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!

Friday Photo: Le Bourget Lake

Even a simple airplane like the Cessna 152 can take you to some amazing places, as Phillippe Platek shows in this Friday Photo. His picture shows Le Bourget Lake in the French Alps, with snowy mountain peaks in the background and rolling green hills in the foreground. Another winning day for general aviation.

Friday Photo: deviating around a forest fire

As we were approaching Denver airspace, we asked to deviate to left to avoid what looked like an unpredicted storm coming in from the northwest. The controller suggested there was no storm activity in the area, but permitted the deviation anyway. Not until that evening, did we understand why we also detected a faint smell of smoke.

Friday Photo: Mt. Rainier on Victor 4

I’ve always thought Mt. Rainier to be the most beautiful of the major Cascade peaks. I climbed the mountain in 1972 (I was younger then!), and have wanted to do a fly-by ever since I learned to fly many years later. The weather and ATC cooperated for this view of the north side of the mountain.

Friday Photo: New Mexico view

The American West serves up stunning views every day of the year. Tom Slavonik was ferrying a Cessna 182 from Colorado to California when he caught one of those views. Just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the combination of fields, mountains, clouds, and sun combined for quite a photo.

Friday Photo: shadow vs. Cessna

Sometimes pilots have a wingman, one they don't know about until the last minute. Santiago Arbelaez discovered that when he was about to land on runway 9L at Opa Locka Airport in Florida. His Cessna 172 was losing the race to his shadow, which was just over the numbers.

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.