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View Full Version : Fear of flying: The End!


Codzilla
16th May 2014, 23:19
I have been a lurker since 2007, having found this forum while doing an internet search to help with my fear of flying. I used to love air travel until my husband scared me -- as a joke -- by telling me that a wing was on fire, followed up by another incident where our plane was tossed about in a wind storm. Both instances resulted in safe landings, of course, but the fear had taken hold.

I needed to be rid of this fear because my family is in Japan, and I stopped visiting them for a long period. Getting on a plane for a domestic plane was near impossible, and I was content to take that long 12 hour train ride between SF and LA. An international flight would have been near impossible.

I wanted to thank all of you nice pilots who post here. Your well of knowledge has been invaluable in calming my fears and the overactive imagination. I know all sorts of lurkers come here to stir trouble, such as FS gamers who like to pretend that they are full on pilots. There are also the papers who like to quote out of context and what not, and it must be trying to deal with such things. However I've read most everything, and it helped me to deal with my fear.

I have since flown to Japan and to other destinations every year since 2010, and I owe all of this to many of you out there. I could not let another trip go by without offering my thanks.

TWT
17th May 2014, 01:23
Well done ! I'm sure all those who offered advice will be pleased to hear your positive outcome :ok:

PLovett
17th May 2014, 01:51
It can be a most debilitating affliction. I used to work in a non-certified B737 sim for a company that used to offer the public the chance to see how they would cope having to fly a B737.

In addition, they also used to offer a program for people afraid of flying. Basically we sat the person in the jump seat in the cockpit and I would act as pilot flying while the owner of the business would be pilot not flying. We would conduct a flight from gate to gate and explain exactly what we were doing and what the various noises were. We would also explain how a modern transport category aircraft is built and why they are so tough.

We had some feedback from clients who found they were improved next time they flew. I recall one client in particular who had to fly about every two months on average. She had gotten to the state of being so anxious about the flights that she was near paralytic on alcohol before flying. She must have been able to judge it so finely to get to such a state without raising the suspicion of the check-in people.

I have also met a former airline pilot who used to participate in that airline's fear of flying program and we were going to further develop the program for the sim company but it never went ahead.

alisoncc
17th May 2014, 01:55
Sorry to disillusion you Codzilla, but many pilots on PPrune are scared of flying too. They are the ones who grasp the yoke and throttles with white knuckles showing, and refuse to leave their seat even when a loo break is necessary. :}

Just kidding. Bunch of nice guys really. :ok:

Worrals in the wilds
17th May 2014, 02:19
There are also the papers who like to quote out of context and what not, and it must be trying to deal with such things.You may enjoy this website :E. It's been posted before, but always worth a re-visit.
The Lazy Journalists Plane Story Generator (http://www.radans.net/jens/planestory.html)
Glad to hear you've overcome your phobia :ok:. When I worked in the terminals we had several passengers who got to the door of the aircraft but couldn't board it :ouch:. One of them had been going to a big family celebration overseas and I felt extremely sorry for him. We also had several aircraft return to their bay after someone on board freaked out and didn't want to play any more.

Hats off to these guys, too; I'm sure there are similar organizations around the world.
Fearless Flyers Inc. (http://www.fearlessflyers.com.au/)

jolihokistix
17th May 2014, 02:24
My daughter has developed this. She used to fly all over the world with no problem. Now she has to take medication.

Maybe I'll point her in the direction of this thread. Thanks.

PLovett
17th May 2014, 02:36
Maybe I'll point her in the direction of this thread. Thanks.

Point her in the direction of any fear-of-flying program. For instance, I know that the University of Tasmania used to run a program through their Psychology faculty and I am sure there must be many, many others around the world of similar nature.

Hempy
17th May 2014, 02:38
Many years ago a FoF group was given a tour of an ATC Approach unit during the afternoon gaggle. The Planner, a known joker, waited until he heard the unit manager explaining to the group standing now directly behind him the professionalism of ATC etc etc. Said controller then suddenly throws his headset off, stands up, pulls at his hair while screaming "I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!", and runs out of the room. No more FoF program!

You try and tell the young people of today that, and they don't believe ya!

probes
17th May 2014, 03:38
When I worked in the terminals we had several passengers who got to the door of the aircraft but couldn't board it :ouch:
you mean it can be that bad?
I don't fly often, but the ultimate comfort is always the thought: "At least there will be no survivors, if." - versus car accidents which might leave one in a very misarable existence? :E

mikedreamer787
17th May 2014, 05:15
but many pilots on PPRuNe are scared of flying too.

