1. Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.
2. 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.
3. Flying isn’t dangerous. Crashing is what’s dangerous.
4. It’s always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.
5. The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.
6. 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.
7. When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.
8. A ‘good’ landing is one from which you can walk away. A ‘great’ landing is one after which they can use the plane again.
9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself.
10. You know you’ve landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.
11. The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.
12. Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier.
13. STAY OUT OF CLOUDS!!!!! The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.
14. Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you’ve made.
15. There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
16. 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.
17. Helicopters can’t fly; they’re just so ugly the earth repels them.
18. If all you can see out the window is ground that’s going round and round and all you can hear is commotion coming from the passenger compartment, things are not at all as they should be.
19. 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.
20. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.
21. It’s always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.
22. Keep looking around. There is always something you have missed. Isn’t that why they created checklists!
23. Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It is the law and it is not subject to repeal.
24. The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, the runway behind you and a tenth of a second ago.
25. There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. However, there are no old, bold pilots.
26. When you are lost… Climb, Conserve and Confess. (Actual line from the U.S. Navy SNJ training manual.)