This U-2 Spy Plane Pilot Photographed the Northern Lights Up Close
Want to see what the Northern Lights look like up close? Ross Franquemont can show you. A U-2 spy plane pilot by day and a photographer by night, Franquemont recently had the privilege of photographing the Aurora Borealis from his cockpit at 70,000 feet.
Franquemont is a pilot and instructor based out of Beale Air Force Base, California, but days ago he was tasked with flying a mission out of the UK, and that’s when he managed to capture this series of beautiful images showing the green natural light display dancing overhead.
The Lockheed U-2 plane that Franquemont flies is nicknamed “Dragon Lady.” It seats one person and can fly at 70,000 with a range of about 6,400 miles.
“I had no idea how fast the aurora moved and changed,” Franquemont tells The Aviationist. “It danced around, changing shape several times a second. That made it a challenge for the photographer in a spacesuit sitting in shaking metal can moving 500 mph.”
You can view and purchase Franquemont’s photographs on his SmugMug page, Extreme Ross Photography. You can also find more of his work and connect with him through his Facebook group.
Image credits: Photographs by Ross Franquemont and used with permission