Photographer Celebrates the Brighter Outcomes of Aviation Mishaps in ‘Happy End’

happy end

Many will recall how the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was a scheduled international passenger flight that vanished March 8 earlier this year. The plane departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia bound for Beijing Capital International Airport, People’s Republic of China. It remains missing to this day. Fortunately, these kinds of tragic stories are not how all troubled airplane flights end. Many make some miraculous recoveries. That is exactly what Happy End is all about.

happy end photo

Happy End is for a change, a collection of miracles in recent aviation history. Specifically, 15 airplanes that had emergency landings with everyone on board surviving. The wreckage of the planes remain abandoned anywhere from 10 to 70 years.

happy end photo series


The series documents various airplanes as they lie in their final destinations, often in rural landscapes, but it also reminds us of the heroic efforts made by aviation personnel, specifically the pilots who turned impending tragedy into miracles.

photo series happy end


While most planes that figure in mishaps get scrapped in junk yards, these particular aircraft found their crash sites to be their final places of repose. Aviation miracles are a rarity and should be celebrated more in pictures which is why the book Happy End is such a refreshing publication.

aviation photo series happy end


It was also no easy feat to shoot these photos, since it required going to 4 continents from Papua New Guinea to the Arctic Circle. The name of the gentleman responsible for documenting the series is Dietmar Eckell.

photo series happy end  aviation


Eckell looks at his pictures as transcending mere images of aviation wrecks.

“My photography is not about documenting the planes condition & details but how they are embedded in grand nature after so many years. I try to capture the surreal beauty of these settings using high viewpoints or shooting through layers. Inspired by the shipwreck painters of the romantic period i look for dramatic skies, late light or fall colors to ‘glorify’ these wonderful planes.”

photo series aviation happy end

The book was self-published with the assistance of crowdfunding.  For almost three years, Eckell journeyed to extremely remote locations across the globe.  Nine countries in all on four continents just to assemble this collection.

happy end photo series aviation

See his amazingly unique Happy End here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.