Sunday, November 10, 2013

Aviation Quotes: The Sky is Home

Since 1910, thousands of women around the world have earned their pilot's licenses. The percentage of male to female pilots has remained the same over the years - about 6%, for a variety of reasons. Today, organizations like Girls With Wings, and of course The 99s, are encouraging girls to learn the freedom and sense of accomplishment - not to mention a potential career path - that aviation brings.

There are so many fascinating and inspiring quotes from women pilots that it was hard to choose only twenty. As soon as the Wright brothers and their European counterparts perfected aircraft that the general public could fly, women clamored to be let in on the fun. At first there was no need for licenses, and plenty of women flew without them. When licensing became the norm, Raymonde de Laroche of France earned the first one, in March, 1910. She was the first woman and the 36th person overall to do so.

This image is from: Curated Quotes



The love of flying
“To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.”
Anonymous
Military Fly Moms: Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope, edited by Linda Maloney

“The summer of my sixteenth year, life couldn’t have been sweeter. On my birthday in March I passed the test for my pilot’s license...now it’s June and I’m flying to my heart’s content in a faded yellow 1932 Piper Cub. There’s nothing like flying to set your spirit free!”
Jerrie Cobb, one of the Mercury 13
Jerrie Cobb, Solo Pilot

Flight is the essence of the spirit. It nurtures the soul. It is awesome. Often ethereal. Glorious. Emotionally wondrous and all-pervading. Intangible.”
Louise Thaden, first woman to win the Bendix trophy
High, Wide and Frightened. Louise Thaden

“There is beauty and an allure in flying: an experience that is different from any on earth. There is music to flying – a dance, an art all its own. From above we are able to see how history relates to geography; how our community’s environment is connected to communities hundreds of miles away and where our ancestors traveled on their quest for unseen destinations. The earth’s magnificent beauty seen in twists, swirls and colors is the art upon which we live.”
Susan Maule, Captain
Stars of the Sky, Legends All, edited by Ann Lewis Cooper

“I feel so happy when I’m flying! Why? It’s not easy to explain. Perhaps it is the feeling of power, the pleasure of dominating a machine as beautiful and sensitive as a thoroughbred horse.”
Jacqueline Auriol, winner of three Harmon Trophies
I Live to Fly, Jacqueline Auriol

“There is really nothing nicer than flying in a good airplane over pretty country on a beautiful day-you just feel so good, so exuberant, so, oh, I don’t know, but there is a feeling that you would like to beat yourself on the chest and emit several howls a la Tarzan, pure joy of being alive.”
Louise Thaden, first woman to win the Bendix trophy
High, Wide and Frightened. Louise Thaden

Learning to Fly

“One day in Chicago I saw billboard with a bird sitting on the rim of a nest, nurturing her young fledglings into the flying world. It read, “Birds Learn to Fly. Why Can’t You?” That did it.”
Janet Harmon Bragg, first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license
Soaring Above Setbacks, The Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg as told to Marjorie M. Kriz

World War II

“Like most loyal Americans during World War II, I wanted to do my part for the war effort. I loved flying and I could scarcely believe my good luck in being able to do something I loved so much for the good of my country. Flying out of Avenger Field, Texas it was hot, we were tired, and we were sticky half the time. But we were having a ball because we had those airplanes. We all loved to fly.”
Caro Bosca, WASP
Stars of the Sky, Legends All, edited by Ann Lewis Cooper

“Someone once suggested that the WASPs were rich girls on a lark. Not true. There was nothing glamorous about it. In my case, I would get orders to go somewhere to pick up an airplane. I would grab my B-04 bag, which was always packed, and my parachute bag, catch a train or get on a commercial flight. When I arrived, I would go to Operations, pick up the airplane and deliver it to its destination. Most of what I flew were trainers and twin-engine troop transports.”
Margaret J. Ringenberg, WASP, air racer
 Girls Can’t Be Pilots, Margaret Ringenberg with Jane L. Roth 

“But fancy being given so many lovely things to fly, and be paid for it, too! The women pilots were paid less than their male counterparts. This was considered to be perfectly natural and was accepted at the time. At least we were eventually allowed to wear trousers with our uniforms.”
Diana Barnato Walker, ATA pilot during World War II
Spreading My Wings, Diana Barnato Walker

During my wartime career with ATA I delivered 260 Spitfires, from the light Mark I with the wooden propeller, right through to the heavier Mark XIV and F21 with the large Griffon engine. The types in between varied little from the flying point of view. They all flew beautifully, with the Spit characteristic of it feeling as if it was part of you. The Mark I was really light on the controls, the Mark V gave a fluttering feeling in flight, while the Mark IX had become more stable...I didn’t like the sound of the Griffon engine-not at all as comforting or glorious as the Merlin.
Diana Barnato Walker, ATA pilot during World War II
Spreading My Wings, Diana Barnato Walker

Women and their Planes

“After a bumpy landing – I promised myself I’d do better-I pulled up to the fuel pumps, got out and walked toward the office. Halfway there I turned, as I often do when leaving my plane, and looked back at it, parked at its first real stop. The Luscombe has an almost human face, sweet, comic and adenoidal. The openings for cylinder coolings are the eyes, striped with (metal) eyelashes. The prop spinner is the button nose. The vent under the prop for cooling engine accessories is the open mouth, with two fused upper teeth showing. The holes for heating the cabin and carburetor are the dimples (probably the plane’s cutest feature), and the carburetor-induction screen is the striated, gray goatee. The prop is the moustache...and the swellings on either side of the nacelle to make room for the cylinders are the plump cheeks. As I look around, pride of ownership washed over me. You’d have to be hardhearted not to be charmed by a face like that.”
Mariana Gosnell, on the start of her solo flight across America
Zero 3 Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane, Mariana Gosnell

