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If you are driven to become a pilot, there is no better way to get inspired on your path to being an aviator than to read some of the best aviation quotes ever.

The feeling of flying is exhilarating beyond words and over the years, the skies have seen some world-class pilots that have pushed aviation, quite literally, to new heights. Many pilots and flight enthusiasts are remembered not only for their achievements in the sky but also for the words that they used to try to describe their experiences.

The best aviation quotes ever are from Howard Hughes, Wilburn Wright, Felix Baumgartner, Amy Johnson, Mark Twain, William T. Piper, Socrates, Len Morgan, Louise Thaden, Johnnie Johnson, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Ever since the Wright Brothers had their first flight, airplanes have been a revolutionary achievement in human history. The idea of flying has been a fascinating concept for a long time, but it took the courageous act of designing and piloting an aircraft to make that distant dream a reality. These days, planes are ingrained in our society. Aircraft have been a fundamental component of warfare, travel, and sport, which is why airplanes are marveled over to this day. While many of us admire the design and capabilities of aircraft, it is important to remember that without a pilot, it’s essentially just a piece of metal. Pilots are as important as the planes that they fly, as they are what truly define aviation. Over the years, the world has seen some incredible pilots and there have been some notable quotes that they are famous for. These quotes can be fundamental to bringing us closer to the skies in spirit and they can be a source of inspiration for anyone who longs to become a pilot themselves. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at the best aviation quotes ever.

After extensively researching airplane history, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the best aviation quotes ever said. My research has shown me that aviation quotes are a great way to bring insight into the art of flying and to gain motivation to become a pilot.

Table of contents


Howard Hughes

"Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies." - Howard Hughes

There are few individuals as legendary and famous for aviation as the one and only, Howard Huges. This aviator was a business tycoon, filmmaker, and most notably - a record-breaking pilot and aircraft engineer.

Howard Huges is regarded as one of the most famous pilots of all time and his obsession with aviation and attention to detail in aircraft design enabled airplanes to become what they are today. Despite Hughes’ accomplishments, his path to success was not easy.

Howard Hughes’ ideas were often written off as being mad and ‘merely fantasies’ by many of his critics and colleagues. Hughes’ ignored this and stayed focused with his eyes on the prize. It was thanks to Hughes’ determination on his path to success that aviation was able to evolve into what it is today.

Wilbur Wright

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.” - Wilbur Wright

We can’t discuss famous aviation quotes without giving credit to the individuals that made it all happen. The Wright Brothers’ path to becoming the first aviators of all time is what has led to all of our accomplishments in the sky.

Their success and achievements have inspired so many people to become pilots and even more to look up at the sky with a new sense of appreciation and respect for aviation. The Wright Brothers have many famous quotes but few come close to Wilbur Wright expressing his ‘desire to fly’.

This quite reminds us of a time before aircraft were commonplace in our society. A time when people still looked up at the sky and fantasized about the idea of flying with no understanding of how or even if it was possible.

The feeling of ‘enviously’ looking at ‘birds soaring freely through space’ is a desire that many of us still find relatable to this day. The difference is that thanks to the Wright Brother’s daring attempts, we are closer to making that dream a reality than ever.

Felix Baumgartner

“Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.” - Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner may not be a world-class pilot, but he is as familiar with the skies as any legendary aviator. This Australian Daredevil is one of the most famous skydivers and base jumpers that the world has ever seen.

In fact, Felix Baumgartner has seen heights that surpass that of just about any pilot in existence when he completed a parachute jump from roughly 130,000 feet. Upon doing so, Felix Baumgartner broke 8 world records and was widely recognized for his achievement by the international community.

Felix Baumgartner’s addiction to adrenaline has made him respect aviation on a deeper level. When you spend enough time in the sky, your entire perspective on reality shifts, and you appreciate just how ‘small you are’ in this world. When you look down on the Earth from the view of a pilot, you understand a lot more about yourself and the world that you live in.

