Aviation Truths!

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Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee. --- Gunter's Second Law of Air Travel

The three worst things to hear in the cockpit: The second officer says, "Damn it!" The first officer says, "I have an idea!" The captain says, "Hey, watch this!"

"In the Alaska bush I'd rather have a two hour bladder and three hours of gas than vice versa." --- Kurt Wien

Lady, you want me to answer you if this old airplane is safe to fly? Just how in the world do you think it got to be this old?

"Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute." --- George Bernard Shaw

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage." --- Mark Russell

When asked why he was referred to as 'Ace: "Because during World War Two, I was responsible for the destruction of six aircraft, fortunately three were enemy." --- Captain Ray Lancaster, USAAF

If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage/classic helicopter fly-ins? --- Anonymous

Death is just nature's way of telling you to watch your airspeed. --- Anonymous

"I never liked riding in helicopters because there's a fair probability the bottom part will get going around as fast as the top part." --- Lt. Col. John Wittenborn, USAFR

"When it comes to testing new aircraft or determining maximum performance, pilots like to talk about "pushing the envelope." They're talking about a two dimensional model: the bottom is zero altitude, the ground; the left is zero speed; the top is max altitude; and the right, maximum velocity, of course. So, the pilots are pushing that upper-right-hand corner of the envelope. What everybody tries not to dwell on is that that's where the postage gets canceled, too." --- Admiral Rick Hunter, U.S. Navy.

"It only takes five years to go from rumor to standard operating procedure." --- Dick Markgraf

"Real planes use only a single stick to fly. This is why bulldozers and helicopters -- in that order -- need two." --- Paul Slattery

"I've flown every seat on this airplane, can someone tell me why the other two are always occupied by idiots?" --- Don Taylor

As a new copilot on an airliner, I was told to say these three things and to otherwise keep my mouth shut and not touch anything:

1. Clear on the right
2. Outer (marker) on the double (indicator)
3. I'll eat the chicken (Crew meals consisted of one steak and one chicken to avoid possible food poisoning of the cockpit crew).

As an aviator in flight you can do anything you want... As long as it's right... And we'll let you know if it's right after you get down.

You can't fly forever without getting killed.

As a pilot only two bad things can happen to you and one of them will:

a. One day you will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is your last flight in an airplane.

b. One day you will walk out to the airplane not knowing that it is your last flight in an airplane..

Any flight over water in a single engine airplane will absolutely guarantee abnormal engine noises and vibrations.

There are Rules and there are Laws. The rules are made by men who think that they know better how to fly your airplane than you. Laws (of Physics) were made by the Great One. You can, and sometimes should, suspend the

Rules but you can never suspend the Laws.

More about Rules:

a. The rules are a good place to hide if you don't have a better idea and the talent to execute it.

b. If you deviate from a rule, it must be a flawless performance. (e.g., If you fly under a bridge, don't hit the bridge.)

The pilot is the highest form of life on earth.

The ideal pilot is the perfect blend of discipline and aggressiveness.

About check rides:

a. The only real objective of a check ride is to complete it and get the bastard out of your airplane.

b. It has never occurred to any flight examiner that the examinee couldn't care less what the examiner's opinion of his flying ability really is.

The medical profession is the natural enemy of the aviation profession.

The job of the Wing Commander is to worry incessantly that his career depends solely on the abilities of his aviators to fly their airplanes without mishap and that their only minuscule contribution to the effort is to bet their lives on it.
Ever notice the only experts who decree the age of the pilot is over are people who have never flown anything? Also, in spite of the intensity of their feelings the pilot's day is over I know of no expert who has volunteered to be a passenger in a non-piloted aircraft.

It is absolutely imperative the pilot be unpredictable. Rebelliousness is very predictable. In the end, conforming almost all the time is the best way to be unpredictable. He who demands everything his aircraft can give him is a pilot; he that demands one iota more is a fool.

If you're gonna fly low, do not fly slow! ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) pilots know this only too well.

It is solely the pilot's responsibility to never let any other thing touch his aircraft.

