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Follow five aviation-inspired InstagrammersFollow five aviation-inspired Instagrammers

Pilots visit places that others rarely see, and several are sharing their unique view of the world on Instagram. With an eye on “inspiring others to go fly,” AOPA Social Media Manager John Munn recommends following five Instagrammers who are sure to please any aviation geek.

Florida pilot and photographer Jessica Voruda said that pausing a moment and taking the time to look around at Mother Nature can lead to inspiring images. Photo courtesy of @jessicavoruda Jessica Voruda.

Combining photography and aviation opens new horizons to many, and it is evident that Florida resident Jessica Voruda shares a passion for both. “Mostly it’s all about feeling and emotion,” wrote Voruda, who has more than 8,000 followers and quickly responded to an Instagram message. Her images range from dynamic time lapses to photos that bring out the best lines on classic, as well as modern, aircraft.

Voruda said one of her inspirational secrets was to simply take the time to look around at the types of things “that people will often miss because they're too wrapped up in everything, going about their busy lives.” She explained that pausing “to look at the amazing beauty that is often right there” in front of pilots can provide the spark to capture a dramatic scene. Architecture, Mother Nature’s colors, lighting, or “the lines of a paint scheme design on a vintage wheel pant” all can lead to keepsake images.

Aviation photographer Deon Mitton's inspirational photo of a DC-3 showered with fireworks is an example of spectacular Instagram photography. Photo courtesy of @deonmitton Deon Mitton.

Adventure pilot Deon Mitton has flown a seaplane from Alaska to Florida and has the photos to prove it. He wrote that his passion for aviation began at a very young age. Mitton’s effective use of light, color, and shapes has attracted 22,700 followers along the way.

During a brief break from his travels to Norway and South Africa, Mitton wrote to AOPA that he learned to fly in the African bush and is “inspired by the world’s natural beauty—all around us” and is especially appreciative of aviation for the bird’s-eye view that it allows.

His love for “anything outdoors” brings viewers along as Mitton examines nature from a pilot’s perspective that challenges himself “to never stop learning.” His passion shines as he documents aircraft ranging from de Havilland Beavers in the bush to fireworks exploding over a Pan American painted DC-3. Mitton wrote that the art of capturing light in interesting ways helps him convey to others the emotion and love of aviation that he feels when he is flying.

Alaska bush pilot Matt Bertke often looks for lighting, leading lines, shapes, and patterns to inspire his aviation photography. Photo courtesy of @flyakbush Matt Bertke.

With nearly 29,000 followers, Alaska bush pilot Matt Bertke captures the rugged beauty of aircraft on floats and skis overflying spectacular landscapes that many pilots dream about. He lives at a remote fishing lodge and primarily flies a Piper PA-12, so the aircraft is “not only a vessel for exploration but also a lifeline to get the supplies” he needs from town.

Bertke wrote that his visual inspiration comes from “exploration of the unknown” and aviation allows him to “explore and find new areas to fly fish, snowboard, or even just step out of the plane and take a photo.” He started his Instagram page @flyakbush because, “Alaska, to me, is the ultimate place to fly.”

Piper Super Cubs and de Havilland Beavers are prominently displayed in Bertke's outdoor adventures that more often than not involve snow, tundra, or ice. His eye for shapes and patterns that exploit lighting and texture also treats viewers to an inside look at the life of a backcountry pilot.

Australian nature enthusiast and Papua pilot Geordie Paton takes 3,500 followers along as he documents his views from the cloud-hugging, cliff-top runways he routinely visits while ferrying supplies and people into and out of Papua New Guinea's often unforgiving terrain.

Papua New Guinea-based pilot Geordie Paton often flies into and out of steep, short landing strips nestled in the mountains but doesn't think his images are 'anything worth writing about.' Photo courtesy of @papua_pilot Geordie Paton.

Paton’s photos capture the spirit of the biologically diverse island country off the coast of Australia and its inhabitants, and showcase its amazingly tight airstrips.

He responded to AOPA via Instagram that that he didn't think his pictures were "anything worth writing about," but Paton was, nonetheless, appreciative for the recognition.

One of the top dogs of aviation photography is actually … a dog.

With more than 50,000 Instagram followers, Airport K-9 Piper is a photogenic border collie that often can be found with handler and owner Brian Edwards patrolling the grounds at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan.

Piper’s famous black-and-white face and expressive brown eyes have been the subject of numerous television news reports. Whether he is scaring away flocks of birds, guarding the airport from other four-legged intruders, or performing perimeter checks, Piper “loves to work” and takes “a proactive approach to wildlife management and aviation safety,” operations supervisor Edwards wrote on the airport’s webpage.

“The thing about these five is that they give a real-world look at what being a pilot is all about,” said Munn. “What’s so awesome about these aviation Instagrammers is that they can spark new interests that can lead to a passion for flight that you didn’t know about.”

Traverse City, Michigan, Airport K-9 Piper has built a huge Instagram following. Photo courtesy of @airportk9 Brian Edwards.
David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Pilots, Travel

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