 The three most common expressions in aviation are: 

  • "Why is it doing that?" 
  • “'Where are we?" and
  • “Shit!"

 Progress in airline flying: now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.

 Airspeed, altitude or brains: two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.

 I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous.

 We have a perfect record in aviation: we never left one up there!

 "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 on Kadena AB Okinawa)

 You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3. (Paul F Crickmore)

 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 to experience all three at the same time. (Unknown)

 If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter and unsafe.

 Federal Aviation Regulations are written by lawyers to promote violations and lawsuits.

 Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries.

 Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it.

 An accident investigation attempts to place blame on the hapless for brief lapses.

 To err is human; to forgive divine; and neither is FAA policy.

 When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten. (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 1920s)

 If you can't afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong. (Charlie Nelson)

 I hope you either take up parachute jumping or stay out of single-motored airplanes at night. (Charles A. Lindbergh to Wiley Post, 1931)

 Never fly the 'A' model of anything. (Ed Thompson)

 When a prang seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity, as slowly and gently as possible. (Advice given to RAF pilots during WWII)

 The Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot)

 A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. (Jon McBride, astronaut)

 Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you. (Richard Herman Jr., 'Firebreak')

 It only takes two things to fly: - airspeed and money.

 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.

 It's better to break ground and head into the wind than to break wind and head into the ground.

 Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.

 If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's 'about to.

 "I give that landing a 9 … on the Richter scale.”

 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.



There I was, at 30,000 feet, hanging by my throat mike … Nah, I was cruising along at about 500 feet in an SNJ, BuNo 51863, in mid-September 1949. This was one of those birds equipped with a tail hook, and I was trying to get my sixth landing on the U.S.S. Cabot, out in the Caribbean just south of Pensacola. So far, things had gone rather smoothly ... no glitches, no mistakes ... and I had already made five landings with no problems. All I needed was just one more and then I'd soon be on my way to Advanced at Corpus. Actually, I was going downwind approaching the 180 posit, abeam of the Cabot. Gear down, flaps set, ready to start my turn to port. 

I glanced out of the cockpit to see if all was proceeding properly, and saw an SNJ waiting for the take-off signal... there was a new pilot who had just strapped in ... and another SNJ on final, hoping the bird on deck would start up and clear the deck for his landing. The LSO was giving him all the necessary signals to keep on coming. Finally, the bird on final got his signal from the LSO, but the signal was a CUT, not a Wave off... a CUT! Well, as we all know, when you're in the slot and you get a cut, you take a CUT … not a Wave off. So the pilot took a cut … and landed precisely on top of the SNJ that was already sitting there. Yukk!

To this day, I don't know exactly what had happened or whose fault it was, but I'm sure the LSO had a lot of ex­plaining to do. But fortunately the plane taking the cut came down with his propeller chewing up the plane on deck right up through the rear cockpit. It missed the new pilot in the on-deck SNJ by only a few feet.

I kept on coming around and got a wave off (Thank God!), and very shortly we all got a signal over the radio to DOG. So the other three or four planes in the pattern cleaned up, climbed up to about 2,000 feet and circled slowly, waiting for something to happen. I was thinking that there were probably some injuries, maybe even a fatality, and that we'd be shutting down soon. But, strangely enough, after about a half an hour we got the signal to re-enter the pattern and continue landings.

So, I made another pass, got my cut, caught a wire, and fin­ished Basic Training. I took some photos which I still have somewhere around the house, but can't find them after over 50 years. I did go on to Corpus and got my wings in Janu­ary 1950. Stayed in service and finally retired in 1969, with no other hair-raising experiences. But I'll never forget that on-deck collision!

Pensacola Preflight Class 14-48