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Like poetry...

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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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muted
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^^ 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!
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.)
 

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born again cyclist
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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.
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.

this of course is all presuming optimal visibility conditions.

also, for the sake of accuracy, the downtown-to-downtown distance between milwaukee and chicago is ~81 miles as the crow flies.
 

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muted
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^Taking those numbers into consideration:
1) An observer would have to be ~4,350 feet high to see the horizon in Chicago.
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)
3) An observer would have to be ~2,620 feet high to see the tippity-top of Sears/Willis Tower's tallest antenna.
 

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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.
 

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The City
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I viewed Chicago's skyline five days ago, flying back from San Francisco.

I was eyeballing the skyline well west of Lake Geneva and on upward to Milwaukee.

When you're flying it's amazing what you can see from a distance.
 

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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.
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)
 

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Pragmatist
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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)
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.
 

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Voice of Reason (usually)
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I was going to post the same thing about views from the airplane... the coolest thing to me is to look out when you're southwest of milwaukee and northwest of chicago to see how close and interconnected the two cities really are.

Hydro also beat me to the forumla for figuring out how far away you'd have to be to view the skyline. I had figured out that if the chicago spire was built, you'd need another spire built in milwaukee to see the top of the other tower.
 

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The furthest location I've ever seen the whole skyline was on the 6th floor of the st. James hospital right off Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights... (probably not that far at all but it was definitely cool. Wonder how good would it have been if I had binoculars...)
 

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From Benton Harbor

Absolutely, I have lived here in the Benton Harbor, St.Joesph
MI area my entire life and I've seen the Chi sky line many times. Again the conditions have to be right. I've seen the Sears tower in the morning as well as traveling on Red Arrow Highway in the evening and seeing what we thought were ships out on the lake. However, what we were seeing was the Chicago skyline. Some people do not believe this is possible but we have seen it numerous times "with my own eyes" as well as many friends and family. My first sighting being 15 years old. I'm now 43 and I have forgotten how many times I've seen the skyline. It's astonishing every time I see it!
 

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As I was flying back from Vegas to Cleveland at night, we hit a storm over Iowa. But once the clouds cleared up, I could see all of the city lights of Chicago directly below me. What I remember best was the pitch black river swarming through the city. Also, I got an amazing view of Detroit and Windsor at night. And I was flying over Toledo (55 miles south) but yet I could see past the far stretches of the metro area, 100 mile at least. Truly amazing how far you can see in a plane.
 

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^ Not to veer off topic too much, but one clear night flight from Boston, I was able to see a panoramic view out my window of Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto, Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit at the same time. Thats nearly 25 million people. Talk about untapped potential.
 
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