I Fly By the Seat of My Pants Meaning

What is an Idiom? What does Flying by the Seat of your Pants mean? When did this phrase originate? When did the phrase get introduced to people? What are some examples of using this phrase in sentences? 
I fly by the seat of my pants
Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

The English language and its phrases, metaphors, and idioms, are something that can be used when you are short on words but do you know the meaning of all those phrases? If not, then let me tell you about one more phrase today, I fly by the seat of my pants. You will get to know the facts related to fly by the seat of your pants, flying by the seat of your pants meaning, and by the seat of one’s pants idiom meaning that you can add to your vocabulary. 

1. Idioms

A group of words that is composed by the usage to have a meaning that is not logical from the words that are used is termed an idiom. For example, spilling the beans means telling secrets. Once in a blue moon means something that does not happen regularly. (See Who Invented The English Alphabet?)

2. Fly by the Seat of your Pants meaning

The interior of the pilots cabin: I fly by the seat of my pants 4
Photo by Higor Prestes on Unsplash

The term means that a person decides a course of action as he moves ahead. He uses his point of view and perceptions to move ahead and decide the next step. He does not follow the already set-up plan or take help from already prevailing mechanical aids. (See What are the Types and Examples of Text to Text Connections?)

3. Origin of the phrase Flying by the Seat of your Pants

The term originated in 1930 during the early days of British aviation. In those days, planes were not as highly equipped as they are today. Also, the navigation systems were not adequate and accurate. During those days, pilots used their judgments to accomplish the task they were entitled to. (See Dead as a Doornail or Doorknob Meaning)

4. Appearance of the Phrase in Writing

The phrase I fly by the seat of my pants tells us about Corrigan. Douglas Corrigan, popularly known as Wrong Way, was an American aviator. His flight from the United States of America to Ireland was reported in many of the native newspapers in 1938. The title Corrigan Flies by the Seat of His Pants was given to the article published by The Edwardsville Intelligencer on 19-July-1938. He earned this title because he completed the flight even after his compass failed. (See What is Intricate Text in Grammarly?)

5. Reason behind Wrong naming of Corrigan

Two days before the flight, Corrigan had submitted the plan to the aviation authority. The flight was 29 hours long and after his compass failed, he turned toward east rather than west. Although it was a wrong turn still, he managed to land in Dublin, Ireland after flying for 29 hours. He claimed that his compass failed which led to this mistake and after this, he was nicknamed the Wrong Way Corrigan. Also, check out how to respond when someone is Sick?

6. By the Seat of one’s Pants Idiom meaning

The original term used the word trousers rather than pants which indicates that it originated in British aviation. However, as the saying traveled across the world after crossing the Atlantic it changed into fly by the seat of your pant in place of fly by the seat of your trousers. But the meaning remained the same. (See What are the Words that are both Nouns and Verbs?)

A person flying the plane: I fly by the seat of my pants 3
Photo by Kristopher Allison on Unsplash

Afterward, the term I fly by the seat of my pants was not only used in the context of aviation or pilots. It began to be used by any person who took on a task and processed it as per his perspective and judgment and did not follow the already laid down paths and instructions. Such a person may take a different path but still completes his task referred here. (See What Does K Mean In Text?)

8. Some Examples to use I Fly by the Seat of my Pants

The term mentioned can be used in different contexts. Here is a list of some examples of the types of conversations in which you can involve them.

  • He went to the gym for the first time. He did not know how to start, so he started flying by the seat of his pants for his workout.
  • I have not prepared for the test, so I will be flying by the seat of my pants for this one.
  • They have not planned anything specific for their engagement, but they told me that they will just fly by the seat of their pants and let the family do as they please. (See What is an Example of Expository Text?)

9. Usage of this phrase

  • In case you have no plan, and you are waiting to see how things will turn out to be for a given situation or task.
  • Also, in a situation in which you have no idea what you will be doing if things turn to the west.
  • You can also use the term when you are committed to not using your present resources for sorting things out. (See Examples of Famous Acrostic Poems)

10. Inaccurate Situations for this phrase

A cup of coffee and a planner with pen:I fly by the seat of my pants 1
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Some people use this term in the context of the dress or principles of aircraft or aviation programs. But the fact is that this phrase has nothing to do with any dress or the principles of flying the aircraft. So, using the phrase, I fly by the seat of my pants in the context of dress or rules will be considered inaccurate.  (See What are Filler Words in Writing?)

11. Some phrases similar to Flying by the Seat of my Pants

Some phrases that are somewhat related to this term are mentioned here.

  • Take it as it comes. It simply means to face or deal with the situation as it happens without preparing for it beforehand. For example, someone advised me to take every new day as it comes and do what I feel right without worrying about the next day.
  • Wing it or winging it. It means to try something without adequate practice or preparation. For example, I have not practiced the steps, but I got there and winged it. (See How to Learn Tut Language?)

12. Phrases opposite to Flying by the Seat of my Pants

Take a look at these phrases that hold meanings that are opposite to I fly by the seat of my pants.

  • Plan ahead simply means to plan about something a long time before it is going to happen. For example, she is in secondary school, and she says that she has planned her outfit for the freshers’ party in college.
  • Systematic approach means a systematic way to handle difficult or complex things from a global point of view, that is what everyone else thinks about it. For example, he has a systematic approach to the pain of a person suffering from a fracture.

So, today you got to know about the phrase I fly by the seat of my pants and by the seat of one’s pants idiom meaning. You can share this fly by the seat of your pants origin story with your friends and family. This way they will understand how to use flying by the seat of your pants phrases accurately. (Also read Top 16 Hanukkah Spelling Variations)

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