Friday Photo: Salinas sunset

Sunsets from the air are almost always memorable, but add in the right cloud layer and the view becomes magical. That's what Jim Hopp captures in this Friday Photo. As he broke out of the clouds on an Angel Flight, he was greeted with the perfect view.

Friday Photo: a perfect picture over Nebraska

Instrument proficiency flights don't have to be boring, as Dave Johnson discovered on this flight. He was knocking the rust off in his Bonanza when he snapped this gorgeous photo of the sun lighting up a high cloud layer.

Friday Photo: granddaughter’s first flight

Grandkids and airplanes are a lot of fun. Put them together and great things can happen, as Mark Fay found out in this picture. As he says about flying his first granddaughter on her first flight in his Cessna 182RG: "Every reason I became a pilot came to life over these two days."

Friday Photo: Texas sunset

Greg Pepper was returning to Houston from Dallas after introducing an aspiring pilot and brother to his Cirrus SR22 when he took this photo. "During a very quiet and uneventful trip home, I was awestruck by the beauty of this late fall Texas sunset." So are we.

Friday Photo: storm over Tangier Island

Allen and Moira Epps flew their flying club's Cessna Skylane for an overnight to one of the most unique and isolated communities in America: Tangier Island, Virginia. As Allen says, it was all about "fresh made crab cakes and talking to natives whose distinct accent makes you realize their isolation."

Friday Photo: rise and shine

When the weather is nice, and it's before the time change, I take advantage of the nice weather. Here is a picture inviting everyone to aviation, a new morning, new opportunity to learn and experience aviation.

Friday Photo: a sunlit thunderstorm

It was May and a line of late afternoon thunderstorms was building. I requested a deviation to the left to avoid what looked like a line of clouds and through the co-pilot window caught this developing thunderhead through an opening in the clouds.

Friday Photo: Texas smoke

Dale Davis uses his Cessna 206 to commute to business meetings from his home near San Antonio, which means he often sees sights like this: a large brush fire burning in the middle of the King Ranch. It's a reminder that visibility can be reduced by factors other than clouds and fog.

Friday Photo: feet wet

There's a moment when you transition from flying over land to flying over water ("feet wet") when your whole view changes. That's the view Agustin Rubiños captures in this Friday Photo, as his Cessna 172 cruised over the beaches in Claromeco, Argentina.

Friday Photo: thunderstorms over Cambodia

Picking our way through thunderstorms at 10,000 MSL over Cambodia in the late fall of 1972. Or, has John Gillespie Magee, Jr. said it in High Flight, we "...chased the shouting wind along, and flung [our] eager craft through footless halls of air..."

Friday Photo: Santa Paula

Learning to fly at CP Aviation at KSZP has been a trip. It feels like Santa Paula is what GA used to feel like in its heyday: one small runway, one taxiway, no tower. Nothing but Cessnas, Ercoupes, Stearmans, Citabrias. Life at SZP is simple. The core ethos? The pure love of flying.

Friday Photo: CJ sunset

Sunsets are always a favorite view for pilots, but sometimes the conditions are just right. In this beautiful Friday Photo, Phelps Lane shares a photo from the left seat of a Cessna Citation CJ1+ as he descended over New Orleans. The lights are glowing in the distance, the black sky fades to blue, then orange, then red—and you can almost see the curvature of the earth.

Friday Photo: Gulfstream HUD

The views over Alaska are always epic, but that's especially true if you're looking through a heads-up display (HUD) in a Gulfstream G650ER. That's the picture Brendan Donovan shares this week, cruising home at FL450 on his way back from China.

Friday Photo: Meridian sunrise

Sunrise departure on a volunteer Angel Flight mission to help someone from Bangor, Maine, avoid the 8-hour round trip drive to Boston and get to a mid-morning medical appointment. There is no flying that I do that is more rewarding than providing a little hope to people by helping them get to medical treatment.

Friday Photo: sunrise on a grass strip

An enjoyable weekend of flying and a night of camping. First leg was on Saturday, DTN to TXK (1.3 hours for a 56 nautical mile trip!) for a fly-in hosted by EAA Chapter 1582. Left there and headed for 01TS, with a fuel stop at F44. I caught the last hour of a fly-in at 01TS, complete with burgers, ice cream, and some good people. The owner welcomed me to camp out under a big oak tree.

Friday Photo: sunset under the clouds

Descending into Medellin, Colombia, in his Cessna Skywagon, Santiago Rendón snapped this artistic picture of the Cerro Tusa mountain peak. As he says, "Mountains, clouds, and sunset light produces a mixture of feelings that explains why you love to fly!"

Friday Photo: something looks wrong

We were flying home to Springfield, MO, from Flying Cloud in Minneapolis. I was bringing my son (an airline pilot) and his family home for Thanksgiving on a bitterly cold Thanksgiving Day. Our Cessna 414 brought us home without incident, but it was a costly trip (the turbocharger went to lunch without us, and my son couldn't resist a snapshot).

Friday Photo: Bronco at daybreak

While flying with the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron on one summer day, I had the first takeoff from our Forward Operating Location at Ubon Airbase in Thailand. My roommate had taken off a few minutes behind me and we were both headed south. I slowed down and suggested that he speed up to catch me so I could take his picture using my trusty 35mm. In a few minutes, Pat was flying off my left wing.
Wing view

Friday photo: a freight pilot’s view

You sit in one position in one chair for over three hours. You stare at electro-mechanical needles and dials for those same three+ hours, eyes darting from one to another quickly because you have no autopilot. Occasionally, you turn your head away from your only links to survival, your instruments, and consider with much respect your wings and engines.

Friday Photo: Miami Beach

I just received my private pilot certificate in Michigan in November. I checked out a plane on a much needed break at a Miami airport in December and planned a day trip to Key West for lunch, following the road all the way. Cruise ships were parked at sea but the view and thrill of piloting your own airplane was beautifully amazing!