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120 Best Aviation & Flying Quotes of All Time

Last Updated: June 7, 2023 by Team

Flying feels like freedom, away from the city’s daily hustle and bustle, almost as calm as meditation with a hint of a dopamine rush. Ever since Wilbur Wright and Oliver Wright invented the airplane, the human imagination acquired wings and now knows no limit.

There have been many pioneers, adventurers, dreamers, and doers in aviation’s intriguing history. People we as pilots look up to. Every single day. Some of the most inspirational aviation quotes you hear today were told many years ago by those people: some world-famous, some lesser-known. You’ll find inspirational quotes that remind us of the beauty of flight and of what draws humanity to the skies.

What follows are 120 of the best aviation & flying quotes to inspire your aviation journey!

120 of the Most Inspirational Aviation & Flying Quotes

Top 10 Flying Quotes

“Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin.” – K.O. Eckland

“Whenever I dream about flying, it’s the best feeling in the world.” – Kate M

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo DaVinci

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

“The odds against there being a bomb on a plane are a million to one; and against two bombs, a million times a million to one. Next time you fly, cut the odds and take a bomb.” – Benny Hill

“The more bullets flying, the less accurate each individual slug has to be.” – Andrew Vachss

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” – J. M. Barrie, ‘Peter Pan.’

“My idea of everything going smoothly on an airplane is (a) that I not die in a slow-motion fiery crash or get stabbed to death by terrorists and (b) that none of the other passengers try to talk to me. All conversation should end at the moment the wheels leave the ground.” – Anne Lamott

“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

“Many psychoanalysts refused to let me speak at their meetings. They were exceptionally vigorous because I had previously been an analyst and they were very angry at my flying the coop.” – Albert Ellis


Funny Flying Quotes

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

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the…[stuff] that weighs you down.” – Toni Morrison

“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.”

“You know the oxygen masks on airplanes? I don’t think there’s really any oxygen. I think they’re just to muffle the screams.” – Rita Rudner

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

“You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.” – Paul Theroux

“Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others.”

“The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm.” – Alexander Woollcott

“When everything seems to be against you, remember that an airplane takes-off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

“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.”

“In the Alaska bush, I’d rather have a two-hour bladder and three hours of gas than vice versa.” – Kurt Wien

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

“In America there are two classes of travel—first class, and with children.” – Robert Benchley

“I’m influenced by the music of the ’60s. It’s a mishmash of everything. To me, psychedelic can be all the way to a DJ. House music can be very psychedelic. Flying Lotus is very psychedelic. Even though it’s urban and technological, it’s also mind-expanding, anything-can-go mishmash.” – Anton Newcombe

“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.”

“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.”

“If you clean it up, get analytical, all the subtle joy and emotion you felt in the first place goes flying out the window.” – Andrew Wyeth

“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

“If God had really intended men to fly, he’d have made it easier to get to the airport.” – George Winters

“If black boxes survive air crashes, why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?” – George Carlin

“If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.” – Tom Stoppard

“I would not have been able to accomplish a lot of what I did professionally had I not learned to fly myself and owned an airplane. For example, I was able to fly to an exhibition for the day and be back home in time for dinner. I never would have been able to do that flying commercially.” – Arnold Palmer

“I work best when there is adversity: I seem to get calmer the more the fur is flying.” – Andrea Arnold

“I thought I would keep it on the ground until I became familiar with it, but on account of the wind, I unexpectedly took to the air, and the first thing I knew, I was flying.” – Arthur P. Warner

“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

“I think getting drunk is the key to flying comfortably. A couple of Bloody Marys or several glasses of champagne, and suddenly it’s like you’re on a roller coaster.” – Amanda Peet

“I quit flying years ago. I don’t want to die with tourists.” – Billy Bob Thornton

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

“Airspeed, altitude, and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.”

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

“A home cook who relies too much on a recipe is sort of like a pilot who reads the plane’s instruction manual while flying.” – Alton Brown

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

“A ‘good’ landing is one from which you can walk away. A ‘great’ landing is one after which they can use the plane again.”

“I intend to leave this life so shattered there’s gonna have to be a thousand separate heavens for all of my flying parts” – Andrea Gibson

“I have to say that flying on Air Force One sort of spoils you for coach on a regular airline.” – Ron Reagan

“I hate flying. Know why? Because no one really understands how planes actually work.” – Adam Levine

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

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

“Flying is hypnotic and all pilots are willing victims to the spell.” – Ernest K Gann

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

“Fear paralyses you – fear of flying, fear of the future, fear of leaving a rubbish marriage, fear of public speaking, or whatever it is.” – Annie Lennox

“Every time I fly and am forced to remove my shoes. I’m grateful Richard Reid is not known as the Underwear Bomber.” – Douglas Manuel

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

“I don’t have a fear of flying; I have a fear of crashing.” – Billy Bob Thornton

Flying may not be all plain sailing,but the fun of it is worth the price. Amelia Earhart

Short Flying Quotes

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

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

“Resolutions are flying like snowflakes around here.” – Arlen Specter

“Remember, you fly an airplane with you head, not your hands and feet.”

“On wings of wind came flying all abroad.” – Alexander Pope

“My soul is in the sky.” – William Shakespeare

“I’m afraid of flying.” – Allison Janney

“I put my phone in airplane mode, but it’s not flying!”

