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Senior Photographer Mike Fizer's favorite shoots

At the age of 14 Senior Photographer Mike Fizer built his first darkroom, and he’s never looked back. “I started Fizer Photography in 1984 and fortunately landed Flight Safety and Flying Magazine as clients that first year,” he says. “In 1988 I was hired by Dick Collins to work for AOPA and it has been a great ride since.”
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Mike Fizer

“One More Time,” November 2016 'AOPA Pilot': My father, retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert Fizer, belongs to the Super Sabre Society, an organization that preserves the history of the men who flew the North American F–100 Super Sabre. At the society’s annual gathering in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Dean Cutshall offered his two seat F–100F for $5,000 per flight and retired “Hun” drivers got the chance to feel the hard kick of the F–100 afterburner one more time. Seeing these men come in from their flights awash in bliss, watching them reminiscing, and seeing my father with his peers sent me back to my childhood. But bitter accompanies the sweet with the realization that these men, and the aircraft they love, are passing on. (Thanks, Pop!) Canon EOS 5D mk III, 24mm, 1/250, f/4, ISO 320 "One More Time," November 2016 ‘AOPA Pilot’: Retired Maj. Bob Fizer in front of Dean Cutshall’s F-100F. If you ever walk into a room and see someone with hands raised like this, rest assured, they’re a fighter pilot. (Canon 5D mk III, 30mm, 1/400, f/8, ISO 640) "One More Time," November 2016 ‘AOPA Pilot’: Only a fighter pilot’s wife would understand how important it was to Dick Pietro to have one more chance to fly a beloved North American F-100F Super Sabre. (Canon 5D mk III, 70mm, 1/400, f/4, ISO 640) “A Daughter’s Homecoming,” January 2017 'AOPA Pilot': With her purchase of a Cessna 180, then-AOPA senior vice president Katie Pribyl started the ball rolling to fulfill her dream of landing her own airplane on her family’s ranch near Great Falls, Montana. AOPA Editor at Large Dave Hirschman caught wind of this, and before you know it, a small cadre of AOPA staff departed AOPA headquarters to document Katie’s adventure. I got to the Pribyl ranch two days prior to Katie’s arrival to document life on the ranch with her parents, Rod and Julie Pribyl. The hospitality and graciousness of the extended family, the tours of the deserted homesteads and their histories, and witnessing the rigors of ranching were all humbling. I still find myself thanking Katie for allowing me to tag along as she achieved her dream. (Canon EOS 5D mk III, 50mm, 1/125, f/5, ISO 400) "A Daughter’s Homecoming," January 2017 ‘AOPA Pilot': Surrounded by proud parents, Julie and Rod, smiles abound when Katie fulfilled her dream of landing her own aircraft on the Pribyl family ranch. (Canon 1D X, 80mm, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 320) “Tall Tale [That’s True],” August 2014 'AOPA Pilot': Dave Hirschman and I arrived at the Edwards Ranch in West Texas on Easter Sunday to interview the cantankerous aircraft collector Connie Edwards. Edwards was selling his legendary collection: 100,000 square feet of jaw-dropping aircraft. I was in heaven. Edwards was old-money, held strong opinions, and didn’t give a hoot whom he offended. The Edwards family wealth provided him a lifetime of incredible exploits, and you would think him a happy man. Sadly, his son, “Tex” Edwards, had died the previous year. I saw the sadness that permeated him. And all his comments found offensive faded away, and I could not help but care for the shattered man. (Canon EOS 5D mk III, 24mm, 5, f/11, ISO 160) "Tall Tale [That’s True]," August 2014 ‘AOPA Pilot’: These are just three of six Messerschmitt Bf 109s languishing in pieces at Edwards' Lucian Wells Ranch Airport in Big Springs, Texas. (Canon 5D mk III, 24mm, 2.5, f/11, ISO 160) “Iceland Calls,” March 2018 'AOPA Pilot': When Editor at Large Tom Horne mentioned an Iceland destination piece, I had to pinch myself. Our contact was the affable Haraldur Diego, AOPA-Iceland’s president, who rolled out the carpet for us. We attended fly-ins, walked under glacier-fed waterfalls, drove the beautiful countryside—and, of course, went flying. Diego arranged a backseat for me in Arnar Thor Emilsson’s SQ 12 Supercruiser, built by Arnar’s father. We flew over surreal scenery; landed on glaciers, mountaintops, and gravel streams. The Icelanders were as marvelous and good-natured people as you’ll find. One surprise for me was to discover the Icelanders love their horses—so much so they eat them. My fillet was delicious. "Iceland Calls," March 2018 ‘AOPA Pilot’: Arnar Emilsson pushes his Supercruiser over the edge of Langjokull glacier as it flows into Hvitarvatn Lake. (Canon 1D X mk II, 16mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 400) "Iceland Calls," March 2018 ‘AOPA Pilo’t: Arnar Emilsson drags his SQ–12 in abeam a glacial stream just below Langjokull glacier. (Canon 1D X mk II, 35mm, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” March 2020 'AOPA Pilot': AOPA Senior Editor Julie Summers Walker had identified several great story ideas in Hawaii and scrimped and negotiated hard to come up with a budget that made the trip feasible. Yet, we end up at the Four Seasons Hotel on Lanai; I spend a day chasing a Cirrus SR22 in a Robinson R44 over stunning scenery; I’m in a Cessna 182 off the wing of the SR22, searching for waterfalls and volcanoes; and then Julie and I have lunch with a view of the Pacific to die for. I don’t know how she did it, but actually, she didn’t. Special thanks to Laurence Balter of Maui Flight Academy, Nick Moran of Go Fly Maui, David Sacco and his Cessna 182, and Four Seasons Lanai for helping make this Hawaiian journey financially possible. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," March 2020 ‘AOPA Pilot’: Final approach to Hana Airport (HNM) might include dodging some surf spray just before the numbers. (Canon 1D X mk II, 66mm, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 400) "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," March 2020 ‘AOPA Pilot’: Laurence Balter enjoying a sunrise flight off the coast of Maui in his Cirrus SR-22. (Canon 1D X mk II, 41mm, 1/250, f/8, ISO 800)

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