This U-2 Spy Plane Pilot Photographed the Northern Lights Up Close

Want to see what the Northern Lights look like up close? Ross Franquemont can show you. A U-2 spy plane pilot by day and a photographer by night, Franquemont recently had the privilege of photographing the Aurora Borealis from his cockpit at 70,000 feet.

Franquemont is a pilot and instructor based out of Beale Air Force Base, California, but days ago he was tasked with flying a mission out of the UK, and that’s when he managed to capture this series of beautiful images showing the green natural light display dancing overhead.

The Lockheed U-2 plane that Franquemont flies is nicknamed “Dragon Lady.” It seats one person and can fly at 70,000 with a range of about 6,400 miles.

“I had no idea how fast the aurora moved and changed,” Franquemont tells The Aviationist. “It danced around, changing shape several times a second. That made it a challenge for the photographer in a spacesuit sitting in shaking metal can moving 500 mph.”

You can view more of his work and connect with him through his Facebook group.

Image credits: Photographs by Ross Franquemont and used with permission