It is not necessarily impossible for human beings to fly, but it so happens that God did not give them the knowledge of how to do it. It follows, therefore, that anyone who claims that he can fly must have sought the aid of the devil. To attempt to fly is therefore sinful.
— Roger Bacon, thirteenth century Franciscan friar.
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
— Chinese proverb
As a piece of applied science the aeroplane has a place alongside the wheel, gunpowder, the printing press and the steam engine as one of the great levers of change in world history. The effect of aircraft on the way we live has been profound: they have shrunk the world, mingling previously isolated cultures, they have added a menacing dimension to warfare, spawned new technologies, created new economic zones and given us a toehold in Space.
— Ivan Rendall, first paragraph of the introduction, Reaching for the Skies, 1988.
Daddy, the plane turned into a boat.
— Sophia Sosa, a 4-year-old traveling with her family on US Airways flight 1549, after the A320 was forced to ditch into the Hudson River. Reported on 2 February 2009 by Time magazine, 15 January 2009
Does anyone on board know how to fly a plane?
— Elaine, speaking over the cabin speakers in the 1980 movie Airplane!
Four semesters of organic chemistry made a pilot out of me.
— Rick Perry, Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, explaining his student college record of C, D & F grades. He received a low-scoring degree in animal science, then joined the US Air Force becoming a C-130 pilot. Speech at Liberty University, 14 September 2011.
I came to admire this machine which could lift virtually any load strapped to its back and carry it anywhere in any weather, safely and dependably. The C-47 groaned, it protested, it rattled, it leaked oil, it ran hot, it ran cold, it ran rough, it staggered along on hot days and scared you half to death, its wings flexed and twisted in a horrifying manner, it sank back to earth with a great sigh of relief – but it flew and it flew and it flew.
— Len Morgan. The C-47 was the U.S. military designation for the DC-3.
… four other pieces of equipment that most senior officers came to regard as among the most vital to our success in Africa and Europe were the bulldozer, the jeep, the 2 — -ton truck, and the C-47 airplane. Curiously, none of these is designed for combat.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Admiralty said it was a plane and not a boat, the Royal Air Force said it was a boat and not a plane, the Army were plain not interested.
— Sir Christopher Cockerell, regards his invention the hovercraft.
Some fear flutter because they do not understand it. And some fear it because they do.
— Theodore von Karman, aerodynamicist.
We have no effective screening methods to make sure pilots are sane.
— Dr. Herbert Haynes, Federal Aviation Authority.
Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you. That jet thing is really good.
— Oprah Winfrey, speech to the graduating class at Duke University, 10 May 2009.
Charlie: “Excuse me Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?
Maverick: “Yes ma’am. The data on the MIG is inaccurate.
Charlie: “How’s that Lieutenant?
Maverick: “Well I just happened to see a MIG-28 do…
Goose: “We… we.
Maverick: “Sorry Goose We happened to see a MIG-28 do a 4G negative dive.
Charlie: “Where did you see this?
Maverick: “That’s classified.
Charlie: “That’s what?
Maverick: “That’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
— from the 1986 movie, ‘Top Gun.’
Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader’s mule, the radio is gone and we’re leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we’d need sleigh bells on this thing. But we got one little budge on those Russkies. At this height why they might harpoon us, but they dang sure ain’t gonna spot us on no radar screen!
— Major T. J. “King” Kong, in the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
The helicopter appeared so reluctant to fly forward that we even considered turning the pilot’s seat around and letting it fly backward.
— Igor Sikorsky, regards the prototype VS-300, 1940.
Most of us [the test pilots] agreed the Cutlass [Chance-Vought F7U-3] could be made into a pretty good flying machine with a few modifications, like adding a conventional tail, tripling the thrust, cutting the nosewheel strut in half, completely redoing the flight control system, and getting someone else to fly it.
— John Moore, ‘The Wrong Stuff: Flying on the Edge of Disaster’
The sun is now climbing from the west. In winter it is possible to leave London after sunset, on the evening Concorde for New York, and watch the sun rise out of the west. Flying at Mach 2 at these latitudes will cause the sun to set in the west at three times its normal rate, casting, as it does so, a vast curved shadow of the earth, up and ahead of the aircraft.
— Concorde First Officer Christopher Orlebar, British Airways.
The Boeing 747 is so big that it has been said that it does not fly; the earth merely drops out from under it.
— Captain Ned Wilson, Pan Am.
We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
— Oscar Wilde
Some are concerned about the risks from computer hackers with such a connected system. [A spokesman] said that with the current FAA software, it’s not a problem. A recent White House panel on security concluded that [the] software is so out of date that no one could possibly hack into it.
— Aviation Week & Space Technology, December 1996.
Flying Machine Soars 3 Miles in Teeth of High Wind Over Sand Hills and Waves at Kitty Hawk on Carolina Coast
Steadily it pursued its way, first tacking to port, then to starboard, and then driving straight ahead. ‘It’s a success,’ declared Orville Wright to the crowd on the beach after the first mile had been covered. But the inventor waited. Not until he had accomplished three miles, putting the machine through all sorts of maneuvers en route, was he satisfied. Then he selected a suitable place to land, and gracefully circling drew his invention slowly to earth, where it settled, like some big bird, in the chosen spot.
‘Eureka,’ he cried, as did the alchemists of old.
— ‘Virginian-Pilot’ newspaper, much embellished ‘report’ of the first 12 second flight. Published 18 December 1903.