A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/22)
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Entry from March 04, 2013
“There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots”

"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots” is an old aviation adage. Harry Copland (1896-1976), who first flew in an airplane in 1911, made the saying famous. The Boston (MA) Herald briefly profiled Copland on June 10, 1934:

“Given to sage remarks, Copland’s statement, ‘There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots,’ has become famous throughout the land.”

A similar Wall Street adage is “There are old traders and bold traders, but there are no old, bold traders.”


Smithsonian Institution—Harry Copland Collection, 1917-1953
Harry Depew Copland (1896-1976) was an Early Bird, soloing in a glider in 1909 and in an airplane in 1911. His many achievements include: exhibition flights, (1911); British Blockade Runners, radio officer (1915-1916); Canadian Royal Flying Corps 203rd Squadron, 1st Lieutenant and Flight Commander (1917-1919); District Manager of the New England Flying Service in charge of Curtiss Primary School Flying Operations (1929-1932). During World War II he served at Maxwell Field, AL, and as commanding officer of the 19th AAF Basic Flying Detachment at Greenville, S.C. Copland was also involved with Altantic Airways, Inc., United Air Lines, and was the Director of Florida Aviation Department.

10 June 1934, Boston (MA) Herald, “N. E. Aviation Notes,” pg. 6, col. 2:
Harry D. Copland of Hingham, Mass., former head of the Curtiss-Wright Flying Service in Boston and known throughout the flying world, is once more adding to his exploits in his own quiet way. Copland is one of the oldest pilots in experience in the U. S. He served in the royal flying corps as a flight commander and incredible as it may sound he has been flying since 1911. If my arithmetic is correct that is 23 years. Given to sage remarks, Copland’s statement, “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots,” has become famous throughout the land.

19 April 1936, Boston (MA) Herald, “Wearing Wings Since He Was 16” by Dwight Shepler, pg. B6, col. 6:
As a member of the “Early Birds,” Copland has been flying around as long as any of them. “Contrary to the general conception,” says he, “aviation is no place for the reckless person.” Our early bird has often been quoted as saying: ‘There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”

Google Books
May 1939, Popular Aviation, “Stand By For Howie Wing!” by June Aulick, pg. 45, col. 1:
Says Harry Copland, “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”

Google Books
Hitch Your Wagon
By Clayton Knight and Robert C. Durham
Drexel Hill, PA: Bell Pub. Co.
1950
Pg. 105:
Flyers have a proverb for it: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”

Google Books
Plane Crash;
The mysteries of major air disasters and how they were solved

By Clayton Knight and Katherine Sturges Knight
New York, NY: Greenberg
1958
Pg. 127:
“You may meet old pilots and bold pilots, but seldom old, bold pilots.”

Google Books
Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations
By Robert Debs Heinl
Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute
1967, ©1966
Pg. 238:
There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.
Aviators’ saying

Google Books
Hijacked
By David Harper
New York, NY: Dodd, Mead
1970
Pg. 21:
A maxim of his flight instructor at Kelly Field during the Second World War had stuck with him ever since: “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots — but there are no old, bold pilots.”

Google Books
Nunaga:
My Land, My Country

By Duncan Pryde
Edmonton: Hurtig
1971
Pg. 268:
There is a saying in the North that there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots; but there are no old, bold pilots.

OCLC WorldCat record
Who says there are no old, bold pilots!
Author: James R Haun
Publisher: [Nashville?] : J.R. Haun, [©1994]
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English

Google Books
Tale of an Old, Bold Pilot
By Jim Shouse
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
2011
Pg. VIII:
There is an old adage that states: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old bold pilots.” This account is aimed at taking issue with this old adage, and relating the experience of an old, bold aviator who has lived through enough to write about.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Monday, March 04, 2013 • Permalink