Q&A with pilot Carlos Carvalho Valdés
Pilot Carlos Carvalho Valdés on his favourite views from the sky
How long have you been working as a pilot for Iberia?
I started flying for Iberia almost a year ago, in June 2016.
And which was the first destination you flew to as an Iberia pilot?
To Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It's quite a demanding flight because of the complexity of flying in Africa – that’s due to due to both its infrastructure and the particular weather conditions.
Which cities offer the most visually stunning landings?
There are lots with spectacular approaches, but my favourite is definitely Lisbon. During the approach, you fly over the River Tagus, the 25 de Abril Bridge and the most historic neighbourhoods of Lisbon's centre: Baixa, Chiado and Bairro Alto.
What is the most spectacular landscape you've seen from the air?
It's hard to pick just one as a favourite; each offers something different. Flying over the snow-capped Alps in winter, the late afternoons over Africa – where the colours are incredible– and the northern part of the Iberia peninsula are all stunning.
Have you seen any kind of unusual phenomena?
The one that impressed me most happened during a return flight from Malabo. It was St Elmo's fire, which happens when you're flying in a part of the atmostphere charged with static electricity (for example, when there are storms nearby). This causes luminescent discharges on metal objects, which are good conductors. It's totally harmless, but very impressive visually.
Have you ever wanted to urge passengers to look out the window?
There are many flights on which we'd love the passengers to see what we're seeing as pilots, but it isn't always possible to tell them about it, perhaps due to the stage of the flight we're at, or because our perspective from the cockpit is different to theirs.
Are there any landscapes you particularly hope will be preserved as you see them from the air now?
I'd like any and all of the natural landscapes I've seen when flying be preserved, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahara Desert and the Alps. They're all priceless.
Image Credit: James Rajotte