As a pilot, you’re probably familiar with the dozens of common aviation sayings that have become a bit clichéd over the years. However, there’s a good reason that some of these sayings have remained popular for so long. Many of these catchy phrases were created to make it easier to recall important aviation safety tips and procedures, helping pilots react quickly and make better decisions under pressure. Here are a few aviation sayings that are worth remembering:
Aviate, Navigate, Communicate
In any situation, but especially in emergencies, pilots must remember to follow the aviation order of operations: aviate, navigate, communicate. Becoming distracted and failing to “fly the airplane first” can have dangerous consequences. When faced with an emergency, first focus on maintaining control of the aircraft. Then, navigate to a point of landing. Finally, communicate the emergency with ATC once everything is in order.
It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground
This quote reminds pilots to avoid the temptation of “get-home-itis,” a phenomenon that can cause even the most experienced pilots to disregard warnings, instinct and common sense in an effort to reach their destinations on time. When making the go/no-go decision, don’t forget to consider the external and internal factors at play. Avoid letting your own emotions or pressure from your passengers override sound decision-making. When in doubt, fly another day.
Always have an out
The best pilots form a plan B (and often a plan C and D) before going out to fly. When planning a flight, take into account possible weather conditions, mechanical failures, and other emergency scenarios that could occur. Do you know the nearest airports along your route? By planning ahead, you will ensure you have an “out” if things don’t go as expected.
Before takeoff, remember: Lights, Camera, Action!
Reciting “Lights, Camera, Action” is a good way to remember checklist items immediately after receiving takeoff clearance and taking the active runway. Lights refers to external lighting, such as the landing light, strobe, and navigation lights (for night operations). Camera means turning on the transponder so the airplane can be seen and identified by air traffic control on radar. Action is used to remember last-minute items such as checking flaps and trim, switching on the fuel pump (if necessary) and applying takeoff power.
A good pilot is always learning
What’s the best way to stay proficient? Always be looking for opportunities to learn. Refine your aviation knowledge and skills with continued training, instruction, and education. Consider adding to your skill set with a new rating or endorsement. When you’re not flying, take advantage of aviation books, online resources, and flight simulation tools. By continuing to learn and develop your skills, you’ll become a better pilot and avoid the dangers of complacency.
Do you have a favorite aviation quote or catchphrase? Share with us @HartzellProp.