As a new pilot, I’ve been nervous about going through class B airspace. Today was a perfect VFR day, and I took the plunge. I took a trip up the California coast past Half Moon Bay, across San Francisco, and then straight down highway 101 past KSFO. The controllers were fast and furious, but the flight was beautiful and uneventful.
Seeing a beautiful sunset is one of the reasons pilots learn to fly. For Chris White, though, this sunset was even more special than usual. Sure, the Twin Bonanza he was flying is a unique and interesting airplane. But he was most proud of the mission he was flying: to transport a WWII Medal of Honor recipient to the groundbreaking for a memorial.
Venice, Italy, is a legendary tourist destination. Millions flock to the island city and its picturesque canals for a scenic trip by gondola. But as Benoit Vollmer shows in this Friday Photo, the view from the air is pretty spectacular too. He took this photo from his Robin RD-400 during a trip from Paris to Albania.
Here’s a great example of how a general aviation airplane can unlock new perspectives. Elke Quodt was flying her Cessna 182 of Mt. Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, when she took this photo of the snowy peak. The skiers on the mountain think they have a great view, but the pilot’s view is even better.
Fathers, sons, and airplanes – it’s a powerful combination. George White says, “While we spend time together often this was the first time in quite some time that we spent the entire day together like this. I don’t think I will soon forgot watching him fly (only his 2nd or 3rd time in the plane) and thinking now he understands the joy and passion I have for flying.”
Helicopter pilots like Paul Pignataro often talk about “the golden hour.” The idea is that if an emergency medical helicopter can get an injured person to the hospital in an hour or less, their chance of survival goes up dramatically. But there’s another golden hour, as Paul’s photo shows off this week, one that photographers seek out. It’s the magical time after sunrise when the sky is utterly beautiful.
Low level flights over major cities can offer some beautiful views for pilots who are paying attention. In this week’s Friday Photo, Al Muggia shares a beautiful view of the Charles River snaking through Boston, Massachusetts. Even better, the view is reflected in the smooth wing of his Cessna 210 Centurion.
Sunsets are a common sight from the cockpit of an airplane, but the California coast may provide some of the best available. Valerie Ashton and Richard Garnett were flying a Piper Seminole over Morro Bay when they took this photo. It’s a beautiful combination of sunset, clouds and coastline.
Lake Powell, located on the Utah/Arizona border, is a popular vacation spot – and this week’s photo shows why. The sprawling reservoir and rocky banks make for a stunning scene, and there’s no better vantage point than an airplane. Kim Neibauer was taking his wife on her first cross country in his KR2S when she snapped this photo.
Dick O’Reilly flew over 1500 miles in his 1942 Interstate Cadet to attend the world’s greatest aviation celebration. He was celebrating the 75th anniversary of his airplane with over a dozen other owners, and this picture perfectly captures the magic of arriving at OSH by air. “Land on the orange dot; welcome to Oshkosh.”
This is the moment of truth for instrument pilots – seeing the runway lights as you hit minimums on an approach. For instrument student Sandro Salgueiro, it was especially rewarding to see the lights on the ILS to runway 11 at Bedford, Massachusetts. He was finishing up his last lesson before his instrument checkride, and you’ll notice the gyros are covered.
This photo is a great way to get in the spirit for the upcoming July 4 holiday. The Statue of Liberty stands proudly in New York Harbor, just off the sleek wing of Dominick Amorosso’s Diamond DA-40. It’s also a great reminder that this flight can be made without any special approval or training, just a pilot certificate and some pre-flight planning.
This week’s Friday Photo pretty well sums up why you became a pilot. Fitzwilliam King snapped this amazing photo from the cockpit of his PA-11 Cub, just as the sun peeked over the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Greenville, South Carolina. The rolling hills, the lingering valley fog, the warm colors of the sun, and the yellow fabric of the airplane – it’s recreational aviation at its very finest.
Sedona is one of the more unusual airports in the US. With a field elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the runway sits on top of a mesa, some 500 feet above the surrounding terrain. It’s a wonderful fly-in destination, but the conditions can be turbulent. This photo from Mike Landis shows the rolling terrain on short final.
David and Judy Smart were up for a sunset flight in their Cessna 172 when everything came together. The sun dipped in between clouds on the horizon, throwing a soft shadow over Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, in Northeast Oklahoma. David says it’s “perhaps the most beautiful sunset we have ever witnessed together.” Hard to argue with that.
Cross-countries are a little different in Alaska, as Herbert Mann proves in this photo. He flew across the Turnagain Arm, then used the Anchorage East Side Corridor to fly between Anchorage and the Chugiak Mountains on the east all the way to Palmer. He then departed Palmer behind a DC-3 and landed on the dirt strip at Willow before coming home to Soldotna. He says, “Dreams do come true if we work hard enough.”
Darin Moody and Paul Leadabrand were doing some backcountry flight training in a Kitfox when this photo was taken. As they traded seats on the grass runway at Big Creek airstrip, Paul writes, “Blue jeans, blue sky, and training with your wing man – what could make a better weekend outing?” Not much, we would say.
David Compo had a dinner scheduled near his hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, but wisely changed plans. Since he had flown down from Michigan in his Comanche, he decided to take another builder and fly to Key West for dinner on Duvall Street. Once he got past the southern tip of the mainland he climbed to 1,000, the sun started setting and David’s brother shot this beautiful photo.
It’s one of the great joys of being a general aviation pilot – the ability to fly almost anywhere you want, anytime you want. Chris Powell shows off that freedom in this week’s Friday Photo, with a beautiful shot of Manhattan from the cockpit of his Cessna 182RG. When the weather cooperates, the view from up high is absolutely stunning.
Scott Magie loves flying his 1950 Beaver on floats, and with pictures like this it’s easy to see why. He shares this week’s Friday Photo from shore, looking at the big seaplane at rest in the water in Minnesota. The moon is rising above the wings, the water is calm Scott says, “Time for another cocktail.” We agree.