ATP Grads at Airlines

A Pair of Sunsets in One Night from the Cockpit

Published Dec 17, 2010 on Pilot Jobs

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Some of the most unique sights in life can only experienced from the two seats in the very front of a high flying aircraft. One of those experiences is shared by Todd Raymond, a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines based in Denver, Colorado.


Todd is a graduate of ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program, and then went on to instruct at ATP until he went to work for the airlines. Todd is also a Career Coach and mentors aspiring professional pilots at

“Taking off from Chicago one evening headed for Colorado Springs, I noticed another beautiful sunset appearing in the Western sky. The Sun was just resting on the horizon. It was the kind of sunset where the sun looked like a huge ball just sitting on a tabletop. After we began flying west I noticed that the sunset had disappeared, but not beyond the horizon. It actually appeared to be coming up in the West. "Amazing" I thought to myself. “There are not many jobs in this world would allow you to watch the sun come up in the West....”

“As we climbed to 37000 feet, our vantage point created a much different view and perspective on the sun. We were now viewing the sun at a much higher altitude which made the sun appear to have come up due to the angle and altitude from where we were in relationship to the sun and earth. While flying west, we were chasing the sun as it eventually began to rest on top of the horizon once again. I did some quick calculations; The Earth rotates at roughly 1100 miles per hour. We were flying at roughly 500 miles per hour. In a nutshell, we were watching the sun set in half speed.”

“I had been 45 minutes since our departure from Chicago when we watched the sun rest on the horizon, and once again we were watching the Sun appear to set at half speed as it eventually went out of sight. When the Sun finally vanished, we could see the lights of the city as Colorado Springs came into view. When we landed it was just dark enough that the cars needed lights to get around.

“After parking at the gate in Colorado Springs, I thought to myself what other job, other than an astronaut, would allow one to see two sunsets in an hour? All of the sunsets and sunrises from the cockpit are spectacular, but this is a pair of sunsets that I will never forget.”

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