Reader question: how do you know you’re an aviation nerd?

Aviation books
How could you tell?

Many pilots will freely admit to being aviation nerds, avgeeks, or flying nuts. Whatever phrase you use to describe the affliction, we want to know the defining characteristic. Is it the number of airplane models you own? The bookshelf full of POHs? The flight training debt you work to pay off? Or maybe the acronym-laden vocabulary that pops up in casual conversation.

Share your comment below and tell us the surefire way a fellow pilot can tell that you are absolutely, uncontrollably, 100% an aviation nerd.

 

28 Comments

  • When you have more photos of the interior of your airplane panel and avionics in your smart phone than you do of your spouse, kids, pets, or notable places you’ve been.

  • It’s when you must look up at each airplane you hear flying, no matter the strain on your body or whether you were mid-conversation.

    • I can take it one step further. When you can also identify what type of aircraft it is by hearing the engine. I’ve done that before and everyone just looked at me completely dumbfounded. It was awesome!

  • Stacks of Flying magazines going back 30+ years, a nearly equal number of AOPA magazines, several E6Bs around the house for quick calculations about nothing, pointing out airports and VORs from the road, logbooks on the shelf, scheduling appointments around flying, watching anything on TV related to aviation… It’s a wonder I’m still married to the same woman (she doesn’t care much for flying).

  • Good answers so far! No one has mentioned the number of aviation movies you own – and rewatch periodically. Or the review my husband and I recently gave of a 1939 flying movie – “The plot sucked, but the airplanes were great!” (We also have multiple model airplanes in every room and shelves of aviation books – biographies, novels, as well as POHs and technical books.)

    • @Jann…”No one has mentioned the number of aviation movies (they) own – and rewatch periodically.” Ohhh!! Good point! I have (in no particular order) TopGun – Widescreen Special Collectors Edition, Speed & Angels:Some Dreams are Worth Fighting For,The History Channels Dogfights: the COMPLETE series (no longer available for sale – but you can stream on YouTube at no cost nowaday’s), Nova: Top Gun Over Moscow,Discovery Wings: Wings Over Afghanistan,Discovery Wings:Mi-24 Hind (on VHS!),aaaannndd “Tora! Tora! Tora!”. There’s probably more but I’m in the middle of moving in with my finance and there’s stuff packed up in boxes EVERYWHERE (-sigh-)!

      • And if you are into movies not about warplanes: Right Footed (about Jessica Cox, armless Pilot); Flyabout (flying around Australia); Alaska’s Bush Pilots: The Real Deal; Upon Silver Wings I and II ( flights circumnavigating the World); the entire series of The Aviators. We have lots of movies about warplanes, too.

    • I have a 15 year-old who’s used the Flight Radar app so much he has many of the routes memorized and can look up at a contrail and tell you with crazy accuracy what the flight is. He’s also worked on his X-Plane simulator to such an extent that the first time he flew a glider he was never asked to relinquish the controls. Needless to say, I’m expecting to go broke soon paying for flight training!

  • I was going to post my answer, but thought I would read every one else’s posts first.
    Congratulations to all my aviation nerd buddies, because I can relate to every single
    post! 55 years and 27,000 hours of flying memories and still going strong!

  • You’re an aviation nerd when (-drumroll-), you’ve “Watched TopGun more times than any straight man should. ‘You’re not happy unless you’re going MACH 2 with your hair on fire'”; you throw gratuitous TopGun quotes into conversations (see first sentence); instead of yelling at the football game – you (aviation nerd or me) yell at the History Channel that the Grumman F-14A Tomcat was NOT supposed to be powered with the Pratt & Whitney TF30 turbofan engine, but the F401 engines (a modified/navalized version of the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine U.S.A.F. used on it’s F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter).
    You have twelve(?) and counting DIFFERENT flight simulators for the P.C. if only you had the time (and hard drive space) to actually play one or two of them for any length of time. IE: Interplay MiG Alley/Janes Israel Air Force/Janes F-15/Falcon 4.0/Falcon 4.0:Allied Force/Eagle Dynamics Su-27 Flanker/Lock On: Modern Air Combat/Microsoft Flight Simulator X (of course)….
    Etcetera…etcetera…. 😉

  • You’re an AvNerd when you’ve entered all the dates of EAA AirVenture for the next 3 YEARS into your calendar along with all the AOPA Regional Fly-In’s and local airport events….just to ensure that other life commitments don’t get scheduled on those days!

  • Here’s another one that is very true for me: you use ForeFlight for weather information much more often than The Weather Channel.

    • Yes, so true. Another thing, you know you’re a nerd when you can outsmart the the local weather channel days ahead of time.

  • Along the same lines of sitting in economy class with your EFB (in my case FlyQ) but also trying to predict the pilots next move along the entire flight path especially in the landing

  • I lived under the left downwind turn to base, runway 34, Clearwater Airpark (KCLW) for 16 years but recently moved to under the 020 Noise Abatement departure, runway 34. I have 17 aviation monthly magazines I haven’t gotten to yet and don’t read anything that doesn’t have to do with flying. I’ve watched every Airplane Repo episode at least ten times (my heroes). Dealers at Sun n’ Fun recognize me now and say Hi. At 75, I’m taking my AKT next Tuesday and the only thing on my bucket list (well…) is a low-and-slow light sport. Yeah, my girlfriend thinks I’m crazy too.

  • You know you are an avgeek when you read these comments, grinning the whole time, thinking “I’ve been there!”

  • You’re an AvNerd…”Surely, you don’t mean that? Yes, I do and don’t call me Shirley”! If you have used this line at least once while flying with a buddy, you’re an AvNerd.

    Also, if you just like to hang out at airports while watching the traffic take-off and land while listening to CTAF you fall right into this category.

  • Guilty! I admit to most of the above and more. I still have the very first model airplane I ever built decades ago when I was 8-9 years old and many more built since then. Now, I am facing how to divest myself of a 50+ year collection ( some might say hoard ) of factory fresh unassembled model airplane kits. Although life intervened and I took a different path, I did study aeronautical engineering. Now, I say that it was just so ” I could build better model airplanes”.

    • When I worked at Flying and would be talking on the phone with a reader, I would often be called Mam which is something we don’t hear often in New York City. My standard reply was, “You’re either a pilot or you’re from Texas” and I would sometimes hear, “Well, Mam, I’m both.”

      • Just remembered another. Having dinner with a pilot at some show and the waiter asked if he wanted fresh pepper (you know with the giant pepper mill) and my friend answered, “Just one slow pass” and the waiter had no idea what he was talking about.

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