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Overcoming Fear Of Turbulence  
User currently offlineThai744 From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 303 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 30799 times:
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Hi All,

I am really embarrassed to be asking this in a way.

I love aviation and I love flying. No question about it.
The problem is, I have a real fear of turbulence during a flight.

Any other part of the flight - take off, landing, smooth cruise, is ok.

I am fine in moderate chop or little bumps here and there.

But if I am on a flight where the turbulence is at a reasonable level, I really start to feel scared and nervous - the sweaty palms and shortness of breath set in fast!

There have been so many reports about aircraft affected by turbulence lately, it's really starting to play on my mind again.  Sad

I know that an aircraft can handle a much higher level of turbulence than I will ever experience during a flight, but it makes me feel so uncomfortable and it's annoying and frustrating that I feel this way when it hits.

I simply don't LIKE being thrown about - (I have always hated roller coasters and the like) and maybe a fear of not being in control of the situation is part of it too.

But if any of you can give me any tips on how to combat this (irrational) fear, I would be really appreciative. It would make flying so much more comfortable and enjoyable for me. Every flight I get on now (especially long-haul from Australia to Asia), I think "is this flight going to have major turbulence" and it really detracts from my enjoyment of the flying experience.

Thanks in advance if you can offer any tips.
Thai744.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9118 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 30889 times:
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Quoting Thai744 (Thread starter):
But if any of you can give me any tips on how to combat this (irrational) fear, I would be really appreciative. It would make flying so much more comfortable and enjoyable for me. Every flight I get on now (especially long-haul from Australia to Asia), I think "is this flight going to have major turbulence" and it really detracts from my enjoyment of the flying experience.

Easiest would be: Don't fly, but as a Manager in the Travel Industry this would be difficult  Smile

Seriously. As you said on your own, turbulence aren't really dangerous and we pilots try to avoid them if possible. This is - as we all know - not always possible. But it is nothing to be afraid of.
Maybe go to some course they offer to overcome that fear.

If you sit over the wing (near the center of gravity) then the turbulence are not that strong as at that point the airplane isn't moving less then in the front or in the back of the plane.

Keep your seat belt fastened and it turbulence starts, sit back in your seat, take deep breaths, focus one point in the distance and think about something nice.

wilco737



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineUmit From Turkey, joined May 2009, 131 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 30854 times:

Once , in this site ,somebody (probably a pilot) wrote something like that '' take a glass of water , go to your car and drive around the block and next time when you are in plane going thru a turbulance do the same , take a glass of water put it on your tray and and watch you will see that in plane you will have much less water spilled around'' therefore it seems that most of the time turbulance we feel is actually much less that bumps we have in car.

User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9118 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 30845 times:
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Quoting Umit (Reply 2):

Sounds reasonable to me. Problem in an airplane is: it is a 3D turbulence. In a car you are not haveing the up and down movement you have in a plane.
Maybe the head plays some issues here as well. You feel like sitting in this small thing high in the air, travelling fast and if somethings happen, you don't have usually a lot of opportunities in what you personally can do. You have to trust the crew and that what makes a lot of people feel sick...

wilco737



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineContrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1834 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 30809 times:

Turbulence bothers me too, but I found something that might help:

One night I was on an AA flight from LAX to HNL when we went through some pretty significant turbulence. We were bouncing up and down and sideways - it was the worse I had been through. I found out, quite by accident, that by closing my eyes and relaxing completely it didn't bother me as much as if I had kept my eyes open. I kept bouncing with the plane, but it actually didn't bother me.

There's probably a physiological reason for this, but the effect for me is that it works. You might want to try it sometime.



Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineFlymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7279 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 30793 times:

Well as you know turbulence is not really dangerous and pilots will try to avoid it as much as possible. But sometimes you can avoid it. First thing try not to tense up that makes it worse, just try to relax and enjoy the flight as you would if it was smooth.
If you really cant get the fear out maybe try taking some flying lessons. Once you actually fly and see what turbulence feels likes in a small plane and as a pilot I don't think you will have much trouble flying in a 737 in turbulence after flying in a C172.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineTheGMan From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 687 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 30776 times:



Quoting Flymia (Reply 5):
Well as you know turbulence is not really dangerous and pilots will try to avoid it as much as possible. But sometimes you can avoid it. First thing try not to tense up that makes it worse, just try to relax and enjoy the flight as you would if it was smooth.
If you really cant get the fear out maybe try taking some flying lessons. Once you actually fly and see what turbulence feels likes in a small plane and as a pilot I don't think you will have much trouble flying in a 737 in turbulence after flying in a C172.

Better yet, get in the back of a C172 and see what real turbulence feels like.

I have only had one really bad experience with turbulence. The whole ride FPO-CLT in the last row of a A319.


User currently offlineAerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 2860 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 30752 times:

I used to be quite scared too-50/50 loving it & being scared. I find that reading a book (particularly a good Jackie Collins classic  Wink) works, or watching a movie. When I was travelling transatlantic the last time & it was a little bumpy to be honest I just got fed up of being scared & just tried to enjoy it!


Cabin crew blog http://dolefuldolegirl.blogspot.ie/
User currently offlinePITops From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1442 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 30732 times:

I used to hate it too but it seems the more you fly, the more you get used to it. I used to clinch the arm rests but now I can sleep through it.


Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH
User currently offlineJetterrosie From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2008, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 30708 times:

Some great tips here and also don't be embarassed - it's perfectly normal to feel that way. Lots of people don't like turbulence as it is an unnatural feeling in a situation that you are not in control of. For me I tried learning about weather and other causes of turbulence. This changed it into something that scared me into something that is interesting - I distract myself by trying to guess whats going on out in the atmosphere that is causing it.

Also the poster who said close your eyes is on to something - for some reason it is better that way! The glass of water tip used to work for me too in that it helped me realise we weren't actually moving that much. Finally, a glass of wine or two at altitude chills me out. I know you aren't meant to drink too much and I'm not advising that but a little alcohol seriously helps with my nerves  Smile


User currently offlineTonyban From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 345 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 30688 times:

Sweaty palms and shortness of breath....Man, I thought I was the only one who suffered this. I too am absolutely terrified of turbulence. I usually hold my breath when it gets very bumpy.
What I've done on the past few trips between SFO-LHR is too purchase Upper Class in VS and sleep through the entire flights. Not a cheap solution but it worked for me. This was after the most bumpy flight I've ever been on, was a LHR-SFO on VS where one of the cabin crew actually fell down during turbulence. I love aviation but dread flying now.  Sad


User currently offlineSpeedBirdA380 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2008, 539 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 30680 times:

The only advice I can give is like someone said earlier close your eyes and try to relax. Put in some earpugs to drown out the bangs and thuds of drink trolleys etc and maybe put a blanket over your head too.(although being Thai I understand you may not want to put a blanket over your head). Then just Imagine your on a boat and your just cruising the waves on the water.....I find this very relaxing.

Good Luck. Phobia's can be extremley frightning and hard to overcome,even if they are irrational but it is possible.


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