SiouxATC
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Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:52 pm

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
 
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:57 pm

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.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:20 pm

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 . . .
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foxecho
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:26 pm

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

Andrew
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ContnlEliteCMH
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:32 pm

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!
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PSU.DTW.SCE
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:11 pm

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.
 
SiouxATC
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:16 pm

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?
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:29 pm

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

They will be in the northern sky.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
Mir
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:33 pm

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
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SANFan
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:41 pm

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
 
bimmerkid19
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:54 pm

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.
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AlexPorter
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:05 pm

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.
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Thomsonfly
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:40 pm

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
 
georgiaame
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:44 pm

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
 
LH492
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:49 pm

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.
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skyymarc
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:45 am

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.
 
ardian
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:55 am

That picture is absolutely breathtaking! I really have to see the northern lights once in my life  Smile
 
Evan767
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:17 pm

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...
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GentFromAlaska
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:00 pm

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.
 
Ringway
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RE: Northern Lights In-flight?

Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:03 pm

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.