I fly all the time. Like many, I often tend to focus on discomforts and frustrations during long travel days. But after a recent cycling trip to Maine, where most of my forward momentum came from whatever lift and thrust my aging body can generate, I was reminded how air transport has improved my life. It really is amazing that humans have mastered the power of flight.
Saturday, August 19, is Aviation Day, the perfect opportunity to celebrate the human ingenuity and perseverance that made it possible for anyone to experience a bird's eye view and travel the world. Next Monday, everyone can go back to fretting about leg room and being forced to surrender a seat. Just for today, let these pioneers of the aviation field inspire you to soar.
1. "Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies." - Howard Hughes, pilot and successful businessman
2. "The most effective way to do it, is to do it." - Amelia Earhart, first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
3. "If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance." - Orville Wright, inventor, engineer, test pilot
4. "Men become wise just as they become rich, more by what they save than by what they receive." - Wilbur Wright, inventor, engineer, test pilot
5. "You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over." - Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group
6. "In one fell swoop, we have shrunken the earth." - Juan Trippe, Founder of Colonial Air Transport
7. "It's so important to experience what your customers are experiencing and listen to their suggestions." - David Neeleman, Founder of Jet Blue
8. "It is hard enough for anyone to map out a course of action and stick to it, particularly in the face of the desires of one's friends; but it is doubly hard for an aviator to stay on the ground waiting for just the right moment to go into the air." - Glenn Curtiss, Founder of U.S. aircraft industry
9. "It is as though we have grown wings, which thanks to Providence, we have learnt to control." - Louis Bréliot, first person to fly across English channel in heavier-than-air aircraft
10. "The work of the individual still remains the spark that moves mankind forward." - Igor Sikorsky, pioneer in helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts
11. "If you have a workforce that enjoys each other, they trust each other, they trust management, they're proud of where they work - then they're going to deliver a good product. " - Jeff Smisek, former CEO of Continental Airlines
12. "Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests." - Charles Lindbergh, American aviator
13. "The air is the only place free from prejudices." - Bessie Coleman, first African-American woman to hold a pilot license
14. "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, renowned aviator and author
15. "Setting off unknown to face the unknown, against parental opposition, with no money, friends, or influence, ran it a close second. Clichés like 'blazing trails,' flying over 'shark-infected seas,' 'battling with monsoons,' and 'forced landings amongst savage tribes' became familiar diet for breakfast. Unknown names became household words, whilst others, those of the failures, were forgotten utterly except by kith and kin." - Amy John, First woman to fly from Britain to Australia alone
16. "I pick projects according to how fascinating they are to me, and it has resulted in a broad reach. My records are actually in five different sports: balloons, airplanes, airships, gliders, and sailboats. " - Steve Fossett, record-breaking aviator
17. "The only time an aircraft has too much fuel on board is when it is on fire." - Charles Kingford Smith, first man to make trans-Pacific flight from Australia to the U.S.
18. "Adventure is the essence of life." - Dick Rutan, piloted Voyager aircraft around the world non-stop