Fear of flying – No reason to panic!

Fear of flying – No reason to panic!
26/11/2016 pilotpatrick
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It makes me really sad to hear that many of you are feared of flying and can not enjoy traveling by plane! In fact a survey suggests that 43 percent of people have at least some fear of flying and around 9 percent are so afraid that they would not go on a flight.

Fear of flying

Now I understand why I receive so many comments and messages asking me what they can do against their fear of flying. In this blogpost I want to help you as much as possible to get over that fear which is also known as aviophobia. I think my personal words as pilot are more persuasive than of a third person who is not involved in the aviation industry as much as I am.

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“The next exit maybe behind you” – No reason to be scared!

There is no reason to panic!

In my research for this blogpost I found out that the most common reason for the fear of flying is the fear to crash. Yes, there is a likelihood to crash, but this chance is vanishing low. You probably have heard about the statistics, but let me mention them again to get an idea how safe flying really is.

The probability of your plane going down is around one in 5.4 million. (according to The Economist) It is more likely to be attacked by a shark or even killed by the flu. Traveling in a car is 100 times more deadly than flying in a plane. Despite the high profile plane crashes in the past, it has never been safer to fly.

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Waiting in line for parking in Nizza (LFMN)

Anxiety originates from ignorance!

I think the anxiety can originate from ignorance not understanding the complex system of aviation. This might trigger “what if?” catastrophic thoughts.

This starts with the ignorance of the systems of the airplane. Certain noises and normal flight maneuvers can already cause unease. For example noise of the brakes, landing gear and the engines. Trust me the noises are absolute normal. Maybe you feel more comfortable wearing noise canceling headphones, which reduce background noise to a minimum. Most of  you are scared of turbulences and think that they are dangerous. Please trust me they belong to the normal path of flight. Aircraft are build to withstand turbulences with ease. We as pilots always try to avoid them and in case we encounter an area of turbulences we try to find a different level to escape them. This causes a spool up or down and a climb or descent to a different level.

The regulations in aviation are really strict. The authority require that the aircraft are maintained at fixed intervals. Airlines could not afford operating a bad maintained aircraft, which could cause them to lose their operator certificate and of course their reputation.

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Citation XLS + preflight inspection – Checklist for additional safety

Redundancy in all aspects in aviation!

Even when there happens to be a malfunction of a system, does not mean it will end in a disaster. The aircraft are build to be flying in the air and constructed to be redundant. That means if one system fails, the airplane will still be safe to fly and a different system will take over it. For example if one engine fails, the second one will keep the airplane in the sky and a safe landing will be possible. This is trained on regular simulator flights many times.

Maybe you have heard about the swiss cheese model before. This model of accident causation illustrates that, although many layers of defense lie between hazards and accidents. Only if there is a flaw in each layer, if aligned, can allow the accident to occur. A single mistake in one layer will not lead to a accident.

Here are my 10 tips against the fear of flying:

  1.  Choose an airline you feel save with or you know they have a good reputation, do not book just because the ticket is cheap
  2. Arrive at the airport with enough time, so you do not get stressed additionally
  3. Book a seat with more space, e.g. at the emergency exit
  4. Try not to drink alcohol and caffeine this might intense your anxiety
  5. When boarding let the cabin crew know that you are a little bit nervous, a short chat with the pilots can help as well
  6. Recall that you are safe and probability is in your side
  7. Control your breathing inhale deeply and exhale slowly: Relaaaaax!
  8. Use noise canceling headphones, reduced background noise calms you down, listen to relaxing music and do things that distract you
  9. You are not alone! Millions of people travel by plane at the same time
  10. Keep in mind that the airplane is build to travel through air, turbulence are a normal path of flying, recall that you are save even when feeling anxiety
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Thumbs up – Now you are prepared for your next flight!

An app which might help you

I found an app “Am I Going Down?”, which claims to calculate the odds of a disaster on a particular flight. You put in three variables: the departure and arrival airports, the airline, and the type of plane used. For example a flight from San Francisco to London Heathrow has a probability of 1 to 3.646.151 to go down. You would have to take this flight everyday for 9.989 years before it crashes.

Seeing the probability, which is not even worth mentioning for your particular flight, may help with your fear of flying.

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“Am I going down App” claims to calcualte the likelihood of a crash

I hope you will be more relaxed on your next flight, so you can enjoy the beauty of flying at the fullest. Recall my 10 tips when flying next time. You might even safe them on your mobile device. Now sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!

