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#231 Flying Shoes


Lately, this seems to have come up.  Actually, the issue of what shoes to wear while flying has popped up on a fairly regular basis.

I will simply repeat what I have always said about this subject:  When it comes to deciding what to wear on your feet while flying, simply wear what you would choose to wear if you crawl out of the wreckage and have to walk to the nearest help.

I have known some pilots who prefer to fly barefoot.  Since I tend to be a feminist, I’m very thankful that one of those is a male! Whew!

One of my pals removes her shoes before she climbs into the plane.  I’ve often snickered at the picture after she taxies in, shuts down, opens the door and pitches her sneakers out for later donning.  She is just one flier who likes to aviate while shoeless.  Another is a famous airshow pilot.

“I’ve often snickered at the picture after she taxies in, shuts down, opens the door and pitches her sneakers out for later donning.”

 In my opinion (what in my writings ISN’T my opinion?), such lack of footwear is nuts.  After all, our military pilots may be the best example of what I think proper flight-wear is.  The military pilot wears a Nomex flight suit so that if the thing catches on fire, he’ll be fire-resistant.  He wears boots, so that he can walk out, no matter what the terrain.  He also wears flotation, as well as a vest containing survival equipment.

A treatise about this subject wouldn’t be complete without an argument from the other side.  The reason given for shoeless flight is usually the same.  The shoeless fliers claim that their feet are then more sensitive to rudder pedals and brake. Although they may be right, I don’t think they are right enough to cancel the lack of safety.  So I usually say to them, “Get over it”.

A guy came to me from Idaho to learn the finer points of wheel landings.  He wore a “Spot” around his neck as well as a converted fishing vest with survival items in it. His point was very well-taken.  If he went down and managed to get clear of the wreckage, he wouldn’t be dependent on a survival kit in the baggage compartment out of reach.  He’d for sure end up with his spot and whatever else he carried in his modified fishing vest, including matches, space blanket, water and snacks.  Good thinking, if you ask me.  You did ask me, didn’t you?  Oh, you didn’t?  Oops… I’ll just skulk out of here, put my sneakers on and fly away.  Oh, and I gotta find a vest!

Happy Swooping


1 comment to #231 Flying Shoes

  • I had a Luscombe that had been modified to have a C-90 and a starter. To do this, they added a circular area that protruded into the cockpit. I couldn’t get my foot on the right rudder pedal with shoes on. I’ve heard other Luscombe pilots say the same. That’s the only time I flew barefoot though!

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