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The 100 Best Aviation Quotes to Inspire Your Aviation Journey

53.3k views | By Senne Vandenputte | Last updated on June 27, 2022

Aviation is one of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring aspects of life. There are few things in life that can match the sense of wonder one feels when flying through the sky.

It’s about finding beauty in unexpected places and enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Aviation is also a field that has been immortalized in poetry for centuries, painting pictures of the beauty and majesty of flight. Many of these poems have become aviation quotes that inspire people to pursue their dreams.

The 100+ Best Aviation Quotes to Inspire Your Aviation Journey

In aviation’s intriguing history, there have been many people who have shaped the industry with their words and deeds. People we as pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and aviation fans can learn from. Some of the most inspirational aviation quotes come from some of the most influential people in history. Some world-famous, others not so much.

But one thing is for sure: to this day, those pioneers and their quotes still offer plenty of motivational value to help you achieve your flying or personal goals in 2022.

Whether you’re a pilot or just someone who loves flying and aviation, these 100+ quotes will speak to your soul. So read on and let yourself be inspired!

The 100 Best Aviation Quotes of All Times

1. “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

This might be one of the most well-known aviation quotes there are. It’s contributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s still not 100% certain this is a genuine Da Vinci quote, according to Dave English:

“This must be the most famous aviation quote that is not a verifiable quote. It is attributed everywhere (including some Smithsonian publications and the Washington Post) to Leonardo da Vinci, but I’ve never found definitive source information. Neither did some nice folks I talked with at ‘National Geographic Magazine,’ who contacted one of the world’s leading Leonardo authorities in Italy as part of a long research process and were told that Leonardo da Vinci did not write it.”

2. “The Wright brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing.” – Tom Wolfe

3. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that aircraft take off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

4. “The airplane stays up because it doesn’t have the time to fall.” – Orville Wright

5. “The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who…looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space…on the infinite highway of the air.” – Wilbur Wright

6. “There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” – Orson Welles

7. “The airplane is the closest thing to real magic that we have.” – Charles Lindbergh

8. “The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul.” – Anonymous

In your flight training and career, you will make a lot of bad landings. Don’t pray you won’t, you just will. However, there is one general rule that applies to every landing:

9. “If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you can use the aircraft the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.” – Chuck Yeager

10. “If you’re ever faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible.” – Bob Hoover

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11. “Flying is the second best thrill to cheering; it’s like lead without the pencil.” – George Lucas

12. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Anonymous

13. “There’s no such thing as a routine flight.” – Chesley B. Sullenberger

14. “Until you spread your wings, you have no idea how far you’ll fly.” – Anonymous

If you don’t try, you will never know what you are capable of achieving. Go for it, the least you could do is try it. Fail a few times, fall down every now and then, but get up on your feet again, take the controls and fly like you’ve never flown before (in a positive way that is).

15. “A pilot who says he has never been frightened in an airplane is, I’m afraid, lying.” – Louise Thaden

16. “The pilot who teaches himself has a fool for a student.” – Anonymous

17. “Try to learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Anonymous

Think you were not born to become a pilot? You might be wrong. Great pilots are made, not born:

18. “Great pilots are made not born… A man may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands, and perfect coordination, but the end result is only fashioned by steady coaching, much practice, and experience.” – Anonymous

19. “Don’t be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” – Anonymous

20. “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.” – Anonymous

21. “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

22. “The airplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

23. “And let’s get one thing straight. There’s a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight.” – Elrey Borge Jeppesen

24. “If you’re ever faced with a forced landing at night, turn on the landing lights to see the landing area. If you don’t like what you see, turn’ em back off.” – Anonymous

25. “There are three qualities which are essential to a pilot: imagination, courage and physical fitness. If he lacks one of these, he is worthless.” – Erroll Boyd

26. “There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – Anonymous

27. “Flying is hours and hours of boredom sprinkled with a few seconds of sheer terror.” – Anonymous

28. “If God meant man to fly, He would have given us more money.” – Anonymous

29. “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.” – Anonymous

30. “In flying, you need at least two of these three to stay alive: altitude, speed or brains.” – Anonymous

31. “If an airplane is still in one piece, don’t cheat on it; ride the bastard down.” – Ernest K. Gann, author & aviator

32. “You can be a pilot without an airplane, but you cannot fly an airplane without a pilot.” – Anonymous

Although one may argue that point in 2022, with the increased popularity of UAVs.

