"Blue water Navy truism: There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky." - From an old carrier sailor


"If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe."


"When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash."


"Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another expensive flying club."


"What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots? If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; If ATC screws up, .... The pilot dies."


"Never trade luck for skill."


The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are: "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" And "Oh S...!"


"Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers."


"Progress in airline flying: now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant."


"Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight."


"A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication."


"I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous."


"Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!"


"Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries."


"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."


"The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.." - Attributed to Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot)


"A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum." - Jon McBride, astronaut


"If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible." - Bob Hoover (renowned aerobatic and test pilot)


"Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you."


"There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime." - Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970


"If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to."


Basic Flying Rules: "Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there."

The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are
composed entirely of lost airline baggage

An old pilot is one who can remember when flying was dangerous and sex was safe

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist
invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.

Airlines have really changed, now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.

If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage/classic
helicopter fly-ins ?

Death is just nature's way of telling you to watch your airspeed or
rotor RPM.

Real planes use only a single stick to fly.
This is why bulldozers & helicopters -- in that order -- need two.

There are only three things the copilot should ever say:
1. Nice landing, Sir.
2. I'll buy the first round.
3. I'll take the ugly one.

As a pilot, only two bad things can happen to you and one of them will.
a. One day you will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is your
last flight.
b. One day you will walk out to the aircraft not knowing that it is your
last flight.

There are Rules and there are Laws.
The Rules are made by men who
think that they know better how to fly your airplane than you.
Laws (of Physics)were made by the Great One.
You can, and sometimes should, suspend the Rules but you can never suspend the Laws.

a. The rules are a good place to hide if you don't have a better idea
and the talent to execute it.
b. If you deviate from a rule, it must be a flawless performance.
(e.g., If you fly under a bridge, don't hit the bridge.)
The ideal pilot is the perfect blend of discipline and aggressiveness. The medical profession is the natural enemy of the aviation profession. Ever notice that the only experts who decree that the age of the pilot is over are
people who have never flown anything? Also, in spite of the intensity
of their feelings that the pilot's day is over I know of no expert who
has volunteered to be a passenger in a non-piloted aircraft.

Before each flight, make sure that your bladder is empty and your fuel
tanks are full!

He who demands everything that his aircraft can give him is a pilot; he
that demands one iota more is a fool.

There are certain aircraft sounds that can only be heard at night.

The aircraft limits are only there in case there is another flight by that
particular aircraft. If subsequent flights do not appear likely,
there are no limits.

Flying is a great way of life for men who want to feel like boys, but
not for those who still are.

Flying is a hard way to earn an easy living. Forget all that stuff about
lift, gravity, thrust and drag. An airplane flies because of money. If
God had meant man to fly, He'd have given him more money.

If black boxes survive air crashes -- why don't they make the whole
plane out of that stuff?

"If the Wright brothers were alive today Wilbur would have to fire
Orville to reduce costs."
President DELTA Airlines In the Alaska bush said " I'd rather have a two hour bladder and three hours of gas than vice versa.

It's not that all airplane pilots are good-looking. Just that
good-looking people seem more capable of flying airplanes. Or so
seasoned observers contend. A matter of self-confidence? No doubt, no

I've flown in both pilot seats, can someone tell me why the other one is
always occupied by an idiot?

Son, you're going to have to make up your mind about growing up and
becoming a pilot. You can't do both.

There are only two types of aircraft -- fighters and targets.
You define a good flight by negatives: you didn't get hijacked, you didn't crash, you didn't throw up, you weren't late, you weren't nauseated by the
food. So you're grateful.

New FAA Motto: We're not happy till you're not happy

Anything that screws its way into the sky flies according to unnatural principals.

You never want to sneak up behind an old, high-time DUSTOFF pilot and clap your hands. He will instantly dive for cover and most likely whimper...then get up and smack you.

There are no old helicopters laying around airports like you see old airplanes. There is a reason for this. Come to think of it, there are not many old, high-time helicopter pilots hanging around airports either so the first issue is problematic.
You can always tell a helicopter pilot in anything moving: a train, an airplane, a car or a boat. They never smile, they are always listening to the machine and they always hear something they think is not right. Helicopter pilots fly in a mode of intensity, actually more like "spring loaded", while waiting for pieces of their ship to fall off.
Flying a helicopter at any altitude over 500 feet is considered reckless and should be avoided. Flying a helicopter at any altitude or condition that precludes a landing in less than 20 seconds is considered outright foolhardy.
Remember in a helicopter you have about 1 second to lower the collective in an engine failure before the craft becomes unrecoverable. Once you've failed this maneuver the machine flies about as well as a 20 case Coke machine. Even a perfectly executed autorotation only gives you a glide ratio slightly better than that of a brick. 180 degree autorotations are a violent and aerobatic maneuver in my opinion and should be avoided.
When your wings are leading, lagging, flapping, precessing and moving faster than your fuselage there's something unnatural going on. Is this the way men were meant to fly?
While hovering, if you start to sink a bit, you pull up on the collective while twisting the throttle, push with your left foot (more torque) and move the stick left (more translating tendency) to hold your spot. If you now need to stop rising, you do the opposite in that order. Sometimes in wind you do this many times each second. Don't you think that's a strange way to fly?
For Helicopters: You never want to feel a sinking feeling in your gut (low "g" pushover) while flying a two bladed under slung teetering rotor system. You are about to do a snap-roll to the right and crash. For that matter, any remotely aerobatic maneuver should be avoided in a Huey. Don't push your luck. It will run out soon enough anyway.
If everything is working fine on your helicopter consider yourself temporarily lucky. Something is about to break.

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? -- it is the same the angels breathe.

Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter XXII, 1886.

This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used.

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942.

Supersonic airplanes have carried men at more than 2,000 miles per hour and there are reasons to believe that this speed will be doubled by 1960 or so.

Igor Sikorsky, 14 January 1958.

Future growth potential looks unlimited . . .  one gross weight doubling, and possibly two, is predicted by 1985; nuclear power can drive [the C-5A's] optimum weight to 5 or 10 million pounds before the year 2000.

F. A. Cleveland, 1970.

I think we can build a better plane.

William Boeing, The Boeing Company, later a company's motto, 1914.

The Boeing 747 is the commuter train of the global village.

H. Tennekes, 'The Simple Science of Flight,' 1996.

I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.

Bessie Coleman, quoted in 'Ladybirds' by Henry M. Holden, 1991.

When I began to talk about flying, she already had confidence in me. My mother never warned me not to do this or that for fear of being hurt, Of course I got hurt, but I was never afraid.

Katherine Stinson, quoted in 'Women Aviators' by Lisa Yount.

It's all right if your automobile goes wrong while you are driving it. You can get out in the road and tinker with it. But if your airplane breaks down, you can't sit on a convenient cloud and tinker with that!

Katherine Stinson, American Magazine, 1917.

The thing I'll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I'm sure it was the most fun that I'll ever have in my life.

