The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about
Skydiving & Air Sports

NOTE:  Some of these quotations are not specifically in the context of skydiving or air sports; however, the general sentiments are here borrowed to apply to the theme. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

If you surrender to the wind you can ride it. ~Toni Morrison, quoted in Laura B. Randolph, "The Magic of Toni Morrison," Ebony, July 1988

Time to fly... It was as if I had pulled my own cirrus cloud aloft, a silken rainbow thirty feet from wingtip to wingtip, lemon-lime streamers fluttering out behind the trailing edge. It pulsed overhead as I stood in the breeze: no feathers, no wax — the kite that would have kept Icarus from falling. ~Richard Bach, Running from Safety: An Adventure of the Spirit, 1994

      His name was Charlie Harden. I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot fall off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a while streak behind him flowered out into the delicate, wavering muslin of a parachute — a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, a man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.
      I stood fascinated while he drifted down, swinging with the wind, a part of it, the 'chute's skirt weaving with its eddies, lightly, gracefully, until he struck the ground and all that fragile beauty wilted around him into a pile of earth-stained, wrinkled cloth. ~Charles Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953

I come to the forbidden edge.
I strap on the sheath of unfear and gird the strands of daring about me.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: XXVI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Ah, if he could have plunged up into the clouds, so as to sweep thereon through the undulating heavens over the boundless earth! — ah, if he could have floated with the flower-fragrance over the flowers, — could have streamed with the wind over the summits, through the woods! ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865

...the open air is the only place for real fun. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D., "The Importance of Play," Building Strong Bodies, 1924

I went to the airport. First there was a little thing to sign, all typed out for me. I, my heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns would make no fuss, whatever happened. And they began to dress me up, goggles and 'chutes. We filed out of the hangar, one man ahead, one behind me, not unlike a condemned man's walk to the chair. At this moment, my whole past life flashed through my mind—Was there any evidence of mental disorder? There was the time when I wanted to quit school; there was the fact that at parties I get moody and contrary; but all that wasn't convincing. Had it perhaps broken out suddenly? Rapidly, I ran through uncles and aunts; no insanity in the family. I seemed to be sane. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

PARACHUTE  A successful method for getting the drop on the Earth. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute. ~Gil Stern, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1971

To sail on wings of unrestraint, there where there is no chart of the skies! ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the wing, through a hurricane of wind, clinging on to struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left in me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold on to life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have no pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was a deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain. It was the quality that led me into aviation in the first place, when safer and more profitable occupations were at hand, and against the advice of my friends. It was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of men — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant. ~Charles Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953

I flew... sliding along weightless, without footing, like a ghost. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

Every wise man has a parachute of prudence attached to his balloon of enthusiasm. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I held my breath, or rather my nerves did; they expected me presently to hit with terrific force, and to get hurt; because they had never known me to fall and then not hit and get hurt. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

Hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation… or is it the wind? Hey, there really is a lot of that now isn't there? And wow, what's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast… so big and flat and wide it needs a big wide sounding word… like round… round… ground! That's it, ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me? ~Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1978

It is like flying in dreams, flying simply because you are light. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

I looked up at my 'chute; the simplest of all aircraft. It quivered, high above me, the merest handkerchief in size; it seemed incredible that so small a bit of silk should have so much holding power. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

No one's hungry in the first few seconds of a skydive. ~Brad Pilon  [advocate of intermittent fasting —tg]

I was well afloat with my magic carpet. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith, 1940

I fell and fell. I fell face downward, my left hand clawing at a cornfield, right hand on my heart, holding the ripcord. I fell so hard that I couldn't even be afraid; I was all filled out by one feeling, a feeling which, translated into colloquial language, was: "Oh, boy; oh, boy, here I go!" ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

My soul is in the sky... ~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595  [V, 1, Bottom. Context: death. —tg]

Skydive naked from an aeroplane... ~Nikki Sixx, "Kickstart My Heart," 1988, performed by Mötley Crüe ♫

I looked down; half a mile down… I should like now to report hair-raising sensations. But actually I was cool—or perhaps the better word is dead. While I stood out there and looked down, my heart stopped pounding. It was the factor X again, coming in handy; I could feel no animalistic fear of falling, because I could get no animal sense of the depth. I could see the altimeter registering 2500 feet, but the position of a needle on a dial was evidence too thin and intellectual to give a good scare. The pilot nodded. I felt no reluctance. I let go of my hold, took hold of the ripcord ring over my heart, and with one long step walked out into the farms below. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying. There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ~Douglas Adams

Of all the sensations of air-faring, that is the most dreamlike — floating under a parachute. It begins with a wave of triumphal emotion which is standard accompaniment of everyone's first parachute jump and is unlike any other experience — there is in it the sudden deliverance from danger, also release from perhaps the most concentrated bit of waiting there is, and also exultation of being high up in the air, flying for once in silence, for once almost without a machine. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939

There are only two emotions in a plane:  boredom and terror. ~Orson Welles (1915–1985)

When your inner man complains and wants to put his trust in something, there is nothing quite as suitable as a gadget. The gadget will presumably work, while the same thing cannot always be said of one's intelligence or of one's own nerve. Air law says two 'chutes must be worn on "intentional jumps." It made you feel like a pack horse. But all to the good; as far as I was concerned, the more gadgets, the better. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Sometimes, when we talk about the potential for aviation growth, we like to say the sky is the limit. But the sky is not the limit. The ground is. ~Alan S. Boyd, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 1967

For — believe me — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously! ~Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), The Gay Science, "Book Four: St Januarius" (#283), translated by Josefine Nauckhoff

Why live on the edge when you can jump off it? ~Sign at Macau Tower Bungy Jump

I pulled the ripcord handle. I gave it all I'd got. It came out with hardly any resistance, and went slack in my hand. I pulled it all the way out and stretched out my arm and held it far away from me, and grasped it hard; I must not lose it: point of aeronautical honor. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Then there was a vision of laundry fluttering on a line. That was the silk, stringing out behind me. A gentle force seemed to lift me by the shoulders and pull me upright, much as one might pick up a child who has fallen, and I had just time to think, "Is that all?" Then the canopy opened. A bolt of energy struck down on my head, traveled down along my spine, my legs, and my feet, just as a crack travels along a whip. Something jerked me upward with a huge lift — a fish would feel that way when he is hooked. And I remember hearing myself groan — against that peculiar stillness. Then the forces subsided, and I was afloat. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one's body from a plane just to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask those questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? What justifies the risk of life? Some answer, the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead. ~Charles Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953

We rose across the familiar fields, swung around and climbed over the open country. A phrase went through my head: "I earnestly hope." At a thousand feet, the silliness of the enterprise had faded: now in the air, it was simply an aeronautical job to be done, and to be done with the usual aeronautical attitude — judgment, deliberation, control. At two thousand feet, that attitude had taken full possession of me; so much so that now if anything had seemed wrong, I would no longer have minded even calling the whole thing off and returning to the airport, the way a good flier sometimes will. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

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published 2012 Nov 8
revised 2016, 2021
last saved 2024 Apr 25