33. “It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.” – Anonymous

34. “Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man… Landing is the first” – Anonymous

35. “I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport.” – Amy Johnson

36. “The good thing about flying solo is it’s never boring.” – Steve Fossett

37. “More than anything else, the sensation of flying is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost. If you can conceive of such a combination.” – Wilbur Wright

38. “Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?” – Amelia Earhart

39. “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

40. “There is no way to become a perfect pilot; it’s just a matter of survival until you get there.” – Chuck Yeager

41. “Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential explorer; in his or her breast burns the same fire that urged adventurers of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign lands.” – Jean Batten

42. “Sometimes you have to go up really high to see how small you are.” – Felix Baumgartner

43. “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

44. “Flying might not be all smooth sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.” – Amelia Earhart

45. “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.” – Admiral William Harris, USN

46. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Pepper

47. “If you want to be a pilot, it’s not just about flying the airplane, it is living the life.” – Chesley B. Sullenberger

48. “In soloing – as in other activities – it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.” – Amelia Earhart

49. “You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.” – Amelia Earhart

45. “If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.” – Toni Morrison

51. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

52. ” There is no greater thrill than to be up in the air and know that you have done it yourself.” – Wilbur Wright

53. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

54. “We all live in the air, but we don’t all know it.” – Pina Colada

55. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

56. “The journey, not the destination matters.” – T.S. Eliot

57. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown

58. “To Infinity and Beyond!” – Buzz Lightyear

59. “Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” – Douglas Adams

60. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

61. “It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.” – Anonymous

62. “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” – Anonymous

63. “The sky is not the limit. There are footprints on the moon.” – Anonymous

64. “Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen.” – Anonymous

65. Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground who can’t do anything about it.” – Anonymous

66. “In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks.” – Wilbur Wright

67. “If you want to become a better pilot, fly with someone who is better than you are.” – Anonymous

68. “There is no such thing as a natural-born pilot.” – Chenghiz Khan

69. “Pilots take no special joy in walking: pilots like flying.” – Neil Armstrong

70. “The time to worry is when there is nothing left to worry about.” – Chesley B. Sullenberger

71. “You know you’ve landed with the wheels up when it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.” – Robert A. Heinlein

72. “There is no failing in flying, only lessons for the next flight.” – Anonymous

73. “Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.” – Anonymous

74. “Of all the things that could go wrong, going wrong is what we worry about most.” – Anonymous

75. “The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.” – Anonymous

76. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

77. “The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It’s the one you can’t train for that kills you.” – Ernest K. Gann

78. “In flying, the probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.” – Neil Armstrong

79. “Never quit. Never give up. Fly it to the end.” – Chuck Aaron

80. “Flight is romance – not in the sense of sexual attraction, but as an experience that enriches life.” – Stephen Coonts

81. “The engine is the heart of an aeroplane, but the pilot is its soul.” – Walter Alexander Raleigh

82. “I’ve never known an industry that can get into people’s blood the way aviation does.” – Robert Six

83. “Why fly? Simple. I’m not happy unless there’s some room between me and the ground.” ~ Richard Bach

84. “Mistakes are inevitable in aviation, especially when one is still learning new things. The trick is to not make the mistake that will kill you.” ~ Stephen Coonts

85. “Once you have learned to fly your plane, it is far less fatiguing to fly than it is to drive a car. You don’t have to watch every second for cats, dogs, children, lights, road signs, ladies with baby carriages and citizens who drive out in the middle of the block against the lights. . . . Nobody who has not been up in the sky on a glorious morning can possibly imagine the way a pilot feels in free heaven.” ~ William T. Piper

86. “Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

87. “It’s the most exciting thing you have ever done with your pants on!” ~ Stephen Coonts”

88. “The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I’d rather fly.” ~ Len Morgan

89. “It is hard enough for anyone to map out a course of action and stick to it, particularly in the face of the desires of one’s friends; but it is doubly hard for an aviator to stay on the ground waiting for just the right moment to go into the air.” ~ Glenn Curtiss

90. “Never fly anything that doesn’t have the paint worn off the rudder Pedals.” ~ Bill Harry

91. “The quality of the box matters little. Success depends upon the man who sits in it.” ~ Manfred von Richthofen

92. “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.” – Socrates

93. “I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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94. ” Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” – Edward Rickenbacker

95. “Pilots are a rare kind of human. They leave the ordinary surface of the word, to purify their soul in the sky, and they come down to earth, only after receiving the communion of the infinite.” – Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra

96. “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.” – Anonymous

97. “The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.” – Al McGuire

98. “You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.” – Paul F. Crickmore

99. “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.” – Anonymous

100.  “A fool and his money are soon flying more aircraft than he can handle.” – Anonymous

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