Yeah, so am I. Depending on which rostered
carrier I have no choice but to deadhead on.
Sometimes I'll rebook on a safe airline and
pay for it out of my own pocket (coach).

Fear of flying can be overcome somewhat by
choosing proven safe carriers and avoid the
el cheapo shonkys. I'd rather pay more for a
safe flight than risk being killed dead just for
saving a few pennies....

...Look up a timetable listing all the airlines
available from where you're at to where you
want to be. Then Google each carrier listed
and research their track records. Pick the mob
with the safest history, not the cheapest fare.

I'm more shit scared of driving than flying. In
some places around the globe I'll take a bus.

Solid Rust Twotter
17th May 2014, 06:20
Pah! Youngsters today don't know they're born. Back when the earth was cooling, dinosaurs roamed free and parachutes were still round, those afraid of flying were shot with a dart gun full of horse tranquiliser, strapped to a pallet and flown in the cargo hold.

alisoncc
17th May 2014, 06:22
Twotter:

:ok: :ok: :ok: :ok: :ok:

acbus1
17th May 2014, 06:59
Well, all I can say is I wouldn't wish to fly as a passenger with at least 25% of the pilots I've shared a cockpit with. They seem to somehow get by, some of them by virtue of never being promoted to Captain. The training Captains who promote the remainder must be blind, which is even more worrying.

Worrals in the wilds
17th May 2014, 07:48
...shot with a dart gun full of horse tranquiliser, strapped to a pallet and flown in the cargo hold.
Which still happens, but these days it's called the Low Cost Carrier experience. :E

cattletruck
17th May 2014, 07:54
I know lots of pilots that have a fear of flying when a little bit of wind picks up.

Just do what they do, close your eyes. :E

alisoncc
17th May 2014, 09:38
One of the more interesting tasks I was allocated when working as a LAME was installing a full set of braille instruments in a corporate jet. And that was on both sides.



.

Tarq57
17th May 2014, 10:24
One of the more interesting tasks I was allocated when working as a LAME was installing a full set of braille instruments in a corporate jet. And that was on both sides.



.We had an interface for braille radar installed at our control centres. Plus one of those Hawking-type synthetic voices for the dumb controllers.

cockney steve
17th May 2014, 10:46
Pah! Youngsters today don't know they're born. Back when the earth was cooling, dinosaurs roamed free and parachutes were still round, those afraid of flying were shot with a dart gun full of horse tranquiliser, strapped to a pallet and flown in the cargo hold. Pah! Youngsters today don't know they're born. Back when the earth was cooling, dinosaurs roamed free and parachutes were still round, those afraid of flying were shot with a dart gun full of horse tranquiliser, strapped to a pallet and flown in the cargo hold.

Ha! so you used to watch "the A -Team", then?
When my kids were little, I relented and a TV was aquired.....Saturday Evening had such delights as "Dukes of Hazzard" A programme centred around an impossibly sleek and fast black helicopter...Airwolf??
And , of course, the "Robin Hood Wannabe's" AKA "the A- Team"
B A Baracus was a huge black fellow, laden with a ton of gold necklaces, who turned to whimpering jelly, every time flying was needed....everything from knockout drops to a cudgel was employed to render him comatose and load him on the airybuzzer!

Capot
17th May 2014, 10:51
I have a well-developed fear of flying. Being in the industry does not help; having my own pilot license does not help. In fact, knowing about all the things that can and occasionally do go wrong probably contributes to the feeling of unease that starts when the take-off roll seems to be longer than it should be, and finishes when the speed reduces to taxi speed after landing. Reading CHIRP reports doesn't help much, either. (Try 2014/2, Engineering Reports, and weep at the evidence that some people have learned nothing in 25 years.)

So for me and anyone else who has a perfectly rational fear of being at 36,000 ft in an aluminium/composite tube with survival dependent on a bunch of total strangers, or at 5000 ft in a flimsy, rattling and noisy contraption that could come apart at any moment, it is a matter of overcoming the fear rather than removing it.

I use air transport several times a month, and would have it no other way. I enjoy flying, except with Ryanair, of course, if not the airports as they are now operated. I fly for fun as well, powered and otherwise.

We all have strategies for doing this. But it might be reassuring to understand that people who have NO fear of flying, and there are some, are quite dangerous, if they are pilots, because the need to take great care escapes them. I once had no fear, until I was about 30, and did some amazingly stupid things, because at that age you do not envisage the possible outcomes, or are not even aware of them. When you get older you get more cautious.

Hempy
17th May 2014, 10:57
The thing is that the fear isn't rational, really. Not when you compare the stats with things that you do every day of the week. It 's more dangerous driving to the airport than flying in the aircraft...really it should be 'relief of flying' tbh. Statistically it is the safest form of travel anywhere.

