Safety Publications/Articles

Being Quotable

One of the things I've noticed when giving flight reviews to sharp pilots is how often they'll quote one of their early flight instructors. It seems that these pilots became wise because early in their training someone made a gigantic impression on them. The impression must have been gigantic, because 30 or 40 years later these pilots are still talking about the things that their early CFIs said.

For instance, a CFI friend mentioned how his first instructor would tell him, "Don't ever let an airplane take you someplace your brain hasn't arrived at least a couple of minutes earlier." According to Dave English's book of aviation quotations, Slipping the Surly Bonds, this statement is by Andy Anderson. The point here is that a good quote develops a life of its own and has staying power in a student's mind. If you've collected more than a few choice aviation quotes to dispense to your students at opportune times, you'll give them a gift that keeps on giving.

So, make yourself quotable.

When it's appropriate, remind your students that the only time they have too much fuel is when the airplane is on fire. Tell them that the two most useless things in aviation are the altitude above you and the runway behind you. Impress upon them that takeoffs are optional but landings are mandatory.

There are many, many more of these important quips and aphorisms lying around waiting for you. They are compact sources of wisdom. Adopt them. Make them your own. Share them with your students - who, when they become flight instructors, will share them with their students. In the future, they may cite you as the source of this great wisdom. If you're really lucky, they may even sings songs about you.

By Rod Machado

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