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Fear of flying

Discussion in 'Community' started by 5300cs, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. macrumors 68000


    Is anyone here afraid of flying? If you are, what do you do when you have to fly? People who aren't, what do you think of when you're flying?

    I'm an aviation fan, but flying still makes me nervous. Not screaming nervous, but takeoffs scare me (landing is no problem, except air pockets.) as well as turbulence. I envy people who say turbulence makes the flight "interesting". Also, I usually do better on longer flights like 10+ hours, than on shorter ones, like 3 hours or less.

    Thanks for your input :)
  2. macrumors 65816


    Well, I just had a discussion about this topic with my friend who has a complete fear of flying...I do not at all.

    I am of the opinion that if my number is up, my number is up...so I do not worry about things out of my control. My friend commented that she can at least have enough control over her fate to make sure she does not die in am airplane at least.

    As to what I think about in a plane, it is mostly analgous to what one thinks about in a subway ride...various things, interdispersed with random conversation with fellow passengers.

    Many times I purposely undersleep before a flight so that I am tired enough to fall asleep on the airplane. I will read a book till my eyes become tired then hopefully sleep until I get to my destination.

    Don't care about turbulance or anything unless it spills my drink or something. I often listen to music to drown out screaming kids or the like...

  3. Wes
    macrumors 68020


    I fly atleast twice a year and I've been doing it since I was a kid so I've never really thought about it. I find the g-forces and speed of take-off the most interesting part.

    On my flight back from Johannesburg a few days ago an old lady had a heart attack and died. Maybe it was the first time she had flown and was terrified. That doesn't explain why she had it an hour into the flight... we had to return to JoBerg which made me three hours late to Heathrow.
  4. macrumors G3

    I can't say it bothers me to be honest, I only actually flew for the first time in 2000, and decided for my first flight to do the 10 hour London to San-Francisco haul on my own... loved it, especially take off :D turbulance isn't a concern but I've only experienced the mild stuff, I've heard stories from friends that it can get a bit ropey but I understand what turbulance is, and how a plane is designed to handle it so it's never been a worry.

    Usually on a flight I'll just watch what's provided for in flight entertainment, read or (if I'm lucky enough to be next to the window) just peer out. I don't however sleep on a plane but then I can't sleep in a car either.
  5. macrumors 68000


    I was on a smaller plane once (about 30 seats) and the thing was shaking constantly throughout the whole trip (luckily it was only about 1.5 hours). On top of that, I was in back row with three little children next to me. That was the only time I have ever felt scared on a flight.

    I would never be able to sleep on a plane, car, or train unless I was seriously sleep depirved. When I'm on a plane, I usually end up reading those travel catalogs they put in the seats.
  6. macrumors 68040


    I love it. I feel exhilaration at the speed and the power of a plane. There is nothing like being in a plane and watching the ground start zipping by faster and faster until you just pull away from it.

    I prefer flying in a boeing to an airbus, even though the airbuses tend to be newer the boeings just seem zippier.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Definitely Boeing. I hate airbuses because they're so cramped. I'll take a 747 any day of the week.

    Take-off scares me the most, probably because it's so fast, you have no control and there's the feeling of no turning back. Suddenly lifting off scares me too, especially in those little planes. They yank off the runway then start banking so they can clear the area and let the next plane behind them go. I'm also probably really paranoid; when drifting off to sleep I swear sometimes I can feel the plane sinking :eek:

    Landings I love though. I'm glued to the window during landings everytime. It's probably just a fear of heights, but I like coming down better than going up. The last few minutes before touch down are the most exciting for me.

    I can sleep in a car (maybe) and trains are no problem (I *love* sleeping on trains) but on a plane- no way. Not unless I'm dead tired. I just can't relax. I really envy the people who just jump on a plane like it's the subway, kick back and act like it's just another day... maybe someday for me :(

    I love taking pictures of planes though :rolleyes:
  8. Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    I've been on quite a few planes, from 747s to puddle jumpers with big rubber tires in Alaska (on room for 2, pilot and passenger), helicopters and I've even flown a single prop Cessna a couple times. I love it. :D

    But I also have seen quite a few people who have had problems - especially with turbulence. I think it might be a case of not being in control of the situation, not knowing what's going on and letting that get to you.

