Flyers and others, on flying...
I’ve had a ball
— Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager, describing his 30 year Air Force career.
Even before [we] . . . had reached 300 feet, I recognized that the sky would be my home. I tumbled out of the airplane with stars in my eyes.
— Geraldyn Cobb, regarding her first flight, piloted by her father when she was 12 years old.
The Wright Brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing. The airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together.
— Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft Corporation.
Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle.
— Igor Sikorsky
All my life, I’ve never been able to get enough airplanes.
-– Astronaut Robert ‘Hoot’ Gibson, commander of four Space Shuttle missions, 1996.
I might have been born in a hovel, but I determined to travel with the wind and the stars.
— Jackie Cochran
High spirits they had: gravity they flouted.
— Cecil Day Lewis
Ah hell. We had more fun in a week than those weenies had in a lifetime.
— Pancho Barnes, quoted in The Happy Bottom Riding Club – The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes, by Lauren Kesler.
Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires,
Man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.
— Alphonse de Lamertine, ‘L’Homme,’ addressed to Byron in 1819. The original French:
Borné dans sa nature, infini dans ses vocux,
L’homme est un dieu tombé qui se souvient des cieux.
Be like the bird in flight . . . pausing a while on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, yet sings knowing yet, that she has wings.
— Victor Hugo
The philosopher is Nature’s pilot. And there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.
— George Bernard Shaw
If I take the wings of the morning…
–Charles A. Lindbergh
The natural function of the wing is to soar upwards and carry that which is heavy up to the place where dwells the race of gods. More than any other thing that pertains to the body it partakes of the nature of the divine.
— Plato, Phaedrus.
Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.
When all the world is a hopeless jumble
and the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane.
When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
there’s a rainbow highway to be found,
Leading from your window pane.
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain.
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby,
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me,
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
away, above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow,
why oh why can’t I?
— lyrics from ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ as performed by Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ 1939 (pre-recorded 7 October 1938), music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg.
Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly.
— Batman costume warning label, Wal-Mart, 1995.
It’s the most exciting thing you have ever done with your pants on!
— Stephen Coonts, Flight of the Intruder
Flying is more than a sport and more than a job; flying is pure passion and desire, which fill a lifetime.
— General Adolf Galland, Luftwaffe, ‘The First and the Last,’ 1954.
Man’s mind and spirit grow with the space in which they are allowed to operate.
— Krafft A. Ehricke, rocket pioneer.
Flying has torn apart the relationship of space and time: it uses our old clock but with new yardsticks.
— Charles A. Lindbergh.
When he has throttled his engine and is banking into the airport, leaving the somber cloud masses behind, what pilot does not break into song?
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Night Flight, 1933.
The highest art form of all is a human being in control of himself and his airplane in flight, urging the spirit of a machine to match his own.
— Richard Bach, ‘A Gift Of Wings,’ 1974.
Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.
— Amelia Earhart
Flight is the only truly new sensation than men have achieved in modern history.
— James Dickey, ‘New York Times Book Review,’ 15 July 1979.
Any pilot can describe the mechanics of flying. What it can do for the spirit of man is beyond description.
— Barry M. Goldwater, US Senator.
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O grave! where is thy victory?
O death! where is thy sting?
— Alexander Pope, ‘The Dying Christian to his Soul.’
The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.
— Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter XXII, 1886.
My soul is in the sky.
— William Shakespeare, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ Act V. Scene I.