Your Pilot Patrick

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24 Comments

  1. angelpmng 11 months ago

    Those tips are cute, must help a lot for those who are fear of flying 🙂 the only problem for me on flight is that I usually get ear pain before landing… do you also experience that?

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 11 months ago

      I hope they can help! No I do not. but on a smaller plane the difference in air pressure is less. So thats why it is more comfortable for your ears

  2. Dan Carpio 11 months ago

    Those were really nice tips… Something to consider for a next flight. Guess I’m from that small group of people who search for “accidents” or “turbulence” videos before a flight!!… Not a recommendation. lol.

    Noise canceling headphones and a good book should be a must (for those like me who are afraid of flying).

    Good post..!!

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 11 months ago

      Thanks a lot Dan! noise canceling headphones are a most for every frequent flyer. so much more quality 🙂

  3. alifewithtrials 11 months ago

    These are brilliant tips, I have a friend that isn’t great on flying. I will definitely show them this post. I really dislike turbulences but thankful Ive never really ran into many on a flight.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 11 months ago

      Thanks a lot for your comment. I know turbulences are sometimes scary but trust me aircraft are build to cope with them with ease! Happy flying 🙂

  4. Joseph 11 months ago

    Hi pilot patric. What really scares me the most about flying is during take off. The plane feels like its landing when taking off. It feels like its dropping.. one day i was onboard qatar airways B777-300ER (my favourite airline) while descending it dropped very fast from 35000ft to 2000ft i thought we were going to crash. It felt like the pilot lost control of the aircraft.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 11 months ago

      Hello Joseph, thanks for your comment and sharing your experiences. Trust me he did not lose control of the airplane. The autopilot can handle turbulences, also quick descents, to a really high level. I wish you good flights.

  5. Astrid Bernier 11 months ago

    I love travel and i really love the airplanes but one of my dream is talk to a pilot before my flight maybe 5 minutes ahhahah so you gave me a big idea, i’m going to say that i’m a little nervous and i need please talk to the pilot for feel more safe ahhaha and obviously with a fearface hhahah I’m kidding mmmm but i’m gonna do it hahaha. Now talking seriously GREAT POST i was laugththing a lot while a readed. thanks

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 11 months ago

      Hello Astrid, thanks for your funny comment. I hope you will talk to nice colleagues of mine. 🙂

  6. leftbanked 11 months ago

    Hi I’ve followed you on instagram for a long time but this is my first time on your blog.. Your posts are very informative! This one especially.. I always get nervous about turbulence while flying.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 10 months ago

      That is amazing. Thanks for following. I hope you will be less nervous next time you are flying in turbulences. 🙂 Many greetings

  7. Jan Willem 10 months ago

    To be honest: I feel much saver and I’m more relaxed in a plane in the air then in a small car on the road! Like to fly, but I should do it more!

  8. rania 10 months ago

    Hey captain ! Your post is very interesting .. 🙂 I will do my best to stop thinking about crashes 🙂 train bus bicycle taxi …… are not safe too much ! but I always use them all time ” in Morocco” . I rarely take airplane
    Because i never had the opportunity to travel outside:-) also I have wrong ideas about airplane 🙁 . I’m going to read more about airplanes….. thanks captain

  9. Irene 10 months ago

    Hi Captain Patrick!

    Thank you for sharing the information with us! I used to have aviophobia, it was so bad but thank God it’s all gone now. I went to a psychiatrist and he helped me with some medicine, I also read a lot of information about flight, aviation etc to calm my mind, and listened to some meditation track before i took a flight and it helped a lot! From my experience, the fear of flight is only in my mind, that’s why i try to change my perspective to overcome my fear. The fear is unreal, it’s only our mind play tricks on us. I still feel a bit nervous before i take a flight but I usually listen to the music to calm me down and i always ask for the window seat near the wings bc it make me feel safe. Also I don’t need to take any medicine now 🙂 I hope my story can help others to overcome their fear as well. Thanks a lot for sharing with us! I really like your blog and instagram! I wish i have a chance to fly with you someday!
    Take care, Captain!

