the postcard view he saw when he touched down on La Grande Motte Glacier in France. The unique runway was a result of a short ski-flying checkout from an "altiport."

Friday Photo: highest mountain in the lower 48

Medevac pilot Bill Custer shares this week's photo from the cockpit of his Piper Cheyenne. On a flight back to base from a patient drop off, he snapped this view of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental US.

Friday Photo: Alaska sunset

This week's Friday photo comes to us from Alaska, where Rob Murray snapped this picture of a beautiful sunset off Baranof Island. The only thing better than the sunset is the classic airplane in the foreground: a 1952 DeHavilland Beaver.

Friday Photo: runway in Sweden

This week's Friday Photo has an international flavor. Dmitrij Karpenko snapped this photo of Vaesteras airport, outside Stockholm, from his Glasair Sportsman just before turning final. The sun is lighting up the water in the distance, while another airplane prepares to land.

Friday Photo: dog rescue flight

Sometimes the best passengers aren't even human. In this week's charming Friday Photo, flight instructor Michael Young shares a picture of a Columbia 400 flight that involved 24 total passengers: some human, some canine. Read the unique mission that Young was on.

Friday Photo: One World Trade Center

Flying is always fun, but it's even more fun when you can share it with friends or family. This week's photo, from McGregor Scott, shares an unforgettable view, and the important right seat passenger that made this flight down the Hudson River even more memorable.