Great Aviation Quotes: Quotable Flyer: Pilot and Flying Quotations
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Women Fly


Flying does not rely so much on strength, as on physical and mental co-ordination.

— Elise Deroche, first lady to solo an airplane.

Flying is the best possible thing for women.

— Baroness Raymonde de Laroche of France, first licensed woman pilot, regards receiving her license, 8 March 1910.

If a woman wants to fly, first of all she must, of course, abandon skirts and don a knickerbocker uniform.

— Harriet Quimby, first lady in the U.S. to receive a pilots license, 1911.

Women will never be as successful in aviation as men. The reason I feel that women can never compete with mean as aviatior is because they have not the right kind of nerve, the never that unites full knowledge of every danger, and judgement in handling difficulties, with cool daring.

— Maurice Hewlet, the first English lady to solo an aeroplane. Daily Stetch, 2 May 1913.

I was annoyed from the start by the attitude of doubt by the spectators that I would never really make the flight. This attitude made me more determined than ever to succeed.

— Harriet Quimby, just prior to her flight across the English Channel, 1912.

I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.

— Bessie Coleman, who had to go to France to learn how to fly as Americans would not instruct a black lady, quoted in Ladybirds by Henry M. Holden.

When I began to talk about flying, she already had confidence in me. My mother never warned me not to do this or that for fear of being hurt, Of course I got hurt, but I was never afraid.

— Katherine Stinson, quoted in Women Aviators by Lisa Yount.

I have found that women are not only just as much interested as men are in flying, but apparently have less fear than the men have. At least, more women than men asked to go up with me. And when I took them up, they seemed to enjoy it.

— Katherine Stinson, quoted in Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl by Debra L. Winegarten.

The men flyers have given out the impression that aeroplaning is very perilous work, something that an ordinary mortal should not dream of attempting. But when I saw how easily the man flyers manipulated their machines I said I could fly.

— Harriet Quimby.

The aeroplane should open a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, from parcel delivery, taking photographs or conducting schools of flying.

— Harriet Quimby, June 1912.

There is a world-old controversy that crops up whenever women attempt to enter a new field. Is a woman fit for that work? It would seem that a woman's success in any particular field would prove her fitness for that work, without regard to theories to the contrary.

— Ruth Law, 1920

So many men now have lost their lives in airplane accidents that individual addition [sic] to the long list of their names have ceased to cause any really deep emotions except in the minds of their relatives and friends. When a woman is the victim however the feeling of pity and horror is as strong as was that produced by the first of these disasters to men and though there is at present no expectation that aviation should be abandoned by men because of the recognized dangers, the death of Miss Bromwell is almost sure to raise in many minds at least the question if it would not be well to exclude women from a field of activity in which there [sic] presence certainly is unnecessary from any point of view.

&mdashNew York Times, editorial, 1921.

The air is the only place free from prejudices.

— Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to become an airplane pilot, 1921.

I refused to take no for an answer.

— Bessie Coleman.

If the feminine is considered the weaker sex and this weaker sex accomplishes the art of flying, it is positive proof of the simplicity and universal practicality of individual flying. It is the greatest sales argument that can be presented to that public upon which this industry depends for its existence.

— Frank Copeland, marketing director of an early air race.

Just watch, all of you men. I’ll show you what a woman can do… . I’ll go across the country, I’ll race to the Moon… . I’ll never look back.

— Edna Gardner Whyte, regards her first solo flight, New Year's Day, 1931.

So I accept these awards on behalf of the cake bakers and all of those other women who can do some things quite as important, if not more important, than flying, as well as in the name of women flying today.

— Amelia Earhart

Aviation, this young modern giant, exemplifies the possible relationships of women with the creations of science.

— Amelia Earhart, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, 1935.

Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others.

— Amelia Earhart, in her last letter to her husband, 1937.

Had I been a man I might have explored the Poles or climbed Mount Everest, but as it was my spirit found outlet in the air… .

