Back to home pagePiloting Quotations

Home > Humour > Piloting Quotations

Contents

Illustrated technical information covering Vol 2 Over 800 multi-choice systems questions Study notes and technical information Close up photos of internal and external components A compilation of links to major 737 news stories with a downloadable archive Illustrated history and description of all variants of 737 Detailed tech specs of every series of 737 Databases and reports of all the major 737 accidents & incidents General flightdeck views of each generation of 737's Description & news reports of Advanced Blended Winglets Press reports of orders and deliveries A collection of my favourite photographs that I have taken of or from the 737 Details about 737 production methods A compilation of links to other sites with useful 737 content Get the book of the website A quick concise overview of the pages on this site

spacer

Great quotes from the flightdeck...

 

Taken from The Great Aviation Quote website  http://www.skygod.com/quotes by Dave English


For sale at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0070220166/greataviationquo

See more details about the book

All of the information, photographs & schematics from this website and much more is now available in a 374 page printed book or in electronic format.

*** Updated 16 Sep 2016 ***

The 737 Tech Site on Facebook The 737 Tech Site on Twitter

 

What is chiefly needed is skill rather than machinery.

-- Wilbur Wright, 1902.

Anyone can do the job when things are going right. In this business we play for keeps.

-- Ernest K. Gann

There are airmen and there are pilots: the first being part bird whose view from aloft is normal and comfortable, a creature whose brain and muscles frequently originate movements which suggest flight; and then there are pilots who regardless of their airborne time remain earth-loving bipeds forever. When these latter unfortunates, because of one urge or another, actually make an ascension, they neither anticipate nor relish the event and they drive their machines with the same graceless labor they inflict upon the family vehicle.

-- Ernest K. Gann

You’ll be bothered from time to time by storms, fog, snow. When you are, think of those who went through it before you, and say to yourself, ‘What they could do, I can do.’

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

The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I’d rather fly.

-- Len Morgan

From knowing himself and knowing is airplane so well that he can come somewhere close to touching, in his own special and solitary way, that thing that is called perfection.

-- Richard Bach, ‘A Gift of Wings

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

-- Richard S. Drury, ‘My Secret War.’

An airplane might disappoint any pilot but it’ll never surprise a good one.

-- Len Morgan

Do not spin this aircraft. If the aircraft does enter a spin it will return to earth without further attention on the part of the aeronaut.

-- first handbook issued with the Curtis-Wright flyer.

Rule books are paper - they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.

-- Ernest K. Gann, ‘Fate is the Hunter.’

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.

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

From a safety standpoint, in our view one of the things that we do in the basic design is the pilot always has the ultimate authority of control. There’s no computer on the airplane that he cannot override or turn off if the ultimate comes. In terms of any of our features, we don’t inhibit that totally. We make it difficult, but if something in the box should behave inappropriately, the pilot can say ‘This is wrong’ and he can override it. That’s a fundamental difference in philosophy that we have versus some of the competition.

-- John Cashman, Chief Test Pilot Boeing 777.

I’ve never seen an airplane yet that can read the type ratings on your pilot’s license.

-- Chuck Boedecker

Do not let yourself be forced into doing anything before you are ready.

-- Wilbur Wright

It is hard enough for anyone to map out a course of action and stick to it, particularly in the face of the desires of one’s friends; but it is doubly hard for an aviator to stay on the ground waiting for just the right moment to go into the air.

-- Glenn Curtiss, 1909.

The life of the modern jet pilots tends to be most unexpectedly lonely. . . . foreign countries are places to reach accurately and to leave on time. Distance is a raw material to work with.

-- John Pearson, ‘Sunday Times,’ 4 Feb 1962.

Hours and hours passed, with nothing to do but keep the compass on its course and the plane on a level keel. This sounds easy enough, but its very simplicity becomes a danger when your head keeps nodding with weariness and utter boredom and your eyes everlastingly try to shut out the confusing rows of figures in front of you, which will insist on getting jumbled together. Tired of trying to sort them out, you relax for a second, then your head drops and you sit up with a jerk, Where are you? What are you doing here? Oh yes, of course, you are somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic, with hungry waves below you like vultures impatiently waiting for the end.