Sally K. Ride, first woman to orbit Earth aboard the Space Shuttle, 1983.

I was sold on flying as soon as I had a taste for it.

John Glenn

For years politicians have promised the moon. I'm the first one to be able to deliver it.

Richard Nixon, 1969.

I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems they are wonderful things for other people to go on.

Jean Kerr, 'The Snake Has All the Lines,' 1958.

Even before [we] . . . had reached 300 feet, I recognized that the sky would be my home. I tumbled out of the airplane with stars in my eyes.

Geraldyn Cobb, regards her first flight, piloted by her father when she was 12 years old.

On a windy day let's go flying
There may be no trees to rest on
There may be no clouds to ride
But we'll have our wings and the wind will be with us
That's enough for me, that's enough for me.

Yoko Ono

The transcontinental jet flight is a condensed metaphor of the escapist's Geographical Change. One starts out wit the gorgeous hope that the self one abhors can be left behind. Three thousand miles is a powerful distance; such speed, such height should get you away before that self can catch up.

Jill Robertson, 1974.

What are we doing here? We're reaching for the stars.

Christa McAuliffe, regards entering the astronaut program, 'Time' magazine 10 February 1986.

I can't remember a single time [my parents] ever told me not to do something I wanted to do.

Astronaut Sally Ride.

The rockets light! The shuttle leaps off the launch pad in a cloud of steam and a trail of fire.

Sally Ride, 'To Space and Back,' 1986.

Because of [Amelia Earhart], we had more women available to fly in the 1940's to help us get through World War II. And because of these women, women of my generation are able to look back and say, 'Hey, they did it. They even flew military airplanes, we can do it, too.'

Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, television interview 100 Years of Great women on ABC with Barbara Walters, 30 April 1999.

Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon that it is to penetrate one's own being.

Carl Gustav Jung, quoted in Miguel Serrano's 'The Farewell.'

We're going to bomb them back into the stone Age.

General Curtis E. LeMay USAF, 1965

Nothing is more symptomatic of the enervation, of the decompression of the Western imagination, than our incapacity to respond to the landings on the Moon. Not a single great poem, picture, metaphor has come of this breathtaking act, of Prometheus' rescue of Icarus or of Phaeton in flight towards the stars.

George Steiner, lecture at the Salzburg Festival, 5 August 1994.

Since 1978 the record pretty well shows that no start-up airline . . . has really been successful, so the odds of JetBlue having long-term success are remote. I'm not going to say it can't happen because stranger things have happened, but I personally believe P.T. Barnum was, in that respect, correct.

Gordon Bethune, CEO Continental Airlines, regards the 70% rise in JetBlue's stock price in the days after its IPO. Continental's annual shareholder meeting, 17 April 2002.

The simple expression Suck, Squeeze, Bang and Blow is the best way to remember the working cycle of the gas turbine.

Rolls Royce training manual, 2002.

Any pilot can describe the mechanics of flying. What it can do for the spirit of man is beyond description.

Barry M. Goldwater, US senator.

I'd have given my right eye to be an astronaut.

Jacqueline Cochran

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.

George Bernard Shaw

I learned that danger is relative, and the inexperience can be a magnifying glass.

Charles A. Lindbergh

Accuracy means something to me. It's vital to my sense of values. I've learned not to trust people who are inaccurate. Every aviator knows that if mechanics are inaccurate, they get lost -- sometimes killed. In my profession life itself depends on accuracy.

Charles A. Lindbergh

We who fly do so for the love of flying. We are alive in the air with this miracle that lies in our hands and beneath our feet.

Cecil Day Lewis

A pilot's business is with the wind, and with the stars, with night, with sand, with the sea. He strives to outwit the forces of nature. He stares with expectancy for the coming of the dawn the way a gardener awaits the coming of spring. He looks forward to port as a promised land, and truth for him is what lives in the stars.

Antoine de Saint Exupry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.

Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one's body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified y the sheer love of the life I lead.

Charles A. Lindbergh

Every time we hit an air pocket and the plane dropped about five hundred feet (leaving my stomach in my mouth) I vowed to give up sex, bacon, and air travel if I ever made it back to terra firma in one piece.

Erica Jong, 'Fear of flying,' 1973.

For all professional pilots there exists a kind of guild, without charter and without by-laws. it demands no requirements for inclusion save an understanding of the wind, the compass, the rudder, and fair fellowship.

Beryl Markham, 'West With the Night,' 1942.

If we did not have such a thing as an airplane today, we would probably create something the size of NASA to make one.

H. Ross Perot.

Of all investments into the future, the conquest of space demands the greatest efforts and the longest-term commitment . . . but it also offers the greatest reward: none less than a universe.

Daniel Christlein

Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which man will never be able to cope.

Simon Newcomb, cica 1900.

The greatest contributor to the feeling of tension and fear of war arose from the power of the bombing aeroplane. If all nations would consent to abolish air bombardment . . . that would mean the greatest possible release from fear.

Ernest Rutherford

Somebody said that carrier pilots were the best in the world, and they must be or there wouldn't be any of them left alive.

Ernie Pyle


Flying has torn apart the relationship of space and time: it uses our old clock but with new yardsticks.

Charles A. Lindbergh.

Pilots are a rare kind of human. They leave the ordinary surface of the word, to purify their soul in the sky, and they come down to earth, only after receiving the communion of the infinite.

Jos Maria Velasco Ibarra, President of Ecuador.

Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin.

- K O Eckland, 'Footprints On Clouds.'

It [flying] is not a bad sport, but there's no place to go.

-- Glenn H Curtiss, 1907

It will take much longer [than the automobile] to make them [airplanes] familiar to everyone, yet nobody should lose sight of the fact that the Age of Flight is really here, that the man-bird is fledged at last, and already on the wing.

- Editorial in 'Outing,' 1909

Of course, there is a certain element of danger in flying, as there is in every sport. It is still a question in the minds of those who have tried both flying and motoring if the aerodrome, at its average gait of 38 miles an hour, is not a safer vehicle than an automobile when it goes tearing up the road at the same rate of speed.

- editorial in 'Outing,' May 1909.

If you are in trouble anywhere in the world, an airplane can fly over and drop flowers, but a helicopter can land and save your life.

- Igor Sikorsky, 1947

The aeroplane is tragically unsuited for ocean service.

- Dr Hugo Eckener, dirigible advocate, 1926.

Flying does not rely so much on strength, as on physical and mental co-ordination.

- Elise Deroche, first lady to solo an airplane.

Flying is the best possible thing for women.

- Elise Deroche.

I am a friend, comrades, a friend!

- Yuri A. Gagarin, first words on the ground after first spaceflight, to a woman and a girl nearby, 12 April 1961. The woman replied, Can it be that you have come from outer space? Yuri said, As a matter of fact, I have!

You can't lomcevak in an F-16, but you can't go Mach in a Pitts.

- Ed Hamill, who has flown both aircraft.

To be a good fighter pilot, there is one prime requisite -- think fast, and act faster.

