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Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 3:08 pm

HELP, I am flying from Australia to USA this Sunday. I am petrified of flying. I have four days to get over my fear and dont like my chances. Any suggestions to get me through the trip very much appreciated. I am scared of crashing, I hate hearing the noise of the engines (especially when the noises change midflight), I am scared of flying over water, I am scared of the plane stalling, my heart doesn't stop pounding for the entire flight, I feel sick, I cant stop going to the toilet for about 5 hours prior to flying (which makes the car trip to the airport difficult!), it is more the midflight rather than the take off and landing that scares me making the whole trip impossible, I am just so totally freaking throughout the entire time off the ground. I cant spend 15 hours like this! I have enough trouble taking a 1 hour flight to Sydney, let alone 15 !!!!

I bought a Fearless Flyers handbook, I can relate to it, but it really hasn't helped me get over the fear.

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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 3:44 pm

Well, i used to also be afraid of flying also, so i do know how you feel. First, try to relax. Taking off you will hear loud noises on a plane, thats NORMAL. There really is nothing to be afraid of. (If you look at stats, you will see that it is MUCH safer to fly rather than Drive or Even take a boat! I would rather fly than drive ANYTIME now...) during the flight just look out the window, and think of only the things you see. try not to think of the things that make you afraid of flying. The engines will make changes in noise...that too is normal all that is is the pilot adding or subtracting power. If turbulence bothers you, think of a car on a bumpy road, in essence it is the same idea. bring things to do, Play music on a tape or cd player during the flight, bring a book, cards to play solitare....anything of the sort will do. Try not to focus on everything that goes on, its just a plane THE SAFEST MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 5:46 pm

Hi! First of all I would like to tell you that flying its not so bad at all, if you see it in a diferent prespective you might find it really great. When I was reading your words came to my mind that you might be stimulating the horror part of flying ex: engines running, crashes, flying over water etc. etc. Well that's part of the flight endeed, but you should calm down and look to the positive things of a flight like, its safe, its fast, they take good care of you, you have a diferent view of the world and above all you have to go to USA what can you do? Its a no turning back. I tell you something about that, my wife she used to be really nervous about flying, she had before we got married to go to USA during a full month flying 5 times and she was so nervous that it came blood from her nose during the boarding, then she saw my father and he also had some flying experience and said to her to relax and specially he said to her to talk with the passenger next to her and talk about life and other things to keep the time passing by. And it did work you know so you don't need to worry about that, try also to visit the cockpit and see how a crew handle the plane, you'll see very professional people willing to show you how a plane works, and when you talk to those guys you feel safe. I remember one day I was flying from Zurich to Lisbon in a Swissair A310-200 and I had the chance to visit the cockpit, I stayed there for more than one hour talking, chating about beeing pilot and you should see those pilots, really relaxed, really nice and above all they're people like you and me, do you think the crew want you to give a hard time flying? No they want you to have a great and funny time! So keep going and don't worry because everything its gonna be alright!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 5:48 pm

Well there are two methods that I know about, one that I employ and the other that my mother does.

I am not afraid of flying, I just want the time to go by quickly and when you have nothing to do on a flight 30 minutes can seem like an entire day. So I keep myself awake all night so that in effect when I step on the plane I basically pass out into a very heavy sleep and only wake up to eat. 9 hour flights go by so quickly that way. In your case may I suggest not sleeping for a day or two befor the flight - and this is much harder than it sounds i.e. keeping awake.

My mother on the other hand is petrified of flying. The method she uses is to take some sleeping pills before she steps on the plane. Now I am not advocating this type of behaviour because of the risks involved (e.g. overdosing), just gicing you a suggestion.

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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 5:49 pm


Sometimes it may help a lot, if one gets an in-sight knowledge of all the things that happens during a flight, how the machinery works, the physics about flying, and so forth. Like, why is a giant metal construction able to fly? It's simply a matter of the differences in pressure over and under the wing. The wind-speed is higher on the upper-side of the wing due to the curvation or profile of the wing, thus creating a "suction". While the wind-speed is lower on the under-side thus creating a "pressure". So as you can see, due to the construction of the wing, the aircraft is bound to fly, the engines just provide thrust so you keep going forward, and thereby creating a windspeed around the wings. This is putting it really simple, but I find that some peoples fears may belong to "not quite understanding the physics" and therefore are un-certain about what's going to happen. I recommend you get hold of a airplane theory book alternatively a book about aerodynamics (for beginners) - it doesn't have to be expensive, and try to get an over-all understanding of an aircraft and its function. Read and hear as much you can from anyone/anywhere and make you own decisions about what is educating for you and what is not.