-- Amy Johnson

To be alone in the air at night is to be very much alone indeed. . . cut off from everything and everyone . . . nothing is ‘familiar’ any longer . . . . I think that unfamiliarity is the most difficult thing to face; one feels rather like Alice in Wonderland after she has nibbled the toadstool that made her grow smaller—and like Alice, one hopes that the process will stop while there is still something left!

-- Pauline Gower

A pilot who says he has never been frightened in an airplane is, I’m afraid, lying.

-- Louise Thaden

I was always afraid of dying. Always. It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.

-- General Check Jeager, ‘Yeager, An Autobiography.’

It is a good thing to learn caution from the misfortunes of others.

-- Publilius Syrus

Mistakes are inevitable in aviation, especially when one is still learning new things. The trick is to not make the mistake that will kill you.

-- Stephen Coonts

He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard.

-- Publilius Syrus

What is it in fact, this learning to fly? To be precise, it is ‘to learn NOT to fly wrong.’ To learn to become a pilot is to learn—not to let oneself fly too slowly. Not to let oneself turn without accelerating. Not to cross the controls. Not to do this, and not to do that. . . . To pilot is negation.

-- Henri Mignoet, ‘L’Aviation de L’Amateur; Le Sport de l’Air,’ 1934.

If you are are sweating to much before a flight, you surely haven’t asked enough questions. If you are not sweating just a little during the flight, you may not be attentive enough. And, if you are not sweating out the answers with all the experts you can think of after the flight, you may never find that very beautiful pearl in all that pig litter.

-- Corwin H. Meyer, Grumman test pilot W.W. II.

There’s no such thing as a natural-born pilot.

-- Chuck Yeager

I have flown in just about everything, with all kinds of pilots in all parts of the world—British, French, Pakistani, Iranian, Japanese, Chinese—and there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between any of them except for one unchanging, certain fact: the best, most skillful pilot has the most experience.

-- Chuck Yeager

Most pilots learn, when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don’t do, you don’t b’lieve anything anybody tells you about an airplane.

-- Chuck Yeager

Get rid at the outset of the idea that the airplane is only an air-going sort of automobile. It isn’t. It may sound like one and smell like one, and it may have been interior decorated to look like one; but the difference is—it goes on wings.

-- Wolfgang Langewiesche, first words of ‘Stick and Rudder: An explanation of the Art of Flying,’ 1944.

The length of debate about a flight maneuver is always inversely proportional to the complexity of maneuver. Thus, if the flight maneuver is simple enough, debate approaches infinity.

-- Robert Livingston, ‘Flying The Aeronca.’

A pilot must have a memory developed to absolute perfection. But there are two higher qualities which he also must have. He must have good and quick judgment and decision, and a cool, calm courage that no peril can shake.

-- Mark Twain, speaking about Mississippi River pilots.

Keep the aeroplane in such an attitude that the air pressure is always directly in the pilot’s face.

-- Horatio C. Barber, 1916

I think there is something exhilarating in flying amongst clouds, and always get a feeling of wanting to pit my aeroplane against them, charge at them, climb over them to show them you have them beat, circle round them, and generally play with them; but clouds can on occasion hold their own against the aviator, and many a pilot has found himself emerging from a cloud not on a level keel.

Cloud-flying requires practice, even if you have every modern instrument, and unless you keep calm and collected you will get into trouble after you have been inside a really thick one for a few minutes. In the very early days of aviation, 1912 to be correct, I emerged from a cloud upside down, much to my discomfort, as I didn’t know how to get right way up again. I found out somehow, or I wouldn’t be writing this.

-- Charles Rumney Samson, ‘A Flight from Cairo to Cape Town and Back,’ 1931.

When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten.

-- Robert Livingston, ‘Flying The Aeronca.’

The pilot who teaches himself has a fool for a student.

-- Robert Livingston, ‘Flying The Aeronca.’

The only time an aircraft has too much fuel on board is when it is on fire.

-- Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, sometime before his death in the 1920’s.

The happily married man with a large family is the test pilot for me.

-- Nevil Shute, ‘Slide Rule.’

Flexible is much too rigid, in aviation you have to be fluid.

-- Verne Jobst

If you can’t afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong.

--Charlie Nelson

Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician. After you know what to look for you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.

-- Orville Wright

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

-- Publius Syrus

I hope you either take up parachute jumping or stay out of single motored airplanes at night.

-- Charles A. Lindbergh, to Wiley Post, 1931.

