Wisdom of the Aviator

February 18th, 2011
  • 'Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death , I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing.'
  • 'You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3.'

    - Paul F. Crickmore (test pilot)

  • 'The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.'
  • '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.'

  • 'Even with ammunition, the USAF is 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 (famous last words), in aviation are:
    1. 'Why is it doing that?'
    2. 'Where are we?'

    3. 'Oh S...!'
  • 'Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.'
  • 'Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we've never left one up there!'
  • '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.'

    - Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot)

  • '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.'
  • 'You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.'
  • As the test pilot climbs out of the experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives; the rescuer sees a bloodied pilot and asks, 'What happened?'
    The pilot's reply: 'I don't know, I just got here myself!'

    - Attributed to Ray Crandell (Lockheed test pilot)

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