    Something to remember - you're more likely to get injured/killed in a car than on a plane. Yet I'm sure you don't have a problem driving? :D

    I'd try and find something to occupy you from thinking about what bothers you when you fly.

    Good luck,

  9. macrumors 6502

    I personally have never had any problems with flying. I enjoy the rush of takeoff (kind of like the enjoyment of being on roller coaster), haven't experienced many problems with turbulence (commercial flights pretty good about avoiding it). Only observed one person that had a problem in all my years of travel. She had flown before, but for some reason was in near hysterics about this one flight we were on. She asked and was allowed to be let off the plane before we even left the gate. From her actions, I was surprised that she had even got onto the plane. BTW, that flight was uneventful, except for her unease.
  10. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    I love flying. Though many years ago I had a strange thought (I was flying about 10 roundtrips a month for business - really sad when the flight crew knows you by name), that my risk of dying in a crash was greater due to the number of flights that I was taking. Finally gave up on being a flying road warrior when I landed at an airport and swore that I was a different airport. Now I fly only for pleasure and the occasional business trip, and could not be happier.
  11. macrumors 68000


    I read a statistic somewhere that said someone could step onto 1 random flight a day and it would take 32 years before they ran the risk of an accident.
    Also your chances of crashing over land are 1:11,000,000 and over water is 1:22,000,000 or something like that.

    Tell my stomach that :rolleyes: I used to drink a lot on flights, but mid-air hangovers SUCK.
  12. macrumors 68040


    i love flying, especially really long ones, i.e. States to Europe or Japan. i like the idea that i can be in a completely new place on Earth after less than 15 hours on the plane. (this, esp. in comparison to driving 10 hours from MI to NJ... :eek: )

    i think the reason some people fear flying is that 1) fatality is nearly 100% for accidents (if you get in trouble, you are likely dead) and 2) you don't have active control over the plane. just the feeling of having control - that you can take actions if you get into trouble in a car accident - is a strongly reassuring feeling...
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Well, if you get in trouble in a jet, it's pretty likely that you will die.
    But if you are in a prop plane; then you're chances are better in case of engine failure. Prop planes are designed to glide in case of engine failure. The nature of the emergency permitting and the competency of the pilot not in question; there's a good chance of getting on the ground in relative safety.
    So, I love flying on those small regional propeller planes. Especially the takeoff from short runways where the pilot holds the brakes and revs the engines to full power. Then release.
    Closest thing you'll get to a aircraft carrier takeoff. :D
    God I have to get my pilots license.
  14. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac


    Did you ever have the pleasure of flying the Boeing 747SP? NYC to Tokyo or Sydney non-stop for 12 hours I believe.
  15. macrumors 68040


    I had 2 friends in HS who had pilots licenses, they neither one could drive a car though :)
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Yes, I am in the same boat. I love flying; I'm just enthrawed with the marvel of flight. The whole thing is crazy and bizarre, especially when you fly overseas and/or during a really long period in the air.

    However, I will agree with you on the takeoff. The takeoff is THE scariest part for me; it always will be. The anxiety first sets in when the plane makes the loud whinning jet engine noise. Then it starts to pick up speed on the runway and goes way faster on land than you think something that gigantic could go.

    Then liftoff of course makes me almost nausiated. Once we're off the ground, the angle of the plane is SO steep too; it feels like I'm in a space shuttle. Then of course I don't manage to relax until the plane levels out and feels rock solid.

    That's when the euphoria sets in. Well, that and when they serve the cranberry juice.
  17. Guest

    Being 6'3" aka 1.93m tall I am not afraid of flying, I HATE IT!