— Amy Johnson, Essay in 'Myself When Young,' Margot Asquith, 1938.

No it was not the novelty, and it was not the danger and the adventure (although these had their charm). It was certainly not a passing whim (if it had been the hard work would have dispelled it in a very short time!). I think there were three chief reasons for my choice of career:
First, a real love for, and interest in aviation
Secondly, a determination to earn my own money and to make my career a paying proposition.
Thirdly, a conviction that aviation was a profession of the future and therefore had room to welcome its new followers.

— Pauline Gower

This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used.

— Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942.

There is a decided prejudice on the part of the general public against being piloted by a woman, and as great an aversion, partially because of this, by executives of those companies whose activities require employing pilots.

— Louise Thaden, co-founder of the Ninty-Nines.

Any girl who has flown at all grows used to the prejudice of most men pilots who will trot out any number of reasons why women can't possibly be good pilots… . The only way to show the disbelievers, the snickering hangar pilots, is to show them.

— Cornelia Fort, WAFS.

Too often little attention is paid to individual talent. instead, education goes on dividing people according to their sex, and putting them in little feminine or masculine pigeonholes … Girls are shielded and sometimes helped so much that they lose initiative and begin to believe the signs 'Girls don't' and 'Girls can't' which mark their paths… Consequently, it seems almost necessary to evolve different methods of instruction for them when they later take up the same subjects. For example, those courses which involve mechanical work may have to be explained somewhat differently to girls not because girls are inherently not mechanical, but because normally they have learned little about such things in the course of their education.

— Amelia Earhart, The Fun of It, 1932.

Women must try to do things as men have tried, When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others.

— Amelia Earhart, in the New York Times, 29 July 1928.

Women must pay for everything… . They do get more glory than men for comparable feats, But, also, women get more notoriety when they crash.

— Amelia Earhart

I didn't know a lot about Amelia before I started [flying]. And as a woman and a pilot, I should have known more.

— Linda Finch, prior to starting out on a flight retracing Amelia Earhart last journey, 1997.

Flying is a man's job and its worries are a man's worries.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939.

This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used.

— Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942.

We realized what a spot we were in. We had to deliver the goods, or else there wouldn't ever be another chance for women pilots in any part of the service.

— Cornelia Fort, WAFS, 1942.

I can cure your men of walking off the [flight] program. Let's put on the girls.

— Jacqueline Cochran

In the early days they said I was trying to make a statement, but I was just trying to make a living.

— Captain Bonnie Tiburzi, American Airlines, first woman hired by a major airline.

It is now possible for a flight attendant to get a pilot pregnant.

— Richard J. Ferris, President, United Airlines.

Have confidence in yourself and tell yourself 'you can' twice for every time you are told 'you can't.' Confidence that you can succeed is everything. Take every negative remark as a challenge to achieve more and progress to newer heights. You are able to do anything you believe you can do. You might even surprise yourself.

— Alinda Wikert, first female owner and CEO of an airline.

Flying is not about whether the pilot is a man or a woman. It is about the results of the actions imposed by the pilot and the responses returned by the aircraft. The aircraft does not know or understand gender. It only knows the difference in a true pilot, and one who was perhaps not meant to fly.

— Captain Jennifer Kaye, Air National Guard, 2000.

If you can't see any opportunities where you are now, don't waste your time criticizing the darkness… . Light a candle to find your way out.

— Arlene Feldman. Regional Director FAA.

When I first started out in the aviation field, there were no women currently flying in the military or for commercial airlines. There were no footprints in the snow. My strategy was to eliminate any reasons why someone wouldn't hire me as a pilot, like inadequate training or experience.

— Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, test pilot, Boeing Aircraft

Aviation is still considered a man's world by many. The time to reach young ladies is during their first years of school. Research has shown that although children may change their minds several times about their eventual careers, the possibilities of them selecting a non-traditional role must be nurtured at an early age.

