Aviation Humor

The ISPA extends thanks to contributors to this page including the following ISPA members and friends: Leon Pesche, George Osborne, Sausha Mcinnins, Dean Rickerson, Steve Heileson, Chris Elmore, Fred Carlson, Mike Bowes, Jody Bowes, Wayne Larsen, Scott Devlin, Tom Saccio, Brent Carlson, Andrea Carlson, Tony Irwin.

ISPA Member Tony Irwin sent the following photo. He states "things are not quite as they used to be."

The following were submitted by ISPA member George Osborne:

On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

On landing the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways off this airplane."

"Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

After a particularly rough landing during thunder storms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted.

From a Southwest Airlines employee "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 103 to New York. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite, now.

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive.

Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

"Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children...or other adults acting like children."

"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

From the pilot during his welcome message, "Delta airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City. The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault... it was the asphalt!"

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day during the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing. "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying XYZ airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sonny, mind if I ask you a question." "Why no Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land or were we shot down?"

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the Flight Attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement, "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax OH, MY GOD!" Silence followed and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier; but, while I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!" A passenger in Coach said, "That's nothing. He should see the back of mine.

The following were submitted by ISPA member Dean Rickerson:

One day the pilot of a Seawind was told to hold short by the tower at Anchorage International Airport while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the seawind. Some smart guy in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "what a cute little plane, did you make it all by yourself?" The seawind pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with "yes, I made it out of DC-8 parts, another landing like you just made and I'll have enough parts for another one." (Dean Rickerson)

Taxing down the tarmac, the DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off. A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "what was the problem?" "The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," explained the flight attendant, "and it took us a while to find a new pilot." (Dean Rickerson)

This week Pan Am announced it will begin regularly scheduled flights to Iraq, Iran, and other key destinations in the Middle East. Pan Am also announced it may consider adding North Korea to its routes at a future date. A photo of their latest flagship attached ...

New Navy "Catch-&-Release" program announced:

Understanding Aviation Terms:

AIRSPEED - Speed of an airplane. Deduct 25% when listening to a retired Air Force pilot.

BANK - The folks who hold the lien on most pilots' Corvettes

CARBURETOR ICING - A phenomenon reported to the FAA by pilots immediately after they run out of gas.

CONE OF CONFUSION - An area about the size of New Jersey located near the final approach beacon at an airport.

CRAB - A VFR Instructor's attitude on an IFR day.

DEAD RECKONING - You reckon correctly, or you are.

DESTINATION - Geographical location 30 minutes beyond the pilot's bladder saturation point.

ENGINE FAILURE - A condition that occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with low-octane air.

FIREWALL - Section of the aircraft specifically designed to funnel heat and smoke into the cockpit.

FLIGHT FOLLOWING - Formation flying.

GLIDE DISTANCE - Half the distance from an airplane to the nearest emergency landing field.

HOBBS - An instrument which creates an emergency situation should it fail during dual instruction.

HYDROPLANE - An airplane designed to land long on a short & wet runway

IFR - A method of flying by needle and horoscope.

LEAN MIXTURE - Nonalcoholic beer.

MINI MAG LITE - Device designed to support the AA battery industry.

NANOSECOND - Time delay between the Low Fuel Warning light and fuel not reaching the carburetor

PARACHUTE - The two 'chutes in a Stearman

PARASITIC DRAG - A pilot who bums a ride and complains about the service.

RANGE - Usually about 3 miles short of the destination.

RICH MIXTURE - What you order at another pilot's promotion party.

ROGER - Used when you're not sure what else to say.

SECTIONAL CHART - Any chart that ends 25 nm short of your destination.

SERVICE CEILING - Altitude at which cabin crew can serve drinks.

SPOILERS - FAA Inspectors.

STALL - Technique used to explain to the bank why your car payment is late.

STEEP BANK - Banks that charge pilots more than 10% interest.

TURN & BANK INDICATOR - An instrument largely ignored by pilots.

USEFUL LOAD - Volumetric capacity of the aircraft, disregarding weight.

VOR - Radio navigation aid, named after the VORtex effect on pilots trying to home in on it.

WAC CHART - Directions to the Army female barracks.

YANKEE - Any pilot who has to ask New Orleans tower to "Say again".

For the holidays:

"Twas the Night Before Christmas"

(Aviator's Version)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,

Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.

The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,

In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,

With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.

I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,

And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,

I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.

A voice clearly heard over static and snow,

Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,

I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."

I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,

The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,

"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."

And what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,

As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:

"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!

On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,

They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,

The message they left was both urgent and dour:

"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,

Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."

He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh

And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,

I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.

His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost

And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,

And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.

His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,

His boots were as black as a crop-duster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,

And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."

He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,

I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,

And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.

He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,

Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,

These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.

He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,

Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,

He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.

"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,

Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,

"Your traffic's a Trinidad, inbound from the west."

Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,

"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Stuff old aviators remember and young aviators should memorize and live by:

  • Keep the aeroplane in such an attitude that the air pressure is directly in the pilot's face. Horatio C. Barber, 1916.

