This Amazing Pilot’s Photos Show What It’s Like to Work From the Cockpit at 37,000 Feet

Christiaan van Heijst is a 34-year-old Dutch cargo pilot and senior first officer, who had spent 8,000 hours of flying time with the Boeing 747-8 and -400 Freighter. He is also a photographer and travel blogger that shares his stunning photos on his personal blog and Instagram profile.
Take a look to some of the insanely astonishing photos he takes while working from 37,000 feet in the air.


Take a look to some of the insanely astonishing photos he takes while working from 37,000 feet in the air.

Working in a cockpit at 37,000 feet, Van Heijst gets a unique perspective on the world and takes amazing photos of the incredible views.

From multiple thunderstorms, sunsets, clouds or blinding sunrises to the Northern Lights he shows us some pretty spectacular views.


Take a look to some of the insanely astonishing photos he takes while working from 37,000 feet in the air.

“Millions of villages and cities pass by and even the burning fires from oil wells in Iraq are glowing in the distance,” he writes.

What about this spectacular view?

Over Tukmenistan

Over Britain

“The bright light bulb ahead is the city of London, with the cities of Oxford and Aylesbury passing underneath, while Cambridge is in the far left corner.” he writes.


The Aral Sea – Central Asia

Van Heijst wrote: “The lake was fed by rivers coming from the high mountains from the Himalaya mountains. Since the 1960s, the Soviet government diverted the rivers that were feeding the lake, causing it to shrink at an alarming rate ever since.

“The exposed dry lake bed is causing frequent dust storms, influencing the entire climate in the region.”

Sunset in Greenland

Long and Turbulent Night Flight

Thunderstorms between Africa and South America

“Flying in thick clouds with zero visibility, we had to rely on our weather radar to get a clear image of the weather ahead,” he wrote. “It was obvious that there was no way to fly all around this squall line of entangled thunderstorms that stretched across our route for hundreds of miles to either side.

“Coming closer, the radar provided us with a more detailed image of the interior of the clouds ahead, enabling us to plan a route through this maze of violent weather. This time though, we immediately understood that we won’t get away with a smooth passage. The storms had almost grown together into one, forcing us to find the ‘least’ violent spot to fly through.”

Sunset over Russia

Over Germany


Van Heijst said: “When flying so high up in the atmosphere, it sometimes feels as I can peak over alien landscapes that remain hidden from everybody on the ground.”

Over the Pacific Ocean

“When we dim the lights in the cockpit during such flights, I often move my seat forward and lean over the glareshield to enjoy those views from behind that curved cockpit window,” he wrote.

“With the nearest diversion airport at least a thousand km/miles away and far away from routes where passenger airliners would fly, its definitely a view that is reserved for just us.”

Galaxy over Brasil

“Stars. Billions. Hundreds of billions of stars,” he wrote.

“The longer I allow my eyes to adjust to the lack of light, the more of them I begin to see. A broad band of dim light, also called the Milky Way, starts to show in the sky above.
With no moon or sun to ruin our night vision, we’re able to see the amazing and inspirational view of our own galaxy, our relatively local ‘city’ in the universe.”



Official Instagram profile: Christiaan van Heijst

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