A Pilots Pleasure:
I remember at least once flying in the arctic skies of Alaska with my father, that I witnessed the natural phenomenon of “the Pilot’s Halo”. Later as a private pilot myself and in my own aircraft I witnessed this several times. It occurs as a mixture of Shadow, Sunlight and Cloud to form a perfect circle or sometimes oval shape resembling a Halo encased in Sunbeams, and Vapors; with the airplane itself as a dark shadow inside the glistening circle forming a Cross. Hence the term “ Pilots Halo”. You need never doubt. This occurrence has been witnessed since the beginning of airplanes, yet rare.
Scientifically it will most likely occur in higher precipitation, and therefore flying through the mountains will most likely be where you see this. the halo will appear differently each time, sometimes elongated due to the weather and depending on the angle to the sun. It can range in color shades from grey to bright blue and yellow. It will always appear beneath or to the side of the plane as it is a apparition of sorts where the plane flies directly through the shadow and creates the halo.
Being suspended in the open sky is already an awesome thing, but to also see the shadow of your plane ensconced in a "halo" will send chills through you.. Sometimes you have a moment in life to realize you are in someone else's hands. And then sometimes you wonder with trust and awe of being in the middle of the supernatural realm that surrounds you, that you can actually fly through the middle of it with left or right rudder and a steady hand on the ailerons.
There were several more times that I witnessed the Pilots Halo. Once or twice it was in a Peninsula Airways on a commercial flight to Anchorage from King Salmon, but also in my own aircraft, and when it occurred it was with utmost reverence, knowing that only a master creator and artist could make this happen. I hope someday to re-visit those rare moments from the northerly skies, but if I do not, then it is no less a magnificent and great thing to be one of those who witnessed firsthand.
October 21, 2012