  • The only time an aircraft has too much fuel on board is when it is on fire. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, sometime before his death in the 1920's

  • Flexible is much too rigid, in aviation you have to be fluid. Verne Jobst

  • If you can't afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong. Charlie Nelson

  • I hope you either take up parachute jumping or stay out of single motored airplanes at night. Charles A. Lindbergh, to Wiley Post 1931

  • Never fly the 'A' model of anything. Ed Thompson

  • Never fly anything that doesn't have the paint worn off the Rudder Pedals. Harry Bill

  • Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee. William Kershner

  • Instrument flying is when your mind gets a grip on the fact that there is vision beyond sight. U.S. Navy 'Approach' magazine circa W.W.II.

  • Always keep an 'out' in your hip pocket. Bevo Howard

  • It occurred to me that if I did not handle the crash correctly, there would be no survivors. Richard Leakey, after engine failure in a single engine aircraft. Nairobi, Africa, 1993.

  • The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It's the one you can't train for that kills you. Ernest K. Gann, advice from the 'old pelican'

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

  • An airplane might disappoint any pilot, but it'll never surprise a good one. Len Morgan

  • To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.

  • Life is simple. Eat, sleep, fly.

  • Try not to die all tensed up. Earthquake

  • It only takes two things to fly:.. airspeed and money.

  • It's better to break ground and head into the wind than to break wind and head into the ground.

  • A copilot is a knot-head until he spots opposite direction traffic at 12 o'clock, after which he's a goof-off for not seeing it sooner.

  • I give that landing a 9... on the Richter scale.

  • Unknown landing signal officer to carrier pilot after his 6th unsuccessful landing attempt: "You've got to land here son, this is where the food is."

  • New FAA motto: We're not happy until you're not happy.

Two strangers are sitting in an adjacent seats in an airplane. One guy says to the other, "Let's talk." I hear that the flight will go faster if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger." The other guy, who had just opened a good book, closes it slowly, takes off his glasses and asks, "What would you like to discuss?" The first guy says, "Oh, I don't know; how about Nuclear Power?" The other guy says, "OK, that could make for some pretty interesting conversation. But let me ask you a question first: A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff, but the deer excretes pellets; the cow, big patties; and the horse, clumps of dried grass. Why is that?" The first guy says, "I don't know." The other guy says, "Oh? Well, then, do you really think you're qualified to discuss Nuclear Power when you don't know shit?"

  • Blue water Navy truism; There are more planes in the ocean than there are submarines in the sky.

  • If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe.

  • Navy carrier pilots to Air Force pilots: Flaring is like squatting to pee.

  • When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

  • Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.

  • What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?

    • If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies;

    • If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

  • Never trade luck for skill.

  • The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are:

    • "Why is it doing that?"

    • "Where are we?"

    • and, "Oh Shit!"

  • Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.

  • Progress in airline flying; now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.

  • Airspeed, altitude, or ideas. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.

  • A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is a lie.

  • I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous.

  • Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!

  • Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries.

  • Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it or doing anything about it.

  • When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten. Robert Livingston, 'Flying The Aeronca'

  • Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day. Layton A. Bennett

  • Advice given to RAF pilots during W.W.II. When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slowly and gently as possible.

  • The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot)

  • A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. (Jon McBride, astronaut)

  • If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible. (Bob Hoover - renowned aerobatic and test pilot)

  • If an airplane is still in one piece, don't cheat on it; ride the bastard down. (Ernest K. Gann, author & aviator. Advice from the 'old pelican')

  • Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing. (sign over the entrance to the SR-71 operating location Kadena, Japan).

  • You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3. (Paul F. Crickmore - test pilot)

  • Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you are. Richard Herman Jr., 'Firebreak'

  • There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime. (Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970.)

  • The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time. (Author unknown, but someone who's been there)

  • "Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV." (A DC-9 captain trainee attempting to check out on the 'glass cockpit' of an A-320.)

  • If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.

  • Basic Flying Rules:

    • Try to stay in the middle of the air.

    • Do not go near the edges of it.

    • The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees, power lines, and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.

  • You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.

Three old pilots walking on the ramp. First one says, "Windy, isn't it?" Second one says, "No, its Thursday!" Third one says, "So am I. Lets go get a beer."

The Captain of a bomber climbs into the cockpit of his plane takes out his 45 points it at the navigators head and says don't get us lost. The navigator stands up takes out his 45 points it at the captains head and says I'll know before you do.

Flight: The second most exciting experience in the world is flying. (Number one is landing)

Building and flying custom aircraft is like wandering down a mountain after dark. (Scott Devlin, Devlin Aviation)

A boat is a hole in the water where you dump money, but an amphibious airplane adds a hole in the sky where you can dump a lot more money. (B. Carlson)

Pilots with short pitot tubes and/or low manifold pressure, please, keep the pattern close and maintain positive directional control. (Sign over the toilet in the airport bathroom, Tremonton UT, about 1998, Wayne Larsen)

When you get stuck solving a problem, you may want to try the flow sheet at the following link. (warning, the language may be strong for some of you.***)

***Please note: The ISPA aims to be family friendly. Some of the contents on this page contain strong language and may be offensive to some. About children, it is my feeling that they won't read anything here that they don't read and/or hear everyday anyway.