With the wishes of a pleasant flight and a good experience.

Best regards Dan
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RE: Dan

Wed Aug 25, 1999 5:53 pm

Oh man did you have to bring that up, now I have convergent/divergent ducts and sub/supersonic airflow singing in my head. Oh my now downwash, ground effects, center of lift, arrrrrggghhhhh......


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RE: Panman

Wed Aug 25, 1999 5:59 pm

Hi Panman

Well, most of the times it works to get an understanding!   And please note that I said (for beginners). It isn't an exam you seek, just an understanding  

Best regards Dan

RE: Burlof

Wed Aug 25, 1999 6:05 pm

I also live in Sydney, Australia and have done many flights all around the world. I used to love flying adn then at one stage I was very scared of turbulence and was scared before I flew.

Now I fly a few times a year and enjoy it.
I also take aircraft photos and witness many aircraft landing and taking off so I know that flying is quite safe (Atleast in Australia and USA).

I recommend you visit the cockpit.
Talking to the pilots and seeing what they are doing will re-assure you that nothing wrong will happen.

I know Ansett Australia run Fear of Flying course and they also have videos which you might want to attend in the few days you have till you leave.

Goodluck and enjoy the USA!
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`RE: Flying

Wed Aug 25, 1999 7:27 pm

Hey....I think flying is fun. Yes, it is a bit noisy especially if you sit behind the didn't say what row you're in. But you get to see the world in a whole different perspective...from above! Cities, land areas, etc. are quite impressive. But from Austrailia to LA is mostly over water. If it is cloudy, you wont even see the water or ground. Midflight is usually smooth..I wouldn't worry about turbulence. Planes were made to handle bumpy air. When you're approaching your destination the ride may get rough (not bumpy----but rough). This is because the pilot has activated the wing spoilers to reduce altitude and the extra drag makes it feel like you're riding on a rough road. Don't worry about it. It wont last that long. Just think about this: when a bird jumps off a tree branch, it doesn't fall to the ground and die or else there wouldn't be any birds. When your plane takes off, the same will be true. You'll be fine.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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You Can Try A Few Things.

Wed Aug 25, 1999 7:43 pm

When I was really small, I was really scared of flying too.

There are a few things you should keep in mind-flying is very SAFE. Stats. showed that flying is in fact safer than dirving a car, while riding a motorbike is 600 more dangerous.

Anyway, before the flight, have a good night's rest.

The day you go flying, buy some books or mags (of course, the ones that will keep you entertained, my usual selection of mags for a fligh worth of reading are FHM, MAX, Ralph, Airways, Airliners, Australian aviation, Rolling Stone, and heaps...). Also try to bring a discman, so you can listen to it on flight. Try playing some relaxing music, that is, if you like relaxing music. Usually for relaxing on a flight, I listen to easy listening provided in flight entertainment.

On board the plane, if the plane is not full, try to get a row of seats-then in flight you can lift all the armrests and use the row as a bed!

During take off, there will be movin parts coming out of the wings (which are flaps required for extra lift), and banging noises-that's undercarriage retracting, or extending during landing. If the weather is bad around take off, obviously the climb will be a bit bumpy and often you may feel your stomach lurhces of your body being pressed onto the seat. That's OK too, nothing to worry about.

If you're taking a partner with you (your friend, wife, girlfriend, whatever), try to keep each other busy as possible, and you will see time 'flies' past.

And drink heaps of stuff, do a few streches every few hours, and enjoy the in flight entertainment.
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RE: `RE: Flying

Wed Aug 25, 1999 8:18 pm

Bruce wrote:
When you're approaching your destination the ride may get rough (not bumpy----but rough). This is because the pilot has activated the wing spoilers to reduce altitude and the extra drag makes it feel like you're riding on a rough road.

Though true on some flights this is not entirely true. I have been on flights were all that happened was the engine power was decreased (probably to flight idle) and the nose kept up in order to bleed off the speed and then we would begin the descent. Other times the enine power was reduced noise point down and that was it.

