aaden
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Afraid Of Heights

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:23 pm

hi guys

I have a fear of heights and wish to be a pilot. I will be taking my first flight up in a Cessna wednesday morning. I'm not scared of heights when flying onboard commercial jets. my question is will this be different inside a much smaller plane+ sitting up front?

thanx in advance for your opinions
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):

When you have a Fear.Fight It.Work to Conquer your Fear.Time is the Best Medicine.
After a few Attempts you will be Comfortable.
A smaller plane would be more Cramped & Turbulent than Larger Commercial ones.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
saintsman
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:58 pm

You think you have a fear of heights so put it in perspective. If you are up a mountain you may be several thousand feet high, but you wont' be afraid. If you are in a tall building you won't be afraid. Stand on the edge of that building and then you will be afraid. So your fear is not of heights but of falling from them.

You already don't fear falling from an airliner so as you will be strapped into your Cessna, you won't fall from that either.

No problem  Smile
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:37 pm

I have brought up a person with fear of heights in a Piper, and he didn't have any issues. Apparently, even in a small airplane, you still have the engine cowling in front of you and a solid floor under your feet, therefore fear of heights for some reason doesn't kick in. The same person had fear of heights in a helicopter where he could basically "look down to the ground under his feet".

Don't worry, you'll be fine.

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:46 pm

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
I have a fear of heights and wish to be a pilot. I will be taking my first flight up in a Cessna wednesday morning. I'm not scared of heights when flying onboard commercial jets. my question is will this be different inside a much smaller plane+ sitting up front?

I have mild fear of heights. In my experience, and that of other agoraphobics I have spoken to, fear of heights is rarely a factor in aviation. As soon as you get above 100-200 feet, the concept of height becomes rather abstract from the perspective of the phobia.

When I skydived, I would sometimes sit with one foot dangling out of the open door. If the pilot pulled a left turn, I would basically be hanging over nothing from a couple of thousand feet up. The ground felt like a map. Very abstract. The sensation of falling towards the ground didn't reassert itself until the last 100 feet or so.

You won't know until you try, but my bet is that you'll be just fine.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
DH106
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:34 am

Similar to Starlionblue I have a fear of height - but only of heights from within buildings! This is especially so on tall building you can feel sway ever so slightly in the wind - that affects my balance and gives me virtigo. However in a plane I'm fine. Even at fairly low heights where it's 'obvious' you're 'up' it's okay. My guess is that you'll be the same - especially if you're okay on commercial flights. Go for it  Wink
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SlamClick
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:05 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 4):
In my experience, and that of other agoraphobics I have spoken to, fear of heights is rarely a factor in aviation.

I would agree with this. I think fear of flying, which is pretty common is distinctly different from fear of heights.

And let's be sure we are talking about a phobia here and not just good-sense respect for these things. Blunt truth is falls and airplane crashes can kill you equally dead. In the case of phobias I don't think that fact has anything to do with the emotional responses.

I don't have any advice on your fear of heights. If it is spoiling your life to any real degree you might consider whipping it, either on your own or with professional help.

About flying, I do have some opinions. It is possible that a bit of your fear will impinge a little bit on your flying experience. For that reason I'd counsel you to hire an instructor for a flight or two. Be very honest with him/her before the flight. Express your concerns and your interests. If you get a good one they will brief you in advance what to expect, sights and sounds you will experience. They should not make any deliberate effort to frighten you but should let you experience the entire normal flight envelope.

For your part, you should be absolutely certain that no unreasoning fear is going to immobilize you when flying solo. Before you kick the instructor out the first time you should be truly at home in the airplane and comfortable with the height above the ground.

My understanding is that fear of height is triggered most often by looking down the side of something - a building, a cliff, off a bridge. It involves a foreground reference, where your feet are, and a hard stop at the bottom and an obvious intervening distance. At the US Army Airborne School (paratrooper training) there was a rule of thumb that said that 34 feet was about the limit for normal fear of height. That if you were going to have any problem with it, it would show up by that height. For that reason their cable practice towers were 34 feet high.

