Notice to Airmen



Notice to Airmen


A poem about the perils of flying.



One double sided printed sheet


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and



MJamesEC1385088-160907-020001, MJamesEC1385088-160907-020002


[blank page]

[page break]


[drawing of an aircraft]

Pensacola, Florida

[page break]


If you are a qualified pilot,
Or now, are just learning to fly,
Forget not that lives lost by many
Make real all your flights in the sky.
Mistakes made through ignorance, cost dearly,
Have left us few chances to take.
How wasteful should you be mistaken,
With no second try you can make.

Young fledglings just trying their wings
Are taught by their elders to fly.
You, too, while you’re learning, must listen,
Would you, like the birds, go on high.

It’s the air you can’t see that sustains you,
The air, and the airspeed you keep;
With these, less collision, fly safely!
Without them, beware – lest you sleep.

Provided with plane is a throttle,
Controlling your speed through the air.
The engine’s your friend, so then use it:
Full gun will it’s power impair.

Though another may break landing course rules,
And in your approach you yet stay,
Will you be the one they’ll remember
Defending your right of the way?
Approach with careful inspection,
Be smooth and be gentle, not rash.
As you level your plane, then remember:
“Each landing a potential crash.”

As the bomb which explodes on the target
Is armed, and thereby doth fire,
Prepare for emergency’s trial,
Anticipate, learn and inquire.

Would you wander from beam on to beacon,
Not knowing the signal from aught,
When ground preparation informs you
Of charts, aids and maps and the lot?

[page break]

If by the instruments you’re being guided
And not by the “seat of your pants,”
Depend not on vertig-sensation,
On needle and ball fix your glance.

How gallant a plane on it’s take-off,
The roar sets it’s watchers agog.
How stupid the pilot within it
If he needlessly flies into fog.

Who rideth with you must then trust you.
Perhaps he knows not you feel blithe.
So when you are tempted to skylark,
Remember his mother or wife!
The pilots of liners or fighters
Are governed in flight just the same:
By rules which were wrought by experience.
Air discipline! That is the game!

The hunter who prizing his weapon
He carelessly waves in the air,
Inspires thus fear and not praises
From friends he has asked to be near.
The flyer in all operations,
Over city or sea or o’er farm,
Must with safety combine then discretion,
Lest others be caused great alarm.

As the jockey works out of a pocket
And bridles his mount on the course,
Use throttle with care in formation,
In your grip you hold hundreds of horse.

Who knows where the war bringeth glory?
Or who’ll have a chance to great fame?
Why grieve o’er assignment to duty?
They might name a new field in your name.

When you have had five hundred hours,
Think you know all the tricks of the trade,
Then it’s time that you take a refresher,
So live you, and make the next grade.

Flight’s an art and science and a pleasure,
Do not borrow luck from the past.
Alert, on your job, be you sober!
Let not your next flight be your last.

Lieutenant (jg) Robert H. Isely, USN



Lieutenant Robert H. Isely USN, “Notice to Airmen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,

Item Relations

This item has no relations.