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From: (Paul Tomblin)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military,rec.aviation.misc
Subject: Re: High Flight
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 03:47:05 GMT

In a previous article, (Mary Shafer) said:
>Kevin O. Martin ( wrote:
>: I'm a retired Navy pilot (A-4's, A-7's) and a high school student
>: recently asked me about the author of the poem "High Flight".  I seem
>: to remember that John G. Magee, Jr. was shot sown and KIA as a member
>: of the RAF in WWII, and the poem was discovered in his personal
>: belongings.
>Magee was a Canadian, rather than a Briton, flying with the RAF. 
>Try the FAQ (I usually look in rec.answers) for more information about

The poem itself is in the FAQ.  But not the FAA annotated version.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth(1),
And danced(2) the skies on laughter silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed(3) and joined the tumbling mirth(4)
Of sun-split clouds(5) and done a hundred things(6)
You have not dreamed of -- Wheeled and soared and swung(7)
High in the sunlit silence(8).  Hov'ring there(9)
I've chased the shouting wind(10) along and flung(11)
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious(12), burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights(13) with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle(14) flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space(15),
Put out my hand(16), and touched the face of God.

(from John Gillespie Magee Jr., "High Flight")

FAA SUPPLEMENT to "High Flight"

1.  Pilots must insure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely
    before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted.

2.  During periods of severe sky dancing, crew and passengers must keep
    seatbelts fastened.  Crew should wear shoulderbelts as provided.

3.  Sunward climbs must not exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling.

4.  Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth.

5.  Pilots flying through sun-split clouds under VFR conditions must comply
    with all applicable minimum clearances.

6.  Do not perform these hundred things in front of Federal Aviation
    Administration inspectors.

7.  Wheeling, soaring, and swinging will not be attempted except in aircraft
    rated for such activities and within utility class weight limits.

8.  Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine
    malfunction has occurred.

9.  "Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly reliable signal that a flight
    emergency is imminent.

10. Forecasts of shouting winds are available from the local FSS.  Encounters
    with unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots.

11. Pilots flinging eager craft through footless halls of air are reminded
    that they alone are responsible for maintaining separation from other
    eager craft.

12. Should any crewmember or passenger experience delirium while in the
    burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination.

13. Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to maintain
    VFR minimum separations.

14. Aircraft engine ingestion of, or impact with, larks or eagles should be
    reported to the FAA and the appropriate aircraft maintenance facility.

15. Aircraft operating in the high untresspassed sanctity of space must remain
    in IFR flight regardless of meteorlogical conditions and visibility. 

16. Pilots and passengers are reminded that opening doors or windows in order
    to touch the face of God may result in loss of cabin pressure.

(I've modified it a bit from the one Kathy Rages (
Paul Tomblin (, formerly
<a href="">My home page</a>
"The superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid situations in which
he has to demonstrate his superior skill" - anon.

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