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Best photos of 2021

Mike Fizer

Inside the envelope, Patrick Smith shows the author how he preflights the bag by checking the control lines and the parachute valve, the 25-foot bull’s-eye at the very top of the balloon. This valve can be used to help control the balloon in the event of a big gust of wind.

Inside the envelope, Patrick Smith shows how he preflights the bag by checking the control lines and parachute valve, the 25-foot bull’s eye at the very top of the balloon. This valve can be used to help control the balloon in the event of a big gust of wind.

Instructor Tom Sullivan and ASI Executive Director Richard McSpadden fly a Beech 18 to Crane Lake in northern MN to practice some water operations.Campbells Cabin & Air ServicesCrane Lake, MN USA

A 1954 Beech 18 on floats, resplendent in white with nautical blue trim, splashes around in Crane Lake, Minnesota, the site of Scott’s Resort Seaplane Base.

Ray Reher, a volunteer pilot for Flights for Life, takes delivery of blood for delivery in his Mooney Encore from Phoenix to Flagstaff, AZ.Deer Valley Airport (DVT)Phoenix, AZ USA

Volunteer pilot Ray Reher loads a box of blood products into his Mooney Ovation, headed for Flagstaff, Arizona.

There’s a big difference between the Pilatus PC–12 Howley owned before moving up to his Phenom 300E. The airplane just happens to be the same one ‘AOPA Pilot’ Turbine Edition reviewed in the May 2020 issue. The air-to-air photo was taken east of Florida’s Melbourne International Airport—home of Embraer’s Executive Jet division.

Joe Howley, founder and President of Patient Airlift Services (PALS), flies an Phenom 300E east of Flordia’s Melbourne International Airport, home of Embraer’s Executive Jet division.

Dave Powell pilots his Cessna 170B over one of five airstrips located at Bank’s Ranch in the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas.Bentonville Municipal Airport (KVBT)Bentonville, AR USA

Dave Powell pilots his Cessna 170B over one of five airstrips located at Bank’s Ranch in the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas.

David Tulis

Author and light sport pilot Jacqueline Ruiz poses near a poster promoting the inaugural Latinas in Aviation Global Festival that featured 15 of the 22 pioneering Hispanic women Ruiz profiled in the 2020 book, “Latinas in Aviation.” Photo by David Tulis.

Author and light sport pilot Jacqueline Ruiz poses near a poster promoting the inaugural Latinas in Aviation global festival that featured 15 of the 22 pioneering Hispanic women Ruiz profiled in the 2020 book Latinas in Aviation.

Ben Templeton, 18, is flying a Piper J-3 Cub to 48 states to help make youth aware of aviation careers and opportunities. Photo by David Tulis.

Ben Templeton, 18, flew a Piper J-3 Cub to 48 states to help make youth aware of aviation careers and opportunities.

US Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Evan Coyle shows Evelyn Farrell, 5, around the cockpit of a Boeing Apache AH-64E attack helicopter on display at Boeing Plaza during EAA AirVenture. Photo by David Tulis.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Evan Cole shows Evelyn Farrell, 5, around the cockpit of a Boeing Apache AH-64E attack helicopter on display at Boeing Plaza during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Pilots to the Rescue outreach founder Michael Schneider balances roles as pilot, loader, and animal wrangler. Photo by David Tulis.

Michael Schneider loads kittens into his Piper Turbo Saratoga SP. Later that week he flew a personal record of 51 cats and kittens to adoption centers in the Northeast.

The Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia frame a Cirrus Vision Jet G2+ that is capable of cruising at 305 knots true airspeed. Photo by David Tulis.

Tom Haines, AOPA senior vice president of media, communications, and outreach, test flies Cirrus Aircraft’s latest upgrade to the SF50 Vision Jet over the rolling landscape of West Virginia.

Chris Rose

Flying with dogs.

Maverick, a 6-year-old golden retriever who loves to fly, poses in front of owner/best-friend Andrew McNamara’s Piper Super Cub.

Homestretch.

AOPA Editor at Large Dave Hirschman and his brother Harry fly across the country, from Las Vegas to Maryland, in a Lockwood AirCam at sunrise.

The two friends plan to coordinate the transatlantic portion of their flights—but they’ll go their separate ways after Iceland.

Shinji Maeda, the self-described one-eyed pilot who completed a 43-day around-the-world flight in a 1963 Beechcraft Bonanza, flies in formation with mentor and fellow circumnavigator Adrian Eichhorn.

The Gull was meant as Italy’s answer to the Grumman Widgeon, an iconic seaplane that proved itself in military service during World War II and commercial operations afterward.

A Grumman Super Widgeon and a Piaggio Gull go head-to-head in a series of performance contests, including a wide-open drag race.

photos to support pre shoot of Casper Wyoming regional event

A North American T–6 Texan starts up on a snowy ramp at Casper Natrona County International Airport in Wyoming.

Sneak Peek

AOPA Editor at Large Dave Hirschman flies the King Cub, a Piper Super Cub fitted with a 210-horsepower Lycoming IO-390 engine. Photo by Chris Rose.

Stay tuned for more exciting stories and mind-blowing visuals in 2022. Happy New Year!

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