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If you know the original source of any of these phrases please email me with details.
Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
Truly 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.
Flying is hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of stark terror.
Fly it until the last piece stops moving.
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 overgross but it sure won't fly without fuel.
Believe your instruments.
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 we are what we eat, then some pilots should eat more chicken.
I'd rather be a chicken than a turkey.
Without fuel, pilots become pedestrians.
Regards engine power: Lots is good, more is better, and too much is just enough.
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 checkride ought to be like a skirt, short enough to be interesting but still be long enough to cover everything.
Standard checklist philosophy requires that pilots read to each other the actions they perform every flight, and recite from memory those they need every three years.
Experience is the knowledge that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
(The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911)
There are some flight instructors where the student is important, and there are some instructors where the instructor is important. Pick carefully.
Speed is life, altitude is life insurance.
No one has ever collided with the sky.
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than to be up there wishing you were down here.
One peek is worth a thousand instrument cross-checks.
Experience is a hard teacher. First comes the test, then the lesson.
Always remember you fly an airplane with your head, not your hands.
Never let an airplane take you somewhere you brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.
If it's red or dusty don't touch it.
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.
To go up, pull the stick back. To go down, pull the stick back harder.
Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go.
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.
Definition of 'pilot': The first one to arrive at the scene of an aircraft accident.
The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.
There are two types of tailwheel (or retractable gear) pilot, those who have ground-looped (landed gear up) and those that will.
If you've got time to spare, go by air.
IFR: I Follow Roads.
You know you've landed with the wheels up when it takes full power to taxi.
If you don't gear up your brain before takeoff, you'll probably gear up your airplane on landing.
Navy carrier pilots regards Air Force pilots:
Air Force pilots regards Navy carrier pilots:
Navy pilots regards Air Force formation flying skills:
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good shit. A night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time.
A kill is a kill.
He who sees first, lives longest.
Fighter pilots make movies, attack pilots make history.
In thrust I trust.
Jet noise: The sound of freedom.
I had a fighter pilot’s breakfast - two aspirin, a cup of coffee and a puke.
Those who hoot with the owls by night, should not fly with the eagles by day.
Fly with the eagles, or scratch with the chickens.
It only takes two things to fly, airspeed and money.
Forget all that stuff about thrust and drag, lift and gravity, an airplane flies because of money.
Do you see that propeller? Well, everything behind it revolves around money.
The similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
Women! Can't live with 'em … can't lock 'em in the hangar.
The difference between a duck and a co-pilot?
I'm from the FAA, and I'm here to help.
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.
Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.
Chopper pilots get it up quicker.
Flying helicopters is like masturbation, you enjoy it while it's happening but you're kind of embarrassed when your done.
Helicopters don’t fly, they just vibrate against the earth and the earth rejects them into the air.
Helicopters are for people who want to fly but don't want to go anywhere.
A four-time loser: the fellow who went to Texas A&M, joined the Marines, flew helicopters, and was hired by Braniff.
It's better to break ground and head into the wind than to break wind and head into the ground.
The owner's guide that comes with a $500 refrigerator makes more sense than the one that comes with a $50 million airliner.
If it doesn't work, rename it. If that doesn't help, the new name isn't long enough.
Federal Aviation Regulations are worded either by the most stupid lawyers in Washington, or the most brilliant.
Flying is not Nintendo. You don't push a button and start over.
The seven P's:
The future in aviation is the next 30 seconds. Long term planning is an hour and a half.
Life is lead points and habit patterns.
Gravity: killer of young adults.
I'm not speeding officer — I'm just flying low.
The only thing that scares me about flying is the drive to the airport.
Young man, was that a landing or were we shot down?
Sorry folks for the hard landing. It wasn't the pilot's fault, and it wasn't the plane's fault. It was the asphalt.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
Three things kill young pilots in Alaska - weather, weather, and weather.
Please don't tell Mum I'm a pilot, she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.
Pilots believe in clean living. They never drink whiskey from a dirty glass.
Never ask a man if he is a fighter pilot. If he is, he'll let you know. If he isn't, don't embarrass him.
