Midwest Flyers Magazine Defends, Quietly Removes Use Of ‘FAGS’ In Safety Article


The National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) has reached out to Midwest Flyers Magazine after the magazine published a safety article by Philip Mattison entitled “The Three FAGS Checklist of Floatplane Flying Could Save Your Life!"

FAGS in this case was an acronym for “Flaps, Airspeed, Gears and Seatbelts.” And the magazine’s editor Dave Weiman defended its use as such:

"We apologize if the acronym Mr. Mattison uses for his personal pre-landing checklist offended you in any way, but he created it as a tool so he would remember it. It was not used as a slang term to mean something else, nor in a derogatory sense…

"He is dead serious about the importance of using checklists, and his article was a public confession that he made a mistake that cost him his aircraft and nearly his life… We hope that the positive and constructive use of the acronym distracts from any negative connotation that may be associated with a similar slang term. The true definition of the word according to the dictionary supports the premise that even though checklists may be tedious, they are necessary."

Nevertheless, Steven Moore, Executive Director of the NGPA responded, “There is no difference in using this word than if you were to use any other derogatory remark to reference any other minority, and it is quite disturbing.”

Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation’s Programs and Communications Fellow, Alexandra Bolles, added her thoughts on Mr. Weiman’s defense of the acronym:

“Attempting to reassign the word does not erase the harm it has caused and the power it holds for people who are LGBT. Dave's attempt to discredit and invalidate LGBT readers' responses to the article is reminiscent of the argument [that saying ‘fags’ is okay because it’s also a word for cigarettes or a bundle of sticks].”

The headline of the online article now reads "Flying On Floats or Wheels…. Checklists Could Save Your Life!" It does not include any mention of "FAGS."


  1. will says

    Oh, good lord. We are politically-correct policing everybody — even when the acronym has nothing to do with us.

    If we hear a British person using
    f.a.g. as a cigarette, is the new thing to demand that they change the word to something else? If the word “queer” is offensive to many gays can we demand that Twhomever uses it change that word also?

  2. Homo Genius says

    its this being offended by every BS thing the province of the she-males?

    “Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation’s Programs and Communications Fellow, Alexandra Bolles”

    isn’t always women who seem to speaking for all these gay orgs?

  3. says

    A lot of the people offending this usage are the kind who aren’t offended by any slur. The potty mouth language hipsters are always offended if everybody doesn’t have the same attitude RE hate speech that they do. Well, tuff t*tty, hipsters! Welcome to the real world!

    Any company with a high public profile needs to be sensitive about the language it uses in publicity materials, and that’s just the way it is. If Midwest Flyers were able to use an acronym that spelled K*KE, you best believe they wouldn’t even consider it!

  4. jjose712 says

    If the acronym was a famous racial slur they would change it?.
    If the answer is yes, they should change this too (and frankly, i think they answer is yes)

  5. Brian1 says

    I have a very thick skin when it comes to all this pc stuff, but I think almost all gays are united in thinking that word is wrong. And if that’s our position, then permitting this acronym excuse is all kinds of wrong. First, if our goal is to get the word to disappear eventually, having people use if as a memory device is going in the exact opposite direction. Second, what’s to stop all kinds of idiots from using this loophole? Should we let kids wear the word on tshirts if they can convince teachers it stands for Fairness And Goodness Society? Third, what JJosef712 said.

  6. JJ says

    Midwest Flyers Magazine now unsure whether to publish Mattison’s next articles, “Catch a NIGR by the Tail: How to Survive a Rudder Linkage Failure,” and “Before You Spin ‘Em Up, JEWMDown!”

  7. northalabama says

    is there any question the use of the acronym was inappropriate, a careless and clueless slur dressed up to draw attention to the magazine and the article? i hope it was done on purpose, to think it was accidental is even worse.

  8. Doormats says

    I think it’s creepy how many gays think that this is no big deal. If this were a racial slur, you can bet that group of people would be in an uproar. Why do gays just let people walk all over them. Do you realize that when straight people read that magazine and saw that word, they probably thought it was funny and reaffirmed that it’s an okay word? Also, don’t you find it questionable why they had to use that acronym when they could have simply rearranged the letters and called it GAFS? But no, they decided to use it to spell out a gay slur. Pathetic.

  9. jamal49 says

    Who got offended by this? Geez, unclutch the pearls, girls. This is as stupid as the people who got upset when the word “niggardly” was used, in its correct context and with its correct meaning. I think the knee-jerks in our community need to ease up just a tad.

  10. Mike W says

    Alexandra Bolles at GLAAD should take a look at her own web site. The word “flip” is often used. Apparently she does not care that the word is a derogatory term for Filipino-Americans?

    I’ve been a gays right activist for decades and I’m getting pretty disgusted with the word police within our own ranks.

  11. Joseph says

    My dad was a pilot and we had a float plane that he used to fly us up into the wilds of Canada for fishing/camping trips. My brother is a pilot, as well. I know the world of pilots and, trust me, if a pilot is using “FAGS” as an acronym it’s definitely meant in an offensive manner.

  12. Tyler says

    Doormats, you said it. It’s really creepy how many gay men don’t see anti-gay slurs as something to get offended by. Self-hatred makes some people ugly.

  13. wheelie81 says

    Comparing this to a racial slur is pretty stupid because this was not intended as a gay slur. It’s an acronym. If they used n*gger as an acronym, I would not be upset about it either. It’s all about the context. So lets quit with the fake outrage.

  14. D.R.H. says

    If there was no other alternative and the intent was innocent, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But having attended one of the largest flight schools in the country and knowing what a male-dominated, militaristic, good ol’ boy culture aviation is, I call afoul. “Fag” was almost a required lexicon. They could have easily used “L” for “landing gear”.

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