- Major John T. Godfrey, USAAF.

Mark Twain said, "Courage is the mastery of fear, resistance to fear, not the absence of fear." At times the nearness of death brings an inexplicable exhilaration which starts the adrenaline flowing and results in instant action. The plane becomes an integral part of the pilot's body, it is strapped to his butt, and they become a single fighting machine.

- R. M. Littlefield, 'Double Nickel -- Double Trouble.'

The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.

- Wilbur Wright

The Post-Apollo manned space flight program is focusing on a 100-man Earth-orbiting station with a multiplicity of capabilities varying from development of earth resources to astronomy. . . . The schedule under consideration contemplates a launch of the first module of the large space station, with perhaps as many as 12 men, by 1975. Using the concept of modularity, NASA's advanced manned mission planners for see the gradual, incremental buildup of the initial station to a large base accommodating 100 men by 1980.

- Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 February 1969.

It's too bad, but the way American people are, now that they have all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they'll probably just piss it all away.

- President Lyndon B. Johnson, regards the end of the Apollo program.


When I grow up I want to be a pilot because it's a fun job and easy to do.

That's why there are so many pilots flying around these days.

Either end your life while praying, seconds before your target, or make your last words: 'There is no God but God, Mohammad is His messenger.'

-- translated from written instructions for Mohamed Atta, the terrorist at the controls of AA flight 11.

We're going to rush the hijackers.

-- Jeremy Glick, software executive and passenger on United flight 93, last reported words from his cell phone call, 11 September 2001.

Is it likely that an aircraft carrier or a cruise missile is going to find a person?

-- US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, regards questions on an air war to kill Osama bin Laden, 23 September 2001.

The last of the lonely places is the sky, a trackless void where nothing lives or grows, and above it, space itself. Man may have been destined to walk upon ice or sand, or climb the mountains or take craft upon the sea. But surely he was never meant to fly? But he does, and finding out how to do it was his last great adventure.

-- Frederick Forsyth

Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home.

-- Edgar Mitchell

I ask people who don't fly, "How can you not fly when you live in a time in history when you can fly?"

-- William Langewische, 2001


There are two critical points in every aerial flight -- its beginning and its end.

-- Alexander Graham Bell, 1906


Flying is more than a sport and more than a job; flying is pure passion and desire, which fill a lifetime.

-- General Adolf Galland, Luftwaffe, 'The First and the Last.'


One can get a proper insight into the practice of flying only by actual flying experiments. . . . The manner in which we have to meet the irregularities of the wind, when soaring in the air, can only be learnt by being in the air itself. . . . The only way which leads us to a quick development in human flight is a systematic and energetic practice in actual flying experiments.

-- Otto Lilienthal, 1896.


Gliders... [will be] the freight trains of the air.... We can visualize a locomotive plane leaving LaGuardia Field towing a train of six gliders in the very near future. By having the load thus divided it would be practical to unhitch the glider that must come down in Philadelphia as the train flies over that place -- similarly unhitching the loaded gliders for Washington, for Richmond, for Charleston, for Jacksonville, as each city is passed -- and finally the air locomotive itself lands in Miami. During that process it has not had to make any intermediate landings, so that it has not had to slow down.

-- Grover Loening, 1944


There is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the moon because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the earth's gravity.

-- Dr. F. R. Moulton, University of Chicago astronomer, 1932

I cannot describe the delight, the wonder and intoxication, of this free diagonal movement onward and upward, or onward and downward....The birds have this sensation when they spread their wings and go tobogganing in curves and spirals through the sky.

-- Alberto Santos-Dumont, first dirigible flight.


Soon there will be no one who remembers when spaceflight was still a dream, the reverie of reclusive boys and the vision of a handful of men.

-- Wyn Wachhorst, 1995


The air is the only place free from prejudices.

-- Bessie Coleman, who had to go to France to learn how to fly and Americans would not instruct a black lady, 1921.


Any girl who has flown at all grows used to the prejudice of most men pilots who will trot out any number of reasons why women can't possibly be good pilots. . . . The only way to show the disbelievers, the snickering hangar pilots is to show them.

-- Cornelia Fort


The men flyers have given out the impression that aeroplaning is very perilous work, something that an ordinary mortal should not dream of attempting. But when I saw how easily the man flyers manipulated their machines I said I could fly.

-- Harriet Quimby


The first flight was relatively uneventful. Just one emergency, and another minor problem. A canopy-unsafe light illuminated at Mach 1.2 on the way t o1.5 at 50,000 feet, and later, during a fly-by requested by Johnson, fuel siphoning occurred. Not bad, as initial test flights go.

-- Robert J, Gilliland, regards the first flight of the SR-71 Blackbird, 22 December 1964.


Those who are able to walk on stilts can roam the earth unstopped by mountains or rivers. They are able to imagine flying and therefore reach the isles of the immortals.

-- P'ao-Pou Tseu


It's only the beginning but the implications are terrific.

-- Gerald Sayer, first flight in the Gloster-Whittle E28 jet, 1941.


My senses of space, of distance, and of direction entirely vanished. When I looked for the ground I sometimes loked down, sometimes up, sometimes left, sometimes right. I thought I was very high up when I would suddenly be thown to earth in a near vertical spin. I thought I was very low to the ground and I was pulled up to 3,000 feet in two minutes by the 500-horsepower motor. It danced, it pushed, it tossed. . . . Ah! la la!

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, letter to his mother regards his first flight in a SPAD-Herbemont. This was one of his first flights, and these are his first words on the experience of flight, from 'Lettres a sa mere,' 1921.


"Are you ever afraid when you fly?" "That's a good question. Yeah. I'm always a little afraid when I fly. That's what makes me so damn good. I've seen pilots who weren't afraid of anything, who would forget about checking their instruments, who flew by instinct as though they were immortal. I've pissed on the graves of those poor bastards too. The pilot who isn't a little bit afraid always screws up and when you screw up bad in a jet, you get a corporal playing taps at the expense of the government."

-- Lieutenant Colonel Bull Meecham, USMC, in Pat Conroy's book, 'The Great Santini.'

All was glorious -- a cloudless sky above, a most delicious view around. . . . How great is our good fortune! I care not what may be the condition of the earth; it is the sky that is for me now.

-- Prof. Jacques Alexandre Cesare Charles, first free flight in a manned hydrogen balloon, 1 December 1783.

I'm here to tell you that I am proud of a couple of things. First, I am very good at projectile vomiting. Second, I've never had a really serious venereal disease.

-- Herb Kelleher, addressing the Wings Club in New York regards his time at Southwest, 2001.

Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.

-- Richard Herman Jr, 'Firebreak'

Remember, you fly an airplane with you head, not your hands and feet.

-- Bevo Howard

A pilot's business is with the wind, and with the stars, with night, with sand, with the sea. He strives to outwit the forces of nature. He stares with expectancy for the coming of the dawn the way a gardener awaits the coming of spring. He looks forward to port as a promised land, and truth for him is what lives in the stars.