FAA Regulations forbid drinking within 8 feet of the aircraft and smoking within 50 hours of flight. Or is it the other way around?
'Please see me at once' memos from the Chief Pilot are distributed on Fridays after office hours.
Fly low and slow and don't tip on the turns.
There are no new ways to crash airplanes.
An accident investigation hearing is conducted by non-flying experts who need six months to itemize all the mistakes made by a crew in the six minutes it has to do anything.
Things which do you no good in aviation:
It is far better to arrive late in this world than early in the next.
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 empty the bag of luck.
The more traffic at an airport, the better it is handled.
If man were meant to fly, God would have given him baggy, Nomex skin.
If God had wanted the army to fly, he would have made the sky brown.
If God meant man to fly, He'd have given us bigger wallets.
If God had meant for men to fly he would have made their bones hollow and not their heads.
What's the difference between God and pilots? God doesn't think he's a pilot.
Will Rogers never met a fighter pilot.
To err is human, to forgive is divine; neither of which is Air Force policy.
Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.
You can land anywhere once.
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.
Crime wouldn't pay if the FAA took it over and would go bankrupt if an airline management did.
I want to die like my grandfather did, peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.
Trust your captain …. but keep your seatbelt securely fastened.
An airplane may disappoint a good pilot, but it won't surprise him.
Winds aloft reports are of incomparable value - to historians.
Any pilot who relies on a terminal forecast can be sold the Brooklyn (or London) Bridge. If he relies on winds-aloft reports he can be sold Niagara Falls (or The Tower of London).
The difference between flight attendants and jet engines is that the engine usually quits whining when it gets to the gate.
The friendliest stewardesses are those on the trip home.
Out on the line, all the girls are looking for husbands and all the husbands are looking for girls.
The most nerve-wracking of airline duties: the flight engineer's job on a proving run flown by two chief pilots.
Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.
Being an airline pilot would be great if you didn't have to go on all those trips.
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?
Remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous?
If it flies, floats, or fucks; it's always cheaper to rent than to buy.
Renting airplanes is like renting sex: It's difficult to arrange on short notice on Saturday, the fun things always cost more, and someone's always looking at their watch.
Jet and piston engines work on the same principle: Suck, squeeze, bang, blow.
Modern air travel would be very enjoyable … if I could only learn to enjoy boredom, discomfort and fatigue.
You can always depend on twin engine aircraft. When the first engine quits the second will surely fly you to the scene of an accident.
The real value of twin engine aircraft is it will double your chances of engine failure.
CAUTION: Aviation may be hazardous to your wealth.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it; if it ain't fixed, don't fly it.
A mechanics favorite: It's not a leak, its a seep.
And another: If it won't budge force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
If it’s ugly, it’s British; if it’s weird, it’s French; and if it’s ugly and weird, it’s Russian.
The worst day of flying still beats the best day of real work.
A male pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he's flying, and about flying when he's with a woman.
About aerobatics: It's like having sex and being in a car wreck at the same time.
New FAA motto: We're not happy, till you're not happy.
A grease-job landing is 50 percent luck; two in a row are entirely luck; three in a row and someone's lying.
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.
First, listen to the question the student asked, then listen to the question he didn't ask and then figure out the question he really meant to ask.
Airspeed, altitude, or brains; you always need at least two.
A groundschool instructor understands piloting the way an astronomer understands the stars.
Every groundschool class includes one ass who, at 5 minutes before 5, asks a question requiring a 20-minute explanation.
Gravity, it's not just a good idea, it's the law.
The Law of Gravity is not a general rule.
You can only tie the record for flying low.
Flying at night is the same as flying in the day, except you can't see.
It at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving.
Is that a fuel cup in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
It is easier to cope with a single in-flight problem than a series of minor ones. Real trouble must be swallowed in small doses.
It's no wonder England serves beer warm, Lucas manufactures most of their refrigeration equipment.
It is said that two wrongs do not make a right, but two wrights do make an aeroplane.
