This ‘Flightlapse’ Offers a Stunning View of the Milky Way

A rare view of the night sky from inside the cockpit of a 777.

The view from 12A on a red-eye is pretty boring. But the view from the cockpit can be spectacular. Most people won’t ever access the cockpit during a flight, but Swiss International Air Lines pilot Sales Wick’s “Flightlapse” video can give you the experience without the hassle of flight school. Wick took photos of the Milky Way, city lights, and other planes whizzing by—while piloting an August flight from Zurich, Switzerland, to São Paulo, Brazil, and stitched them together in this time-lapse video.

Cities including Palma de Mallorca, Algiers, and Dakar emerge as sprawling blobs of yellow light below the Boeing 777, while planes pass overhead against the dramatic blue glow of the Milky Way. The view occasionally shifts when the plane adjusts course, and Wick’s helpful notes show just how much pilots see from their lofty perches.

Wick’s Instagram features more photos and videos from the cockpit: a rare (and beautiful) view behind the scenes of commercial aviation. He shoots the photos and videos, including his Flightlapse, when he is monitoring the cockpit and the plane is on autopilot. Other videos show the pilots hard at work during takeoffs and landings. A window seat is always nice, but nothing beats the seats surrounded by windows.