The scenes are amazing, with thunderstorms lighting up the insides of clouds, lightning streaking across the sky
like cracks in a windscreen, the Northern Lights sweeping uninterrupted across the atmosphere and the galaxy
stretching on forever.
These astonishing pictures taken from an airplane cockpit reveal what pilots see from above. This image shows a cloud illuminated with lightning between Beijing and Shanghai. Van Heijst said: ‘The cloud here seen on our left started to appear on our weather radar only a few minutes before and started to show off an amazing display of lightning that grew ever more intense. When we got closer, we saw that the cloud was going to burst through our flight path and we had to deviate up to 10km to avoid flying into this cell’
The scenes are amazing, with thunderstorms lighting up the insides of clouds, lightning streaking across the sky like cracks
In a windscreen, the Northern Lights sweeping uninterrupted across the atmosphere and the galaxy stretching on forever.
This image was taken over Canada
The pictures were captured by senior first officer Christiaan van Heijst, a 33-year-old from the Netherlands, and his friend Daan Krans
As Van Heijst and his colleague Luca flew over Toronto this July on their way from Chicago to Amsterdam they were treated
to a stunning view of a heavy thunderstorm and faint Northern Lights as the icing on the cake
Van Heijst and Krans run a company called Amazing-Aviation, which specialises in eye-catching photos of planes and the views from them…
Van Heijst said: ‘When viewing a big storm of Northern Lights or an active thunderstorm I feel very
Small and insignificant, compared to the raw energy, beauty and size that plays out in front of me.
‘The Northern Lights, with its massive strings of coloured light, starting high above the airplane and
Extending 500km (310 miles) into space, each dancing, vibrating and so fast and furious,
is almost impossible to photograph properly.
Van Heijst said of this amazing image: ‘A beautiful show of Northern Lights over Canada, while a few active thunderstorms
are illuminating the atmosphere from below. One of the most impressive things I have ever seen’
The Milky Way as seen from the cockpit during a flight over the Sinai desert in Egypt
This stunning image was taken from the cockpit of a 747 cargo plane in India, a canopy of stars making for an incredible view
‘I feel very privileged that I can somehow translate these views with my camera into something that can be shared, viewed and appreciated by anyone.’Flying large cargo planes around the world, Van Heijst takes photos from the cockpit when his fellow pilots are flying, and when the thunderstorms are not so severe as to greatly affect the flying. Van Heijst, who began learning to fly as a 14-year-old, said: ‘Ever since I started my first job as a pilot, I felt the need to capture the atmosphere of the unique views that I had from the cockpit.
‘My colleagues were very supportive since they could now show their loved ones at home what our job was like from the cockpit.
‘I know very well that trying to take a perfect picture is an eternal and fruitless goal, but I do my best and allow my viewers the sometimes jaw-dropping views that I share with them.’