The 3-D View of Swimming Through the Sky

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

From my Cirrus pilots’ bulletin board, this delightful video, from professional pilot and flight instructor Caitlin Farley, of an approach to the Mountain Air airport in North Carolina in a Cirrus SR-22, the same kind of airplane I fly.

Aviators will appreciate the precision of this landing on a relatively short runway at a relatively high altitude. (2900-foot runway x 50 feet wide, at 4400 feet above sea level, nose wheel touching down a few inches to the right of the center line.) For the general public, I think this brief video gives a nice sense of the 3-D swimming-through-air sensibility involved in flying, and particularly in the approach to an airport. The right-hand turn to bring the runway into view happens about 30 seconds in. Enjoy.