-- Antoine de Saint Exupéry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.

The first man-made satellite to orbit the earth was named Sputnik. The first living creature in space was Laika. The first rocket to the moon carried a red flag. The first photograph of the far side of the moon was made with a Soviet camera. If a man orbits the earth this year his name will be Ivan

-- Then U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, in an issue of 'Missiles and Rockets' (actually written by Edward O. Welsh), 1960.

If we were to start today on an organized and well-supported space program I believe a practical passenger rocket can be built and tested within ten years.

-- Dr. Wernher von Braun, on the 'Tomorrowland' segment of TV show 'Disneyland,' 9 March 1955.

The highest art form of all is a human being in control of himself and his airplane in flight, urging the spirit of a machine to match his own.

-- Richard Bach, 'A Gift Of Wings'

Straying off course is not recognized as a capital crime by civilized nations.

-- Jeane Kirkpatrick, in reference to the Soviet destruction of Korean Airways Flight 007.

You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it ...

-- Air Traffic Controller, New York TRACON, Westbury Long island. Opening quotation in movie 'Pushing Tin', 1999.

It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.

-- Wilbur Wright

The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

-- Epictetus

The Wright brothers flew through the smoke screen of impossibility.

-- Dorothea Brande

Man must rise above the Earth -- to the top of the atmosphere and beyond -- for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.

-- Socrates

Greater prudence is needed rather than greater skill.

-- Wilbur Wright, 1901

The Wright Brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing. The airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together.

-- Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft Corporation.

There are only two reasons to sit in the back row of an airplane: Either you have diarrhea, or you're anxious to meet people who do.

-- Henry Kissinger

I've got the greatest job in the world. Northwest sends me to New York ten times a month to have dinner. I've just got to take 187 people with me whenever I go.

-- Colin Soucy, Northwest Airlines pilot.

If black boxes survive air crashes -- why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

-- George Carlin

Real planes use only a single stick to fly. This is why bulldozers & helicopters -- in that order -- need two.

-- Paul Slattery

Don't let the fear of falling keep you from knowing the joy of flight.

-- Lane Wallace, 'Flying' magazine, January 2001.

In soloing -- as in other activities -- it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.

-- Amelia Earhart

All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous to life but doomed to failure from an engineering standpoint.

-- editor of 'The Times' of London, 1905.

It is complete nonsense to believe flying machines will ever work.

-- Sir Stanley Mosley, 1905

I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back.

-- Howard Hughes, to a U.S. Senate subcommittee regards the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.

I have been luckier than the law of averages should allow. I could never be so lucky again.

-- Jimmy Doolittle, from his autobiography, 'I Could Never Be So Lucky Again,' 1991.

If forced to travel on an airplane, try and get in the cabin with the Captain, so you can keep an eye on him and nudge him if he falls asleep or point out any mountains looming up ahead ...

-- Mike Harding, 'The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac.'

Night flying in blacked --out Britain is like flying up a cow's ass.

-- Squadron Leader Earl Bracken, RAF.

Here above the farms and ranches of the Great Plains aviation lives up to the promise that inspired dreamers through the ages. Here you are truly separate from the earth, at least for a little while, removed from the cares and concerns that occupy you on the ground. This separation from the earth is more than symbolic, more than a physical removal -- it has an emotional dimension as tangible as the wood, fabric, and steel that has transported you aloft.

-- Stephen Coonts, 'The Cannibal Queen'

Out of 10,000 feet of fall, always remember that the last half inch hurts the most.

-- Captain Charles W. Purcell, 1932

When the people look like ants -- Pull. When the ants look like people -- Pray.

-- Anon.

Why don't you fix your little problem and light this candle?

-- Alan B. Shepard Jr., to Mission Control during his four hour sit atop the 10 --story, 33 --ton Redstone rocket while last --minute problems were being fixed. Cape Canaveral Air Station, just prior to the United States' first manned space mission, 5 May, 1961.

You're on your way, Jose!

-- Deke Slayton, at Mission Control, to Alan Shepard at liftoff of Freedom 7, first American in space, 5 May 1961.

Aviators live by hours, not by days.

-- T. H. White, 'England Have My Bones,' 1936.

I would recommend a solo flight to all prospective suicides. It tends to make clear the issue of whether one enjoys being alive or not.

-- T. H. White, 'England Have My Bones,' 1936.

"Just try and remember," I said slowly," that if God had intended men to fly He'd have given us wings. So all flying is flying in the face of nature. It's unnatural, wicked and stuffed with risks all the time. The secret to flying is learning to minimize the risks."

"Or perhaps -- the secret of life is to choose your risks?"

-- Gavin Lyall, 'Shooting Script,' 1966.

In the opinion of competent experts it is idle to look for a commercial future for the flying machine. There is, and always will be, a limit to its carrying capacity.... Some will argue that because a machine will carry two people, another may be constructed that will carry a dozen, but those who make this contention do not understand the theory.

-- W. J. Jackman and Thomas Russell, 'Flying Machines: Construction and Operation,' 1910.

Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am 80,000 feet and Climbing.

-- sign over the entrance to the SR-71 operating location on Kadena AB Okinawa.

There is only one rule - Rule One - TNB - Trust No Bastard - they are all trying to kill you.

-- Captain Rick Davies, Chief Pilot, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section), advise given to new captains.

Better to hit the far fence at ten knots than the close fence at VRef.

-- Captain Rick Davies, Chief Pilot, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section), advise given to new captains.

Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.

-- Amelia Earhart

Pilots track their lives by the number of hours in the air, as if any

other kind of time isn't worth noting.

-- Michael Parfit, 'The Corn was Two Feet Below the Wheels', Smithsonian

Magazine, May 2000.


I flew in combat in Vietnam. I got shot at, I shot back, I got shot down.

Compared to this flight, I felt a lot safer in combat.

-- Dick Rutan, regards engine failure over the Pacific during the record

round-the-world flight, 'Newsweek' 5 January 1987


I cannot join the space program and restart my life as an astronaut, but

this opportunity to connect my abilities as an educator with my interests

in history and space is a unique opportunity to fulfill my early fantasies.

-- Christa McAuliffe, teacher, from her winning essay in NASA's nationwide

search for the first teacher to travel in space, released after her death

with six others aboard the space shuttle Challenger.



There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.

-- Orson Welles


Learning should be fun. If you don't have fun in aviation then you don't

learn, and when learning stops, you die.

-- Pete Campbell, FAA


I am not a very timid type. It's very important to some people, but not to

me. I have a simple philosophy: worry about those things you can fix. It

you can't fix it, don't worry about it; accept it and do the best you can.

. . .

-- Jimmy DoolittleTruly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.
>Rule one: No matter what else happens, fly the airplane. Forget all that stuff about thrust and drag, lift and gravity; an airplane flies because of money.
>It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

>An airplane will probably fly a little bit over gross, but it sure won't fly without fuel.

