I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty. That the reasons flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the aesthetic appeal of flying.
— Amelia Earhart.
The great bird will take its first flight … filling the world with amazement and all records with its fame, and it will bring eternal glory to the nest where it was born.
— Leonardo da Vinci
A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, first sentence of Southern Mail, 1929.
What freedom lies in flying, what Godlike power it gives to men … I lose all consciousness in this strong unmortal space crowded with beauty, pierced with danger.
— Charles A. Lindbergh
Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.
— Amelia Earhart
A man can criticize a pilot for flying into a mountainside in fog, but I would rather by far die on a mountainside than in bed. What sort of man would live where there is no daring? Is life itself so dear that we should blame one for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?
— Charles A. Lindbergh
How many more years I shall be able to work on the problem I do not know; I hope, as long as I live. There can be no thought of finishing, for ‘aiming at the stars’ both literally and figuratively, is a problem to occupy generations, so that no matter how much progress one makes, there is always the thrill of just beginning.
— Robert H. Goddard, in a 1932 letter to H. G. Wells.
I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport, although that end is what we have all ostensibly been striving to attain.
— Amy Johnson, Sky Roads of the World, 1939.
Aeronautics confers beauty and grandeur, combining art and science for those who devote themselves to it… . The aeronaut, free in space, sailing in the infinite, loses himself in the immense undulations of nature. He climbs, he rises, he soars, he reigns, he hurtles the proud vault of the azure sky …
— Georges Besançon, founder of the first successful aviation journal L’Aérophile, February 1902.
Live thy life as it were spoil and pluck the joys that fly.
— Martial, Epigrams, A.D. 86.
These bright roofs, these steep towers, these jewel-lakes, these skeins of railroad line — all spoke to her and she answered. She was glad they were there. She belonged to them and they to her… . She had not lost it. She was touching it with her fingertips. This was flying: to go swiftly over the earth you loved, touching it lightly with your fingertips, holding the railroads lines in your hand to guide you, like a skein of wool in a spider-web game — like following Ariadne’s thread through the Minotaur’s maze, Where would it lead, where?
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Steep Ascent, 1944.
I don’t understand these people anymore, that travel the commuter-trains to their dormitory towns. These people that call themselves human, but, by a pressure they do not feel, are forced to do their work like ants. With what do they fill their time when they are free of work on their silly little Sundays?
I am very fortunate in my profession. I feel like a farmer, with the airstrips as my fields. Those that have once tasted this kind of fare will not forget it ever. Not so, my friends? It is not a question of living dangerously. That formula is too arrogant, too presumptuous. I don’t care much for bull-fighters. It’s not the danger I love. I know what I love. It is life itself.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939.
And if flying, like a glass-bottomed bucket, can give you that vision, that seeing eye, which peers down on the still world below the choppy waves — it will always remain magic.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient, 1935.
To fly! to live as airmen live! Like them to ride the skyways from horizon to horizon, across rivers and forests! To free oneself from the petty disputes of everyday life, to be active, to feel the blood renewed in one’s vein — ah! that is life… . Life in finer and simpler. My will is freer. I appreciate everything more, sunlight and shade, work and my friends. The sky is vast. I breathe deep gulps of the fine clear air of the heights. I feel myself to have achieved a higher state of physical strength and a clearer brain. I am living in the third dimension!
— Henri Mignoet, L’Aviation de L’Amateur; Le Sport de l’Air,1934.
Many wonderful inventions have surprised us during the course of the last century and the beginning of this one. But most were completely unexpected and were not part of the old baggage of dreams that humanity carries with it. Who had ever dreamed of steamships, railroads, or electric light? We welcomed all these improvements with astonished pleasure; but they did not correspond to an expectation of our spirit or a hope as old as we are: to overcome gravity, to tear ourselves away from the earth, to become lighter, to fly away, to take possession of the immense aerial kingdom; to enter the universe of the Gods, to become Gods ourselves.
— Jerome Tharaud, ‘Dans le ciel des dieux,’ in Les Grandes Conferences de l’aviation: Recits et souvenirs, 1934.