10 Inspirational Quotes about Flying (and their Meanings)

By Pilot Institute
Posted on April 25, 2023 - 6 minute read

Since the dawn of human history, the concept of flight has fascinated us. At some stage in our lives, we have looked up at the skies with wonder and awe, dreaming of soaring through the air like the birds above us.

Over time, humans have developed the technology to make this dream a reality with the invention of airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft.

Throughout history, many famous quotes have captured the essence of flight, inspiring generations to pursue their dreams of taking to the skies.

Below, we’ve outlined ten inspirational quotes and explored their meanings.

Pioneers of Flight and Their Memorable Words

Wilbur and Orville Wright

Wilbur and Orville Wright

The Wright Brothers, Wilbur, and Orville, invented and flew the first airplane.

Their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903 was a turning point in human history, and their words have inspired countless others to pursue their dreams of flight.

The Wright brothers spoke fondly of their craft and inspired others for generations.

“If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I?” – Orville Wright.

This simple statement encapsulates the spirit of innovation and determination that allowed the Wright Brothers to achieve what many thought was impossible.

In this quote, Wright recognizes that birds could fly but questions why humans could not do the same. His quote suggests that he believed that human flight was possible and that he was motivated to pursue this goal by observing the birds flapping their wings to fly.

The quote also conveys a sense of curiosity, wonder, and a desire to explore the possibilities of flight, which were essential qualities in the Wright brothers’ pursuit of aviation.

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space…” – Wilbur Wright.

Wilbur Wright also spoke about the allure of flight. This quote speaks to the universal human desire to explore the world and push the boundaries of what is possible.

Ultimately, the Wright brothers’ persistence and dedication led to the development of the first successful powered flight, and their legacy continues to inspire future generations of aviators and dreamers.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

“The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

Amelia Earhart was another pioneering aviator who broke barriers and inspired others with her words. She broke barriers for women in aviation and set numerous aviation records, including being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

This quote speaks to the importance of taking action and pursuing your dreams, even amid uncertainty and fear.

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

This sentiment has inspired countless adventurers and explorers throughout history. In this quote, Earhart expresses her belief in the intrinsic value of pursuing new experiences and exploring the world around us.

She believed in taking risks and pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible. She saw the pursuit of adventure as a valuable end rather than simply a means to an end.

Astronauts and Their Visions of Flight

The astronauts who have ventured into space also shared their thoughts on flight and its significance.

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, best known for being the first human to set foot on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.  Armstrong’s famous words as he set foot on the moon in 1969 have become an iconic symbol of human achievement and the power of exploration.

Funnily enough, listeners on Earth misquoted Armstrong. He maintains that the quote was, “That’s one small step for a man…”

In 1999, Armstrong admitted that he also couldn’t hear the “a” in the famous audio recording.

A few years later, an Australian programmer and entrepreneur, Peter Shann Ford, ran the audio through voice analysis software. Lo and behold, he found the missing “a.”

Unfortunately, it was only 35 milliseconds long – too short for human ears to hear.

John Glenn

John Glenn

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”

John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, also created a memorable quote about his experience in space. The humorous quip highlights the risks and challenges of space travel – primarily by ‘poking fun’ at the economics of the space industry.

The feeling, of course, being, ‘this darn thing I’m flying in is so cheap. What if it falls apart?’

Philosophers and Writers Reflecting on Flight

Throughout history, philosophers and writers have also reflected on the significance of flight.

Leonardo da Vinci

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.”

Leonardo da Vinci was a renowned artist, inventor, and scientist fascinated with flight and aviation. He designed and sketched numerous flying machines and studied the aerodynamics of birds to gain insights into how to achieve human flight.

His quote suggests that once a person has experienced the thrill and freedom of flight, it becomes a part of them, and they will always be drawn to the sky. It speaks to the transformative power of flight, which can change one’s perspective and provide a sense of liberation and awe.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, poet, and aviator best known for his novella “The Little Prince.” Born in Lyon, France, in 1900, Saint-Exupéry developed a passion for aviation at a young age and became a pilot in the French Air Force. As a pilot, he flew numerous airmail routes and later worked as a commercial airline pilot for Aeropostale, a pioneering French aviation company.

In this memorable quote, Saint-Exupéry reflects his belief that flying provides a sense of freedom and liberation from daily life’s mundane and trivial concerns.

The phrase “tyranny of petty things” suggests that Saint-Exupéry viewed the distractions and preoccupations of daily life as a kind of tyranny. This force can hold us back and prevent us from fully experiencing the world around us. By contrast, flying represents a way to break free from these limitations and open oneself to new experiences and possibilities.

Modern Aviation Pioneers and Their Thoughts on Flight

Modern aviation pioneers continue to push the boundaries of flight and inspire others with their words.

Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager

“You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.”

Chuck Yeager was a legendary test pilot and military aviator best known for breaking the sound barrier in 1947. He had an illustrious career in the US Air Force and is one of the greatest test pilots of all time.

His quote speaks to the courage and determination required to achieve great things in aviation and other fields.

Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan

“We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”

Burt Rutan was the aerospace engineer who designed SpaceShipOne, a privately-funded spacecraft that completed the first manned commercial spaceflight.

This quote highlights the incredible potential of human exploration beyond Earth and the importance of pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation.


Famous flying quotes can capture the spirit of flight and inspire generations to pursue their dreams. From the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart to astronauts, philosophers, and modern aviation pioneers, the words of those who have explored the skies and beyond have touched the hearts and minds of people worldwide.

Whether our dreams involve a flight or other pursuits, we can draw inspiration from these words and strive to make them a reality. We should never forget the power of our imaginations and our ability to overcome obstacles in pursuit of our goals.

So, let us take a moment to reflect on our dreams and aspirations and let the words of these famous flying quotes inspire us to reach for the skies – and beyond!

Scored % on their FAA Exam