Like Larry the Flying Guy on Facebook!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Five Years of Flying Fun

I condensed five years worth of aviation pictures I've taken into just over five minutes, made a video out of them, and put it on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Since there are so many, each of them gets less than three seconds, so I picked five of my favorites below. They are in no particular order, because each of them shares a different little sliver of the magic of looking at the Earth from above.

1: Somewhere between the Ohio River and the Tennessee River

Click image to embiggen

This was actually taken in northern Kentucky, but on this particular day the sky looked like this for a couple of hundred miles (all the way from the Ohio River to southern Tennessee) as a cold front was rolling along most of my flight path. The only reason I can even tell where it was taken at all is because I also took a picture of the GPS at the same time.

On the ground, this was an ugly, gray morning with nothing but a dull white cloudy glow to hint that there was still a sun somewhere out there. At 7,000 feet, it was just another beautiful day to be piloting a Cirrus across a bright, sunny, undercast sky.

2: Leaf peeping

Click image to embiggen

In the fall, going on a car ride to check out the colors is a pretty popular activity. Pilots are no different, except that instead of checking out a handful of trees at a time, we look down on acres upon acres of blazing biology.

Unfortunately, autumn foliage from the air is such a beautiful sight that it's extremely hard to fit all that majesty into photographs. I've taken dozens of fall flying pictures, and none of them do the season justice. This means you should definitely get in a plane and see this for yourself soon!

3: Niagara Falls

Click image to embiggen

Seeing Niagara Falls from the air suffers the same problem as autumn leaves: pictures don't quite contain all the wonder of the sight. One of the nice things about flying over the falls yourself instead of paying for one of those expensive helicopter tours is that you can go around and around them until you've soaked it all in, rather than just getting flown around on a quick pattern and dumped back on the ground.

Around many parks and other busy or sensitive areas there are some regulations you need to follow. Niagara Falls is one of those places. Fortunately, the rules are pretty simple, and listed in 14 CFR 93.71. They boil down to:
  • Stay at or above 3,500 feet (the helicopters are buzzing around below that)
  • Stay south of the bridge
  • Fly clockwise (so you don't have to worry about head-on traffic)
  • Give position reports on 122.05
 We got flight following from Buffalo Approach and they were very helpful, since they're used to having pilots fly around in circles in their airspace. When you're done, I highly recommend popping over to Niagara Falls International Airport since it's only a couple of miles away so you can eat at Como Restaurant at the Airport. Park at the FBO, walk down the hallway, and it's right across the street. They have good Italian food with reasonable prices.

4:  The beach at Treasure Island, Florida

Click image to embiggen

The Tampa Bay area is not the sanest place to drive, which is to be expected in a place that combines people who have been around since before there were cars with people who spend their entire lives baking their noggins in the sun. This makes seeing such a large area in only two weeks that much harder, so the wife and I rented a 172 and flew around the whole thing in 1.2 hours. Along the way, we got to see places like Three Rooker Island and Anclote Key that you can't get to by car at all.

Yes, that is our shadow right at the shoreline.

5: Looking down at the fireworks show, Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Click image to embiggen

There are some things that flying makes easier but that you could do in a car given enough time. There are other things, like seeing Niagara Falls in a helicopter, that you can do if you're willing to pay someone else a lot of money to whirl you around on a quick touristy trip that's over almost as quickly as it started. There are some things, however, that you can only see as a pilot. How else would you possibly watch a July 4th fireworks from above?

Bonus: Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa Bay, Florida

Click image to embiggen

We flew a clockwise loop from Peter O. Knight Airport down almost to Sarasota, up the coast to New Port Richey, and back, so we were south of the bridge here and heading south-southwest. That's St. Petersburg in the background.

No comments:

Post a Comment