Naval Aviation Humor

Basic Birdman Wisdom
Aircraft Nicknames
Gripes and Grins

Basic Birdman Wisdom

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller.  If you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.

If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter and therefore inherently unsafe.

Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.

It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries.

The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.

Never trade luck for skill.

When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.

A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away.  A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.

A smooth landing is mostly luck.  Two in a row is all luck.  Three in a row is provocation.

Learn from the mistakes of others.  You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself. 

When a flight is going extremely well, something was forgotten.

Human kind has a perfect record in aviation.  No one has ever been left up there.

You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.

When one engine fails on a twin engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.

Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.

Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction.  Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide in clouds. 

Remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day.

Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you've made.

Weather forecast are horoscopes with numbers.

Never run out of altitude, airspeed and ideas all at the same time. (Submitted by gonavy505)

It is not a good idea to eject over an area you have just bombed. (Submitted by Mike Daniel)

Equipment problems that go away by themselves will come back by themselves.

Five famous last expressions in aviation: 1) What was that? 2) Why is it dong that? 3) Where are we? 4) Watch this! 5) Oooooh Sh**

If no liquids (such as fuel, oil, grease or hydraulic fluid) are leaking out of an aircraft, it's safe to say there are none within. (Submitted by ssdrpr)

Airspeed, altitude or brains.  Two are required to successfully complete a flight.

Northrop's Law of Aeronautical Engineering - When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the airplane, the airplane will fly. (Submitted by HuckB315)

If you have to fly "Hanger Queen" during squadron fly off keep one hand on ejection seat handle during cat shot.  (Submitted by gonavy505)

The most hazardous evolution in naval aviation is the end of deployment fly-off. (Approach safety magazine)

Flaring is like squatting to pee. (Navy carrier pilot).

Without ammunition the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.

Black Shoe Axiom: There are more airplanes in the ocean than there are submarines in the sky. (Submitted by  ib1okie)

Similarities between air traffic controllers (ATC) and pilots:  If a pilot screws up he dies.  If ATC screws up the pilot dies. 

Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your problem to a person on the ground incapable of understanding it or doing anything about it.

Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.

Three great things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm and a good bowel movement.  The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time.

A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. (Attributed to astronaut Jon McBride)

The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world. It can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Northrop test pilot Max Stanley)

If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible. (Attributed to aerobatic pilot Bob Hoover)

When a crash seems inevitable endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slowly and gently as possible. (Attributed to WW1 era RAF)

If an airplane is still in one piece don't cheat on it, ride the bastard down. (Attributed to author/aviator Ernest K. Gann)

Though I fly through the valley of death I shall fear no evil for I am at 80,000 feet and climbing. (Sign at entrance to SR-71 area Kadena AFB Okinawa)

As a test pilot climbs out of an experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives, the rescuer sees a bloodied pilot and asks "What happened?"  The pilot replies, "I don't know, I just got here myself!" - Attributed to Ray Crandell (Lockheed test pilot)

You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3. (Attributed to SR-71 test pilot Paul Crickmore)

There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime. (Sign at Davis-Monthan AFB Arizona.)

Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV. (Attributed to a DC-9 captain trainee attempting to check out on the "glass cockpit" of an A-320.)

Altitude is energy, energy is speed, speed is life, life is good! (Submitted by AT1 Alan Trulock)

It takes a college degree to break 'em and a high school diploma to fix 'em. (Submitted by AT1 Doug Storie USN (Ret))

Shanker's Rules    (Submitted by Walt Spangler)
1. Speed is life.
2. Train like you plan to fight.
3. If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid.
4. When all else fails, select guns.
5. Know the opposition
6. When things go wrong, get aggressive.
7. Always know when to get out of Dodge.
8. Always know how to get out of Dodge.
9. Honor the threat

Helicopters don't fly.  They are so ugly that the earth actually repels them. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

Helicopters don't fly.  They beat the air into submission. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

There are old fighter pilots, and there are bold fighter pilots, but there are no old and bold fighter pilots! (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

You start with an empty bag of skill and a full bag of luck.  The trick is to fill the bag of skill before the luck runs out. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

Remember the 7 "P's":  Perfect Planning and Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

The plane is the dog and the pilot is the owner. The planes job is to bite the owner if he touches anything. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

Fighter bubba's nick name for Hornet pilots - FAG's - Fighter Attack Guys. (Submitted by tomcat_842002)

There are times in life when you should ask questions. There are times in life when you shouldn't. When you see the EOD tech RUNNING up the flight deck, the latter ruler applies.  (Submitted by Jim Doran, Air Gunner, USN (Ret))

There is only one purpose for naval aviation - ordnance on target. All else is secondary.  A naval aviator is only a courier service for the ordnanceman. (Submitted by Jim Doran, Air Gunner, USN (Ret))

Electric fusing only works if the aircrew turns it on.  (Submitted by Jim Doran, Air Gunner, USN (Ret))

An explosion is defined as a loud noise accompanied by the rapid disassembly of the weapon.  (Submitted by Jim Doran, Air Gunner, USN (Ret))

It's always better to be down here, wishing you were up there, than to be up there, wishing you were down here. (Attributed to retired Captain H. Ronning).

