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.

Friday Photo: Sound Sunset

I am a lucky man. I live on Cape Cod and had a dinner date on Nantucket with my 8-year old granddaughter. Flying home, we encountered a beautifully calm summer evening and this view over Nantucket Sound. Martha’s Vineyard is visible in the left of the photo and Cape Cod to the right. With sights like this I am bound to piqued her interest in the wonders of aviation… I hope!

Friday Photo: Denali

Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, but it's surprisingly easy to see—thanks to airplanes like the Turbine Otter. That's the view Craig Bixby shares in this Friday Photo, with the snow-capped mountain peak framed under the wing of the rugged bush plane. Definitely a must-see on any trip to Alaska.

Friday Photo: the king is ready

Daniel Schwerzmann gets to fly King Airs around the Swiss Alps, which as he says, "can be very tricky and challenging." The reward for safely navigating the picturesque mountains is often a photo like this: the heat from the ramp steams the water from a recent storm at Gstaad Airport. Proof that great aviation pictures can happen on the ground.

Friday Photo: pyramids of Giza from a 787

While flying six miles above Egypt, airline pilots Richard Pittet and Luc Martineau captured this wild juxtaposition. The pyramids at Giza, built almost entirely by hand some 4500 years ago, is seen through the heads-up display on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. How far we've come.
Shelf cloud at airport

Friday Photo: fog rolls in

Here in Florida we experience the beauty of some of the best weather views quite often, especially as winter turns to fall (which is rather quick as our winter lasts about an hour... sure seems that way!). The phenomenon of sea fog can turn a bright, sunny, warmer day into a blanket of fog in minutes. The airport is roughly 16 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. I followed the fog as it moved inland and as I was on short final I saw it start to roll back into the sky as it met the warmer air. This is one of the results.

Friday Photo: Sedona sunset

There's a reason Cathedral Rock, near Sedona, Arizona, is called "the most photographed mountain in the world." This natural sandstone butte is a stunning sight any time of day, but as William Scherer makes clear in this Friday Photo, the setting sun adds a whole new dimension. Thank goodness for airplanes with high wings and big windows!