If you can learn how to fly as an Ensign or a Second Lieutenant, and not forget how to fly by the time you're a Commander or Colonel, you will have lived a happy life.

Night flying:

a. Remember that the airplane doesn't know that it's dark.

b. On a clear, moonless night, never fly between the tanker's lights.

c. There are certain aircraft sounds that can only be heard at night.

d. If you're going to night fly, it might as well be in the weather so you can double count your exposure to both hazards.

e. Night formation is really an endless series of near misses in equilibrium with each other.

f. You would have to pay a lot of money at a lot of amusement parks and perhaps add a few drugs, to get the same blend of psychedelic sensations as a single engine night weather flight.

One of the most important skills a pilot must develop is the skill to ignore those things that were designed by non-pilots to get the pilot's attention.

At the end of the day, the controllers, operations supervisors, maintenance guys, weather guessers, and birds; they're all trying to kill you and your job is to not let them!

The concept of "controlling" airspace with radar is just a form of FAA sarcasm directed at pilots to see if they're gullible enough to swallow it. Or to put it another way, when's the last time the FAA ever shot anyone down?

Remember the radio is only an electronic suggestion for the pilot. Sometimes the only way to clear up a problem is to turn it off.

It is a tacit, yet profound admission of the preeminence of flying in the hierarchy of the human spirit, that those who seek to control aviators via threats always threaten to take one's wings and not one's life.

Remember when flying low and inverted that the rudder still works the same old way but hopefully your instructor pilot never taught you "pull stick back, plane go up".

Mastering the prohibited maneuvers in the Operations Manual is one of the best forms of aviation life insurance you can get.

A tactic done twice is a procedure. (Refer to unpredictability discussion above)

The aircraft G-limits are only there in case there is another flight by that particular airplane. If subsequent flights do not appear likely, there are no G-limits. That's the only thing I wish Airbus understood better. -- Tommy

One of the beautiful things about a single piloted aircraft is the quality of the social experience.

If a mother has the slightest suspicion that her infant might grow up to be a pilot, she had better teach him to put things back where he got them.

The ultimate responsibility of the pilot is to fulfill the dreams of the countless millions of earthbound ancestors who could only stare skyward ... and wish.

i love them, they're great!

Lady, you want me to answer you if this old airplane is safe to fly? Just how in the world do you think it got to be this old?

that one's supprisingly logical...........
LOL great stuff FBJ. I will add a few if you dont mind:

"The big fan on top of the helicopter are actually there to keep the pilots cool, if they stop turning you can actually see them start to sweat."

This is one that we use in the Army a lot about our pilots:

The 3 worst things to hear in the cockpit from the Crew Chiefs seat:

1. The IP saying "Hey watch this!"
2. The newley pinned Chief Warrant Officer 2 saying "Hey Ive got an Idea!"
3. The Leutenant saying "Based on my experience."
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
LOL great stuff FBJ. I will add a few if you dont mind:

"The big fan on top of the helicopter are actually there to keep the pilots cool, if they stop turning you can actually see them start to sweat."

This is one that we use in the Army a lot about our pilots:

The 3 worst things to hear in the cockpit from the Crew Chiefs seat:

1. The IP saying "Hey watch this!"
2. The newley pinned Chief Warrant Officer 2 saying "Hey Ive got an Idea!"
3. The Leutenant saying "Based on my experience."

Here are a few more that I found on the internet a while back:

Top Things You Don't Want to Overhear Over an Airline P.A. System
1. Ocean crossing flight: This is your Captain speaking, I just wanted to take this time to remind you that your seat cushions can be used as floatation devices.

2. Hey folks, we're going to play a little game of geography trivia. If you can recognize where we are, tell your flight attendant and receive an extra pack of peanuts.

3. Our loss of altitude allows a unique close up perspective of the local terrain. I assure you that it's all part of our airline's new commitment to make your a flight a sight seeing extravaganza.

4. Goose! Bogey at 2 o'clock....one on our tail!!!! Eject!!!! Eject!!!!!!!

5. Ummmmmm....Sorry......(silence)

6. (As the plane turns around right after takeoff)....uhhhhh....we have to go back ....we ..we ....uhhhhhh ....forgot something.....