Excluding acts of suicide and terrorism, commercial aviation was the safest mode of travel in the United States, with 0.07 fatalities per billion passenger miles: “A person who took a 500-mile flight every single day for a year, would have a fatality risk of 1 in 85,000.”

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/transportation/comparing-fatality-risks-united-states-transportation-across-modes-time

Phalconphixer
17th May 2014, 11:33
I was always a little wary about flying until the early eighties when I found myself having to check the performance of the the PTR1751 radio systems newly installed on the RAF VC-10 fleet. XV105 was the chosen trials aircraft and I boarded the aircraft at Brize for a trip up to Kinloss.
The Captain noted my nervousness and asked "specifically what part of the flight concerns you the most."

When I admitted that I was OK once established in the cruise but the take-offs and landings were the parts I had trouble with he replied...

"Hmmm funny that... thats the bit that concerns me too...!"

Since the trip involved monitoring audio quality levels via the ICS system I spent the entire flight in the cockpit.. my fears were dispelled mainly by the views from the pointy end... I went on to make many other trials flights on large UK Mil. aircraft and learned to relax. All that I had learned in the RAF as an L Tech AC suddenly made sense....

In the years that followed, right up to the present the only really scary flight was one I took on board an Aviogenex (ex-Alitalia) B727 flight from Dubrovnik to Gatwick. The flight was delayed by a couple of hours and consequently the OAT had risen substantially by the time we took off. Aviogenex in those days used to tank enough fuel for the return trip. What would normally have been a 40 seconds take off run stretched out to a full minute, screaming down the runway and apparently going nowhere... we did eventually get off the ground but the rocky outcrop and drop off at the end of the runway seemed to be terribly close....:eek:

I saw the same aircraft many years later as it flew the last what would have been BOH-DBV flight. in the late eighties, Yugoslavia was going to hell in a handbasket, tourism all but died and that last flight was to take the aircraft home empty to Belgrade... Sad to see... and I listened in to the farewells from the ATCO's at Bournemouth as they gave the initial route clearances...

con-pilot
17th May 2014, 16:15
those afraid of flying were shot with a dart gun full of horse tranquiliser, strapped to a pallet and flown in the cargo hold.

Well, actually we did really use that procedure, except they were strapped (well seat belted anyway) to seats, with our, huh, err, 'passengers'.

Worked very well it did, until some pratt complained to the Supreme Court.

Had to stop doing that. :(

Solid Rust Twotter
17th May 2014, 20:06
...Had to stop doing that.


Bunch of big hairy manginas:}

ruddman
17th May 2014, 20:15
I used to love air travel until my husband scared me -- as a joke -- by telling me that a wing was on fire,


I kinda find that part the most disturbing. :confused:

mikedreamer787
18th May 2014, 06:01
I kinda find that part the most disturbing.


I kinda find when shit like this is going on outside my aircraft its even more disturbing! :bored:

827OGkGn_Kk

Slew to 00:40

ExSp33db1rd
18th May 2014, 09:40
I used to love air travel until my husband scared me -- as a joke -- by telling me that a wing was on fire,

Mrs ExS has no love of little aeroplanes, likes a lot of Boeing around her, but flying with me on my Boeing one day we lost a bit of the wing ! Long story, but we were back on the ground in fairly short order.

Boeing chastised me ( behind me back ) "didn't the Captain know that the aeroplane can fly with a panel 6ft x 4 ft ( or whatever the size was, long time ago now ) missing from that section of the wing" My manager replied "What was the Captain supposed to do, climb out and measure it ? " "It's safely on the ground - fix it ".

redsnail
18th May 2014, 12:37
Codzilla :ok: :D great news.

galaxy flyer
18th May 2014, 15:49
exS,

Sad statement but, at a lot operators today, the manager would have agreed with Boeing!

GF

ExSp33db1rd
20th May 2014, 01:08
galaxy flyer

Guess so, said it was a long story - bit more ..... deliberately didn't declare an emergency until on short finals ( we didn't know if the undercarriage had been damaged on retraction, punching off a bit of the wing, until we lowered the gear - it hadn't) so that all the lurkers on the radio channels wouldn't get excited, but even in that short notice the local TV station managed to get a chopper to follow us down the ILS to film the resultant fireball - they thought.

I warned the crew about Press intrusion, but one stewardess was awakened around 03.00 by a sobbing "mother of one of the passengers" who asked her about the panic on board ? Of course there was no panic, a non-event in the end - we just didn't know at the time - but the girl 'chatted' to the distraught 'mother' nonetheless, and it was a headline story the next day. Barstewards.