When starting an aviation career it is not unusual to be overwhelmed, terrified, suffer from lack of confidence and be just plain scared. As experience grows, self confidence replaces fear … but after a time, when you think you have seen it all, you realize your initial reactions to flying were correct.
Passengers prefer old captains and young flight attendants.
A captain with little confidence in his crew usually has little in himself.
The only soul more pitiful than a captain who cannot make up his mind is the copilot who has to fly with him.
The sharpest captains are the easiest to work with.
The only thing worse than a captain who never flew as copilot is a copilot who once was a captain.
Be nice to your first officer, he may be your captain at your next airline.
A copilot is a knothead until he spots opposite direction traffic at 12 o'clock, after which he's a goof-off for not seeing it sooner.
A captain is two flight engineers sewn together.
Everything in the company manual - policy, warnings, instructions, the works - can be summed up to read, 'Captain it's your baby.'
Nothing is more optimistic than a dispatcher's estimated time of departure.
Clocks lie; an 18-hour layover passes much quicker that an 8-hour day.
Any pilot who does not privately consider himself the best in the game is in the wrong game.
As a pilot only two bad things can happen to you and one of them will be:
It is always better to have C sub "t" greater than C sub "d". Or more plainly, thrust should exceed drag.
Definition of a Goonie Bird pilot: A man with an interest in aviation but a basic fear of flying.
For those who don't care, fly military air.
Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.
Unofficial grading standards for low level navigation:
Jets airplanes are just an expensive way of changing JP-4 into noise.
It's best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.
Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.
If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.
The average pilot, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.
Gravity is bullshit: The Earth sucks.
It's better to die than to look bad, but it is possible to do both.
Death is a small price to pay for looking shit hot.
Work hard, fly hard, play hard, and stay hard.
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
Helicopters are really a bunch of parts flying in relatively close formation; all rotating around a different axis. Things work well until one of the parts breaks formation.
Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac helicopter, even if this is technically a form of flying.
If God had intended man to fly he would have given him enough money for a Bonanza.
If God had wanted me to fly, he would have made me flush riveted.
Two of the most dangerous things in the world are a South Georgia pulpwood truck, and a doctor in a split tail bonanza.
The three most dangerous things in aviation are a doctor in a Bonanza, two captains in a DC-9, and a flight attendant with a chipped tooth.
What do you call a pregnant flight attendant? Pilot error.
Son, you let a stew ride your lap, next thing you know she'll want to talk on the radio. Then she'll want to land the plane. Give a woman an inch, she'll want the whole twelve. Thank God.
Nothing flies without fuel,
One of the beautiful things about a single piloted aircraft is the quality of the social experience.
We are from the FAA and we are here to help you — and every thing you say will and can be used against you in a court of law.
What separates flight attendants from the lowest form of life on earth? The cockpit door.
The three most common phrases in airline aviation are "Was that for us?" "What'd he say?" and "Oh Shit!" Since computers are now involved in flying, a new one has been added: "What's it doing now?"
If an earthquake suddenly opened a fissure in a runway that caused an accident, the NTSB would find a way to blame in on pilot error.
Tell someone you work for another airline and he'll tell you how much better yours is.
The most sensitive mechanism in modern aviation is the shower control in a layover hotel.
If flying were the language of man, soaring would be its poetry.
You only need a glass ship to make up for the wooden pilot.
Gliding is to power flying as seduction is to rape.
Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwinds.
Any comment about how well things are going is an absolute guarantee of trouble.
A terminal forecast is a horoscope with numbers.
A thunderstorm is never as bad on the inside as it appears on the outside. It's worse.
Below 20, boys are too rash for flying; above 25, they are too prudent.
Son, I was flying airplanes for a living when you were still in liquid form.
I give that landing a 9 … on the Richtor scale.
Most airline food tastes like warmed-over chicken because that's what it is.
I hate to wake up and find my co-pilot asleep.
Everything is accomplished through teamwork until something goes wrong, then one pilot gets all the blame.
In a world in which we are all slaves to the laws of gravity, I'm proud to be counted as one of them freedom fighters. Skydive!
If it ain't Boeing — I ain't going.