7. I'm sure everyone noticed the loss of an engine, however the reduction in weight and drag will mean we'll be flying much more efficiently now.

8. Fasten your seat belt. (same tone your friend with the suicidal driving tendencies uses when you get in the car).

9. This is your Captain speaking....these stupid planes are a lot different than the ships I'm used to.. so you'll have to give me some leeway...

10. It would be a good idea if right now everyone closed their shades and watched the in-flight movie.

11. We've now reached our cruising altitude of 20,000 feet and ... Oh noooooooo!!!!!..

12. Don't worry! That one is always on E...

13. Get the parachutes ready...

14. Drinks are on me...

15. I'll have what the Captain's having...

16. Hey capt'n take another hit man...

Real flight announcements
Occasionally, airline attendants make an effort to make the "in-flight safety lecture" and their other announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane..."

Pilot - "Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land ... it's a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."

And, after landing: "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice comes over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced: "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as Hell everything has shifted."

From a Southwest Airlines employee.... "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt, and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

"As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

"Last one off the plane must clean it."

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry ...Unfortunately none of them are on this flight...!

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump and I know what ya'll are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendants' fault.....it was the asphalt!"

Another flight Attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the Flight Attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.

Part of a Flight Attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of us here at US Airways."

And finally the Murphys Law of Aviation:

Murphy's Law

1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight.

2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal.

3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it inevitably will be delayed.

4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world.

5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper.

6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two largest passengers.

7. Only passengers seated in window seats ever have to get up to go to the lavatory.

8. The crying baby on board your flight is always seated next to you.

9. The best-looking woman on your flight is never seated next to you.

10. The less carry-on luggage space available on an aircraft, the more carry-on luggage passengers will bring aboard.
At work a fair few years ago we had a guy go to China on business. Going for an internal flight a Trident was towed to the loading area. Then it was towed away. Over the Tannoy came the announcement that the plane was taken away as it was broken.
They then towed up an old IL14 but that was also towed away.
The Trident was brought back in and the tannoy announced that the second plane was broken and they had brought the first one back as it was less broken than the second one.

Believe it or not he actually got on it.
Basic law of flight:

An airplane will always land, it's only a matter about speed and angle of impact.

This was reported as true...

In the '50 an American Sabre pilot had to take a passenger flight while dressed in his combat suit, including parachute. To the other passenger who stared puzzled at him he said 'I already flew with this pilot and I know I can't trust him..'
A rule drumed into new pilots about going around if unsure about an approach before landing.
It's better to be late Mr Airman, than to be the Late, Mr Airman.

PS Doesn't work in a Glider, you just have to sort it out.

A Nanutical variation. I saw a Petty Officer giving a talk about watertight doors on a ship during an open day. He explained patiently that the ship was safe as the watertight doors would shut, and it could float with two compartments fully flooded. He was asked by a sailors mum, what if you were in the part being flooded. He just looked at the woman as if she was being very stupid and simply said 'your the wrong side of the door'.
Forgot one
When we were in Cyprus in 1974 we were evacuating civilians as Greece and Turkey were in effect at war over the island. An American was at the pick up point as as he got on the Wessex he asked me if the Helicopter was armed, I said no, at which point he looked a little worried. He then asked if it could carry guns and I replied that it could but we preferred not to. His look was saying why not, and I finished off by saying that they might shoot back and as I was such a bad shot we didn't want to provoke them. I am sure he still tells his friends how yellow these brits are.
It's a freakin' Wessex for gods sake ... plus, what was he worried about ...as if any of 'em would shoot at RAF aircraft ... they'd be slaughtered all over the place.

And Glider, I didn't know you were in Cyprus at the time. So was my dad!
Small world. We had just finished the aircraft handling part of our training and were shipped out to the Hermes as they didn't have enough to deal with the workload.
I may add that I was only 17 at the time and a very thin, pathetic, young looking 17 year old wearing geekish glasses, which probably didn't increase his confidence.

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