Andy_P
20th May 2014, 09:30
Well done codzilla. I to am scared of flying. Been working on it lately by trying to obtain my private pilots licence (have a fear of flying thread going in the private flying section). My very first flight about ten years ago (i am 40 now) required me to be heavily sedated. 3 weeks ago was the very first time ever that I have stepped on a commercial flight without that fear controlling me. I actually enjoyed it for the first time in my life.

Strange given I have had a fascination with aviation all my life!

Ancient Mariner
20th May 2014, 10:13
I had serious FoF for around 8 years while my job took me around the world. Short leg, one spare shirt, long haul two. Last one on board, first ashore.
I do not know the exact reason why I was infected, but I suspect that as a watch going engineer on ships with unmanned engine rooms I became used to unconsciously listening to strange noises and vibrations.
On a wild flight from Beijing to Shantou in '91 whilst flying through clothes hung to dry at the rooftops of the city while the driver up front was looking for the airport I suddenly realised thet my FoF was gone. Never seen it since.
Had an engine go bang on a SAS 767 while climbing out of Beijing, the plane vibrated so badly I thought a loose panel was flapping in the wind. Looked down at the saw toothed mountains below and satisfied myself that a landing there was not survivable. All I could think of was being annoyed for not being able to have another whisky since the cabin crew were busy comforting scared pax.
Per

Dont Hang Up
20th May 2014, 12:46
Whilst I am always delighted by anyone who manages to push through and past their fear of flying, I am always a bit surprised by the ones who claim to have found their courage in the pages of PPRune.

Taken at face value, PPRune would suggest that the aviation world is full of exhausted, underpaid pilots who (when awake) regularly argue on the flight deck, whilst resentful and spiteful cabin crew think up new ways to dangerously disrupt the smooth running of each flight - up to and including poisoning the Captain's coffee. As for the aircraft, well they are nothing more than a bundle of handling peculiarities waiting for an accident to happen.

Yes, of course I exaggerate for effect but I'm sure you know what I am getting at. Flying is safe - incredibly so considering that the air is not a naturally tenable place for a human. Indeed commercial aviation is perhaps the ultimate example of how a safety culture can take something that is not intrinsically safe and make it VERY safe indeed.

However, PPRune is not always the obvious source for this inspiration, especially for the nervous flyer.

Tankertrashnav
20th May 2014, 17:40
I've always been puzzled by those people who are ok in a great big thing like a 747, or similar, but say they are scared of flying in light aircraft.

It seems counterintuitive - if you aren't familiar with how aircraft fly, surely it seems more unlikely that a big heavy thing like a 747 can stay airborne rather than a little Cessna?

Doesn't seem to work that way though :confused:

(Mind you if I were flying the Cessna it would be entirely understandable ;))

con-pilot
20th May 2014, 18:09
(Mind you if I were flying the Cessna it would be entirely understandable )

Well you remember what the most dangerous thing in flying is don't you?

Two Boeing captains flying in a Cessna 150. :p

Or in my case, three Boeing captains flying in a Cessna 310. None of us had flown anything that small for about six years. At first we could get the left engine started, the first engine we tried to star.

So we went through the old check list, rotation, fuel and ignition. Then it hit us, we had completely forgot about turning on the mags. :O

Things went okay after that.

Dont Hang Up
20th May 2014, 21:32
Or in my case, three Boeing captains flying in a Cessna 310. None of us had flown anything that small for about six years.

I wouldn't fly with anyone who hadn't had a type check in six years - nomatter how many cumulative tens of thousands of hours they had in something a hundred times bigger.

How do you scare a 20 000 hour 747 Captain? Put him on final in a 152 with a 10 knot crosswind.

ExSp33db1rd
20th May 2014, 23:14
Two Boeing captains flying in a Cessna 150.

Or two USAAF Colonels flying a Beech - 18 across the Country from San Diego to Niagara Falls.

A mate and I took advantage of the MATS generosity to hitch a lift back to base with the RCAF circa 1956. I swear that the two had never flown the Beech before, even had doubts that they were pilots, once or twice, but we needed to get back after leave, so stuck with it !

Bob Lenahan
21st May 2014, 00:07
My pa made me learn to fly. Had no desire to fly for the airlines like he did. But, he made me fly. I rode bulls in rodeos- didn't do half bad. One day, realized that if I flew, I could hit three rodeos over a long weekend, so started back flying again. At times, tho, I did get scared when mounting a bull in the chutes. But only sometimes. Often wondered why (sometimes, that is).
( Yes, later, I did go with the airlines.)
Bob.