Well-Known Member
What was the neatest thing you ever saw while flying?

I was flying a corporate helicopter one day, in flight visability was about 2-3 miles (at best) level at 2500' when ATC advised me of traffic at 9 oclock same altitude converging, type unknown. Looking left I saw emerging out of the mist a ghostly image of a B-17, I told ATC and they couldn't believe it. I pulled in as much torque as I could to stay up with the B-17 as long as I could, it was absolutely the neatest thing I ever go to experience, flying "formation" with a B-17. I felt like I could have reached out and touched it. The low visablity actually made the experience all the better, it created a mystical image of the great B-17.
Bet that was a cool sight.

Here in KATL we get to see DC-3's every now and then. Delta flies theirs to airshows.
I saw a satellite launch from the cape while I was in Vero Beach...I was about 30 miles away, it was a pretty cool site...

We were doing unusual attitudes and my instructor yelled "whoa"....I freaked out and was replied "what??" thinking we were about to have a mid air, and then i saw the rocket....
I had an F16 cross out front of my nose inbound for landing. That's about as cool as I have seen. It's usually pretty lonely up there.
The neatest thing I believe I have seen...

I was on a cross-country from Dallas to Jacksonville, FL. We were cruising at 11,000 ft, the cloud tops were about 1,000 feet below us, and there was a slight haze between the clouds and us.

Something caught my eye just below us at about our 10 o'clock. It was just the shadow of our plane following us on the clouds... but I had to do a double take, because it had a perfect circle of color around it. It was a rainbow! That was totally cool... I've never seen a rainbow in a perfect circle like that with our shadow directly in the center. It was there for about 10 minutes then the haze dissapated and it went away.

I wish I had taken a picture of it! It was a really neat site.

I wasn't flying the plane, was on a commercial flight. But, on my way from San Diego to ATL last year, there were thunderstorms and we were flying around this HUGE thunderhead at night and the lightning was dancing all inside and around the cloud. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It was the most spectacular light show I've ever seen.
In the early 80's off the coast of Vietnam, a Russian (then, Soviet) Bear Bomber joined on our wing, along with two US F-4's, A-7s and A-6's from the Battle Group. One of the fighter pilots came on the radio and said "I hope someone is getting a F&*&ing picture of this".
Metorite passing me on my left last month. The tail was spitting fire and at first I thought was a plane. It lit the whole sky up, unreal.
On a night cross country with a passenger in a C172 to the coast in south carolina, about the time we were over Florence (Middle of SC), ATC says the space shuttle just took off. About the same time me and my passenger could see the shuttle lighting up the night sky right in front of us. It was really cool, despite we were only in south carolina, we had a nice up front view from about 6000ft. Something me nor my passenger will forget.
I would have to say thus far the coolest thing was on my last night XC... also the same night as the lunar eclipse just this past month.... I had a meteor cross in front of me ...

Absolutely Awesome !!

Wish I had superman like reflexes and a really fast camera !!
I have two....

First: A night cross country up the Florida coast past the cape where I say the 16,000 foot landing strip light up and the NASA Gulfstream shuttle trainer come screaming in at about 300 knots on the STEEPEST approach angle you can imagine. That was pretty cool

Second: I was on an intro flight off the south coast of Long Island to avoid the busy airspace, and at about 5,000 feet the Concorde passed about 1-2 miles off our nose in a pretty steep bank on its way across the pond to Europe out of JFK
I have a couple "Neatest Sights." On final to our 35 R here at GFK, I look over and see a FedEx 727 doing an approach to 35L. That was a really cool to being doing an approach at the same time.

Other time, holding short at 31 in MOT, a B-52 is cleared to do a low aproach (about 50 feet up). So here comes this enormous plane, and we are around a 100 feet away. It shook the our 150 pretty bad, but it was an unbelievable event for a 15 hour pilot.
I've got a few, nothing outstanding but special to me nonetheless. First was my very first flight lesson ever, a B-25 was at MKC and I'll never forget that call "Cessna 550 you are cleared to land, traffic on short final is a B-25 no factor." What a sight

Second was my instrument training: flying MKC-STJ to practice approaches and being on top of a BKN/SCT cumulus layer, passing by the east side of MCI and watching a UAL 737 shoot right under us just under the clouds, on approach to Rwy 27. That and being on the ILS 3 at MKC, and having my instructor tell me to take my foggles off and look left to see a 747 on approach into MCI right off our left side. Also, my first time on top of an overcast, it was a stratus layer and we were just skimming it with the sun setting in front of us. Gorgeous and it looked like we were going SO FAST! Words cant describe how awesome all 3 of those sights were.

