I had a similar experience, but not with Chicago. Upon flying into Manchester, NH airport as we were landing, I saw the skyline of Boston for a couple seconds before hiding behind a hill just before landing. Manchester is only about 60 miles from Boston, but it is a cool site to see either way.I haven't responded here in ages, but this thread has prompted me to log-in.
I have no picture to prove it, I had a cell phone and the camera on it just couldn't do it. (and yes you can take pictures it doesn't interfere with the plane at all)
I don't care if no one here believes me (though I'm sure most of you will), but this is something that just needs to be recorded and at the very least exist on the internet.
First of all, let me admit my bias... flying is spiritual for me, I find the views from the window to be breathtaking no matter how often I fly.
One of the most awe-inspiring scenes I've ever seen - The Chicago skyline while landing at Milwaukee Airport.
Yes, Milwaukee airport (MKE), NINETY (90) miles due north of downtown Chicago. This was in January 2010, almost zero humidity and no haze, so visibility was spectacular.
I'm very good at navigation and usually know where I am, so when I saw that lake Michigan was in front of us, I knew we were heading east and that my view was towards the south, and I just thought, why not look for it?
And there it was, far in the distance across the horizon.. Numerous, tiny, black and gray sheaths of metal, like hundreds of needles poking through a cloth, glistening against the winter sun. The tallest among them stood clear, and they beckoned to be recognized - Hancock, Trump, Aon, Sears.
I felt a connection, particularly since it was obvious no one else in the plane cared to look or would have even had a shred of appreciation if I bothered to show them. This was simply a moment for me, and it felt like it lasted for minutes.
But after 45 seconds of approach, we were on the ground, back to the mundane.
I regret not having a decent camera, but at the same time the picture in my head remains, and that's good enough for me.
The distance to the horizon (in miles) is calculated by multiplying the square root of the height of the observer (in feet) by 1.224. Since Chicago is roughly 90 miles from Milwaukee, one would have to be about 5,500 feet high to see the Chicago skyline. (The tallest building in Milwaukee, the US Bank Center, is 601 feet tall, nowhere near high enough to see the skyline.)^^ I've always believed Chicago is visible from Milwaukee. The only question is, how high do you have to be for it to be visible?
That must have been a spectacular sight to see!
your equation does not account for the heights of the buildings in chicago. one would need to be 5,500 feet high in milwaukee to see the base of a skyscraper in chicago, but with the sears tower standing nearly 1,500' tall and several others over 1,000', you would not have to be at 5,500' high in milwaukee to see the tops of those buildings.The distance to the horizon (in miles) is calculated by multiplying the square root of the height of the observer (in feet) by 1.224. Since Chicago is roughly 90 miles from Milwaukee, one would have to be about 5,500 feet high to see the Chicago skyline.
On a clear day I would say about 60 miles (probably much more though). From the Hancock I can routinely see the part of the Lake that juts east just before Milwaukee at Wind Point. From Sears I'm sure it's much further than that, but this is the farthest landmark I've spotted. If you read the first page you see that people (myself included) have spotted Sears from as far as Benton Harbor (~60mi)It really is amazing how you can see Chicago's skyline from far away. I was on the tram at O'Hare once and noticed downtown off in the distance.
I don't know if this question has been posted in the threads but I'm curious what is the furthest point you can see from the top of the Sears Tower.
So chiphile's correct: you can certainly see the Chicago skyline while approaching/departing MKE. Airfare to/from MKE can be much cheaper than from ORD, and Wisconsin Coach runs hourly buses to/fro -- I'll have to make a point of it sometime this summer.2) An observer would have to be ~3,850 feet high to see the buildings 500 feet tall and above (the middle and upper echelons of the skyline, if you will)