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(L) Drone shot of dutch countryside / (C) B787 flight deck / (R) Joris Kuijper taking photos from a helicopter.
Copyright  Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

These incredible photos show a commercial pilot's view from the cockpit

By Scott Brownlee

In-flight movies aren’t for everyone, this KLM pilot has been taking photographs from 30,000 feet.

This week we spoke to Joris Kuijper, a commercial pilot for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, who developed his passion for photography during his downtime on long-haul flights.

While he always knew he wanted to be a pilot, Joris's interest in photography was sparked when he started on KLM's long-haul fleet and realised that he was in a unique and privileged position to visit so beautiful destinations around the world for his work.

Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Football field seen from above Lofoten Islands, Norway.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
(L) Oosterscheldekering, Netherlands. / (C) Portrait of Joris Kuijper / (R) Tulip fields, Netherlands.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

Inspired by his birds-eye perspective Joris shoots most of his images while travelling for work with a drone, from a helicopter, or from commercial jets (Boeing 777 & 787).

"I fly the longer flights, which requires three pilots, therefore I often have time to take a few snaps when my shift stops and a colleague sits down in my spot and I can get over his or her shoulder", clarifies Joris.

Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Ocean road from above. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Flight instruments of a Boeing 777Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
KLM fleet grounded during global pandemic. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, 2020.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

Due to the global health crisis, KLM grounded its fleet in April of 2020 and Joris was not able to fly for several months.

"[It's] a different world than what it used to be and it's sad to see how some countries are affected so heavily due to the reduction of tourism. At the moment most areas are getting back to normal with the vaccinations rates going up", says Joris.

It's sad to see how some countries are affected so heavily due to the reduction of tourism
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
(L) Milky Way over Namibia / (C) Helicopter shot Amsterdam Central Station / (R) Milky Way over city lights.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
KLM fleet grounded during global pandemic. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, 2020.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

KLM noticed Joris's talent as a photographer and he now works with his employer both as a pilot and a photographer.

Of course, when shooting from the cockpit Joris coordinates with the crew ahead of time and the photos are taken in a safe and prearranged manner.

Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Greenland seen from the cockpit of a long-haul flight.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
Lavender fields shot while travelling for KLM.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

When asked how the pandemic has affected air travel Joris says, "I feel that most [people] think twice before booking a flight, due to the restrictions or the possibility of an immediate return due to an outbreak. The lockdowns went so fast, people had no time to act and got stuck in a foreign country".

Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper
(L) Thunder clouds through cockpit window / (C) Tokyo Station, Japan. / (R) Helicopter shot of Rotterdam, Netherlands.Joris Kuijper / @jorrocooper

As international travel begins to find its feet again you can keep up with Joris's high flying adventures on Instagram.