Forever Flying: 11 Quotes About Our Passion for Aviation

For a minute there we thought we thought we’d figured out what happened to Amelia Earheart back in 1937, but a history blogger managed to debunk the latest theory in a matter of days, forcing the History Channel to pull its new documentary from rotation.

It’s no surprise that people still care about the answers to these questions, so many decades later. Anything flight-related becomes laden with symbolism, contributing to mankind’s favorite chapter in our own mythology: Through passion, intellect, and sheer force of will, we finally beat gravity.

Earheart’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to look around and recognize how obsessed we still are with the idea of flying; today, even the lowliest of us is likely to spend more time airborne than anyone from a few centuries ago could possibly imagine. The following authors’ quotes (including one from Earheart herself) illustrate how flight, whether literal or metaphorical, remains our favorite expression of freedom — even if it means that, for one reason or another, some who take to the skies simply never come back.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan, 1904
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

Amelia Earhart, The Fun of It, 1932
“Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, 1977
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, 2011
“The magnificent thing about her is, in the eyes of the world, she simply never died. Her fear never witnessed, her failure never recorded, her shiny twin-engine Electra never recovered. Earhart’s legacy of inspiration is amplified because her adventure is perpetual. We don’t think of her as dead; we think of her as missing. She is forever flying, somewhere beyond Lae, over that limitless blue horizon.”

Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World, 1990
“The secret of flight is this – you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.”

Richard Bach, Stranger to the Ground, 1963
“My airplane is quiet, and for a moment still an alien, still a stranger to the ground, I am home.”

Ogden Nash, Hard Lines, 1931
“At least when I get on the Boston train I have a good chance of landing in the South Station
And not in that part of the daily press which is reserved for victims of aviation.”

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves, 2000
“He loved more than anything to fly. His sole conflict was with gravity.”

Hafez, 14th century
“Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.”

Erica Jong, Fear of Flying, 1973
“There are no atheists on turbulent airplanes.”

Ursula K. Le Guin, Changing Planes, 2003
“She didn’t even ask me if I was going to go on flying. She knew I would. I don’t understand the people who have wings and don’t use them. I suppose they’re interested in having a career. Maybe they were already in love with somebody on the ground. But it seems … I don’t know. I can’t really understand it. Wanting to stay down. Choosing not to fly. Wingless people can’t help it, it’s not their fault they’re grounded. But if you have wings …”

 

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