Aviation Traditions

Naval Aviator - On a carrier, the Naval Aviator looks over at the Catapult Officer ("Shooter") who gives the run up engines signal by rotating his finger above his head.  The pilot pushes the throttle forward, verifies all flight controls are operational, checks all gauges, and gives the Cat officer a brisk salute.  Thus continuing the Navy/Marine tradition of asking permission to leave the ship.
The Cat officer drops to one knee while swooping his arm forward and pointing down deck, granting that permission.  The pilot is immediately catapulted and becomes airborne.

Air Force Pilot - We've all seen Air Force pilots at the air force base look up just before taxiing for takeoff and the ground crew waits until the pilot's thumb is sticking straight up. The crew chief then confirms that he sees the thumb, salutes, and the Air Force pilot then takes off.
This time-tested tradition is the last link in the Air Force safety net to confirm that the pilot does not have his thumb up his butt.

Army Aviator - If you've ever seen an Army helicopter pilot preparing for takeoff, you will note that the pilot gives the ground guy a thumbs up before he is given hover and takeoff signals.
There are two theories about the origin of this gesture.
One is that it is to show that the pilot has identified which of his fingers is the thumb so that he will be able to properly operate his controls.  The most compelling theory says that this is to show the ground crewman that the pilot indeed knows which direction is "UP".

Student Pilot: "I'm lost; I'm over a lake and heading toward the big E."

Controller: "Make several 90 degree turns so I can identify you on radar."
(short pause)...
Controller: "Okay then. That lake is the Atlantic Ocean. Suggest you turn to
the big W immediately ..."
Cessna 152: "Flight Level Three Thousand, Seven Hundred"

Controller: "Roger, contact Houston Space Centre"

Lost student pilot: "Unknown airport with Cessna 150 circling overhead, identify yourself."


A checkride ought to be like a skirt, short enough to be interesting but still be long enough to cover everything.


A good simulator check ride is like successful surgery on a cadaver.


The difference between flight attendants and jet engines is that the engine usually quits whining when it gets to the gate.


Why an Airplane is Better Than a Woman (or a Man)?.

Airplane skin doesn't wrinkle as badly.
Airplanes don't take forever to warm up.
Airplanes like to do it inverted.
It's easier to get 'trim' in an airplane.
You can keep an airplane from stalling.
Airplanes can be turned on by a flick of a switch.
You don't always have to be on top to ride an airplane.
An airplane's thrust to weight ratio is higher.
You can easily leave an airplane before sunrise.
Airplane exhaust fumes smell better.
Airplanes lose weight faster.
An airplane does not get mad if you 'touch and go.'
An airplane will not get mad if you ride someone else's airplane.
You can calculate the peak performance of an airplane.
An Airplane is easy to roll over.
You can still activate a fifty year old airplane.
Airplane's last longer.
Airplane's don't droop after many years.
You can always tell when an airplane is going to give out.
An airplane moves when you tell it to.
An airplane does not object to a preflight inspection.
You can change the looks of an airplane.
Airplanes come with manuals.
Airplanes have strict weight and balance limits.
Airplanes curves never sag.
Airplanes last longer.
You can fly a airplane any time of the month.
Airplanes don't whine unless something is really wrong.
If your airplane makes too much noise, you can buy a muffler.
If your airplane smokes, you can do something about it.
Airplanes don't care about how many other airplanes you have flown.
When flying, you and your airplane both arrive at the same time.
Airplanes don't care about how many other airplane's you have.
Airplanes don't mind if you look at other airplane's, or if you buy airplane magazines.
If your airplane is too loose, you can tighten it.
You don't have to convince your airplane that you're a pilot and that you think that all airplanes are equals.
If you say bad things to your airplane, you don't have to say your sorry before you can fly it again.
You can fly an airplane as long as you want and it won't get sore.
Your parents don't remain in touch with your old airplane after you dump it.
Airplanes always feel like going for a ride.
Airplanes don't insult you if you are a bad pilot.
It's always OK to use tie downs on your airplane.
Your airplane never wants a night out alone with the other airplanes.
Airplanes don't care if you are late.
You don't have to take a shower before flying your airplane.

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