Captain Christiaan van Heijst, a seasoned 747 captain and an accomplished aviation photographer, recently embarked on a journey that offered a breathtaking view of the Himalayas and Tian Shan mountain ranges at sunset. The journey took place against the backdrop of evolving flight routes due to the closure of Russian airspace for European airplanes. In this article, we explore his remarkable experience and the awe-inspiring images captured during the flight.
A Journey of Challenges and Scenic Wonders
With Russian airspace off-limits for European planes, the transportation of high-demand goods from China to Europe faced new challenges. The alternative southerly route presented complications, but it also introduced the crew to stunning landscapes.
Captain Christiaan van Heijst described the journey as a modern-day exploration of the legendary Silk Road, where they traversed the vast and desolate steppes of Kazakhstan. The striking beauty of the journey truly unfolded as they approached a scarcely explored part of the world: the northern Himalayas and Tian Shan mountain range.
The captain, who has flown this route multiple times, expressed his continuous amazement at the incredible scenery. He described the landscape as so remote and inhospitable that it seemed like it could belong to another planet entirely. The flight provided an opportunity to witness hundreds of peaks, most of which are among the world’s highest and remain unconquered and unnamed. Captain Christiaan van Heijst mused about whether some of these valleys had ever been visited by humans or if they were only viewed from above by a handful of fortunate pilots and photographed by even fewer.
A Spectacular Sunset Over the Roof of the World
The return flight proved to be even more spectacular as the last light of the day illuminated a selection of summits in gentle hues of pink and orange. The skies to the south were exceptionally clear, offering the crew a view of the rugged Karakoram mountains, situated on the border of Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan in the southwestern part of the Himalayas. These mountains are home to some of the highest peaks globally, including the infamous K2.
In a remarkable twist, two Dutch pilots, hailing from a country renowned for its flat landscape, found themselves flying across the roof of the world. Their journey, as documented through the lens of Captain Christiaan van Heijst’s camera, stands as a testament to the majesty of our planet and the extraordinary perspectives that aviation offers.
Captain Christiaan van Heijst’s journey through the Himalayas and Tian Shan Mountains presents us with an extraordinary view of our world’s natural beauty. It’s a reminder that, even in an age of global travel, there are still remote and untouched places waiting to be discovered. Through his photography and storytelling, he takes us on a virtual voyage that inspires awe and wonder, reminding us of the marvels that aviation can unveil.