Progress in airline flying: now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.

The flight of a helicopter is nothing more than a continuously controlled crash landing. (Attributed to a Coast Guard Pilot - Submitted by Robin Jones)



A-3D Skywarrior -- Whale, All Three Dead

A-4 Skyhawk -- Scooter, Heinemann’s Hotrod, Mighty Mite, Tinker Toy

A-5 Vigilante -- Viggie

A-6 Intruder --  Truder, Dogship, Tadpole

A-7 Corsair II -- SLUF

AD-1 Skyraider -- Able Dog, Spad, Flying Dump Truck

AH-1G Cobra -- Snake

AM-1 Mauler --  Able Mable, Awful Monster

AV-8 Harrier --  Jump Jet, Tail Dragger

E-1B Tracer -- Willy Fudd, Fudd, Stoof with a roof

E-2C Hawkeye --  Hummer

EA-3 Skywarrior -- Electric Whale

EA-6B Prowler -- Queer, Q-Bird, Gliding Electric Show

EP-3E Aires II -- Pig, Flying Pig

F1F -- Fifi

F2A Buffalo -- Beer Barrel, Flying Barrel, Suicide Barrel

F2H Banshee --  Banjo

F3D Skyknight -- Drut, Willie the Whale

F3H Demon --  Lead Sled

F4D / F6A Skyray -- Ford

FJ-2/4 Fury -- Dog, Furry

F-4 Phantom II -- Lead Sled, Double Ugly, Rhino, Flying Footlocker, Old Smokey

F4U Corsair -- Bent Wing, U-Bird, Broke Wing, Whistling Death

F-5 Tiger -- Freedom Fighter, Skoshi Tiger, Dinky Toy

F-7U Cutlass -- Gutless Cutlass, Ensign Killer

F-8U Crusader -- Gunfighter, Last Gunfighter, MiG Master

F-14 Tomcat -- Turkey, Tomkitty, Cat, Tomgrape

F/A-18 Hornet -- Bug, Plastic Bug, Fateen

H-3 Sea King -- Big Mother, War Winnebago

HC-130 Hercules -- Herk, Hog, Bleed Air Blimp

HC-46 Sea Knight -- Frog, Boeing Body Bag, Boeing Mix Master

HJD-1 -- Little Henry

HU-1E / HH / UH Iroquois -- Huey, Slick

N3N -- Yellow Peril

NR-1 Recruit -- Maytag Messerschmitt

P-3 Orion -- Pig, Flying Pig

P5M Mariner -- Frog

PV-1 Ventura -- Pregnant Pig

PV-2 Harpoon -- 'Poon

R4D (DC-3 / C-47) -- Gooney Bird, Dizzy Three

S-2F Tracker -- Stoof

S-3 Viking -- Hoover

SB2C Helldiver -- Beast

SB2U Vindicator -- Vibrator, Wind Indicator

SBD Dauntless -- Barge, Slow But Deadly

SH-60 Seahawk -- Crashhawk, Lawn Dart

SNB-1 Kansan / UC-45 Navigator -- Secret Navy Bomber, Double Breasted Bug Smasher

SNJ Texan -- Snidge, Growler, Slow Navy Junk

T-2 Buckeye -- Guppy

T-28 Trojan -- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

T-34 Mentor -- Radial Interceptor, Teenie-weenie

T-37  Tweet -- Dog Whistle, Tweety Bird, Screaming Mimi

TBF Avenger -- Pregnant Beast, Turkey, Chuff

UF-1G / HU-16 Albatross -- Goat

US-2B -- Used to be Stoof

WF-1 Tracer -- Willy Fudd, Fudd, Stoof with a Roof




The following maintenance work orders were submitted by pilots.
The replies are from aircraft maintainers.

Problem: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

Problem: Test Flight OK, except auto land very rough.
Solution: Auto land not installed on this aircraft.

Problem: Propeller #2 seeping prop fluid.
Solution: Propeller #2 seepage normal - #1, #3 and #4 propellers lack normal seepage.

Problem: The autopilot doesn't.
Solution: It does now!

Problem: Something loose in cockpit.
Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.

Problem: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Solution: Evidence removed.

Problem: DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) volume unbelievably loud.
Solution: Volume set to more believable level.

Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on order.

Problem: IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) inoperative.
Solution: IFF always inoperative in off mode.

Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That's what they're there for.

Problem: Engine #3 missing.
Solution: Engine #3 found on right wing after brief search.

Problem: Aircraft handles funny.
Solution: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious!

Problem: Target Radar hums.
Solution: Reprogrammed Target Radar with the lyrics.

Problem: TACAN INOP when O-F-F/O-N switch in O-F-F position
Solution: NTF. Works when set to ON  (Submitted by former AT2 Joe Carlet)



Collected from multiple sources.  No claim made for originality.