Flying Rules

    Truisms of Flying
  • There are bold pilots, and there are old pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.
  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
  • If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.
  • It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.
  • 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.
  • Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.
  • Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to repeal.
  • The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, runway behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.
  • 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, even if this is technically a form of flying.
  • 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 Shit!"
  • Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.
  • Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!
  • Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.
  • 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.
  • It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.
  • Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.
  • A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. (Jon McBride, astronaut)
  • Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase head wind.
  • A thunderstorm is never as bad on the inside as it appears on the outside. It's worse.
  • A male pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he's flying, and about flying when he's with a woman.
  • You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.
  • We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?
  • When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the airplane, only then you can go flying.
  • Death is just nature's way of telling you to watch your airspeed.
  • Eagles may soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet air intakes
  • The FAA's motto: We're not happy until you're not happy.
  • Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers attached.
  • IFR: I Follow Roads . . . . or, I Follow Rivers . . . . or, I Follow Railroads
  • A check ride ought to be like a skirt.
    Short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover everything.
  • Speed is life. Altitude is life insurance.
  • Aircraft Identification:
    • If it's ugly, it's British.
    • If it's weird, it's French.
    • If it's ugly and weird, it's Russian.
  • The difference between flight attendants and jet engines: The engines usually quit whining when they get to the gate.
    About the Cost of Flight
  • If God had meant man to fly, he'd have given him lots more money.
  • A fool and his money are soon flying more aircraft than he can handle.
  • I know there's a lot of money in aviation because I put it there.
  • It's easy to make a small fortune in aviation. You just start off with a large fortune.
  • It only takes two things to fly: Airspeed and money.
    About the Take-off & Landing
  • Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you've made.
  • Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.
  • A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.
  • 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.
  • A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication.
  • 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)
  • You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.
  • 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.
  • I give that landing a 9 - on the Richter scale.
    The Act of Flying
  • Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.
  • 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.
  • When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.
  • 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 out in clouds.
  • The farther you fly over water, the louder the strange engine noises become.
  • Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.
    Talking to Air Traffic Control (ATC)
  • Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it.
  • 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.
  • "Unskilled" pilots are always found in the wreckage with their hand around the microphone.
  • Remember that the radio is only an electronic suggestion box for the pilot. Sometimes the only way to clear up a problem is to turn it off.
    Off we go!
  • Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.
  • Helicopters don't fly... they just beat the air into submission.
  • If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe
  • If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
  • Helicopters are for the rich... or the enlisted.
  • If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage / classic helicopter fly-ins?
  • 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.
  • Helicopter flight: A bunch of spare parts flying in close formation
  • Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go.
  • “The helicopter approaches closer than any other [vehicle] to fulfillment of mankind's ancient dreams of the flying horse and the magic carpet.” \A0Igor Sikorsky quote
    When things go wrong
  • 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.
  • Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.
  • The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.
  • In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.
  • While the rest of the crew may be in the same predicament, it's almost always the pilot's job to arrive at the crash site first.
  • The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
  • When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.
  • If black boxes survive air crashes, why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
  • The two most dangerous things in aviation:
    1. A Doctor or Dentist in a Cessna.
    2. Two captains in a DC-9.
    Over Water
  • Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries
  • The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot)
  • If an airplane is still in one piece, don't cheat on it; ride the bastard down. (Ernest K. Gann, author &aviator)
  • When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten.
  • Just remember, if you crash because of rainy weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day.
    Military Aviation
  • What's the difference between God and fighter pilots? God doesn't think he's a fighter pilot.
  • Advice given to RAF pilots during WWII: When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slow and gently as possible.
  • There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime. (Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970).
  • The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and, a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time. (Author unknown, but surely someone who's been there)
  • Navy carrier pilots to Air Force pilots: Flaring is like squatting to pee.
  • Blue water Navy truism: There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky. (From an old carrier sailor)
  • Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.
  • You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3. (Paul F. Crickmore -test pilot)
  • Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing. (sign over the entrance to the SR-71 operating location Kadena, Japan).
  • Unknown landing signal officer (LSO) to carrier pilot after his sixth unsuccessful landing attempt: "You've got to land here son . . . this is where the food is."
  Famous "Quantus" Mechanic's Guide
P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S = The solution logged by the mechanic.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
S: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on backorder.

P: Autopilot in "altitude-hold" mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for!

P: Transponder inoperative.
S: Transponder always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: The T/C ball seemed stuck in the middle during my last turn.
S: Congratulations! You've just made your first coordinated turn.

P: Suspected crack in windscreen.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed radar with words.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Radio switches stick
S: Peanut butter no longer served to flight crew

P: Screaming sound in cabin at start-up
S: Company accountant deplaned

P: Funny smell in cockpit
S: Pilot told to change cologne

P: Aircraft 2,400 lbs over max weight
S: Aircraft put on diet of 92 octane

P: #3 engine knocks at idle
S: #3 engine let in for a few beers

P: #3 engine runs like it's sick
S: #3 engine diagnosed with hangover

P: Brakes howl on application
S: Don't step on 'em so hard!

P: Radio sounds like a squealing pig
S: Removed pig from radio. BBQ behind hangar tomorrow

P: Whole aircraft smells like BBQ
S: Ground Checks OK

P: First class cabin floor has a squeak
S: Co-pilot told not to play with toddler toys in cabin anymore

P: Electrical governor is broke
S: Paid off governor's debt to Jimmy "The Fish" Galvano

Modified March 25 2024
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