Sunset Warrior

Friday Photo: flying into the sunset

This picture sums up a flight with a lot of important elements: an airplane, a father and sons, a great sunset, and the promise of a Christmas together. Michael McDaniel captured it all on the way home to Decatur, Alabama, in a Piper Warrior late last December.
C-47 view

Friday Photo: C-47 wing view

Tony Buttacavoli has flown a lot of airplanes in his long career, including the Boeing 747. But flying an old C-47, the military version of the legendary Douglas DC-3 airliner, is his favorite. This picture shows the distinctive radial engine and big prop hub, with the gorgeous colors of a Michigan autumn in the background.

Friday Photo: Sunset over Syracuse

This was taken by my CFII as I was flying. The lake in the picture is Onondaga Lake in Liverpool, NY. We took off from Syracuse Hancock International Airport to log some night flying hours. I love flying over Syracuse during the night because it has spectacular city lights.
Sun under wing

Friday Photo: fire and ice

Tom Dorl was on a training flight in a Cessna 172 over the York River in Virginia when he spotted this beautiful scene. As he reminds us, "Sometimes you gotta look outside and appreciate the beauty of flight and the freedom it provides."

Friday Photo: Bahama blue

The islands of the Bahamas never cease to amaze. The combination of white sandy beaches and beautiful blue water makes for the perfect flying destination and a great view. Paul Harding captures this color palette with a shot of the Schooner Cays, as seen under the wing of his Cessna 172.

Friday Photo: 737 moonshot

When jogging through the Clingendael Park, I noticed the rising full moon and the afternoon’s peak of traffic approaching for Schiphol Amsterdam Airport flying exactly north of my position, straight into the direction of the upcoming full moon. I rushed back home to get my 200 mm telephoto lens and was lucky to capture an airplane flying the RNAV36 towards RWY 36L at approximately 1500 ft AGL.

Friday Photo: sunrise through a tilt-rotor

During September of 2018 Bell Helicopter was deep into flight test operations with their advanced military-oriented V-280 tilt-rotor testbed. The latter is a competitor in the US Army's Future Vertical Lift initiative which is on-going as these words are written. As the aircraft was being towed into position, I saw an opportunity to possibly catch the dawn sun through the open cabin doors as the aircraft moved slowly across the ramp. The result is what you see.

Friday Photo: snowy mountain peaks

Clay Thomas captures the beauty and peace of a glider flight in this gorgeous Friday Photo. As he describes it: "Soaring down the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 606 kilometers round trip, maximum altitude 17,915 feet, maximum rate of climb 1,200 FPM, maximum airspeed 165 knots. Fuel burn, zero."

Friday Photo: a lonely airplane in the desert

I flew to the remote Alvord Desert to camp under the stars in a dark sky. It was dark, but storm clouds blocked the stars each night. The days were filled with the subtle beauty of desert mirages and absolute silence. A real dose of solitude.

Friday Photo: Virga over the Adirondacks

Southwest of Burlington, Vermont (BTV), I was being vectored to the west by ATC and this startling image caught my attention. The compelling Adirondacks hiding the setting sun and isolated rain showers and columns of virga—all for free (almost).

Friday Photo: Baron sunset

The ingredients for a perfect sunset picture include a few things: good color, a higher cloud deck to reflect the light, and a wing perfectly centered under the sun. Ron Kunse has all three in this Friday Photo, which he took while flying over Lansing, Michigan, on an early December day.

Friday Photo: Oregon wildfires

When seen from the air, wildfires can look like living creatures—and ruin in-flight visibility. That's the view in this week's Friday Photo, as a wildfire in Oregon spews smoke high into the sky. Chad Chase was flying his Cirrus SR22 from California to Portland when he found himself deviating around no less than three wildfires.
Night Cessna

Friday Photo: night on the flightline

While walking to my hangar at 10pm to retrieve my car, I saw this lonely 172 on the flight line with the moon illuminating it. The temperature was 33 degrees F, extremely humid, and really uncomfortable. Like me, I suspect the plane wanted to warm up and head somewhere else. Even planes get lonely.

Friday Photo: beached ship

The final portion of the stricken cargo ship Golden Ray, which beached there in September 2019 (just days after my family and I finished a week’s vacation there) can be seen inside the “ropes,” mid-mouth of the channel. It was gone two days later, per another friend.

Friday Photo: cloud-to-ground rainbow

Parvez Dara was flying a G36 Bonanza from Wichita back to New Jersey when he caught this beautiful sight. A vivid rainbow, reaching all the way to the ground, is highlighted by some late afternoon sun rays. It looks even better from the left seat than on the ground.

Friday Photo: fall in Oregon

The Pacific Northwest serves up some beautiful views year-round, but fall is a particularly photogenic season. Steve Splonskowski shows off one of these views in this Friday Photo, with Wilamette Falls in the foreground and Mount Hood in the background. It's the perfect vista to enjoy from a Taylorcraft.

Friday Photo: a patchwork quilt

While enjoying his first flight after the lifting of COVID restrictions, Australian pilot Neil Sidwell took this photo from his ICP Savannah. As he says, the view was full of color: "Yellow canola, brown ploughed fields, green grass, and dark green wooded hills in the background melding into a patchwork quilt."

Friday Photo: Pacer parked at 8432 ft. MSL

The Piper Pacer isn't known as a high performance, high altitude airplane, but Santiago Arbelaez didn't let that stop him. In this Friday Photo he shows his 1954 PA-22 parked at Las Acacias, Colombia, with a field elevation over 8000 feet. Not a bad place to stop while you tour the Andes.

Friday Photo: balloons at 9 o’clock

Traffic is hard to spot sometimes, but not when it's a hot-air balloon. German pilot Alexander Steinhorst shares exactly that view in this Friday Photo, with two large balloons off the left wing of his Aquila A211. It was obviously a great evening to fly—for airplanes and balloons alike.
Reno airplanes

Friday Photo: lenticular clouds at Reno

Sometimes the best place to experience the power of Mother Nature is on the ground. That's what George Catalano shares in this Friday Photo, as some beautiful but intimidating lenticular clouds tower over the 2021 Reno Air Races. All the races were cancelled this day, and the clouds suggest why: high winds and rough rides.