Top two would be: Flying to an airshow at SUS with a friend of mine, we left late from KC due to wx and were pushing it hard to make SUS by the time the field closed for the afternoon show. Center warned us we had better push it, STL approach warned us, but when we got handed off to SUS tower we knew we'd made it. They told us "Bonanza 8FG take the first high speed you can make, expedite please!" and we weren't off the runway 15 seconds when an F/A-18 did a low pass from the opposite direction!
We didn't know whether to wet our pants or stare in awe. It was incredible.
And number one was during my pre-private pilot days, I flew up to a nearby uncontrolled field to practice pattern work solo. As I called inbound 5 miles out on CTAF, I was told to 'look at about my 3 o'clock, traffic would be a B-2 maneuvering to the south of the field'. WOW! It was amazing watching that thing maneuver from the air. It was low, it was fairly close and turning away. I saw it several more times as I entered the pattern and started my landing practice. It was 9/11/2002, so that made it even cooler.

Ain't flyin' grand?
Coolest thing I saw was taxiing out behind the new JSF as it was leaving a test facility in Buffalo. It was just an amazing sight to see and to be so near to it was unforgettable. That plane is one bad motha f***er!
The neatest thing I ever saw was a guy who tried to land a C172 on a 2400 ft rwy with a 25G35 kt tailwind.

Flying into SBA, I saw a school of probably 100 dolphins just below me.

Also I always get pretty stoked flying the shoreline over LAX--it's pretty cool to see a 767 that just took off pointed straight at ya.
In the air....flying around ATL we were in and out of IMC in a C421 and just a few miles ahead of us a Delta 767 broke out and was back in the clouds before we really knew it. Got a good look at it as it passed right to left. ATC probably should have advised us of it.

Having grown up and still living near Air Bases has been pretty cool. Seeing an F/A-18 scream over your head is pretty awesome. Watching 12 C-17 in close formation flying one behind another is pretty cool also.
On an instrument cross country to Terre Haute, IN, I was on the approach inbound on a beautiful sunny day. ATC advised my instructor and I "traffic is an F-16 over the numbers, advise in sight". I kept flying the approach under the hood when my instructor said "I'm gonna let you take off the hood and look at this!". I looked up and saw right over the airport an F-16 screaming vertically straight towards the sky. It was an awesome sight from the air.
"Something caught my eye just below us at about our 10 o'clock. It was just the shadow of our plane following us on the clouds... but I had to do a double take, because it had a perfect circle of color around it. It was a rainbow! That was totally cool... I've never seen a rainbow in a perfect circle like that with our shadow directly in the center. It was there for about 10 minutes then the haze dissapated and it went away."

Those are called glories

I was on an ILS approach into KMRY with the sun setting behind me, the shaddow of the airplane was exactly at the aiming point and remained there throughout the approach, only growing larger. That only happens when the sun is lined up with the plane on apprach and the runway, and has to be the same angle above the horizon as the glideslope.
Once, when flying back to Seattle from the San Juan Islands in a 152, I came across a very isolated, but very heavy rain shower directly in my path. It was no more than 1 nm wide, but quite intense from about 2500 feet down to the ground. The rest of the sky was mostly sunny. As I got up close to the rainshower, I could barely see Seattle peeking through the rain on the other side. I flew through the rain and fog without any trouble. As I emerged into the sunlight from the rain, I looked over my left shoulder down toward the ground and saw a complete rainbow circle shining brighter than any regular rainbow I've ever seen.

#2 on the list would be the time I was on downwind at Boeing Field and watched Boeing's gigantic, experimental 777-300ER takeoff. I had to circle for a few minutes for the vortices to clear, but it was worth it.