Also technically speaking the deployment of spoilers in flight (especially at high levels) is not necessarily with the aim of increasing drag (though obviously this happens) but it is in effect to 'dump' lift i.e. increase descent. In fact the use of spoilers on only one wing is a method that can be used to aid an aircraft in banking as the wing on which the spoilers are raised will be pushed down. Finally one of the main reasons why spoilers are used on the ground is in order to put more weight on the wheels which aids in slowing down the aircraft.

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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Wed Aug 25, 1999 10:39 pm

Hi. As an airline mechanic i can tell you that flying is perfectly safe. If your very nervous in midflight, im not sure why. Not to scare you but take off and landing is more dangerous so if youve got that part covered you should be fine! Whatever airline you are flying on will not put an airplane into the air if they dont feel it is safe or if it has a recurring problem. Nothing will go wrong that the airline can control. Even then, these pilots are some of the best in the industry that are flying international. Like everyone has said, keep yourself occupied. PLay cards play or your lap top (if you have one). Watch the inflight movie. Also, stay relaxed. When you get anxious take deep breaths and close your eyes.
Why would God make us all so different, if He wanted us to be the same?
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 1:42 am

I used to be able to relate to you. Now, I cant stop flying!
I just took a look at the hard statistics:
You would have to fly every day for 50, 000 some odd years before being assured of getting into an accident. Even then, your chances of it being fatal are extremely low too!*
Also look at the fact that the pilots got through years of training. They know what they are doing, and they also know how to recover from almost any type of small incident (ie. stalling).
I'm not one to take a lot of drugs, but some people take a mild sedative before flying (not so that you sleep the whole way, or you could do that to, but just so you are more calm than you normally are.)

Hope that this helps,

*This statistic was taken from

Your Best BET

Thu Aug 26, 1999 2:14 am

everybody has said all the stuff on what to do on the airplane but the thing that will make you feel 1000 of times better is to:
Go and see the pilots before take off tell an FA that you are not that comfortable on the plane and would like to meet him. And when you meet him ask him question of concern like why do you use flaps or stuff like that.
Well you will go back to your seat and if you ever get scared during the flight you know that your buddy is flying the plane and you will do fine. Also thank him when you get off the plane that will put a smile on his face!!!
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 2:33 am

Remember that the plane was built to do the job it is doing, ie flying, and the air is it's natural environment. If a plane could think (who knows?), it would breathe a sigh of relief when it was lined up for take-off at the beginning of the runway. Cars don't just fall into pieces or involuntarily crash, and planes or any other piece of machinery are no different. Anyway, there is so much to enjoy with planes, I love big and powerful machines and there is none bigger or more powerful than a 747. Enjoy the fact that the ride is so smooth, you're sitting up there with an amazing view that until the last forty years, no human had ever seen, the world from above. Imagine reviving a dead Victorian and showing them clouds from above. Flying is one of the things that really makes our age unique from any other, and to be fearful is a big waste. The physics are quite simple, air is a liquid after all and you're just navigating through it. Stick your hand out of a car window and feel the pressure from the wind instantly pulls it up, or put a spoon sideways under a running tap and see how the water deflects. Just remember that the air is the right environment for a plane. The pilots and flight attendents know a lot more than you do about flying, and if there was anything unsafe they wouldn't be there - they have families and plan to enjoy their retiremement, and they will too, at least according to the insurance companies: bank clerks pay higher life insurance premiums than airline pilots, it's one of the lowest risk occupations there is.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz

Important Stat

Thu Aug 26, 1999 3:43 am

You are more likely do drawn in your bathtub than dying in a plane accident! So imagine the probability....

RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 3:59 am

I can't make any better suggestions for your flight Sunday than the others have done, but I have a recommendation for the future. Chances are you will have to ride in airplanes many times, so you might as well attack your problem head on--get a pilot's license! That's a sure-fire way to get over your fear!

The more you learn, the better you'll feel, but you may never want to ride in a car again!
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 5:22 am

Judging that you are flying from Australia to L.A., it will be a 747-400. It's the only kind of plane that can fly that far. Don't worry at all. While humongous, the 747 is the safest, most trusted plane in history. Ignore the rattles & bumps on takeoff & landing. I drive a Suburban, which is in effect the 747 of automobiles, and it rattles & bumps too. It's all part of moving a giant.


P.S.- If you're flying United, their 747-400s are awesome and the crews are really nice. Ignore the rumors about the "unfriendly skies." I have flown United hundreds of times, and I have never had any bad experiences.

RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 5:42 am

Remember that Qantas or Ansett Austrailia has never had an accident. Try smiling a lot. That helps. Trust me, you'll go through a lot of stages before getting on that giant aircraft (oh my gosh, I can't do this, okay, I can, I'm going to crash and die, I can do this) this is perfectly normal. And your chances are EVEN 100% better than someone flying a few months from now, because there was just a airplane crash in Hong Kong, and you usually don't have two major fatal crashes in a row. Good luck and remember, we're all cheering and supporting you here at


Think about the great time you'll be having in the states!
ATL Traveller
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 8:26 am

It may sound lame, I fly often, but every now and then I get a little nervous about a trip. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I've taken Dramamine - not so much to prevent motion sickness, that doesn't bother me, but for its calming effect. It makes me somewhat drowsy and allows me to sleep on the flight. Long flights seem much shorter.

RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Thu Aug 26, 1999 1:09 pm

Michelle: You've definatelly gotten a lot of advice on dealing with your "fear of flying", a lot of it good, some of it not good at all, (stick to lot's of water and juice and avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages inflight, you'll feel so much better!) I'm a flight attendant for American Airlines and I find that when a passenger let's me know before take off that they don't like flying I keep a closer eye on them and try to keep them busy so they don't think about being afraid.Only about 6 months ago I had a passenger onboard who goes to the U.S. from Sao Paolo twice a month and is almost paralized with fear the whole flight.The captain called and told us to secure all equipment and take a seat ourselves , that we had to fly through a storm cell that was going to shake us for more than a 1/2 hour !! I got Mr: V. to a jumpseat next to mine in the galley, strapped us in and got him talking about his love of horses, then about politics and while there were a couple of bumps there that I thought would make him faint, I'm convinced he would've died of a heart attack alone , in First Class with the lights off. Find someone from the crew that will be working in the area where you are sitting,let them know you don't like to fly,keep your mind ocuppied with movies,reading,charting your route on a map, anything!!!, before you know it you'll be going through customs at LAX!!! "Bon Voyage"! Fernando.
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RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Fri Aug 27, 1999 11:21 am

You have nothing to worry about i have done a lot of flying over a 25 year carrer in the airlines and find it the best way to travel. Many times i have had a person siting next to me who is very nervous about flying and i just sit there and try and talk to them. My Grandmother was one who said she would never fly and at the age of 85 years old did her first flight after that it was a case of trying to keep her home. Hope you have a good trip to the USA

A Great Book For You!

Fri Aug 27, 1999 1:55 pm

Everyone here is absolutely correct! I know of a book that is great for understandin all aspects of airplanes, flying and how everything in aviation works. It's a book and it's called "Everythin You Ever Wnated To Know About Flying". It was written by a 757 pilot. This book is real easy to understand and caovers every aspect of flying from the tire pressure to the inner workings of the aircraft and atmospheric behavior. It's is the easiest to understand book I have ever read. It was designed for the passenger who knows nothing about flying. You might go to your local bookstore and see if they have it. I can't remember the author.
Now, about not sleeping for a day or two. I seriously don't recommend it. I get a magazine called Aviation Safety and according to the magazine tiredness can be compared to drunkness. For example, someone who has been awake for 17 hours will perform about the same as a person with 0.05 blood alcohol level. If you have been awake for 24 hours, you are practically legally drunk, and staying up for 48 hours renders you prone to microsleep, where the body and mind shut down for just a few seconds. You could be anywhere doing anything and just pass out for a few seconds. Imagine if you were driving to the airport. Panman is running a serious risk to his body by staying up like that. (sorry, but it's true)
Therefore, stay up late, but not all night, and you can sleep 1/2 or around that area of the flight off.
Furthermore about safety: According to Aviation Safety, flying in an aircraft is nowadays safer than crossing a city street! And I'm not talking the New York interstat  , I'm talking a small barely used street. A car could come around a corner very quick and kill you. Now, how's that for figures! The bathtub thing's correct too. You also have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, (NOT in the aircraft   ), than you do of crashing.
Just giving you some figures.
You will make it just fine to the USA and you'll love the trip home. I guarantee it.  
You probably will become a flight-addict, who knows!

Dl 604

P.S. You'll love it when the plane levels off a bit after takeoff, you'll feel like you could float out of your seat! (And probably could if you didn't have your seatbelt on.)

RE: Fear OF Flying - Help ME

Fri Aug 27, 1999 4:02 pm

Thank you everyone. I will print this out and read it on the plane when I feel nervy.

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