In fighter aviation:
1. Never do anything for the first time, that you have to do absolutely perfectly to survive.
2. Unless you have to.
3. Train like your life depends on it – it does.
4. It is not true that everyone is trying their best to kill you, but it’s useful to act as though they were.
5. The three most useless things in naval aviation are: Runway behind you, altitude above you, fuel you’ve dumped, and girls you used to know.
6. Wait, that’s four.
7. Murphy was an optimist.
8. If you can keep your head while everyone else about you is losing theirs, you’re not seeing the full picture.
9. Speed is life – more is better.
10. AAA is bad and SAMs are bad, but the ground has a Pk (probability of kill) approaching 1.0.
11. You can only tie the low altitude record, you can’t beat it.
12. Push forward on the stick and the houses get bigger. Pull back on the stick and the houses get smaller. Keep pulling back and the houses start to get bigger again.
13. If you fly long enough, you will eventually have to cope with a major emergency. You don’t get to pick which one, so you have to be ready for all of them.
14. Priorities (in descending order of importance): aviate – navigate – communicate
15. If in doubt, wind the clock. It might not help much, but can’t do any actual harm either, and it keeps your hands busy while you figure out what you should be doing.
16. You are expected to bring the jet back when you’re done with it. If you can’t do that, the least you can do is stay alive and explain to the rest of us what happened.
17. One way to tell if the landing gear are not down is that it takes full power to taxi after landing. A better way is to use the landing checklist.
18. When you’re out of altitude, airspeed and ideas, the most important thing is: Never give up – ever.
19. You don’t want to fly with someone who has a habit of saying, “watch this!” or “it’s probably just the gauge,” or “just throw it in the back there.”
20. Fight to fly, fly to fight, fight to win. Finishing second means you lost.
Other people’s rules.