Yeah, I knew a lot of those guys who parachute jumped at county fairs in the twenties and thirties, I just never knew any of them for very long.

-- Fritz Orchard

Never fly the ‘A’ model of anything.

-- Ed Thompson

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate
As we voyage along through life.
‘Tis the set of a soul that decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox, ‘Winds of Fate.’

Never fly anything that doesn’t have the paint worn off the rudder Pedals.

-- Harry Bill

What kind of man would live where there is no daring? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances, but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all.

-- Charles A. Lindbergh, at a news conference after his trans-Atlantic flight.

Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smit thee.

-- William Kershner

Don’t ever let an airplane take you someplace where your brain hasn’t arrived at least a couple of minutes earlier.

-- Andy Anderson

When a prang seems inevitable, endeavour to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity, as slowly and gently as possible.

-- advice given to RAF pilots during W.W.II.

Instrument flying is when your mind gets a grip on the fact that there is vision beyond sight.

-- U.S. Navy ‘Approach’ magazine circa W.W.II.

Flying is done largely with the imagination.

-- Wolfgang Langewiesche, ‘Stick and Rudder: An explanation of the Art of Flying,’ 1944.

The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by it’s nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.

This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to.

-- Harry Reasoner, 1971.

If you don’t think you’re the best pilot in the business, MAYBE you’re in the wrong business. If you think you could never make a mistake, you are REALLY in the wrong business.

-- Randy Sohn

Who was the best pilot I ever saw? You’re lookin’ at ‘im.

-- Gordon Cooper in the movie ‘The Right Stuff,’ 1983.

There are two kinds of airplanes—those you fly and those that fly you . . . You must have a distinct understanding at the very start as to who is the boss.

-- Ernest K. Gann

And let’s get one thing straight. There’s a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight.

-- E. B. Jeppesen

I don’t want monitors here. I want pilots. . . . Our whole philosophy is that the pilot is in charge of the airplane. We’re very anti automation here at this airline.

-- Greg Crum, System Chief Pilot Southwest Airlines, 1996.

Electronics were rascals, and they lay awake nights trying to find some way to screw you during the day. You could not reason with them. They had a brain and intestines, but no heart.

-- Ernest K. Gann, ‘The Black Watch,’ 1989.

The quality of the box matters little. Success depends upon the man who sits in it.

-- Baron Manfred von Richthofen, AKA The Red Baron.

The successful pilot must have a quick eye and steady nerves.

-- W. J. Abbot

The airman must possess absolutely untroubled nerves.

-- Fancis Collins

My first shock came when I touched the rudder. The thing tried to bite its own tail. The next surprise I got was when I landed; she stalled at a hundred and ten miles an hour.

-- Jimmy Haizlip, commenting on his only flight in the Gee Bee.

Always keep an ‘out’ in your hip pocket.

-- Bevo Howard

There’s a lot of Hollywood bullshit about flying. I mean, look at the movies about test pilots or fighter pilots who face imminent death. The controls are jammed or something really important has fallen off the plane, and these guys are talking like magpies; their lives are flashing past their eyes, and they’re flailing around in the cockpit. It just doesn’t happen. You don’t have time to talk. You’re too damn busy trying to get out of the problem you’re in to talk or ricochet around the cockpit. Or think about what happened the night after your senior prom.

-- General Robin Olds, USAF

The Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.

-- attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot.

I enjoyed my service flying very much. That is where I learned the discipline of flying. In order to have the freedom of flight you must have the discipline. Discipline prevents crashes.

-- Captain John Cook, British Airways Concorde Training Captain.

I don’t think I possess any skill that anyone else doesn’t have. I’ve just had perhaps more of an opportunity, more of an exposure, and been fortunate to survive a lot of situations that many other weren’t so lucky to make it. It’s not how close can you get to the ground, but how precise can you fly the airplane. If you feel so careless with you life that you want to be the world’s lowest flying aviator you might do it for a while. But there are a great many former friends of mine who are no longer with us simply because they cut their margins to close.

--Bob Hoover

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

It occurred to me that if I did not handle the crash correctly, there would be no survivors.

-- Richard Leakey, after engine failure in a single engine Cessna, Nairobi, Africa, 1993.

If an airplane is still in one piece, don’t cheat on it. Ride the bastard down.

-- Ernest K.Gann, advice from the ‘old pelican,’ ‘The Black Watch,’ 1989.

Airshow flying is tough, it’s even tougher if you do something stupid. Don’t do nuthin dumb!

--Ralph Royce

This thing we call luck is merely professionalism and attention to detail, it’s your awareness of everything that is going on around you, it’s how well you know and understand your airplane and your own limitations. Luck is the sum total of your f abilities as an aviator. If you think your luck is running low, you’d better get busy and make some more. Work harder, Pay more attention. Study your NATOPS more. Do better preflights.

-- Stephen Coonts, ‘The Intruders.’

The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.

-- Edward Gibbon

Map reading was not required. There were no maps. I got from place to place with the help of three things. One was the seat of my pants. If it left that of the plane, when the visibility was at a minimum, I was in trouble and could even be upside down. Another was the ability to recognize every town, river, railroad, farm, and, yes, outhouse along the route. The third? I had a few drops of homing pigeon in my veins

-- Ken McGregor, Early U.S. Air Mail pilot

Any landing you can walk away from is a good one!

-- Gerald R. Massie, U.S. Army Air Forces photographer. Written in 1944 after the crash-landing of his B17

If you can fill out the yellow sheet with Jack Black in your hand instead of an I.V. in your arm, it was a good landing.

-- Charlie Kisslejack, Commander, US Navy, 1983.

A fierce and monkish art; a castigation of the flesh. You must cut out your imagination and not fly an airplane but regulate a half-dozen instruments . . . .At first, the conflicts between animal sense and engineering brain are irresistibly strong.

-- Wolfgang Langewiesche, describing flying on instruments, ‘A Flier’s world,’ 1943.

You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.

-- Paul F. Crickmore, ‘Lockheed SR-71: The Secret Missions Exposed,’ 1993.

And he supposed it might not be the best of days. But then, he was flying the mails and was not expected to squat on the ground like a frightened canary every time there was a cloud in the sky. If a pilot showed an obvious preference for flying only in the best conditions he soon found himself looking for work. This was the way of his life and he had always ascended when others had found excuse to keep their feet on the ground.

-- Ernest K. Gann, ‘Fate is the Hunter.’

Let all who build beware
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff - the Man!

-- Rudyard Kipling, ‘Hymn of Breaking Strain.’

I suddenly get a feeling—perhaps only a hint—of the ALONENESS of a 1930s transport pilot way up on the beak of this ancient pelican. This tiny cupola was not a "flight deck," all indirect lighting and softly chiming "systems," triply redundant captains murmuring their checklist incantations. This was one man stuck about as far out on the bowsprit of his ark as he could be without having his toes in the wind.

-- Stephan Wilkinson, ‘Flying’ magazine, 50th Anniversary Issue, September 1977.

Nobody who gets too damned relaxed builds up much flying time.

-- Ernest K. Gann, describing advice from ‘a very old pelican of an aviator,’ ‘The Black Watch,’ 1989.

It’s when things are going just right that you’d better be suspicious. There you are, fat as can be. The whole world is yours and you’re the answer to the Wright brothers’ prayers. You say to yourself, nothing can go wrong ... all my trespasses are forgiven. Best you not believe it.

-- Ernest K. Gann, describing advice from ‘a very old pelican of an aviator,’ ‘The Black Watch,’ 1989.

The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It’s the one you can’t train for that kills you.

-- Ernest K. Gann, describing advice from ‘a very old pelican of an aviator,’ ‘The Black Watch,’ 1989.

If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off.

-- Chuck Yeager.

Great pilots are made not born. . . . A man may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands, and perfect coordination, but the end result is only fashioned by steady coaching, much practice, and experience.

-- Air Vice-Marshal J. E. ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, RAF.

Harmony comes gradually to a pilot and his plane. The wing does not want so much to fly true as to tug at the hands that guide it; the ship would rather hunt the wind than lay her nose to the horizon far ahead. She has a derelict quality in her character; she toys with freedom and hints at liberation, but yields her own desires gently.

-- Beryl Markham, West With The Night,’ 1942.

There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

-- attributed to W.W. Windstaff, circa W.W.I.

Navigating by the compass in a sea of clouds over Spain is all very well, it is very dashing, but—you want to remember that below the sea of clouds lies eternity.

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

There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.

-- Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970.

There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm.

--Sign over squadron ops desk at Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, 1970.

 

Footer block

This site has had visitors to date.