Amy Johnson

“I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport, although that end is what we have all ostensibly been striving to attain.” - Amy Johnson

Despite the aviation industry becoming more inclusive over the years, there was certainly a time when being a pilot was certain a boys club. Men have dominated aviation since the concept of flying was introduced into our society and it took women like Amy Johnson to show the world that flying is not just for men.

Amy Johnson is one of the most legendary aviators of all time. She is the first woman to fly on her own all the way from London to Australia. She raised money for her first aircraft and earned worldwide recognition for her skills after completing her journey to Australia.

Although Amy Johnson became a famous pilot within the international community, her true ambitions were not fame or glory but to do what she truly loved - flying. As someone who flew throughout the 1930s, Amy Johnson was able to enjoy the ‘romantic side of flying’ before it became an accessible means of transport.

These days, many people get into large commercial aircraft simply to get from point A to point B - with little to no appreciation of how special it is to spend time in the sky. Amy Johnson loved flying and romanticized aviation, which is often the very reason that many people pursue a career in aviation.

Mark Twain

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? – it is the same the angels breathe.” - Mark Twain

Mark Twain is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers in American history. His books reflect the American spirit and they encapsulate the culture of the nation better than any other writer in existence.

Although Mark Twain may not have been around during the height of aviation, his fascination with the skies was the same as that of a legendary pilot. Mark Twain romanticized the concept of flying decades before the Wright Brothers had their first flight.

This became evident due to this famous quote in his iconic book Roughing It - where Twain fantasizes about the bliss of being ‘up in the clouds’. Mark Twain’s words resonate with the masses and they bring to light just how ingrained flying is within our desires - even before aviation became attainable.

William T. Piper

"Once you have learned to fly your plane, it is far less fatiguing to fly than it is to drive a car. You don't have to watch every second for cats, dogs, children, lights, road signs, ladies with baby carriages, and citizens who drive out in the middle of the block against the lights...Nobody who has not been up in the sky on a glorious morning can possibly imagine the way a pilot feels in free heaven." - William T. Piper

William T. Piper is widely regarded as the Henry Ford of aviation. If you are familiar with airplanes, then you have certainly heard of the Piper Aircraft Corporation - an aviation manufacturing company founded and run by William T. Piper himself.

Piper has left his mark on the aviation industry forever, as his world-class planes are considered by many to be among the best ever made. As an aerospace engineer who founded the Piper Aircraft Corporation, Piper’s status within the industry can only be described as legendary.

Despite his success as an engineer and businessman, Piper was a flight enthusiast first and foremost. In this quote, Piper describes the freedom that one feels when they are in the air piloting an aircraft.

While many of us get in our cars to drive to work every day, pilots have a much more peaceful and heavenly experience with their commutes, free of ‘cats, dogs, children, lights, road signs, ladies with baby carriages, and citizens’. Piper describes the feeling of flying as ‘free heaven’.

For many aspiring pilots, Piper's words are an amazing source of inspiration. If you want to choose a career path that does not have red lights, traffic jams, and road signs, there is no better decision that you can make in your life than to become an aviator. Although the idea of achieving a career as successful as Piper’s may be challenging, a day job in the sky is a very realistic goal for any aspiring pilot.


“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” - Socrates

The age of the philosopher may have been long before any airplane was ever flown but the concept of aviation was still a desire for human beings. Socrates is widely considered to be one of the most famous philosophers of all time and his achievements have laid the foundation for modern Western Philosophy.

Out of all of his wise words, aviators reflect on his quote about how ‘Man must rise above the Earth’. The idea of reaching the ‘atmosphere and beyond’ was not just a thrilling idea to the Greek philosopher but also a necessary goal for humanity so that ‘man’ can better understand the world in which ‘he’ lives.

This quote reminds us of how important aviation is in our lives. Not only for travel and sport but also to expand our lives and our understanding of the world that we live in. Socrates may have never had the chance to pilot an aircraft but he certainly related to the depth and knowledge that one gains when in the sky.

