A sunset glory, seen on approaching the Regina International Airport, Regina, Canada. (As featured on Atmospheric Optics)

Regina Glory:
Seen on Landing at YQR

All the way from Vancouver — over the Rocky Mountain and across the Prairies  — a glory shone in front of our plane.

And when we approached for landing at the Regina International Airport, that glory turned sunset pink and gold.

I’d seen the same phenomenon on the way West, when the glory hovered below the propellers of the plane during the approach and descent into the Calgary Airport.

But this, my January landing in Regina, was magical. The glory was a circular sunset rainbow along the horizon — so beautiful, I wasn’t even sure if it was real… But I had the pictures. And it was a rare, sunset glory.

My flight back from Vancouver to Regina was changed at the last minute to accommodate other passengers and other flights, and as I’d recently learned about glories, I was delighted to learn that in my new seat, I’d be sitting on the north side of the plane, opposite the sun.

I didn’t realize until after I boarded that I would also be sitting with Air Canada crew members — a flight attendant beside me, a pilot across from her, and a pilot (or two?) behind us.

I took pictures, yes — but with my cell phone… I had my real camera, but no wide angle lens.

My seat mate was intrigued by my intent focus on something just out of sight (for her) outside the window. I tried to explain it. I showed her my phone. She showed it to the pilots.

But neither the flight attendant nor the pilots, with all their hours in the sky, had heard of glories or remembered seeing them. (She said she’s too busy working to look outside.)

And so, consider this: How do you really, seriously, manage to convince any unknown flying companions — especially those with extensive in-air experience — that you are looking outside the airplane window at something shining in the clouds, and that this something you’re looking at is something they’ve never heard of: A GLORY!

Explain it, that is, without having them think you are some kind of potential religious/other freak? (As a minister’s daughter, even I could hear the words and music: Mine eyes have seen the glory…) 

Yet, flight crews do see these, I’m happy to report. When I told Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics about my experience, he told me he often gets pix from pilots. (Yeah! I’m so glad they can see!!!)

Anyway, I sent a few pix to Les, who I correspond with every so often about Saskatchewan’s amazing icy sky winter sights — the solar halos, the sundogs and multiple rings, the sun pillars beneath the sun. (He featured a photo of solar halos and sundogs at Wascana Park a few years ago.)

To my delight, he has now featured the glory (far) above the Regina International Airport on his site. Which is fantastic, as Atoptics.co.uk is a great place to learn about atmospheric optics, effects, and all that. Please visit: you’ll see not only my #YQR glory, but lots of other glory photos.

And the larger version of my photo (with details and text) of the glory I saw while landing at the Regina International Airport, is now at Atmospheric Optics, at http://www.atoptics.co.uk/fz993.htm.  (Thanks, Les!)


The next time I fly, I will:

  • Book a seat on the north side of the plane.
  • Take a wide angle lens on the camera when I fly… And (with apologies to my usual flying companion who loves looking out the window),
  • Claim the window seat!


Published by

Shelley Banks

Writer, editor, photographer.