    Why? 'Cuz I can't afford flying Business or First Class where they have those nice seats with a lot of legspace but have to row with the rest of the slaves in Coach. Considering the fact that I can barely sit upright in those seats back there I am standing for most of the flight (and if I fly its usually long distance, USA to Germany meaning 11-12 hours, and I fly at least twice a year) which annoys the heck out of me, especially since I can't really do anything that way. The only times I enjoy flying is when I luck out and get one of the seats in the front or next to the emergency exists because there is no seats in front of you that way and you have more legspace... Otherwise I wish they had stuff like in the SciFi movies where they put you in deep sleep for the flight and defrost you when you reach your destination.

  18. macrumors 65816


    For a lot of the ones on the smaller planes, it probably *is* just another day. A co-worker of mine who had to take a particular flight for a week said that he noticed about ten or fifteen of the same people on that one flight every day.

    As to what someone could think of to relax during takeoff, I'm totally not the person to answer that for you. I'm always glued solidly to the window for both takeoffs and landings, and probably the only thing going through my head as the plane speeds up, leaves the ground, and climbs/banks is:

    WHEEEEEEEEE!!! :) :p
  19. macrumors 6502


    Favorite plane for flying in . . . Dash 8. Its loud and kind of rough in turbulence . . . . but every time you take off and land its pretty amazing. By the time the pilot releases the brakes, the plane feels like its about to be torn apart. The brakes let go and you have something like 10 seconds before you are airborne (really short takeoff compared to jets). Then after getting off the ground, you look out the window and watch the horizon tip sideways at some ungodly angle as you climb. Landings are fun too, especially in cross winds. It is really strange to be able to look out the side window and see the runway approaching then realizing the plane is shimmying sideways in the wind until just before it touches down and the pilot straightens up.

    Not exactly the most fun for those who are nervous in the air. . . .

    Just remember, you were in much more danger (statistically) on your way to the airport than you ever will be in the air.
  20. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    I remember a flight on one of the prop puddle jumpers with nothing more than a curtain between the pilots and and the passengers. During the takeoff, we hit V2 and I heard the co-pilot say "oops". I was ready tel shout that this was not the time for an "oops". :)
  21. macrumors 68040


    sydney, i'd definitely like to visit...

    i'll be moving to seattle in a bit, i think, so that'll get me a bit closer to japan and australia...

    my initial visit to seattle was great - on the way there from detroit, i managed to locate the Michigan Stadium and my house from the plane. managed to take digital pics of them too. :)
  22. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    I wonder about that. I did a Flight Sim with engine failure of both engines on a Boeing 737 at 35,000 feet. I was able to bring it down in a filed about 300 to 400 miles from the failure.
  23. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    That may be true, but the fear of flying is usually not a rational one based on odds, but an irrational one that is a real feeling nonetheless. It's the reverse version of the overconfidence that makes people love to buy lottery tickets. It's not influenced by the odds; it's just how our minds sometimes work.

    The techniques used to help ease fear of flying are no doubt the same for getting over (or putting up with) other types of fear: heights, spiders, computer viruses, or whatever. Some commonsense information helps, but then you have to deal with the rest of the fear.

    For flying, one very practical starting point is to make sure you don't have to deal with motion sickness or fear of getting it. Plane rides are sometimes bumpy. If you get queasy from roller coasters or bouncy bus rides, planes will be the same. You can use medical techniques (don't they have a patch?) or even simpler methods like food/drink habits to help get that physical issue under control before you work on the mental aspects of the problem.
  24. macrumors 68000


    From what I remember, takeoff is only at an angle of 11percent or something rather shallow like that. A 20percent angle would feel like a straight climb or dive. And I agree about the whinning engines; as soon as you hear those, you know you can't get off the plane until you're at your desitination. The engines are only at full power until about 400ft, then the power is reduced for safety, to conserve fuel and to comply with noise standards.

    With all I know about aviation it's REALLY EMBARASSING that I get so nervous :rolleyes: Someone should smack me with a fish...

    My chief complaint is that I'm always flying long distances. On Monday I'm going to Europe, and from Tokyo that's 12 hours :mad: When I went back to Boston it was a total of 3 flights and 15 hours. Now, I'm not a whinner, but I hate long distances like that. Everyone else I know has routine 3 hours flights .. but not me :rolleyes: Minimum 9 hours :rolleyes: Who was it who said 'Getting there is half the fun' ??

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