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I. M. Esperto
16th Apr 2002, 12:22
I have often wondered about the origins of this age old tradition - - Now
you'll know.

We've all seen those brave Navy and Marine Corps aviators as they begin to taxi out for takeoff. They always look at their fist to see if their thumb is sticking straight up.

The crewchief on the ground agrees and mimics the pilot's action,
confirming that yes, the thumb IS sticking straight up. He then salutes and the pilot continues his taxi out.

Recently I talked to an old Naval Aviator who told me the real reason for this time-tested traditional exchange between crewchief and pilot.

This is actually the last link in the flight safety net. The pilot and
crew- chief are confirming - just prior to takeoff - that the pilot does not have both his thumbs up his ass. - Anonymous;)