“For humans, flying isn’t magic, it’s physics.” – Alan Alda

“Flying feels like freedom.”

“I feel sad for those who’re afraid of flying. They’re missing out!”

“Flying isn’t dangerous. Crashing is what’s dangerous.”

“Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.” – Pilot Humor

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo

Anything can fly if it's moving fast enough.

Birds Flying Quotes

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“There’s a lot of us out here that are birds, man. We all need to just fly.” – Travis Scott

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.” – Wilbur Wright

“If I could be a bird, I’d be a Flying Purple People Eater because then people would sing about me and I could fly down and eat them because I hate that song.” – Jack Handey

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

“Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky

History will accept no excuses so climb the highest mountain swim the deepest sea and fly the whole world over.

Love Flying Quotes

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“Same with anyone who’s been flying for years and loves it still…we’re part of a world we deeply love.” – Richard Bach

“Lovers of air travel find it exhilarating to hang poised between the illusion of immortality and the fact of death.” – Alexander Chase

“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.”

“Sometimes, flying feels too God-like to be attained by man. Sometimes, the world from above seems too beautiful, too wonderful, too distant for human eyes to see.” – Charles A. Lindbergh

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

“Landing on the ship during the daytime is like sex: it’s either good or it’s great. Landing on the ship at night is like a trip to the dentist: you may get away with no pain, but you just don’t feel comfortable.”

“Just as musicians feel about scores and melodies, dancers about the steps and flow of music, so we’re one with the principle of flight, the magic of being aloft in the wind!” – Richard Bach

“It is only when you are flying above it that you realize how incredible the earth really is.” – Philippe Perrin

“It has been my observation that the happiest of people, the vibrant doers of the world, are almost always those who are using – who are putting into play, calling upon, depending upon-the greatest number of their God-given talents and capabilities.” – John Glenn

“Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he’s carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you’re drunk.” – Jack Handey

“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

“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.”

“Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies.” – Howard Hughes

“Did I ever tell you about a nasty habit that flight attendants pick up on the job? We learn to always keep smiling, even when we’re out of Bloody Mary mix.” – Eric Wald

If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.

Flying High Quotes

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“What we want is clothing we think we can fly in. That’s why I opened the show with flying dresses.” – Alber Elbaz

“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.”

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” – Luciano De Crescenzo

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

“Unlike the boundaries of the sea by the shorelines, the ocean of air laps at the border of every state, city, town and home throughout the world.” – Welch Pogue

“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.”

“There is no conclusive proof of Unidentified Flying Objects flying over India-China border.” – A. K. Antony

“There is an art, or rather a knack, to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” – Douglas Adams

“There is a thrill of vulnerability at all airshows. There is no way of making everything completely safe. When the machines are being thrashed to capacity and the pilots are flying at their limits to dazzle, things are bound to go wrong sometimes. There have been some historic disasters, but the danger is a part of the attraction.” – Alex James

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

“There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. However, there are no old, bold pilots.”

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

“the stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have i seen so many. i always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but i was sure of it that night.” – Amelia Earhart

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

“The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.”

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

“The apocalypse is now! Americans know this, that the only hope is the flying saucers. Do you know how I see the world? Like a person who is dying. It’s a worm who is dying to make a butterfly. We must not stop the worm from dying, we must help the worm to die to help the butterfly to be born. We need to dance with death. This world is dying, but very well. We will make a big, big enormous butterfly. You and I will be the first movements in the wings of the butterfly because we are speaking like this.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky

“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

“Test pilots have a litmus test for evaluating problems. When something goes wrong, they ask, “Is this thing still flying?” If the answer is yes, then there’s no immediate danger, no need to overreact.” – Alan Bean

“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

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

“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

“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

“Man is flying too fast for a world that is round. Soon he will catch up with himself in a great rear end collision.” – James Thurber

“Learning to fly an airplane taught me a way of thinking, an approach to problem-solving that was applicable and effective. Pilots are very methodical and meticulous, and artists tend not to be.” – Chris Carter

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself.”

“How strange is this combination of proximity and separation. That ground – seconds away – thousands of miles away.” – Charles A. Lindbergh

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“He moves not through distance, but through the ranges of satisfaction that come from hauling himself up into the air with complete and utter control; from knowing himself and knowing his airplane so well that he can come somewhere close to touching, in his own special and solitary way, that thing that is called perfection.”

“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.” – Johnnie Johnson

“Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.”

“Flying was a very tangible freedom. In those days, it was beauty, adventure, discovery – the epitome of breaking into new worlds.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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

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

“Fighter pilots have ice in their veins. They don’t have emotions. They think, anticipate. They know that fear and other concerns cloud your mind from what’s going on and what you should be involved in.” – Buzz Aldrin

Open your arms wide and let the breeze remind you of what it feels like to fly.

Final Thoughts

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To this day, those pioneers and their quotes still offer plenty of motivational value to help you achieve your personal goals。

Make sure to share these Aviation & Flying quotes with anyone you care about and who could use some extra motivation, especially during these challenging times! Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us: Which quotes were your favorites, and what would you add to the list?

Sometimes the idea of Flying is enough.

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