“While flying, my plane was always alive. It responded so beautifully. I could feel the rudder pedals through the soles of my feet, through the posterior part of my anatomy, when I was seated properly. I felt comfortable and at ease. I was free in spirit. I could give vent to my feelings through my maneuvers. In all, my plane and I were communicating. I would say, “Let’s try a spin, two to the right, etc.” or “One to the left. Are you ready?” “I’d say, “Let’s go.”
Janet Harmon Bragg, first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license
Soaring Above Setbacks, The Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg as told to Marjorie M. Kriz

 Danger

“Most of us spread the perils of a lifetime over a number of years. Others may pack them into a matter of only a few hours. In any case, whatever is to happen will happen-it may well be that I shall tempt fate once too often. Who knows? But it is to the air that I have dedicated myself, and I fly always without the slightest fear.”
Raymonde de Laroche, first woman and 36th person  to earn a pilot’s license, in March 2010
The Powder Puff Derby of 1929, Gene Nora Jessen

 “If it must come, this was a fitting end to a pilot’s career-to disappear at the peak of fame, on a final glorious attempt to conquer new frontiers of the sky; never to know the erosions and disappointments of age, to live on in memory as young, golden and unafraid.”
Ruth Nichols on disappearance/death of Amelia Earhart, 1937, only woman to hold simultaneous world records for speed, altitude, and distance for a female pilot
The Powder Puff Derby of 1929, Gene Nora Jessen

“To the public I suppose I have often seemed to be the original ‘flying fool.’ While flying over one hundred and forty different models of aircraft, I have piloted a plane in a plaster cast and a steel corset, too impatient to wait for bones to knit from the last crash. I have frozen my tongue sucking oxygen at sixty below zero, six miles up. I have escaped twice from burning planes. I have clung to a life raft in cold, mountainous seas. I have had most of the bones in my body broken... Maybe it doesn’t make sense. I have been told that so often that it has become a kind of background drumbeat to my life. Family and friends have urged me to keep my feet on the ground... The only people who haven’t tried to change me are flyers. They comprehend."
Ruth Nichols
Wings for Life, Ruth Nichols

Women Pilots As Viewed By (Many) Men

“I dropped in 75 cents and carried three [ginger]snaps out to the ramp to eat while the FBO was pumping fuel. “A Luscombe,” he had exclaimed when he saw my plane. “Guy on this field has a Luscombe,” he said, pointing across the ramp to a red-and-white model 8A, “and he’s just learning to fly it. When I see him I’ll be sure and tell him that a lady was here in a Luscombe, and if she can fly it he surely can!”
Mariana Gosnell, pilot
Zero 3 Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane, Mariana Gosnell

The Fate of Aviation Today

“I left not knowing if Claxton airport was dead, dying or just resting, waiting for another manager to show up, believing he could make a go of it.I was afraid it was one of the dead ones. Little airports come and go, but nowadays they mostly go. For a period of just over ten years I’d seen 15 small airports within 50 miles of my airport disappear. The runways X’d out, plowed under, paved over, and built upon. One of the nightmares we have as pilots is that someday we’ll get airborne and have no place to land except the place we started out from-and if we don’t hurry back, it will be gone too."
Mariana Gosnell, on the start of her solo flight across America
Zero 3 Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane

Air Racing and Acrobatics

“Air racing is a lot of fun.”
Claire Walters, founder of the Claire Walters Flight Academy and founder of the Palms to Pines Air Race
This Flying Life, Claire L. Walters and Betty McMillen Loufek

“We’ve had many mother and daughter teams, some grandmother and granddaughter, sisters, aunt and niece and other such combinations. Betty and I flew twice as a twin team.”
Claire Walters, founder of the Claire Walters Flight Academy and founder of the Palms to Pines Air Race
This Flying Life, Claire L. Walters and Betty McMillen Loufek

“I was drunk with joy, to the point where I lost all notion of time. The wind blew, earth and sky changed places without warning. I felt the rudder-pedals and the stick going in all directions. But not for a single second was I afraid. It was like some utterly new kind of dance, to a rhythm not yet invented by an orchestra in the world, or that I had heard at any rate. The plane sang, the plane danced, before me I could see the helmet [of the pilot] and from time to time, in the rear-view mirror, the slightly astonished eyes of the maitre of this extraordinary ballet, and after each figure I would repeat, “It’s marvelous, it’s marvelous!”
Jacqueline Auriol, on her introduction to aerobatics
I Live to Fly, Jacqueline Auriol
Turnabout is Fair Play

“No, Zoli, only girls can fly,” said my four –year-old-daughter, Courtney, to her three-year-old brother, making him get off the toy airplane ride.”
Lisa Berente, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and pilot of the KC-135 Stratotanker
Military Fly Moms, Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope, Linda Maloney

Today's Women and their Ambitions

“Today one is held back only by the limits of one’s own capabilities and not by man-made blocks and strings.”
Janet Harmon Bragg, first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license
Soaring Above Setbacks, The Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg as told to Marjorie M. Kriz

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