Kick the tyres and light the fires.. pilots and their cliches


Tired old cliches are standard issue to every pilot. Here are some of the old groaners that will have you banging your head against the table in exasperation. Remove 100 hours from your logbook for each offence you have made.

Mark-One Eyeball  refers tlooking out of the window rather than relying on the instruments. Mainly used by airline pilots who wish they were flying a Piper Cub… to Australia.

Hot and High… reference to flying a Mooney or in more recent years a Cirrus SR22 and failing to slow it down before landingThe equivalent of walking into a nightclub with a younger girlfriend (or boyfriend) and knocking a table over.

Turning and Burning Indeed, the engines are functioning as we expected

Clockwork or Steam-powered instruments A sentimental or arrogant (depending on the orator) reference to the fact that times have changed.

Gear down and welded An unnecessary allusion to the standard downwind check that reminds the hirer that he/she is paying £160 per hour for an unsophisticated aircraft.

Kick the tyres and light the fires.. An irreverent nod to to pre-flight walkaround

Fill it with go juice...Once said by an instructor. I could never forgive her.

When it all goes quiet up front...I’m losing my patience now. An engine failure would be a relief.

Old pilots and bold pilots…. .Anyone who ever said these things has reduced their minima..that’s my contribution.

Runway behind you….blah blah blah…

Dorian Crook, proud co-owner of a Maule


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Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 


  1. Mehtab

    PLS = Pitot Landing System. Landing technique in a Mig21. Keep the pitot head on the threshold.
    There are only two types of Flogger pilots… those who have touched the tail and those who will.

  2. Mike

    Banking and Yanking….old helicopter pilot’s cliche for pulling collective pitch in a tight turn.

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