Len Morgan

“The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I'd rather fly.” - Len Morgan

Len Morgan was an American aviator, writer, and entrepreneur. Over the course of his life, Len Morgan published over 30 books covering aviation. His works have earned him high praise from the aviation community and he is considered to be an authority on his topic of expertise.

As a veteran pilot, Len Morgan speaks with authenticity from his personal experiences in the sky. Len Morgan was not only a skilled and professional pilot but also someone who truly enjoyed flying.

This quote says a lot about what it means to be a pilot and to love what you do. As Morgan states, ‘you can either work for a living’ or ‘you can fly’. This really says it all, as for so many pilots, aviation is much more than just a job, it is a way of life. The freedom you feel when you pilot an aircraft takes away all of the hassles that come with a desk job.

When it comes to flying and aviation, so many pilots are drawn to this career out of pure passion. If you are considering a career path in aviation, take it from Len Morgan, as a pilot you will never have to work another day in your life.

Louise Thaden

“A pilot who says he has never been frightened in an airplane is, I’m afraid, lying.” - Louise Thaden

Lousie Thaden is one of the most iconic pilots to ever soar through the skies. As a female pilot who began her aviation career in the 1920s, Thaden is one of the most respected aviators of all time.

Throughout her career, Thaden has broken numerous records and is the first woman to win the Bendix trophy. After an extensive amount of time in the sky, Louise Thaden became an aviation authority and has given us all insight into the fears that come with flying.

Despite many of the men of her era claiming to be fearless pilots who have never been afraid while flying a plane, Louise Thaden has pretty much given them all a reality check by saying ‘I’m afraid, (they are) lying’. Flying an aircraft is a whole lot of fun but it is also a dangerous hobby - especially during the early days of aviation. This is a sport and mode of transport that needs to be respected and appreciated so that it can be as safe as possible.

Johnnie Johnson

"Great pilots are made not born...a man may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands, and perfect coordination, but the end result is only fashioned by steady coaching, much practice, and experience." - Johnnie Johnson

Few military pilots can compete with Johnnie Johnson’s aviation career. As a pilot who served in both WW2 and the Korean War, Johnnie Johnson has seen his fair share of air battles.

Johnson has engaged enemy aircraft in 57 different air battles, which included the Battle of Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, as well as the Western Allied Invasion of Germany. This military pilot is a veteran of his nation, as well as the international flight community. After claiming 34 individual victories for his country, this UK pilot decided to retire from his military career and pursue personal interests in aviation.

After an extensive career as a pilot, Johnson became one of the most respected members of the aviation community. Perhaps after all of his years of service, he began to realize that ‘Great pilots are made not born’.

Becoming a pilot is no easy task. You can train your whole life to earn your wings and still not be able to compete with the Ace pilots that have left their mark on history. There are certain qualities that every pilot must have to be considered a ‘good pilot’ but to become a ‘Great pilot’ you have to work hard and put in the effort.

Leonardo da Vinci

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” - Leonard da Vinci

Despite being around during the 16th century, several hundred years before the Wright Brothers had their first flight, Leonardo Da Vinci romanticized the idea of flying. The feeling of flying has been with us long before we could do so in an airplane.

Flying is a human obsession and quotes like this from Leonardo da Vinci are a reminder of how special aviation truly is. We need to take into account that the ability to fly in an aircraft is a luxury that has only been around for the last 100 years or so. However, the desire to fly has been with us for much longer than this.

Leonardo da Vinci reminds us to be grateful for this luxury and to indulge in it, for “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward’. This quote not only encapsulates the joy of flying but also puts into perspective how addicting it can be. Many pilots that pursue a career in aviation end up becoming obsessed with their jobs.

Once you get your wings and have ‘tasted flight’, you will ‘always long to return’. It is astonishing how a person who lived hundreds of years before aviation was attainable was already aware of the joy, the thrill, and the addiction that comes with being a pilot.