by Captain Stacey
Stacey Chance in the cockpit
If you have an upcoming flight, how will you deal with your
jitters? Below are ten valuable tips compiled by Captain Stacey
Chance, developer of the free online Fear of Flying Help
Course (which you will find at www.fearofflyinghelp.com)
and author of the new fear of flying book, Wings of
TOP TEN FEAR OF FLYING TIPS
1. Turbulence may feel
uncomfortable, but it is normal.
People often misunderstand turbulence. When
encountering turbulence nervous passengers feel that the plane is
"falling" out of the sky. It is natural for them to only
feel the "down" bumps, but for every "down"
there is an "up" bump. The "downs" are just
more easily noticed. Next time you are driving on a bumpy road
imagine you are a passenger on a plane and how you would consider
it to be "bad" turbulence. Now take a look at the road.
How big are the bumps on the roadway to create the rough ride? The
air is usually very smooth, but sometimes small ripples can make
it feel like "bad" turbulence.
2. The plane is strong,
stable, reliable, and well maintained.
The FAA mandates that modern jet aircraft are designed
and built with large safety margins. All aircraft and their
equipment are built from FAA approved designs and manufactured
under FAA approved systems. Coming out of the factory the planes
are thoroughly flight tested before certification by the FAA.
Structurally these aircraft can withstand many times the stresses
and forces which can be imposed upon them in flight.
3. Trust the well trained and
When you board the plane mention to the flight
attendants that sometimes you get a little nervous about flying,
and ask if you may visit with the pilots. This is very important.
The pilots are normally happy to have visitors. You might be
surprised at how receptive the pilots will be. Ask questions and
mention your nervousness, they will understand and reassure you.
The pilot's confidence is contagious. Now you have a friend up
front who knows and cares about you! But remember, visits to the
cockpit can ONLY be made on the ground, not during taxi or in
4. What makes a plane fly?
Basically, wings and some speed through the
air is all that is required to make a plane fly. Airplanes travel
through the air, a fluid, just like swimming or surfing. Air is
similar to water. Air is just a little thinner than water, but it
is still a significant mass. In fact, at this moment you are
experiencing about 15 pounds per square inch of pressure from our
atmosphere. You don't notice it because it has always been there
and it acts on your body equally from every direction. Many people
have a hard time believing that something as big as a jet can stay
up in the air. Have you ever stuck your hand out of the car window
at 60 mph? Now multiply the force your hand feels times five
(Actually, the force increases with the square of velocity, so it
would be even greater!). That is the force your hand would feel
flying at the speed of a jetliner! The faster you go the thicker
the air feels. To the plane it feels like a thick watery fluid
capable of substantial support. Remember, airplanes are MEANT to
be in the air, that’s where they’re the happiest!
5. Flying is routine, here's
Many people take comfort in going to the local airport
to watch planes takeoff and land. After a while you begin to see
that flying is routine. Others like to study the ARRIVAL and
DEPARTURE monitors in the airport terminal to see just how many
flights operate safely. Did you know that worldwide nearly 3
million passengers fly every day?
6. Positive Thinking.
Always try to keep your thoughts in the
present. Keep your thoughts positive. When you catch yourself
thinking negatively stop and concentrate on the positive. Many
people dwell on what might happen instead of what is happening. It
can be easy to play a "disaster movie" in your mind and
you are the in the starring role! When you catch yourself starting
the production of one of these imaginary "disaster
movies" turn off the projector. Try to occupy your mind with
something more constructive. Read, do a puzzle, strike up a
7. Tense Your Muscles.
Be aware of your body. When you feel muscles
that are tense or tight, you can relax them. Instead of fighting
the tightness, show your muscles whose boss! You tense your
muscles! You take control! Go ahead and tighten your stomach
muscles or your leg muscles, then pause and let go. You will be
surprised at how your muscles feel warm and relaxed, and you once
again feel in control.
8. Overactive Imagination.
Quite often people who have a fear of flying
also have a strong or overactive imagination. For example, they
might hear an unfamiliar noise during the flight and begin
imagining what might be wrong with the plane to cause this noise.
Or, they may believe in "signs" or
"premonitions" that their plane will crash. For example,
they might have a dream or hear a song on the radio about a plane
crash. Odds are you are not psychic! Remind yourself of this fact,
and focus on reality.
9. How to deal with nervous
When you feel afraid your breathing quickens
and your heart races. To calm yourself first push your stomach
outward. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Try to
fill your lungs from the bottom up. Pause and then exhale slowly
whispering the word “relax”. Do this a couple of times and
you'll feel much better. Practice your controlled breathing
whenever you can. Try it whenever you feel tense. Slow, deep
breathing is the easiest and most effective method for calming
10. Even if you feel panicky, it
cannot hurt you or cause you to lose control.
Remember that fear is a normal reaction to a
perceived threat. Once you learn the threat really isn't
dangerous, the fear naturally goes away. Fear itself is not
harmful, it is meant to protect us. Fear acts as our defense
mechanism. It prepares us to fight or flee. A panic attack will
not make you have a heart attack, faint, or lose control.
"It looks like a
wartime evacuation" by Doug Lindsey. The story
of cruise passengers Doug & Sherry who found their US Airways
flight diverted to Halifax. Remembering 9/11/01 and what it was
like to be en route to the United States from Europe that day,
they were In
Flight from Amsterdam on September 11th