Think ahead of your airplane. I'd rather be lucky than good.
>The propeller is just a big fan in the front of the plane to keep the pilot cool. Want proof? Make it stop; then watch the pilot break out into a sweat.
>If you're ever faced with a forced landing at night, turn on the landing lights to see the landing area. If you don't like what you see, turn 'em back off.
>A check ride ought to be like a skirt: short enough to be interesting, but still be long enough to cover everything.
>Speed is life, altitude is life insurance. No one has ever collided with the sky.
>Always remember you fly an airplane with your head, not your hands.
>Never let an airplane take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.
>Don't drop the aircraft in order to fly the microphone. An airplane flies because of a principle discovered by Bernoulli, not Marconi. Cessna pilots are always found in the wreckage with their hand around the microphone.
>If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger, if you pull the stick back, they get smaller. (Unless you keep pulling the stick back – then they get bigger again.)
>Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go. The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
>Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
>Every one already knows the definition of a "good" landing is one from which you
>can walk away. But very few know the definition of a "great" landing. It's one after which you can use the airplane another time.

>The probability of survival is inverse to the angle of arrival.
>IFR: I Follow Roads
>You know you've landed with the wheels up when it takes full power to taxi
>I had a fighter pilot's breakfast - a shot of whiskey, two aspirin, a cup of coffee and a

>Those who hoot with the owls by night should not fly with the eagles by day.
>A smooth touchdown in a simulator is as exciting as kissing your sister.
>A helicopter is a collection of rotating parts going round and round and reciprocating parts going up and down - all of them trying to become random in motion. Helicopters can't really fly - they're just so ugly that the earth immediately repels them.
>Young man, was that a landing or were we shot down?
>Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
>Pilots believe in clean living. They never drink whiskey from a dirty glass.
>Things which do you no good in aviation: Altitude above you. Runway behind you. Fuel in the truck. Half a second ago. Approach plates in the car. The airspeed you don't have.
>If God meant man to fly, He'd have given him more money.
>What's the difference between God and pilots? God doesn't think he's a pilot.
>Flying is not dangerous - crashing is dangerous. Flying is the perfect vocation for a man who wants to feel like a boy, but not for one who still is.
>There are four ways to fly: the right way, the wrong way, the company way, and the captain's way. Only one counts.
>A good simulator check ride is like successful surgery on a cadaver.
>Asking what a pilot thinks about the FAA is like asking a fireplug what it thinks about dogs.
>Trust your captain... but keep your seat belt securely fastened.
>An airplane may disappoint a good pilot, but it won't surprise him.
>Any pilot who relies on a terminal forecast can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge. If he relies on winds-aloft reports he can be sold Niagara Falls.
>The friendliest flight attendants are those on the trip home.
>Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.
>Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.
>The nicer an airplane looks, the better it flies.
>Why did God invent women when airplanes were so much fun?
>There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing: Unfortunately, no one
>knows what they are.
>It's a good landing if you can still get the doors open.
>Be nice to your first officer, he may be your captain at your next airline.
>Any pilot who does not privately consider himself the best in the game is in the
>wrong game.
>It's best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.
>If an earthquake suddenly opened a fissure in a runway that caused an accident,
>the NTSB would find a way to blame it on pilot error.
>Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwind. A thunderstorm is never as bad on the inside as it appears on the outside. It's worse.
>Son, I was flying airplanes for a living when you were still in liquid form.
>"Let's make a 360 and get the hell out of here !?!
>It's easy to make a small fortune in aviation. You start with a large fortune.
>A male pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he's flying, and
>about flying when he's with a woman.
>A fool and his money are soon flying more airplane than he can handle.
>Learning a little about flying is like leading a tiger by the tail – the end does not justify his means.
>The last thing every pilot does before leaving the aircraft after making a gear up landing is to put the gear selection lever in the 'down' position.
>Remember, you're always a student in an airplane.
>Keep looking around; there's always something you've missed.
>Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.
>Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to

> accept it as a common means of transport, although that end is what we

> have all ostensibly been striving to attain.


> -- Amy Johnson, 'Sky Roads of the World,' 1939.



> Trouble in the air is very rare. It is hitting the ground that causes

> it.


> -- Amelia Earhart, '20 Hrs 40 Mins,' 1928.



> Ours is the commencement of a flying age, and I am happy to have

> popped into existence at a period so interesting.


> -- Amelia Earhart, '20 Hrs 40 Mins,' 1928.

> If you have flown, perhaps you can understand the love a pilot

> develops for flight. It is much the same emotion a man feels for a

> woman, or a wife for her husband.


> -- Louise Thaden.



> To a psychoanalyst, a woman pilot, particularly a married one with

> children, must prove an interesting as well as an inexhaustible

> subject. Torn between two loves, emotionally confused, the desire to

> fly an incurable disease eating out your life in the slow torture of

> frustration -- she cannot be a simple, natural personality.


> -- Louise Thaden.



> A pilot who says he has never been frighten in an airplane is, I'm

> afraid, lying.


> -- Louise Thaden,

The Admiralty said it was a plane and not a boat, the Royal Air Force said

it was a boat and not a plane, the Army were plain not interested.

-- Sir Christopher Cockerell, regards his invention the hovercraft.


If we love to fly so much, how come we're always in such a hurry to get


-- Louie Manyak


In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually

far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks.

-- Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900.


He's not in love with flying, as I am. Perhaps that is inevitable. He

will fall in love with it only if he sweats bullets trying to come up with

money for aircraft rentals and instructors and gasoline, then lies awake

nights wondering why the skills are so difficult to master and the money so

hard to come by. We truly value what we earn.

-- Stephen Coonts, 'The Cannibal Queen.'


I belong to a group of men who fly alone. There is only one seat in the

cockpit of a fighter airplane. There is no space alotted for another pilot

to tune the radios in the weather or make the calls to air traffic control

centers or to help with the emergency procedures or to call off the

airspeed down final approach. There is no one else to break the solitude

of a long cross-country flight. There is no one else to make decisions.

I do everything myself, from engine start to engine shutdown. In a

war, I will face alone the missiles and the flak and the small-arms fire

over the front lines.

If I die, I will die alone.

-- Richard Bach, 'Stranger To The Ground,' 1963.


More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with

an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive

of such a combination.

-- Wilbur Wright


Our headline ran, "Virgin screw British Airways." We'd have rather

preferred 'British Airways screws Virgin,' but we had to run with the


-- News Editor, 'The Sun' newspaper.


When asked by someone how much money flying takes, he replied "Why, all of


-- Gordon Baxter.


People who invest in aviation are the biggest suckers in the world.

-- David G. Neeleman, after raising a record $128 million to start New

Air (now called JetBlue), quoted in 'Business Week,' 3 May 1999.


Flying is so many parts skill, so many parts planning, so many parts

maintenance, and so many parts luck. The trick is to reduce the luck by

increasing the others.

-- David L. Baker


The secret to my success was that I always lived to fly another day.

