Some comments by Elliot White Springs, an American fighter ace of the Great War (WWI):
The heavens were the grandstand and only the gods were spectators.
The stake was the world and the game had no recess.
It was the most dangerous of all sports and the most fascinating.
It got in the blood like wine.
It aged men forty years in forty days, it ruined the nervous system in an hour.
The average life of a pilot at the front was 48 hours and to many it seemed an age.