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American Sign Language:  "pilot"

Also see FLY

Sign FLY plus the "er" (agent) sign.

PILOT  (version 2)
Sign FLY and then DRIVE.  (See discussion below).

In a message dated 7/2/2003 1:34:59 PM Central Daylight Time, ledwards72@ writes:

I have a question for you. I had been taught in the 80's that the sign for "pilot" was "fly" with the "er" affix. Now I am being told that "pilot" is a compound sign using "fly" and "drive". Is this true? Again, it does not make sense to me. I realize that many signs have changed since the 80's when I first learned them, but I guess I need to have them make sense to me.
Thanks, Bill.

Well, I certainly don't have a problem with pilot being signed as "fly" and "drive." But whether or not that compound is "THE" sign for pilot as opposed to "a" sign for pilot outside of one particular classroom is up to the Deaf Community as a whole.
Quite honestly though, I would respect the opinion of a Deaf pilot regarding this matter over the opinion of an ASL instructor.
With that in mind, I just sent an email to a deaf friend of mine who is a pilot asking him how HE signs pilot, (heh). Will be interesting to see what he says.

-- Dr. Bill

[My friend did reply.]

He said: 
hey..  I am doing fine..  the sign for the pilot..ummm... I dont know yet but I could assume that it would be a type of airplane sign.>> 

Note: This is a very bright Deaf individual who attended a Deaf school (residential state school for the Deaf) and was raised by Deaf guardians (who also attended a residential state school for the Deaf).  He holds a pilots license. He is so into airplanes and flying that his email address used to include the number 757 in reference to that type of airplane.  I looked at his new email address and it had "cr7" in it.  Wondering about that I did a little research and found that CR7 was pilot lingo for "Regional Jet 70" which, (at the time of this discussion) is the newest thing in regional jets.  This fellow

So then, if this fellow has the self confidence to quite frankly state "ummm I don't know" -- I think it is a safe bet that there is some flexibility in this sign.

One more thought on this topic:  FLY DRIVE could mean the verb form of PILOT, as in "He piloted the plane to the island."  To establish that it is a person or profession to which you are referring it would be good to add the "agent" (-er) sign at least once during the beginning of the conversation and then drop it later on for expediency.


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