Flight is one of the greatest developments in the history of our species.
There is nearly no aspect of our lives that aviation does not directly impact, whether we’re aware of it or not.
The ability to travel thousands of miles around the planet in a matter of hours, or dozens of miles upward through the atmosphere to explore the universe, has expanded our perception of the world around us and the possibilities it holds.
But sometimes flying is just straight-up cool.
Take the U.S. Air Force’s Aggressor Squadrons. These special units, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, deploy custom F-16C Fighting Falcons with the specific purpose of simulating enemy aircraft in military wargames. We’re talking “Top Gun” stuff.
Two years ago, Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny held a public competition on Facebook for a new paint design for one of the fighters, and what emerged was the “Ghost” scheme that echoes the look of some Russian stealth planes.
Ryan McManus was at Nellis when the one-of-a-kind fighter jet was returning to base following a training exercise called Red Flag and photographed the unquestionably cool digital blue design.
But sometimes what makes aviation cool isn’t as obvious as a paint job.
When Alaska Airlines launched nonstop daily flights between primary hub Seattle-Tacoma International and Pittsburgh International airports in 2018, their team saw a cool marketing opportunity and cleverly designated it Flight 412 — Pittsburgh’s area code.
Sharp-eyed Pittsburghers who note the designation on airport screens or their tickets always appreciate the nod to their famously proud hometown.
Matthew Slafka is a Washingtonian but he understands the significance of the number. He also knows how cool Pittsburgh looks from the air and sent us a photo he took while aboard Flight 412 to prove it.
Thanks, Ryan and Matthew!
Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming — you can click here for submission guidelines.