— Dr. Peggy Baty, founder of Women In Aviation International

To a psychoanalyst, a woman pilot, particularly a married one with children, must prove an interesting as well as an inexhaustible subject. Torn between two loves, emotionally confused, the desire to fly an incurable disease eating out your life in the slow torture of frustration — she cannot be a simple, natural personality.

— Louise Thaden

No. I just wanted to fly airplanes.

— Jackie Parker, asked if she pursued her flying career because she viewed herself as blazing trails for other women. Jackie was the first female in a number of traditionally male USAF assignments. She was Reese AFB's first T-38 instructor pilot, the first female graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and the first woman in the United States to be assigned to an F-16 fighter squadron.

I’m an Air Force officer first, a pilot second and then Nicole. The female part is last… . My job is to be the best right wingman that I can be.

— Captain Nicole Malachowski, first lady pilot with the USAF flight demonstration team the Thunderbirds. Interview in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 15 March 2006.

Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn't know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform. That's all anyone cares about when you’re up there - that you can do your job, and that you do it exceptionally well.

— Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group deputy commander, on being the first female to fly the F-35. Story in, 6 May 2015.

I’d have given my right eye to be an astronaut.

— Jacqueline Cochran, quoted in Women Aviators by Lisa Yount.

I would not say that female cosmonauts are not welcomed in the Russian space program. I must say, however, that all spaceflight hardware, including spacesuits and spacecraft comfort assuring systems, were designed mostly by men and for men.

— Valentina Tereshkova (Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва), first woman in space, 1963.

If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can't they fly in space?

— Valentina Tereshkova (Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва).

What are we doing here? we’re reaching for the stars.

— Christa McAuliffe, regards entering the astronaut program, Time magazine 10 February 1986.

Without women, we stood in space on one leg only.

— Vladimir Dzanibekov, Soviet cosmonaut, regards the first space walk by a woman, The London Times, 11 August 1984.

I can't remember a single time [my parents] ever told me not to do something I wanted to do.

— Sally Ride, quoted in Women Aviators by Lisa Yount.

I wanted to be a hairdresser when I grew up. I’d sit on the back of the sofa and my mother would sit in front of me, and as long as it didn't involve scissors or dye, she'd let me do whatever I wanted to her hair. All the women in my life were nurses, hairdressers, or secretaries, and that's why I thought my father would not support me in being a pilot. I can remember asking him, “what would you think if I told you I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up?” expecting him to say no or disagree. He said, “I think that would be fantastic.” Had he not said those words, I don't know what would have happened to me.

— Susan Still, Lieutenant, United States Navy, Combat Pilot and Astronaut, quoted in Women And Flight, by Carolyn Russo, 1997.

She's decisive, she's aggressive, she's proven she's capable with high-performance jets. We look for people with the capability to think on their feet and to be able to lead a team of people. We look for the best pilots out there, and if they happen to be women, great, but we’re just looking for the best.

— David Leestma, director of flight crew operations, Johnson Space Center. Regarding Astronaut Susan Still, 1997.

I’m honored to be the first woman to have the opportunity to command the shuttle. I don't really think about that on a day-to-day basis because I really don't need to.

— Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, first female Space Shuttle commander, 24 June 1999.

Because of [Amelia Earhart], we had more women available to fly in the 1940's to help us get through World War II. And because of these women, women of my generation are able to look back and say, 'Hey, they did it. They even flew military airplanes, we can do it, too.'

— Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, television interview 100 Years of Great women on ABC with Barbara Walters, 30 April 1999.

There was my mom and I had a wife for a long time and now there is my fiancee. Eileen is in a long line of women who have given me orders.

— Jeffrey S. Ashby, shuttle pilot regards flying under Eileen Collins' command.

My daughter just thinks that all moms fly the Space Shuttle

— Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, first female Space Shuttle commander, 1999.

This kid didn't give up. I’ve been waiting since '61 to get there, and I’m going.

— Wally Funk, denied a chance to fly into space at the time of the Mercury program because she's a woman, regards taking a ride on Virgin Galactic. Quoted in AdAstra magazine, Summer 2013.




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