Flying over Lake Superior at midday in a jet, towards Vancouver at full speed and it taking over an hour. Gave me some idea of the size of it.. Huge.
The comment about Manchester Airport is very good. One of the most scenic airport approaches in the world.
Lusaka approach.. Over the parks and seeing all the wild animals.
Tokyo approach.. Goes on for ages.
Heathrow approach.. Waiting forever up there in the queue.
The Swiss Alps.. Miles of nothingness, except snowcapped peaks.
Chasing the sun towards the west. Such unique colours in the black/still light sky.
What a great post.
Flying for the first time, from Germany to Tunisia. Great weather, completely clear sky all over Europe and North Africa and not a cloud in sight. Flight went over the Swiss Alps and I got to see Venice and Sicily with the Etna smoking from above. Could not believe my eyes, nobody had told me that flying could be this way. I had always expected to see the clouds from above and nothing else. It wasn't until later that I learned that this was the exception and not the norm.
Other good memories are
- flying from New York (JFK) and seeing the lush green of Jamaica Wildlife Refugee at sunset (the contrast was stunning, especially when it got completely dark and you could see the lights of the city),
- the blinding white ice over Canada/Greenland when flying into New York from London and
- landing at Hurghada, Egypt - there are some pretty little islands towards the north of the city that you don't expect when it is your first time.
Great question; thread featured!
I'd say flying over Nepal is probably the most spectacular view I've ever experienced. It's not often you get to see mountains from above like that. I also really enjoy flying over remote places when it's pitch dark and wondering what towns/cities are behind the tiny dots of light you still see on the ground...
Many amazing views from a plane, but favorites are:
- First overseas flight from St. Louis to London, watching the sun rise over the eastern Atlantic while listening to a recording of William Harris's "Faire is the Heaven." It was a great way to wake up!
- On the same trip, but on the return flight, going over NYC and lower Manhattan. It was five months after 9/11, and seeing the smoke still rising made for a very silent plane.
- Flying over Japan at night en route to Bangkok via Taiwan. It looked like a string of pearls surrounding the islands.
- Again, return flight from Bangkok to St. Louis. I am originally from western Kansas, so like many people who live on the plains, I'm fascinated by storms. Our plane had to divert around several severe (tornadic) storms just past the Front Range of the Rockies, somewhere over the KS/CO border. I was able to get in a couple of shots of a wall cloud, but found out later that my family was watching the same storm develop 35,000 feet below me! storm picture
- Well, frankly, anytime I get to fly from St. Louis to visit home! What seems like endless miles of patchwork irrigated fields to everyone else is the farm of someone I know.
- And definitely sunrise over Toledo coming into Madrid at sunrise. A good way to start a great trip!
I think one of the best views I've seen from an aircraft is on my first trip abroad when I was 18 flying over Ireland. I had just upped and decided to go to a foreign country on my own. The first views of the patchwork countryside with all it's colors of green was breathtaking.
Flying over the Grand Canyon is also impressive.
From a skydiving plane over Lake Taupo in New Zealand is also beautiful.
The worst thing I've ever seen is the California wildfires.
I remember coming home from my first stint working in Russia in 1990. I hadn't eaten a proper meal in 4 months, the winter darkness was getting me down and I really missed my family etc....
Dropping out of the low clouds over Shannon Airport on the West coast of Ireland the country below looked flooded, wet and miserable. Cattle huddled in the corners of sodden fields. The rivers had burst their banks and the whole place had a downcast grey gloom all about it. Even the usually sparkling sea was grey and heavy - reflecting the continuous battalions of dark clouds that marched Westward.
As the plane neared the runway, and the rain was hitting the ground hard outside, I heard someone behind me say "Shit, still the same crappy weather, wouldn't this country make you sick."
I didn't say anything, but I remember smiling and thinking that what I was looking at outside the window - may well be the most beautiful sight I will ever see in my life.
Mine was i think somewhere over the Arabian desert... i was looking down and i thought it was the sea, and then i saw little pinpricks of lights and realised it was all sand! A sea of sand... Pretty surreal feel, that.
And also the first trip at (barely) 18 years old... That view is still the best.
The best view from an airplane that I have ever seen was flying from Abbotsford to Calgary this passed summer. It was right at sunset time, and the colors were streaming in the windows: orange, pink, yellow, purple, gold . . . It was beautiful. The way the sunlight reflected and refracted off of the clouds, turning them colors . . . and between the balls of fluffy clouds, the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains below . .. . Absolutely impressive.
But, like many of you, one of the most memorable sights from an airplane was during my first overseas trip to Germany. Our flights went from Calgary to Toronto, and then from Toronto to Munich, and as we took off from Calgary, looking down at the falling farm fields below, they turned into a patchwork quilt, the barns and houses little legos on the green and yellow patches of land, separated by grey country roads and the occaisional river or lake. It wasn't exactly breathtakingly beautiful so much as it becomes the thing I expect whenever I fly anywhere, a symbol of travel, a symbol of expectation, a symbol of passion. Ahhh . . .
One of the most incredible views must be when you're flying into Mexico City, not because it's particularly beautiful but because you come down out of the clouds and there it is, one of the world's biggest cities spread out in all directions as far as you can see. When flying into most airports, in a couple of minutes you're down on the ground but with Mexico City, you fly and fly and fly and it takes about 10 or 15 minutes as you come closer to the city life below you. You can make out the spiky high rise towers of Santa Fe, the enormous Bosque de Chapultepec, the Zócalo, the slums, the traffic... and you really begin to get an idea of how immense this megacity is.