I had no idea how to do it – I was just flying by the seat of my pants.
The term comes from the early days of aviation. It means going aloft without instruments, radio or other such luxuries. When people first began flying aircraft, they did not have the same advanced navigation tools and abilities to communicate with people on the ground. Therefore, people were flying by the seat of their pants or flying without the ability to communicate or fully plan things out.
Fly by the seat-of-the-pants, alternatives
- Play it by ear: proceed instinctively according to results and circumstances rather than according to rules or a plan.
- Wing it: to improvise, to do something without proper preparation or time to rehearse.
- Go with the flow: be relaxed and accept a situation, rather than trying to alter or control it.
Real examples online:
- May has run down the Brexit clock. It must be stopped The Guardian–2 Jan 2019 She is either dumb, stone deaf, desperate or flying by the seat of her pants. May had a choice, a choice to bring the UK together and work …
- Surrey councillor ‘disappointed’ with continued gun violence Globalnews.ca–11 Apr 2019 Hayne says right now, “councillors are flying by the seat of their pants,” with little information about the costs involved. “Well, they really are …
- Rogue One: Felicity Jones flying by the seat of her pants in Star Wars … the Irish News–13 Dec 2016 Her career is going from strength to strength, and Felicity Jones’s latest role – as a rebel leader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – is set to …