The invisible sign at your airport

There is a big sign outside every airport which says:


“Warning: You have just left the regular world were score is not kept and it is always some one else’s or societies fault. Score is kept here by the impartial judging panel of Gravity, Physics and Chemistry. Regardless of your good intention or state law, death penalty is in effect here, still considered cruel, but is not that unusual. Perfect protection and achievement is afforded by learning and exercising the Rules. You are on the property, the contest has already started, Get your “A” game on right now.”


When a guy is brand new to aviation, the sign is invisible. It is kept invisible by idiots who say things like “it’s more dangerous to drive a car to the airport than fly a plane when you get there (That probably isn’t true anywhere except Mogadishu). One day a person he has met gets killed in a light plane, and the next time he drives to the airport he suddenly notices that the sign has been there all along, he was just told not to look at it. After as many seasons of flying as I have seen in homebuilding, the sign is 10’x20′ and it is done in bright neon.


I am here to counter the “It will be alright” club. I am here to point out the sign to every new guy and have him understand that the rules that extract a terrible price from fools, also ironically offer complete protection to people who understand them and abide. The world will never run out of people determined to prove Physics wrong. No one in the history of the planet has done it yet, but there is a guy who just blew past the sign at the entrance to his airport, blabbering on his cell phone, who is going to try this afternoon. You can’t help him, just make sure you don’t get in the plane with him, even if he has proof he is a 30,000 hr Delta pilot. In his previous flying he had people read the sign for him, but it doesn’t work that way with light planes.


You may not see that sign, but it is there.  Every homebuilder working in their shop, has plenty of time to learn them, and adjust his “outside the airport” behavior before their plane is done. Sadly, not all will take the opportunity to get a good look at the sign. Just make sure you don’t become the reason why the sign is suddenly visible to one of your friends.



6 Replies to “The invisible sign at your airport”

  1. I believe the correct statement is that it is more dangerous to drive to the airport than to fly on an airline. Unfortunately, general aviation has a much worse safety record.

  2. William,
    I wrote this a while back and emailed it to you.
    I am sure you kept it to yourself because of your policy to not distribute emails publicly.

    Here it is for what it’s worth…..

    The gods of Physics, Chemistry and Gravity

    The gods of Physics, Chemistry and Gravity
    Are oft accused of malevolent depravity.
    But they warn us to use care
    When we ply our craft through the air.

    With unashamed, unfeeling certainty
    Their absolutes are irreversibly
    “Set in Stone”, so we should beware
    Not to violate what they proclaim is fair.

    Therefore, Next time we take wing on high
    Take thought of what compels our bird to fly
    Lest the gods of Physics, Chemistry and Gravity
    Teach you their lessons savagely.

    Earnest Fontenot

    1. Earnie,

      Your poem is a lot better than my story, I think it is great. A.E Houseman’s “Terrence this is stupid stuff” used to be my favorite poem, now your creation is. -ww.

      1. William,
        You are too kind.
        Thank you for the encouragement that I receive through this website on a regular basis.

  3. William,
    May we copy your quote? I would like to forward it to my CFI.

    1. Alan,
      If you are referring to the poem please feel free to use it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: