Spirit of Flight is a juried exhibition that asks photographers to submit images they feel embody “the spirit of flight.”

Selected by a jury of Museum staff and volunteers, the exhibition showcases a stunning selection of images curated from hundreds of photographs submitted by photographers from around the world.

Introduction & Spirit of Flight 2020 Winners


2020 Theme

This year's exhibition images reflect upon the "Spirit of Flying Home." Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the boundless emotions felt the world over by returning service members and families after the extended global conflict.


Use the thumbnails to navigate, or switch to full-screen with the double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner.

1st Place - "Mustangs at Dawn"

Photographer: Rick Gauthreaux

I have only recently discovered the joys of photography, in the last 8 years or so, but as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for aviation. When there is a confluence of both interests, it is exciting to capture a moment that displays both interests. Recently retired, and living in southern California, I look forward to continuing pursuing both interests, as well as a wide variety of other subjects.

"Mustangs at Dawn" features a line-up of the classic P-51 Mustang, taken in Chino California. Often times, skies in southern California during May can be gray and overcast in the morning, but this morning the skies cooperated. The golden morning light, cast in the skies, as well as reflecting on the polished aluminum, combined with the elegant lines of the airplane itself makes the photo.

2nd Place - "Ready for Home"

Photographer: Kim Nicholas

Kim A. Nicholas, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, is a retired veterinarian living in the greater Seattle area. He has incorporated his passions for aviation, animals and photography by traveling extensively to appreciate the grandeur of wildlife and his awe of aviation expressed in his photographs.

Dr. Nicholas is an instrument rated pilot and built his own RV-9a aircraft. He holds the rank of Captain in the Civil Air Patrol and teaches cadets aerospace education topics such as drones, rocketry, robotics and aviation. Additional photographs can be viewed on his website PuppyBreathPhotography.com.

3rd Place - "Final Approach"

Photographer: Stuart Isett

Stuart Isett is an award-winning commercial, industrial and editorial photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. For 15 years he was based out of Bangkok, Tokyo and Paris and he has worked in over 30 countries for leading newspapers, magazines and Fortune 500 companies. During his travels he has photographed everything from conflicts in Southeast Asia to business leaders in Japan, roughnecks in Siberia and beer halls in Prague. He has also had a lifelong fascination with aviation, kicked off by flying on the original Pan Am Clipper from London to New York in the early 1970s as a child. It was a flight that led to a lifelong fascination with airplanes that has taken him to the manufacturing floors of the world's leading airplane makers, as well as airports around the globe. He has landed at everything from the shinny new airports found China to dust strips in Laos, and flown in an equally interesting range of aircraft.

“Final Approach.” A Boeing 747 on final approach. Anchorage, Alaska.


All Photos & Finalists

Thank you to all the photographers who submitted to this year's Spirit of Flight exhibition. Though we cannot currently display them in our actual gallery, please enjoy this online presentation.


Use the thumbnails to navigate this year's selections, or switch to full-screen with the double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner.



Introducing Spirit of Flight Junior!
Our all-new photography competition for kids ages 5-17. See the winners and finalists and share in their "Spirit of Flight."

Learn More

Spirit of Flight is a juried exhibition that asks photographers to submit images they feel embody “the spirit of flight.”

Selected by a jury of Museum staff and volunteers, the exhibition showcases a stunning selection of images curated from hundreds of photographs submitted by photographers from around the world.

Introduction & Spirit of Flight 2020 Winners


2020 Theme

This year's exhibition images reflect upon the "Spirit of Flying Home." Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the boundless emotions felt the world over by returning service members and families after the extended global conflict.


Use the thumbnails to navigate, or switch to full-screen with the double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner.

1st Place - "Mustangs at Dawn"

Photographer: Rick Gauthreaux

I have only recently discovered the joys of photography, in the last 8 years or so, but as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for aviation. When there is a confluence of both interests, it is exciting to capture a moment that displays both interests. Recently retired, and living in southern California, I look forward to continuing pursuing both interests, as well as a wide variety of other subjects.

"Mustangs at Dawn" features a line-up of the classic P-51 Mustang, taken in Chino California. Often times, skies in southern California during May can be gray and overcast in the morning, but this morning the skies cooperated. The golden morning light, cast in the skies, as well as reflecting on the polished aluminum, combined with the elegant lines of the airplane itself makes the photo.

2nd Place - "Ready for Home"

Photographer: Kim Nicholas

Kim A. Nicholas, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, is a retired veterinarian living in the greater Seattle area. He has incorporated his passions for aviation, animals and photography by traveling extensively to appreciate the grandeur of wildlife and his awe of aviation expressed in his photographs.

Dr. Nicholas is an instrument rated pilot and built his own RV-9a aircraft. He holds the rank of Captain in the Civil Air Patrol and teaches cadets aerospace education topics such as drones, rocketry, robotics and aviation. Additional photographs can be viewed on his website PuppyBreathPhotography.com.

3rd Place - "Final Approach"

Photographer: Stuart Isett

Stuart Isett is an award-winning commercial, industrial and editorial photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. For 15 years he was based out of Bangkok, Tokyo and Paris and he has worked in over 30 countries for leading newspapers, magazines and Fortune 500 companies. During his travels he has photographed everything from conflicts in Southeast Asia to business leaders in Japan, roughnecks in Siberia and beer halls in Prague. He has also had a lifelong fascination with aviation, kicked off by flying on the original Pan Am Clipper from London to New York in the early 1970s as a child. It was a flight that led to a lifelong fascination with airplanes that has taken him to the manufacturing floors of the world's leading airplane makers, as well as airports around the globe. He has landed at everything from the shinny new airports found China to dust strips in Laos, and flown in an equally interesting range of aircraft.

“Final Approach.” A Boeing 747 on final approach. Anchorage, Alaska.


All Photos & Finalists

Thank you to all the photographers who submitted to this year's Spirit of Flight exhibition. Though we cannot currently display them in our actual gallery, please enjoy this online presentation.


Use the thumbnails to navigate this year's selections, or switch to full-screen with the double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner.



Introducing Spirit of Flight Junior!
Our all-new photography competition for kids ages 5-17. See the winners and finalists and share in their "Spirit of Flight."

Learn More