Archive Pilot appears on the BBC

Posted in Announcements

August 18, 2016 at 09:30

Today marks 75 years to the day since Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee wrote ‘High Flight’ a sonnet which is widely recognised as the ‘aviators’ poem’. As he danced his Spitfire around the skies 75 years ago, Magee was struck by words he had read in another poem — "To touch the face of God." He landed and completed his famous poem that day.

In recognition of this anniversary, the BBC has gathered together a number of aviators to recite the poem, including a member of the Red Arrows, a glider pilot, and First Officer Gizelle Armstrong. First Officer Armstrong was filmed reciting the poem in the cockpit of one of our Boeing 757 aircraft at Leeds Bradford Airport, where she is based.

You can see the clip here: and you can read the poem in its entirety below.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Thank you seemed not to be enough
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.