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 10 months ago

      Hello Irene,
      thanks for sharing your interesting story! Makes me really happy to hear that you could overcome aviophobia and can now enjoy flying. With good help and training you can overcome any fear. Thanks for supporting my social media. Many greetings! Patrick

  10. Andrea Zander 9 months ago

    So…..wie “angedroht” meine Frage hier.
    Hi Patrick,
    ich war gerade auf deiner Homepage und habe den Artikel über Flugangst gelesen..guter Blog! ….leider war mein Punkt, der die Angst auslöst, nicht dabei….insofern wäre es interessant, mich nochmal mit dir zu unterhalten, weil mich diese Phobie wirklich einschränkt und ich so gerne wieder angstfrei fliegen würde. Mich fasziniert die Technik 🙂
    Vielleicht wäre das möglich 😉
    Möchte dich aber nicht nerven, bin ja nicht die einzige, die dich anschreibt.
    Wünsch dir einen tollen Abend und vll bis bald, Andrea

  11. Brian 9 months ago

    My fear of flying is has to do with giving up all control to the pilot. One has to trust the pilot with his life! If I were to fly on your plane Patric, I would trust you! But unfortunately, when I do fly you are NOT the pilot. I too have ear pressure issues due to often flying on smaller connecting flights. I wish I was less afraid because I love seeing new places!!

  12. Gabriela Hgall 8 months ago

    I am not sure how I found you in IG, but I am glad I did. I was very nervous my flight from Berlin to Quito (UIO) for holiday, but thanks to this entry I could clear some questions and get at ease. Specially because the information comes from a Pilot. I’ve never been scared of flying but when I have to land in Quito I get paranoid. I guess is because of the excess of turbulence and these empty drops that one feels every time. I guess that is the price you have to pay if you want to land in 3000 m above sea level and surrounded by beautiful mountains. The landing was though but I survived haha. I remember this post before landing and decided to chill because it reminded I am in the hands of professionals. Keep up the good work. Cheers from Berlin!

  13. Bea 7 months ago

    I get dizzy. Well I did it. I read your post. Really, my problem isn’t that. I think that airplain are the most safe and confortable way for travel. I have panic to the height, any height, I’m a little woman 1,50 metres and I get dizzy when I fly. So… maybe I have to be strong and try it again and again… Anyway thanks for your tips, and sorry for my english. Nex time I’ll write you in spanish.
    Espero que seas feliz en tu nuevo trabajo. Hasta la próxima.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 7 months ago

      Hola Bea,
      gracias para your comment. I am sorry that you are feared of heights. Maybe you should not be sitting at the window. But calm you down a former Captain of mine also had fear of heights and he was a pilot. I hope you get more and more comfortable flying.
      Happy landings without fear! Patrick

  14. Nitin 4 months ago

    Flying is the most scarist part of my life. Everytime i swear I do not fly again but I have to fly each 3 to 4 months. I remember how many times I make excises not to fly and cancelled n postponed my trips too. The vibration on plane floor, trumbling of chair, sound, inclined angle, tilt of plane. They all made me anxious. I always took handfull of medicines before flight. And whenever I see you using cell phones n camera taking pictures while flying also makes me worried besides height and speed.

  15. Paula 4 months ago

    Hi Patrick, it is my first time here in your blog although I have been following you on Instagram for a few months. I must say that I LOVE to fly and I am really looking forward to starting another journey by plane but, while reading your post I rememered something that happened to me last week traveling from Milan to Madrid in a B737-8AS. It is true that the flight had been strange since the beginning. First of all we flew with a company we were not comfortable with, but sadly it was not our choice. Then the atmosphere inside the plane was not so good, it was like we thought something was about to happen. Also, we had to had our seatbelts fasten during the whole flight due to turbulences (but, as I said I am crazy about planes and it was not a problem for me to stay calm). But finally, the weirdest thing of all, and what I wanted to ask you: when we were at around 8000ft, the pilot reduced the power of the engines until half its power or even less; everybody in the plane noticed that, so did I, that was sitting next to the left engine (during the flight, like a normal one we were hearing the engines but, at that moment, we did not hear anything, the plane was complete silent and no one explained us why, the situation continued until almost the moment of landing). So I wanted to ask you if it is normal for a pilot to reduce so much the power of the engines during a normal flight. Thank you for your attention and your posts. Hope to have you as a pilot in a flight. Greetings from Spain.

  16. Brian 4 months ago

    I do have a fear of flying. It’s because I am giving up control to someone I have never seen and know nothing about!!! Of course Patrick if you were my pilot I would not be afraid!

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