-- Chuck Yeager, 'Yeager.'


A pilot lives in a world of perfection, or not at all.

-- Richard S. Drury, 'My Secret War.'


Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential

explorer; in his or her breast burns the same fire that urged adventurers

of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign lands.

-- Jean Batten, 'Alone in the Sky' 1979.


For most of the time carrier aviation is more challenging than flying in a spacecraft.

-- Astronaut James Lovell

ATTENTION! Aircraft Designers, Operators, Airmen, Managers. Anxiety never disappears in a human being in an airplane -- it merely remains dormant when there is no cause to arouse it. Our challenge is to keep it forever dormant.

-- Harold Harris, Vice President, Pan American World Airways, circa 1950.

The aeroplane should open a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, from parcel delivery, taking photographs or conducting schools of flying.

-- Harriet Quimby, June 1912.

We realized what a spot we were in. We had to deliver the goods, or else there wouldn't ever be another chance for women pilots in any part of the service.

-- Cornelia Fort, WASP, 1942.

In the early days they said I was trying to make a statement, but I was just trying to make a living.

-- Captain Bonnie Tiburzi, American Airlines, first woman hired by a major airline.

It is not easy to be the best. You must have the courage to bear pain, disappointment, and heartbreak. You must learn how to face danger and understand fear, yet not be afraid. You establish your goal, and no matter what deters you along the way, in your every waking moment you must say to yourself, "I could do it."

-- Betty Skelton, first lady of aerobatics.

Have confidence in yourself and tell yourself 'you can' twice for every time you are told 'you can't.' Confidence that you can succeed is everything. Take every negative remark as a challenge to achieve more and progress to newer heights. You are able to do anything you believe you can do. You might even surprise yourself.

-- Alinda Wikert, first female owner and CEO of an airline.

In the case of pilots, it is a little touch of madness that drive us to go beyond all known bounds. Any search into the unknown is an incomparable exploitation of oneself.

-- Jacqueline Auriol

Aviation is still considered a man's world by many. The time to reach young ladies is during their first years of school. Research has shown that although children may change their minds several times about their eventual careers, the possibilities of them selecting a non-traditional role must be nurtured at an early age.

-- Dr. Peggy Baty, founder of Women In Aviation International

Born 1902, Michigan Died 1974, Maui Charles A. Lindbergh

"I shall take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost ends of the sea"

-- The unadorned, flat-to-the-ground gravestone of Charles A. Lindbergh. He died of cancer on the island of Maui, Hawaii, on 26 August, 1974. He was buried three hours later in simple work clothes.

If you think all the great quotes are old, from past masters, you missed an article in Flying magazine this year. I start this update with that piece, then back in time to 1930, then flying thoughts from Carl Sagan to Sir Winston Churchill . . .

I'll run my hand gently over the wing of a small airplane and say to him, "This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could. It won't get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house. But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know -- that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible." And then, because airplanes speak in a language beyond words, I'll take him up in the evening summer sky and let the airplane show him what I mean.

- Lane Wallace, 'Eyes of a Child,' Flying magazine, February 2000.

Real confidence in the air is bred only by mistakes made and recovered from at a safe altitude, in a safe ship, and seated on a good parachute.

- Rodney H. Jackson, ''A Lesson in Stunting,' Aeronautics magazine, February 1930.

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

- Carl Sagan

The moon is the first milestone on the road to the stars.

- Arthur C. Clarke

It is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close; and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create "one world." Instead of one world, we have "star wars," and a future in which dumb dented human toys will drift mindlessly about the cosmos long after our small planet's dead.

- Gore Vidal, Armageddon, 'On Flying,' sct. 3, 1987.

Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars, and a God somewhere in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.

- Eric Hoffer, 'New York Times,' 21 July 1969, regards the first moon-landing.

It was a thunderingly beautiful experience -- voluptuous, sexual, dangerous, and expensive as hell.

- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 'Playboy Interview, 1973,' regards the Apollo launches.

Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.

- William Burroughs, 'Civilian Defense,' 1985.

Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one's stomach the separation from terra . . . these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known . . . this is the only thing I can say about the matter. The utilitarian results do not interest me.

- Vladimir Nabokov, referring to the first moon-landing, quoted in The New York Times, 21 July 1969.

So there he is at last. Man on the moon. The poor magnificent bungler! He can't even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire and twenty or thirty billion dollars and, vroom! there he is, up on a rock a quarter of a million miles up in the sky.

- Russell Baker, New York Times, 21 July 1969.

There is no problem so complex that it cannot simply be blamed on the pilot.

- Dr Earl Weiner

I could be president of Sikorsky for six months before they found me out, but the president would only have my job for six seconds before he'd kill himself.

- Walter R. 'Dick' Faull, test pilot.

I must place on record my regret that the human race ever learned to fly.

- Sir Winston Churchill

Can build plane...Delivery about three months.

- Donald Hall, Chief engineer, Ryan Airlines, to Charles Lindberg's request for feasibility of the airplane later known as 'The Spirit of St. Louis.'

So long as the airlines preserve their magic quality -- including, above all, their safety and reliability -- they will be guaranteed a significant role in the workings of the world. Science will never digitalize an embrace. Electronics will never convey the wavering eye of a negotiating adversary. Fiber-optic cable can do many things, but it cannot transport hot sand, fast snow, or great ruins.

- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., 'Hard Landing.'

The facts are that flying satisfies deeply rooted desires. For as long as time these desires have hungered vainly for fulfillment. The horse, and later the motorcar, have merely teased them. The upward sweep of the airplane signifies release

- Bruce Gould, 'Sky Larking,' 1929.

Feathers shall raise men even as they do birds, toward heaven; that is by letter written with their quills.

- Leonardo da Vinci

The facts are that flying satisfies deeply rooted desires. For as long as time these desires have hungered vainly for fulfillment. The horse, and later the motorcar, have merely teased them. The upward sweep of the airplane signifies release.

— Bruce Gould, 'Sky Larking,' 1929.

I just made a balls of it, old boy. That's all there was to it.

— Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, about his December 1931 roll performed immediately after takeoff that ended in the crash that led to the loss of both legs. He later led a wing of Spitfires during the Battle of Britain.

On the second day after I arrived at Cranwell I was commanded to report to 'the flights'. I had imagined weeks if not months of tedious 'bull' and ground instruction before I was even allowed to smell an aircraft. They had a special smell - burnt castor oil and dope - which will still bring nostalgic sparkles to the eyes of an old pilot.

— A.G. Dudgeon, 'The Luck of the Devil,' 1985.

Their element is to attack, to track, to hunt, and to destroy the enemy. Only in this way can the eager and skillful fighter pilot display his ability. Tie him to a narrow and confined task, rob him of his initiative, and you take away from him the best and most valuable qualities he posses: aggressive spirit, joy of action, and the passion of the hunter.

— Lt. General Adolph Galland, Luftwaffe.

Never abandon the possibility of attack. Attack even from a position of inferiority, to disrupt the enemy's plans. This often results in improving one's own position.

