A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 26, 2013
“Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous” (aviation joke)

"Flying is not dangerous, crashing is dangerous” is a jocular aviation saying of unknown authorship. “Flying is not dangerous, crashing is dangerous” has been cited in print since at least 1993, when it was listed as one of the “Rules for Pilots.”

“Flying is not dangerous...landing is dangerous” was cited in print in 2000.


Google Groups: rec.aviation.ifr
Humor in Flying
Robert G. Cole
7/28/93
While recently perusing a national publication (which shall remain nameless), I came upon a collection of those witticisms that best describes flying as the activity it truly is: the application of that malevolent of all statutes, Murphy’s Law, and its insidious inclusion in flying techniques.  I have not reprinted all of the items as many had to do with commercial operations, which I felt might best be left out for this forum. While much of what is repeated below will make you smile or laugh, the truisms behind the humor say a lot for this activity we all participate in.

The credit for the thoughts and humor belongs to the original authors, none of whom I know or can attribute the proper accolade.  All of the blame and criticisms for errors, rewording, sexism and omissions lies squarely with myself.  With apologies to all I give you. . . .

RULES FOR PILOTS
* Flying is not dangerous, crashing is dangerous.

Google Books
August 1993, Flying magazine, “More Rules for Pilots” by Len Morgan, pg. 108, col. 1:
So, by popular request, here they are again, revised and updated:

Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.

Flying is the perfect vocation for a man who wants to feel like a boy, but not for one who still is.

Google Books
Remains:
A Story of the Flying Tigers

By Daniel Ford
Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.com, Inc.
2000
Pg. 99:
“Flying is not dangerous,” Blackie said. ”Landing is dangerous.”

Google Books
Leaving on a Jet Plane
By William L. Ippolito
Dallas, TX : W. Ippolito
2002
Pg. 41:
“Flying isn’t dangerous. Crashing is dangerous.” Author unknown.

Google Books
Dress Whites, Gold Wings
By Daniell M. Brown
Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing
2006
Pg. 178:
FLYING IS NOT DANGEROUS - CRASHING IS DANGEROUS”
Author Unknown

26 June 2006, Roswell (NM) Daily Record, “Parade request; a little humor” by John Taylor, pg. A5, cols. 2-3:
Air Force Rules of the Air:
1. Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.
2. Flying isn’t dangerous. Crashing is what’s dangerous.
3. The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

Google Books
Flying
By Eric Kraft
New York, NY: Picador
2009
Pg. 122:
“That’s one of the axioms of the aviator,” Derringer said, chuckling now. “Flying isn’t dangerous; crashing is dangerous.” We all chuckled along with him, dutifully, but a joke is never funny the second time around. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Tuesday, February 26, 2013 • Permalink