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Basic Structures

One of the most common verbs in aviation is (not surprisingly) fly.  Yet it is often used incorrectly.  It is also very important to know WHY a particular tense is used.

This page provides example sentences of the verb "Fly" in all tenses including active and passive forms, as well as its use with conditional and modal forms.

Fly is an irregular verb, so you will just have to memorise the following.

Base Form fly / Past Simple flew / Past Participle flown / Gerund flying

Present Simple

I usually fly by Air Asia. (This means you fly as a passenger by Air Asia)

I now fly for Cathay Pacific. (This means that you work for Cathay Pacific in a flying role). 

Present Simple Passive

Boeing 777 is flown by thousands of pilots. (This is testing a fact which is true)

I fly at 1825. (This is a fact on a timetable)

Present Continuous

We are flying to Beijing next week. (This is a plan in the future).

Present Continuous Passive

A 737 is being flown to Manila. (This means that a flight is in progress now - it started in the past and is continuing to the present).

Present Perfect

She has flown many times in her life. (This is talking about an experience).

Present Perfect Passive

An A320 has recently been flown to Shanghai. (This is talking about a result).

Present Perfect Continuous

We have been flying for more than eight hours. (This is emphasising an action which started in the past and is continuing to the present).

Past Simple

Brendan flew to Heathrow last week. (This means an action is complete in the past).

Past Simple Passive

A Cessna 172 was flown during his first solo. (This is an action complete in the past, but it does not focus on the agent who does the action - it focuses on the action).

Past Continuous

He was flying to Chicago when he encountered turbulence. (This is an action at a  specific moment in the past interrupted by something)

Past Continuous Passive

A small airplane was being flown to the airfield when a dog ran across the runway.

Past Perfect

They had just flown to London when they decided to return home immediately.

Past Perfect Passive

The new jet had been flown many times by the test pilot before it was approved.

Past Perfect Continuous

They had been flying for four hours when they landed.

Future (will)

Jack will fly to the meeting.

Future (will) passive

A small jet will be flown to the meeting.

Future (going to)

He is going to fly to Houston next week.

Future (going to) passive

A 777 is going to be flown to Chicago.

Future Continuous

This time next week we will be flying to Mexico.

Future Perfect

They will have flown to Toronto by the end of the day.

Future Possibility

She might fly to Rome.

Real Conditional

If she flies to Rome, she will stay at the Cosmo.

Unreal Conditional

If she flew to Rome, she would stay at the Cosmo.

Past Unreal Conditional

If she had flown to Rome, she would have stayed at the Cosmo.

Present Modal

Mark should fly to the meeting.

Past Modal

He must have flown to the meeting.


 Aviation English



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Aviation English Asia has been offering part time and full time courses in Hong Kong since 2009.

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