— Lt. General Adolph Galland, Luftwaffe, 15 March 1941.

I am the bomber 17 – Proud machine -- sleek and powerful, Made by man to kill his foe, ade of steel and wood and metal, Built to fight and drop destruction . . .

— Robert Cromwell, 'Skyward: A Ballad of the Bomber.'

After reading . . . accounts . . . of minor accidents of light, it is little wonder that the average man would far rather watch someone else fly and read of the narrow escapes from death when some pilot has had a forced landing or a blowout, than to ride himself. Even in the postwar days of now obsolete equipment, nearly all of the serious accidents were caused by inexperienced pilots who where then allowed to fly or attempt to fly -- without license or restrictions about anything they could coax into the air . . .

— Charles Lindbergh, 'We,' 1928.

My father had been opposed to my flying from the first and had never flown himself. However, he had agreed to go up with me at the first opportunity, and one afternoon he climbed into the cockpit and we flew over the Redwood Falls together. From that day on I never heard a word against my flying and he never missed a chance to ride in the plane.

— Charles Lindbergh, 'We,' 1928.

So the crew fly on with no thought that they are in motion. Like night over the sea, they are very far from the earth, from towns, from trees. The clock ticks on. The dials, the radio lamps, the various hands and needles go though their invisible alchemy. . . . and when the hour is at hand the pilot may glue his forehead to the window with perfect assurance. Out of oblivion the gold has been smelted: there it gleams in the lights of the airport.

— Antoine de St-Exupéry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.

The magic of the craft has opened for me a world in which I shall confront, within two hours, the black dragons and the crowned crests of a coma of blue lightnings, and when night has fallen I, delivered, shall read my course in the starts.

— Antoine de St-Exupéry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.

When I was twenty, most of my friends were dead. We had sweated out the troopship journey together, shared the excitements of new countries, endured and enjoyed the efforts of learning to fly. At last we had completed our training, and had stood in the hot Rhodesian sun together while our wings were pinned on our chests. We were then more than friends; we were fellow pilots, which to a boy of nineteen was inexpressibly wonderful...

— Captain Lincoln Lee, first words of 'Three-Dimensioned Darkness: The World of the Airline Pilot,' 1962.

I don’t believe in being the launch customer for anything.

— Carl Michel, British Airways’ commercial director, regards the Airbus A3XX, February 2000.

As you pass from sunlight into darkness and back again every hour and a half, you become startlingly aware how artificial are thousands of boundaries we've created to separate and define. And for the first time in your life you feel in your gut the precious unity of the Earth and all the living things it supports.

— Russell Schweickart, astronaut, returning from Apollo 9.

Before I went to the Mess I made the excuse I wanted to get something out of my aeroplane, and climbed into the cockpit; I did this, however, to be able to say good-bye to the old dear; and I really felt dreadfully sorry to part with her. I get very attached to aeroplanes, and I am one of those people who think that they aren't so inanimate as we are told they are.

- Charles Rumney Samson, 'A Flight from Cairo to Cape Town and back,' 1931.

Nowadays a businessman can go from his office straight to the airport, get into his airplane and fly six hundred or seven hundred miles without taking off his hat. He probably will not even mention this flight, which a bare twenty-five years ago would have meant wearing leather jacket and helmet and goggles and risking his neck every minute of the way. No, he probably wouldn't mention it - except to another flier. Then they will talk for hours. They will re-create all the things seen and felt in that wonderful world of air: the sense of remoteness from the busy world below, the feeling of intense brotherhood formed with those who man the radio ranges and control towers and weather stations that bring the pilot home, the clouds and the colors, the surge of the wind on their wings. They will speak of things that are spiritual and beautiful and of things that are practical and utilitarian; they will mix up angels and engines, sunsets and spark plugs, fraternity and frequencies in one all-encompassing comradeship of interests that makes for the best and most lasting kind of friendship any man can have.

- Percy Knauth, 'Wind on my wings,' 1960.

And should I not, had I but known, have flung the machine this way and that, once more to feel it live under my hand, have sported in the sky and laughed and sung, knowing that never after should I feel so free, so sure in hazard, so secure, riding the daylight in the pride of youth? No more horizons wider than Hope! No more the franchise of the sky, the freedom of the blue! No more! Farewell to wings! Down to the little earth! hat distant day had a significance I could not give it then. So we wheeled and came back south towards the city. The Temple of Heaven slipped by underneath, that perfect pattern in its ample park. Then the wide plain ruled to the far horizon. Soon the aerodrome. Now shut the engines off. Come down and flatten out, feel the long float, and at the given moment pull the stick right home. She's down. Now taxi in. Switch off. It's over - but not quite, for the port engine, just as if it knew, as if reluctant at the last to let me go, kicked, kicked, and kicked again, as overheated engines will, then backfired with an angry snorting: Fool! The best is over ...But I did not hear.

- Cecil Lewis, 'Sagittarius Rising,' 1936, regards flying for the last time a Vickers Vimy over Peking, 1921.

The similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots? If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies. If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

- Lister, in the BBC TV series, 'Red Dwarf.'

 All the women in my life were nurses, hairdressers, or secretaries, and that's why I thought my father would not support me in being a pilot. I can remember asking him, "what would you think if I told you I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up?" expecting him to say no or disagree. He said, "I think that would be fantastic." Had he not said those words, I don't know what would have happened to me.

- Susan Still, Lieutenant, United States Navy, Combat Pilot and Astronaut, quoted in 'Women And Flight,' Carolyn Russo, 1997.

Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day.

- Layton A. Bennett

I never liked riding in helicopters because there's a fair probability that the bottom part will get going around as fast as the top part.

- Lt.Col. John Wittenborn, USAFR.

It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.

- Thomas Edison, 1895

Space travel is bunk.

- Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik.

To set foot on the soil of the asteroids, to lift by hand a rock from the Moon, to observe Mars from a distance of several tens of kilometers, to land on its satellite or even on its surface, what can be more fantastic? From the moment of using rocket devices a new great era will begin in astronomy: the epoch of the more intensive study of the firmament.

- Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

My friends they were dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the Earth. They were dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I'd like to ask you, don't hang up your dancing slippers.

- Wernher von Braun

A sense of the unknown has always lured mankind and the greatest of the unknowns of today is outer space. The terrors, the joys and the sense of accomplishment are epitomized in the space program.

- William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original 'Star Trek.'

But the astronauts who lost their lives on Challenger, as well as the other eight astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and the four Soviet cosmonauts who died in space serve as inspiration for us all. None of them would have wanted to give her or his life in vain. None would have wanted us to stop striving for the stars. If anything, we must continue to preserve their dreams.

- Doug Fulmer, AD ADSTRA, July/August, 1991.

We shall never forget them nor the last time we saw them, as they prepared for their mission and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.

- Ronald Reagan, addressing NASA employees following the tragic loss of the Challenger 7 crew on STS-51L.


1.      Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.


