Glory Be

As Nell and I crossed the country (my thirty-third flight across in a little plane) we were very lucky with weather and spent almost no time ducking around thunderstorms, which was supremely fortunate for a summer flight.

On our evening descent into Cedar Rapids there were a few moisture-laden clouds still hanging around. With ADS-B and ATC watching me on radar, and with the evening hour dropping the little plane number to just us as far as I could see, we were a little relaxed about the cloud regulations. I will fly through something gauzy in that instance.


The sun was setting behind us and as we approached the last filmy curtain of clouds we saw a rainbow target appear on its surface. I couldn’t remember the name of this phenomena, but later was able to recall enough to google it. It’s called a glory. People often capture them from their airliner seat like the one above.


As we were marveling at the ring of rainbow colors we closed in on it and the magic of our angle of descent matching the angle of the sun meant that for a moment we saw our own silhouette in the center of the glory and then we zoomed through it, to the orange-cast of the sunset-lit city below us. It was an amazing moment.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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