fly by the seat of your pants

fly by the seat of (one's) pants

To rely on one's instinct, as opposed to acting according to a set plan. I really don't know how to operate this thing, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here. You can't just fly by the seat of your pants, Jenna—please give your future some serious thought.
See also: by, fly, of, pant, seat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fly by the seat of your pants

INFORMAL
If you fly by the seat of your pants, you use your judgment and intelligence to do something that you have never done before, in a way that is risky, because you have no experience or training to rely on. `In the first year of trading we knew nothing and were flying by the seat of our pants,' Petti said. The truth is that all new parents fly by the seat of their pants and try to learn quickly from experience. Note: You can also use seat-of-the-pants before a noun. It had always been a seat-of-the-pants type of organization.
See also: by, fly, of, pant, seat
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
As with a conversation to which you enter without advance knowledge about how all the words will be woven together, be prepared to fly by the seat of your pants.
As far as one trip is concerned, you might fly by the seat of your pants this weekend, to speak.
When investing, particularly in sovereign bonds, don't fly by the seat of your pants; don't be complacent.
You fly by the seat of your pants when investing in emerging markets.
"You fly by the seat of your pants. No pressure on us.
Renshaw's managing director, Robin Mountain said: "You can't just fly by the seat of your pants. You have to have a plan.
A fabulous aspect today gives you the upper edge if you dare to go with the flow, fly by the seat of your pants and believe that what you think is impossible, is doable.
Do you execute a well-prepared plan, or do you fly by the seat of your pants and simply react when adversity strikes?
"You must fly by the seat of your pants in this job.
"I think you have to fly by the seat of your pants because it asks different questions of you.
Where is the computer you fly by the seat of your pants? Look at the most elementary applications.
Do you have a structured preceptorship or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Are you a model of ideal behavior?
Everything's come so quickly you've got to fly by the seat of your pants and hope you've covered everything, then come back later and give a second look.
I feel like an under-prepared stand-up comic when things go wrong (we have a number of false starts in RPM), but the crowds are forgiving and it's pleasing to fly by the seat of your pants! We have a short gap before playing at the Bridge Hotel to 100 people, including close friends.