Let's make a 360 and get the hell out of here!?!
Don't trust nobody and don't do nothing dumb.
One who flies with fear encourages fate.
It's easy to make a small fortune in aviation. You start with a large fortune.
If it doesn't work, rename it; if that doesn't help, the new name isn't long enough.
Pilots are just plane people with a special air about them.
There I was at forty thousand feet when the autopilot jumped out with the only parachute on board and left me with nothing but a silk worm and a sewing kit.
There I was at 15,000 feet with nothing on the clock but the maker's name - and that was on the back and peeling.
There I was, fog was so thick I couldn't see the instruments. Only way I knew I was Inverted was my flying medals were in my eyes. But I knew I was really in trouble when the tower called me and told me to climb and maintain field elevation.
The RF-4E Phantom - living proof that if you put enough engine on something … even a brick could fly.
When the last Blackhawk helicopter goes to the boneyard, it will be on a sling under a Huey.
Flying helicopters is like masturbating. It feels good while you’re doing it, but you’re ashamed to tell anyone afterwards.
The three biggest lies in Army aviation:
If you don't know who the world's greatest fighter pilot is… It ain't you.
Better to be on the ground wishing to be in the air than in the air wishing to be on the ground.
Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.
Don't forget to keep the blue side up.
When you're sitting in the rubber raft looking up where your airplane used to be, it's too late to check the flight plan
A fool and his money are soon flying more airplane than he can handle.
Aviation has created many millionaires, primarily from the ranks of multi-millionaires.
Some pilots will make an emergency out of a bad magneto check. Others, upon losing a wing, will ask for a lower altitude.
What's the difference between a first officer and a
Definition of a complex airplane: landing a taildragger on pavement with a 20 knot quartering crosswind.
When a forecaster talks about yesterday's weather, he's an historian; when he talks about tomorrow's, he's reading tea leaves.
The main thing is to take care of the main thing.
Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it.
A thunderstorm is nature's way of saying, "Up yours."
Learning a little about flying is like leading a tiger by the tail — the end does not justify his means.
In the aviation business, you can't something for nothing. But if you aren't careful, you'll get nothing for something.
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.
Fuel in the tanks is limited. Gravity is forever.
Never trust a fuel gauge.
Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.
Takeoff's are optional. Landings are mandatory.
Work hard, fly hard, play hard, and stay hard.
Son, if you're trying to impress me with your flying, relax. Most of the time I can't even impress myself.
Flight Instructor Favorites
Why an Airplane is Better Than a Woman (or a Man).
The Greatest Lies in Aviation
Food for Thought
In days gone by, I’ve proved my worth
The clouds may float across the sky,
Here's to the wine,
Bite into my wing and don't say anything but '2,' 'bingo,' and 'Lead, you're on fire.'
— Briefing to a novice USAF wingman: stay close, acknowledge channel changes, tell me when you're out of gas and let me know if there is something wrong with my aircraft. Otherwise, shut up.
Son, your wife's legs have more time in the air than you do.
— welcome to a new co-pilot from an old captain.
Son, I've got more time sitting on the lav in this airliner than you have total time.
— welcome to a new co-pilot from an old captain. Also heard as "I've got more time in the flare … " and "I've got more time in the bunk …"
Lieutenant, the missiles I've fired have more flight time than you do.
— welcome to the squadron, nugget
Throttle back son, you're not going to make the boat go any faster.
— Air Bosses on aircraft carriers to flight students on initial carrier qualifications who stay at maximum power after they have been jerked to a stop by the arresting gear.
You've got to land here son, this is where the food is.
— Unknown landing signal officer to carrier pilot after his 6th unsuccessful landing.
Tower, <a/c call sign>, three in the breeze, over the trees, last hop for a full stop.
— Phrase U.S. Navy student pilots in Pensacola could say on their last hop - if they said it without messing up they'd get an 'above' rating on radio comms.
I ran out of altitude, airspeed and ideas all at the same time.
— When asked why he ejected. Attributed to Tony Lavier, Chuck Yeager, and just about every other well-known test pilot.