Fear of Flying…

I hate flying…

Which when you consider how many flights I take a year, its pretty ridiculous.

Currently I’m trying to get over the anxiety induced by a flight on the tiniest plane I’ve ever been on out to Guernsey ahead of a charity event the Team is doing.

I’ve been getting better and better recently; well I haven’t screamed on the last 3 flights that I’ve taken, and the Cabin service manager hasn’t had to sit with me or calm me down on the last 2!
Todays flight however was a shocker- a tiny little propeller plane waiting for me wasn’t going to help anything, and follow that up with the Captain announcing that there were 120mph winds waiting for us and it was going to be bumpy so he was keeping the seatbelt sign on- a surefire start to my anxiety reaching epic levels.

It’s been a bad year for aviophobes. About 30% of us find air travel anything from faintly disconcerting to unutterably terrifying, as we pore over reports of near-misses and midair collisions and watch episodes of Air Crash Investigation through clenched fingers. A smaller number won’t be tempted on to an aeroplane for all the riches of Richard Branson, certain that, whatever statistics say, humans simply weren’t meant to be rattling through the air in a malodorous tin can, five miles above the safety of solid ground. Aviophobia is pervasive and, it would seem, growing; we’re flying more than ever, but that doesn’t mean we like it.
– via the Guardian

Its true, I watch so many episodes of Air Crash Investigation its unreal. Before flights I can be found obsessing over the weather forecasts, as well as searching for answers about maintenance schedules of the planes, and asking endless ridiculous questions about “tired planes”, and “is that supposed to sound like that?”

The biggest trigger for my anxiety attacks (and sometimes screaming fits, crying or passing out) is turbulence. Nothing feels more unnatural to me and sets my mind straight into a fear of plummeting to death in a metal tube whilst muttering Mutley style expletives….

After much reading, I stumbled across this article on Askthepilot.com and it made me start to think about how much time worrying and the resulting wasted energy I spend on flights.

Turbulence: spiller of coffee, jostler of luggage, filler of barf bags, rattler of nerves. But is it a crasher of planes? Judging by the reactions of many airline passengers, one would assume so; turbulence is far and away the number one concern of anxious passengers. Intuitively, this makes sense. Everybody who steps on a plane is uneasy on some level, and there’s no more poignant reminder of flying’s innate precariousness than a good walloping at 37,000 feet. It’s easy to picture the airplane as a helpless dinghy in a stormy sea. Boats are occasionally swamped, capsized, or dashed into reefs by swells, so the same must hold true for airplanes. Everything about it seems dangerous.

Except that, in all but the rarest circumstances, it’s not. For all intents and purposes, a plane cannot be flipped upside-down, thrown into a tailspin, or otherwise flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust or air pocket. Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash. Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal. From a pilot’s perspective it is ordinarily seen as a convenience issue, not a safety issue. When a flight changes altitude in search of smoother conditions, this is by and large in the interest of comfort. The pilots aren’t worried about the wings falling off; they’re trying to keep their customers relaxed and everybody’s coffee where it belongs.
– via www.askthepilot.com

We were discussing my fear of flying on the way back from our last trip to Rio, and I do totally get that it’s a pretty irrational fear.

So I’m working on getting a bit better when it comes to flying. For now though, I’ll keep flying with Bif the stress ball!

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