Christiaan van Heijst
Traveller, airline pilot, adventurer, photographer and admirer of natural light.
Born and raised in The Netherlands, I was drawn to the sky and decided from an early age I wanted to become a pilot.
I started with gliderflying at the age of 14 and achieved my PPL (private pilot license) at the age of 18, even before my drivers license.
As a passionate beginning aerobatics pilot, I competed with the Dutch National Aerobatics Championship and ended with a first place in the beginners class in 2003 at the age of 20.
Currently 33 years old and flying as a Senior First Officer on the Boeing 747-8 and -400 Freighter for Cargolux; Europe’s major all-cargo airline.
At the age of 20 I was hired by ACMI-specialist Denimair as a First Officer on the Fokker 50 Turboprop. I flew the wonderful Fokker 50 for almost 2,5 years with operations ranging from European contracts, to local African airlines and military operations in Afghanistan that have left a deep impression on me.
In 2006 I joined Transavia, where I flew as a First Officer on the Boeing 737. From that moment, until my last flight with Transavia, I was also a freelance ferry- & test pilot on the Fokker 50 and Boeing 737 for Southern Cross International.
After 4,5 years on the Boeing 737 I was hired by Cargolux as a First Officer on the Boeing 747-400 at the age of 27, being one of the youngest pilots to be introduced on the very first 747-8 that entered service with Cargolux that same year.
Presently with about 7000 hours in my logbook, including roughly 3500 hours on the 747, Im still considering myself privileged to fly for a living and enjoy a life in the sky.
From an early age on I have found great joy in capturing the beauty of natural light in all its forms. Combining that with flying later in life, and a new passion emerged.
Seeing the entire world in my job, I feel privileged to be in a position to capture many different parts of the planet through my camera and immortalize the beauty of the places I visit.
Last few years my aviation- and aerial photography has become well-known and has been reproduced widely in print and online.
One of the most widely known photos are those of a yet unexplained group of red lights in the Pacific Ocean, spotted August 24th 2014.
Those photos unexpectedly went viral after I posted them on social media, being picked up by the Dutch blog Geenstijl and consequently generated a lot of attention worldwide.
In 2016 my first photobook 'Cargopilot' was published and proved to be a major succes with a second print in stores now.