Great Aviation Quotes: Quotable Flyer: Pilot and Flying Quotations
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and welcome to my collection of man's great thoughts on flying, airplanes, and being a pilot. The quotations are loosely arranged into broad topics for browsing, there's a search function for querying the entire aviation quote database, plus there's a facebook page and a twitter feed for updates and conversation.

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|  The Magic and Wonder of Flight  |

|  Airports  |  Air Power  |  Balloons  |  Birds  |  Bums On Seats  |  Combat  |  Clichés  |

|  First Flights  |  High Flight  |  Humor  |  Last Words  |  Lots of Miscellaneous  |  ORD ATC  |

|  Piloting  |  Poetry  |  Predictions  |  Safety  |  Skydive  |  Space  |  Women Fly  |  9-11  |

Search my aerospace quotation database:  

"Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn't know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform. That's all anyone cares about when you're up there - that you can do your job, and that you do it exceptionally well."

— Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group deputy commander, on being the first female to fly the F-35. Story in, 6 May 2015.

It’s congenital really. We’re an aspiring species that doesn’t have wings. What else would we dream of?"

— Mark Vanhoenacker, British Airways B747 pilot and aviation author, on dreams of flight. Story in Financial Times newspaper, 17 April 2015.

"Nobody ever thought about having to protect the passengers from the pilots."

— David Neeleman, 19 March 2014. Yes, the date is right. 2014. Over a year before the Germanwings 9525. Article in Popular Mechanics magazine.

"For God’s sake, open the door!"

— Captain Patrick Sondheimer, Germanwings 9525, 10:32 local time, 24 March 2015.

"Oh the Bluemanity"

— JetBlue Airways tweet. They apparently didn't notice the newest name of one of their A320's also references one of the most horrific US commercial aviation accidents. "We apologize. The post was not well thought-out and has been removed." 26 February 2015.

"Some of our freighter companies are asking us for [single pilot airliners]. We are quite confident, technologically, that the toolkit is filled. With respect to commercial airplanes, there is no doubt in our minds that we can solve the problem of autonomous flight."

— John Tracy, Chief Technology Officer, Boeing. Article in Air Transport World, March 2015.

"I have seen the curvature of the earth. I have seen sights most people will never see. Flying at more than 70,000 feet is really beautiful and peaceful. I enjoy the quiet, hearing myself breathing, and the hum of the engine. I never take it for granted."

— Lt. Col. Merryl Tengesda, first African-American female to pilot the U-2. Article in Good Black News, 18 February 2015.

"I hate sailing."

— Troy Bradley, first words upon landing in the sea just off Mexico after crossing the Pacific from Japan in a balloon, smashing the all-time balloon distance and endurance records. Reported by The Guardian newspaper, 31 January 2015.

"We don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all."

— President Obama, commenting on the state of FAA regulations regards drones, UAVs and model flying airplanes. Interview with CNN following a drone flown by a drunk crash landing on the White House lawn. 27 January 2015.

Hangover cure: Rigorous sex, hydration, hot bath, then "go up for half an hour in an open aeroplane. (needless to say, with a non-hungover person at the controls)."

— Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking – The Distilled Kingsley Amis. 2008.

"Clearly this was an out of the ordinary landing, but I was just doing my job and any one of our pilots would have taken the same actions."

— Captain David Williams, Virgin Atlantic flight 43. He safely landed his B747 at London Gatwick with 447 people on board with no starboard outer main landing gear. BBC News, 31 December 2014.


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"Feathers shall raise men even as they do birds towards heaven :— That is by letters written with their quills."

— Leonardo da Vinci, English translation by Edward McCurdy, Leonardo Da Vunci's Note-books.

"Thousands of volumes have been written about aviation, but we do not automatically have thousands of true and special friends in their authors. That rare writer who comes alive on a page does it by giving of himself, by writing of meanings, and not just of fact or of things that have happened to him. The writers of flight who have done this are usually found together in a special section on private bookshelves."

— Richard Bach, 'The Pleasure of Their Company,' in Flying magazine, April 1968.

"Or like a poet woo the Moon,
Riding an armchair for my steed,
And with a flashing pen harpoon
Terrific metaphors of speed."

— Roy Campbell, The Festivals of Flight, 1930.

"It isn't often that a writer of superlative skills knows enough about flying to write well about it."

— Samuel Hynes, 'A Teller of Tales Tells His Own,' in the New York Times, 7 September 1997.

The object here is to capture man's first-hand experiences with flight in all its forms, to collect flying quotes, aviation and space quotations and sayings. It is the ultimate online quotable flyer. It is not 'under construction,' but it very much is a 'work in progress.' If you can supply dates or sources for existing quotes, or correct typos, or suggest further sources of information, or of course if you know of some aerospace, airline, or pilot quotes, please please send them in to me. I'm always happy to add new sections, and to correct mistakes. This collection is growing into something no one person could have created, a real product of the worldwide Internet community. You can contact me directly.

Now hear this: opinions expressed are considered to be those of the speaker. Flying quotes are as accurate as possible, but not more so. Corrections and additions are all welcome, but editorial rights reserved. Compiled by Dave English © All quote pages are Copyright 1996-2015 Dave English and covered under a legal agreement with McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. See my small print page for many more boring details.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

— This must be the most famous aviation quote that is not a verifiable quote. It is attributed everywhere (including some Smithsonian publications and the Washington Post newspaper) to Leonardo da Vinci, but I've never found definitive source information. Neither did some nice folks I talked with at National Geographic Magazine, who contacted one of the world's leading Leonardo authorities in Italy as part of a long research process and were told that Leonardo da Vinci did not write it. If you have uncovered any source information, please email me or post on the Facebook page.



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