There's no such thing as a natural-born pilot.
You don't concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.
You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can't, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don't give up.
If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it's an outstanding landing.
The one word you use in military flying is duty. It's your duty. You have no control over outcome, no control over pick-and-choose. It's duty.
I was always afraid of dying. Always. It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.
Most pilots learn, when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don't do, you don't believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.
In 1966, NASA took over in space, and it has been a bureaucratic mess ever since.
Rules are made for people who aren't willing to make up their own.
If you want to grow old as a pilot, you've got to know when to push it, and when to back off.
Never wait for trouble.
What good does it do to be afraid? It doesn't help anything. You better try and figure out what's happening and correct it.
Later, I realized that the mission had to end in a let-down because the real barrier wasn't in the sky but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.
It's really difficult for fanatic churchgoers to understand God can't help me. I'm the only one who can help me.
When I was picked to fly the X-1, it was my duty to fly it, and I did.
It wasn't that the X-1 would kill you, it was the systems in the X-1 that would kill you.