You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.

The first time I ever saw a jet, I shot it down.

Never wait for trouble.

What good does it do to be afraid? It doesn’t help anything. You better try and figure out what’s happening and correct it.

If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off.

The best pilots fly more than the others; that’s why they’re the best.

There is no such thing as a natural born pilot. Whatever my aptitudes or talents, becoming a proficient pilot was hard work, really a lifetime’s learning experience. For the best pilots, flying is an obsession, the one thing in life they must do continually. The best pilots fly more than the others; that’s why they’re the best. Experience is everything. The eagerness to learn how and why every piece of equipment works is everything. And luck is everything, too.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider fun an important item on their daily agenda. For me, that was always a high priority in whatever I was doing.

Leveling off at 42,000 feet, I had thirty percent of my fuel, so I turned on rocket chamber three and immediately reached .96 Mach. I noticed that the faster I got, the smoother the ride. Suddenly the Mach needle began to fluctuate. It went up to .965 Mach – then tipped right off the scale … We were flying supersonic. And it was a smooth as a baby’s bottom; Grandma could be sitting up there sipping lemonade.

If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.

Everybody that I’ve ever seen that enjoyed their job was very good at it.

The secret of my success is that I always managed to live to fly another day.

Most pilots learn when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don’t do, you don’t believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.

There is no kind of ultimate goal to do something twice as good as anyone else can. It’s just to do the job as best you can. If it turns out good, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s the way it goes.

I have flown in just about everything, with all kinds of pilots in all parts of the world – British, French, Pakistani, Iranian, Japanese, Chinese – and there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between any of them except for one unchanging, certain fact: the best, most skillful pilot has the most experience.

You concentrate on what you are doing, to do the best job you can, to stay out of serious situations. And that’s the way the X-1 was.

Later, I realized that the mission had to end in a let-down because the real barrier wasn’t in the sky but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.

After about 30 minutes I puked all over my airplane. I said to my self, “Man, you made a big mistake.”

At 42,000′ in approximately level flight, a third cylinder was turned on. Acceleration was rapid and speed increased to .98 Mach. The needle of the machmeter fluctuated at this reading momentarily, then passed off the scale. Assuming that the off-scale reading remained linear, it is estimated that 1.05 Mach was attained at this time.

The one word you use in military flying is duty. It’s your duty. You have no control over the outcome, no control over pick-and-choose. It’s duty.

A little bonus:
You may be cool, but you’ll never be Chuck Yeager with a corvette and an F-20 Tigershark cool. Take away the car and the plane, and still nobody’s as cool as Yeager.

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