Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Ten Coolest Things I've Seen from the Air

Since I became a road warrior over a year ago, I've taken over 120 flights. For some road warriors, flying is a necessary evil. I don't look at flying that way. Although I feel that landing safely is the best part, I do love to fly.

Part of the reason why I enjoy flying so much is because I get to see this beautiful world from a different angle. The following list are the most amazing things I've seen from the air.

10.  Chicago

Flying into Chicago with a view of downtown is a cool experience, and one I had on only my third flight way back in 2001.  Unfortunately, this happens so frequently, it tends to lose some of it's appeal.

9.  The Stars

The stars aren't hard to see when flying at night, so this isn't exactly a rare event, but there's something about being higher up than Mount Everest when viewing the stars that makes this special.

The flashing lights from the wingtips can however create enough light pollution to block out some of the view.

8. Sunrises and Sunsets

The amazing colors of a sunrise and sunset are somehow magnified when you're in the air.  On one flight, I saw both a sunset and sunrise on the same side of the aircraft.  That was cool.

7. Dams

I've always been fascinated by man made engineering marvels, and none are easier to spot from the sky than dams.  Probably the most impressive that I've seen from above is Navajo Dam in New Mexico.

6. The Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon

One of the things I love about flying out west is being able to see the Rocky Mountains.  They are simply beautiful.  On one trip I even flew over the Grand Canyon.

Nothing helps to understand the sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon like flying the entire length of it at 450+ miles per hour and watching it go by for a full 30 minutes.

5. Greenland

Last September I was taking the long flight from London to Chicago and noticed we would be flying over Greenland.

As we approached Greenland, I started taking picture after picture.  Along the coast there were mountains and glaciers that were flowing into the ocean.  There was also snow.  Lots and lots of snow.

After passing the coastline, I had to close the window because the snow was too bright.  At one point in the middle of Greenland, I opened the window just to see what there was in the middle.  All I could see in all directions was pristine white snow.  It was the most deserted place on land I've ever seen.

4.  Passing Airplanes

If you fly as much as I do, you will notice another airplane in the sky at some point in time.  This is common as you approach very busy airports and you join the crowd of aircraft in a holding pattern waiting for their turn to land.

Although this is common near landing, I have found it to be rather rare to see another aircraft at a relatively close altitude, because when both planes are flying at about 500 mph you get very little time to see the other plane.

You have roughly two seconds to see the other plane zip by and I feel very fortunate to have looked out my window at just the right moment each time I witness it. Truly incredible.

3. Thunder Storms From Above

There are few sights from an airplane that beat a thunderstorm.  I've been fortunate to fly over two.  Each time the clouds are brilliantly lit as the lightning races through them.

The best time to view a thundering cloud is when it's dark outside.  On one such occasion, I saw a lightning storm as I flew over the rocky mountains.  What an incredible sight.

2. London.

I've had the good fortune to fly to London multiple times over the past year.  The flight pattern as you approach Heathrow takes you right over some of the most famous landmarks in the world.

From above I've seen Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Canary Wharf, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hampton Court Palace.

Also, around London, in the English countryside there are numerous grand estates and country manors, which can be just as amazing as the famous landmarks.

1. The Reflection of the Moon in the Florida Everglades

Recently I flew into Miami from Mexico City. I was looking out my window at the beautiful western coast of Florida as the sun was setting. My heart was full of gratitude for this beautiful world when something caught my eye.

There was a well lit spot on the ground following our plane. After a bit of head scratching, I realized it was the moon's reflection in the water of the Florida everglades.  I tilted my head upward and sure enough there was the moon.

It's hard to express what delight I felt for seeing the beauty of the everglades in such a unique way.  I was impressed and awe struck.

The feeling that I had that night is the one I hope to have every time I fly when I open my window and look out at this amazing planet.

1 comment:

Cougar Abogado said...

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing more pictures of it all.