I don't completely agree with that. I grew up with a 150-foot cliff in my back yard. No fence! By the time I was 18 or 19 I would run, face first down that cliff. I would find new routes up and down it. I was comfortable there. A couple years later as a private pilot I climbed Halfdome in Yosemite. My brother and a friend hung their legs over the edge and looked five thousand feet down at Mirror Lake. I had a hard time walking within two feet of the edge.

That bothered me, so four years later when I went to Toroweap Point on the north rim of the grand canyon I had 'worked on it' by then. I now have a picture of me, hanging my toes over the edge of a three thousand foot drop. I think we can accustom ourselves to a lot. Hell, I used to be afraid of girls! It is just a matter of finding our incentives.  Smile

With that in mind, I wish you good luck in this. I hope you enjoy flying!
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:35 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
My understanding is that fear of height is triggered most often by looking down the side of something - a building, a cliff, off a bridge. It involves a foreground reference, where your feet are, and a hard stop at the bottom and an obvious intervening distance. At the US Army Airborne School (paratrooper training) there was a rule of thumb that said that 34 feet was about the limit for normal fear of height. That if you were going to have any problem with it, it would show up by that height. For that reason their cable practice towers were 34 feet high.

Looking down does indeed make it worse. I am somewhat afraid of heights. So I take every chance to go up in tall buildings. It's therapy of sorts and a stubborn refusal to allow my phobia to control my actions. Exposure does help in the long run.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
Hell, I used to be afraid of girls!

Me too. Ironically nowadays I am completely unafraid. Comes with being "safely" married I suppose.  Smile
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:47 am

I'm very bad with heights, but have no trouble with flying (as a passenger that is!)

I've taken a few helicopter pleasure flights recently - akin to your Cessna is certain respects - and enjoyed every minute, once you get a few feet in the air, the fear of heights goes as the brain 'ignores' the height - it's outside the normal height experienced by our ancestors, so doesn't trigger the negative feelings?
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pilotpip
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:53 am

I'm afraid of heights. I don't go on roofs, never climbed trees, etc.

Yet, I teach people to fly. I think that it's more of a feeling of security than anything. I know that I'm not going to fall out of an airplane. I know the airplane isn't going to mimic a rock on it's way down because when the engine stops it becomes a glider. Since you're in a Cessna, do yourself a favor and don't look directly down at the ground at first. Keep your eyes off on the horizon.

If anything, flying has helped with this fear of heights. I started rock climbing as a way to overcome this fear. Also, I do things now that I never did before like going out on balconies. I think flying gave me better perspective. 20 feet isn't so high when you consider that even in a cessna you're likely to be a few thousand feet above the ground.
DMI
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:17 am

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
I have a fear of heights and wish to be a pilot. I will be taking my first flight up in a Cessna wednesday morning. I'm not scared of heights when flying onboard commercial jets. my question is will this be different inside a much smaller plane+ sitting up front?

It's always better in a commercial plane because of pressurization. Your body still thinks it's on ground level eventough you might be up very high. In unpressurised state the body feels different sensations and it might trigger some anxiety. However those feelings will go away after your first few lessons.

It's kind of weird but somebody explained it already, the farther up you go the less you can see the ground so your mind differentiates from "flying above the ground" to "cruising at altitude". I think this point starts at about 4000 above ground level. At these levels and above you can't see the ground anymore on the horizon(at least here in the hazy los angeles skies) so you kind of get in the mode of flying rather than sight seeing.

[Edited 2006-08-01 23:19:37]
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Afraid Of Heights

Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:02 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 10):
It's kind of weird but somebody explained it already, the farther up you go the less you can see the ground so your mind differentiates from "flying above the ground" to "cruising at altitude". I think this point starts at about 4000 above ground level. At these levels and above you can't see the ground anymore on the horizon(at least here in the hazy los angeles skies) so you kind of get in the mode of flying rather than sight seeing.

As I recall from my skydiving days, a couple of hundred feet was quite enough for my brain to abstract the ground. Your results may vary.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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