       2.      If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you

       pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep


       the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.


       3.      Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.


       4.      It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there,

       than up there wishing you were down here.


       5.      The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


       6.      The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to

       keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot

       start sweating.


       7.      When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever

       collided with the sky.


       8.      A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A


       landing is one after which they can use the plane again.


       9.      Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough


       make all of them yourself.


       10.     You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full


       to taxi to the ramp.


       11.     The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the

       angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of


       and vice versa.


       12.     Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get

       to five minutes earlier.


       13.     Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking

       about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction.

       Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide


       in clouds.


       14.     Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to


       number of take offs you've made.


       15.     There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing.

       Unfortunately no one knows what they are.


       16.     You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of

       experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you


       the bag of luck.


       17.     Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels



       18.     If all you can see out of the window is ground that's going

       round and round and all you can hear is commotion coming from the

       passenger compartment, things are not at all as they should be.


       19.     In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going

       hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour,


       ground has yet to lose.


       20.     Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the

       experience usually comes from bad judgment.


       21.     It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward


       much as possible.


       22.     Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.


       23.     Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law.

       And it's not subject to repeal.


       24.     The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude


       you, runway behind you and a tenth of a second ago.


       25.     There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. There are,

       however, no old bold pilots.


I've learned that it is what I do not know that I fear, and I strive, outwardly from pride, inwardly from the knowledge that the unknown is what will finally kill me, to know all there is to be known about my airplane. I will never die.

— Richard Bach, 'Stranger to the Ground,' 1963.

I never liked riding in helicopters because there's a fair probability that the bottom part will get going around as fast as the top part.

— Lt.Col. John Wittenborn, USAFR.

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it…. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.

— Charles A. Lindbergh, on flying above the Rocky Mountains, quoted by Leonard Mosley in 'Lindbergh' 1978.

Father, we thank you, especially for letting me fly this flight … for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

— L Gordon Cooper Jr, prayer while orbiting the earth, quoted in NY Times, 22 May 1963

The Wright brothers’ design … allowed them to survive long enough to learn how to fly.

— Michael Potts, spokesman, Beech Aircraft, regards the Wright wing, NY Times, 17 Apr 1984

I think a future flight should include a poet, a priest and a philosopher … we might get a much better idea of what we saw.

— Michael Collins, 9 Nov 1969.

I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning, or of the expectation of good results from any of the trials we heard of. So you will understand why I would not care to be a member of your society.

-- Lord Kelvin, replying to an invitation to join the Royal Aeronautical Society, 1896.

The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way -- the way God intended it to be -- by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.

-- Roger B Chaffee

What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that man set foot on the moon but that they set eye on the earth.

-- Norman Cousins

Between the amateur and the professional . . . there is a difference not only in degree but in kind. The skillful man is, within the function of his skill, a different psychological organization. . . . A tennis player or a watchmaker or an airplane pilot is an automatism but he is also criticism and wisdom.

-- Bernard De Voto

As we went through mach one, the nose started dropping, so we just cranked that horizontal stabilizer down to keep the nose up. We got it above mach one, and once we got it above the speed of sound, then you have supersonic flow over the whole airplane, so you have no more shock waves on it that are causing buffeting...You really don't think about the outcome of any kind of a flight, whether it's combat, or any other kinds of flights, because you really have no control over it... You concentrate on what you are doing, to do the best job you can, to stay out of serious situations. And that's the way the X-1 was.

-- General Charles 'Chuck' Yeager, regards the first supersoninc flight, interview, 1 February, 1991.

Fly with the head and not with the muscles. That is the way to long life for a fighter pilot. The fighter pilot who is all muscle and no head will never live long enough for a pension.

-- Colonel Willie Bats, GAF, 237 Victories, W.W. II.

Adolf Galland said that the day we took our fighters off the bombers and put them against the German fighters, that is, went from defensive to offensive, Germany lost the air war. I made that decision and it was my most important decision during World War II. As you can imagine, the bomber crews were upset. The fighter pilots were ecstatic.

-- General James H. Doolittle

If our air forces are never used, they have achieved their finest goal.

-- General Nathan F. Twining

Americans have an abiding belief in their ability to control reality by purely material means.... airline insurance replaces the fear of death with the comforting prospect of cash.

-- Cecil Beaton, 'It Gives Me Great Pleasure', 1955.

Skydiving has been my life, and it will probably be my death too. But hopefully not yet, for I have many years of jumps left in me.

-- Robin Wilcox, four days before dying too soon, 1987.

Straying off course is not recognized as a capital crime by civilized nations.

-- Jeane Kirkpatrick, in reference to the Soviet destruction of Korean Airways Flight 007.

The aeroplane is an invention of the devil and will never play any part in such a serious business as the defense of the nation, my boy.

-- Sir Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister of Militia and Defense, to J.A.D. McCurdy, who had approached the minister with the idea of starting an air service, August 1914.

The whole history of the Canadian North can be divided into two periods -- before and after the aeroplane.

-- Hugh L. Keenleyside, Deputy Canadian Minister of Mines and Resources, October 1949.

Air Canada. That's a good name for a Canadian airline.

-- Johnny Carson, December 1974.

The flight was extremely normal . . . for the first 36 seconds then after that got very interesting.

-- Pete Conrad, Apollo 12 commander, regards the launch during which two electrical discharges almost ended the mission.


The regret on our side is, they used to say years ago, we are reading about you in science class. Now they say, we are reading about you in history class.

-- Neil Armstrong, July 1999.

. . . as we leave the Moon at Taurus Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.<BR>OK, let's get this mother out of here.

-- Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander. Last words spoken on the moon. The LEM lifted off the moon at 22:54:37 GMT on 14 December, 1972.

We have taken to the Moon the wealth of this nation, the vision of its political leaders, the intelligence of its scientists, the dedication of its engineers, the careful craftsmanship of its workers, and the enthusiastic support of its people.

We have brought back rocks, and I think it is a fair trade . . . Man has always gone where he has been able to go. It's that simple. He will continue pushing back his frontier, no matter how far it may carry him from his homeland.

-- Michael Collins

Witness this new-made world, another Heav'n From Heaven Gate not farr, founded in view On the clear Hyaline, the Glassie Sea; Of amplitude almost immense, with Starr's Numerous, and every Starr perhaps a world Of destined habitation.

-- John Milton, 'Paradise Lost.'

All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct.

-- Carl Sagan

It is the last day, barring unforeseen circumstances, that we will not have a human presence in space.

-- Richard LaBrode, U.S. flight director for the International Space Station, at mission control outside Moscow, 31 October, 2000.

And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.

-- Herman Melville, 'Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale,' ch. 96.

He did it alone. We had a cast of a million.

-- Neil Armstrong, regards Charles Lindbergh.

There was my mom and I had a wife for a long time and now there is my fiancée. Eileen is in a long line of women who have given me orders.

-- Jeffrey S. Ashby, shuttle pilot regards flying under Eileen Collins' command.