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Northern Lights In-flight?  
User currently offlineSiouxATC From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 386 posts, RR: 1
Posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3921 times:

I have always wondered how rare it is to view the northern lights in-flight? I know I have seen a couple of pics on a.net of them from the cabin, but how often does this happen on flights that are on a far enough north? I would think that it is not uncommon to see them on flights from the US westcoast to Europe and Asia. Hopefully I will get lucky on one of my transatlantic flights in the future.



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SiouxATC

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineS5FA170 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 534 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3914 times:

I was lucky two winters ago and got to view them on a flight out of YUL to ORD. Absolutely beautiful from that vantage point. That is the only time I've witnessed them from the air. In fact, that is the only time I have seen them, period.


Prepare doors for departure and cross-check.
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3882 times:

I've seen them quite often. One adantage to flying above the cloud cover, the Aurora is "always" there. One particularly brilliant show a few years ago. I was inbound to ANC from SEA and the lights danced around outside for an hour.

It's a fairly common occurence in these parts. Not unusual at all. The colder the better of course . . .


User currently offlineFoxecho From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 746 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3868 times:

First time I ever saw them was on a Fedex MD11 from FRA to MEM in 1998! stunning, absolutely stunning.

Andrew
JFK/MEM/MCI



..uh, we'll need that to live......
User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1455 posts, RR: 44
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3858 times:

I had never seen them until a couple of years ago at cruise altitude. I spent quite a bit of time with my neck twisted to see them.

When you live in the middle of a large city, you don't see stars, let alone northern lights!



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7542 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3808 times:

Last April I saw them flying MSP-DTW on NW. They are most prevalent Feb-April, and can easily be seen in many of the northern states.

User currently offlineSiouxATC From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 386 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3799 times:

I am flying LAX-LHR in mid-March, do you think I will be able to see them? If the conditions are right? What side of the plane should I be on?

User currently offlineBoomBoom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3781 times:

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 6):
What side of the plane should I be on?

They will be in the northern sky.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21530 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3773 times:

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 6):
I am flying LAX-LHR in mid-March, do you think I will be able to see them? If the conditions are right? What side of the plane should I be on?

You might, or you might not. You never really know. However, left side of the plane would be best, since that would be the northern side.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently onlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5367 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3764 times:

I fly to FAI every couple of years (in the winter) just to watch the Aurora; I just got back a couple of weeks ago in fact.

I always take AS's red-eye n/s (#113) from SEA, get a window seat on the right side and (almost always) enjoy the show! It is often spectacular, but there is always something to see (even if just a faint, greenish-white glow to the north.)

One of the most frustrating trips was my previous one (~2 years ago) when there was a great sky show starting about an hour out of SEA, through cruising, and even during decent into FAI, but about 5 minutes from touchdown on 1, we encountered clouds, then snow, and the show was over for the night (from the ground in FAI.)

I can never get enough of the Lights and hope to be able to continue traveling to FAI for the rest of my life!

bb


User currently offlineBimmerkid19 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3747 times:

Last March, on LH 405 from JFK to FRA somewhere over the North Atlantic last March on March 14th 2006, I had the joy of seeing them from a 747-400 at FL370.

User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3740 times:

I've seen the northern lights once in flight, for three times total, and I grew up in rural areas outside of Minneapolis! The flight I saw them was Frontier 100 from DEN-MSP, on the evening of December 14, 2006. They were faintly visible and the pilot did make the announcement, but they were too dim for my seatmate to even see them, even after I turned off our row's reading lights and televisions. But I was able to see them from my window, but they looked nothing like the picture above! They were still quite amazing to see, though.

User currently offlineThomsonfly From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 229 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3621 times:

Hi
I caught them on a Virgin Atlantic flight from LHR to NRT last November - simply stunning!! Glad I saw them in the end as didn't see them when we went to KEF the year before....


Mark


User currently offlineGeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 959 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3534 times:

Naturally, I'm flying to FCO in 2 weeks, seated on the R side of thernaircraft... I suspect we will be too far north to see the Southernrnlights. I did see them once several years ago, but they were extremelyrndim, and if the pilot hadn't announced them, I would have thought theyrnwere some sort of cloud, although at 35,000 feet, it would have to havernbeen a pretty tall cloud. We shall see...


"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
User currently offlineLH492 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 208 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3522 times:

I saw them on my flight from YVR to FRA on LH493 (A340-300) and it was absolutely stunning.
The lights were visible for at least 45 minutes and I was glued to my window  Smile
I tried to take some pictures, but it was simply too dark and they were not visible on the pictures.



Carpe Diem, Seize The Day
User currently offlineSkyymarc From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 86 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 3293 times:

My first flight up to ANC, while working for Reno Air, the captain called us up to the flight deck to see the Northern Lights. The display, while not as brilliant as the picture above, was awe-inspiring. I miss those days of just looking out the window and watch the sky from a different perspective.

User currently offlineArdian From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 542 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 3236 times:

That picture is absolutely breathtaking! I really have to see the northern lights once in my life  Smile

User currently offlineEvan767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2957 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 3111 times:

I have seen the northern lights in-flight JFK-MUC on DL in 2000. I had to walk to the left side of the plane to view them. It looked like the picture above. This was in January...


The proper term is "on final" not "on finals" bud...
User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3058 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

Here's the University of Fairbanks, Alaska Aurora (Northern Lights) forecast website. http://www.gedds.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/

It looks like there out tonight. I've seen them in Juneau and Anchorage as early as November and as late as April. The green Aurora is the most common. The red Aurora is beautiful. When they start dancing in the sky its an awesome but Irieeeeeeeeee site.

I've heard some of the best Aurora spotting is made by aircraft flying over the pond from Hawaii to Alaska as they get closer to the Alaska coast.



Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offlineRingway From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

I saw them whilst travelling YVR-LHR in October 1991. The Aurora was not active like the photo seen above, however, the dark sky was a shade of darkest green which I have never experienced before. I was sat on the left-hand side of the aircraft looking northwards.

I travelled the same route again in May 2003 and was sat on the same side of the aircraft again. I was expecting to settle down for a night flight and I was watching the sun starting to set a couple of hours after leaving YVR. A fairly bright twilight remained visible. The sun seemed to have been set for no more than 30 minutes when it started rising again, but not rising in the traditional sense - it just seemed to sit on the horizon for about an hour before fully starting to rise.

So on the 2 occasions that I've travelled that route I have experienced 2 phenomena that I've never managed to recreate on any other flight.


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