Hi all,


Ok, I've just returned from my holiday where I had two flights with B737-800. It was my first flight after trying to get help with Captain Keith books. I just want to share with you how everything was going and what you can do to help yourself.

Ok, flight to my holiday destination. I was trembling and shaking before flight. The situation got worse on take-off and climbing (my worst part). It was so bad that my wife and passenger next to me was forced to hold my hands. I was nearly crazy. Once we reached cruising altitude I calmed down, but my heart was running at 90-100 beats per minute all the flight. Landing was ok as usual, because this part I like. And I know why. I know that "if something happens" it will be fast. Well, but this is wrong way to thing. Now what was positive things:

  1. If plane makes some strange turns I don't think we are going to die. I've read a book and now I think like "ok, who you are ? a captain ? a pilot ? how do you know it is bad ? you're not a pilot? did you see the captain ? he's experiences and he really knows what is happening and what to do". These thoughts are quite helpful, but they are not possible without Captain Keith's book.
  2. Turbulence. I don't know what degree of severity it was, but it was not so much frightening. I just knew that it is normal. And it was normal to me.
  3. Telling FA that you're affraid to fly is a good idea.
  4. Never take alcohol before flight !!!!!!!!! I did that and it was terrible. I took some alcohol some 1hour before flight and my panic rised even more. Taking some 1-2 glass of wine in flight really helps, but not before flight and not big doses. I think the same applies to medication.

I was very nervous before returning flight. I was swetting and deep breathing and so on, but return flight was much more comfortable. Turbulence was even stronger, but I felt better. I can feel that good things about planes are erasing bad associations with planes in my head. I was flying over the Alps and was enjoying it. Still was nervous, still heart beat rate was high, but I could enjoy the flight. I understood how important is to trust to the flight crew and understand that they are in control and they still want to go home.

I can still see long long way fighting my fears, but I feel succeeding in some way. In one month I'll have transatlantic flight. It will be big challenge to me.

By the way, on y flight to holiday first officer was a very nice girl and I felt really nice. I don't know why, but I had big trust to this pilot :)

One thing where I'm worried now is how big turbulence can be and how to know what I've experienced. Was it medium or light ? Is it possible to describe in words how to recognize level of turbulence ? It would be helpful. You could know what to expect.

By the way, on the way back we were experiencing two time harder turbulence, but there was no seatbelt sign ? On the first flight it was much lighter, but Captain user seatbelt sign. Why it could be like this ?

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The difference in using the seat belt signs may have been because the cabin crew needed the passengers to sit down so that they could get on with their work.  The crew often used to ask me to put the signs on for that reason.

Or the turbulence may not have been at the level they were expecting.

Difficult to explain really. The seat belt signs aren't a big issue to the crew. Don't read too much into their use.

Keith

Thanks for replying Captain. Your explanation make sense I suppose. I always feel very tense when see that sign then I expect some "horror" after, but I shouldn't do that.

So please tell me is it possible to describe in words on how to recognize level of turbulence ? How should I know if it was strong or light turbulence ? Should I expect more or not ? Maybe it's not possible to describe with words ?

Welcome back from your holiday. Hope you had a good time and well done on getting through your flights, it sounds like you did a really good job :)

Thanks for good words, Sarah. Yes, holiday was indeed perfect. About flying... well I still feel that I need to do lots and lots of things in order to be able to fight with fears. I can now understand that flying is really safe and the best way to overcome fears is to fly more frequent. Flying really kills all fears. Now I'm starting to worry for my first transatlantic flight which should be 11 hours long, but with British Airways, so this fact calms me down :)

Sarah said:

Welcome back from your holiday. Hope you had a good time and well done on getting through your flights, it sounds like you did a really good job :)

British Airways is the BEST airline in the world...I wonder why I think that ?

Keith

:)))))

Captain Keith said:

British Airways is the BEST airline in the world...I wonder why I think that ?

Keith

So please tell me is it possible to describe in words on how to recognize level of turbulence ?

If I remember right reading something, light turbulence to us is like, the one we see the most with the bumps and shunts.  Then they have moderate, which is a bit stronger, and then there's "severe" turbulence which is very very rare, and is when bags fall out of the overhead cabins and can cause injuries.  But again, that's very rare, I only ever found one case of it when I was reading up on turbulence.  I think turbulence to us is always going to feel bad no matter what level it is because it's something unknown.   We don't know how bad it'll be, how normal it is or for how long it'll last.   I try not to measure turbulence, mainly because at the end of the day it's never dangerous, always uncomfortable and if I start measuring it in my head during a flight, it'll only stress me more.

Hi,

Thanks for a reply. Well about measuring it's level... For me its a good thing because if I know it was quite strong and I feel not too bad during it then I'll feel very good and proud. Also measuring is good thing for you to know what to expect more. On the other hand you are right, you don't think about it and it will bother you less. Well at least I hope.
Turbulence never was big deal for me, but maybe its because I've never encountered strong enough turbulence to be fear of. This time, on return flight from my holiday it was strong enough to see it in glass of wine and be afraid not to spill it. Also wings were moving quite a bit, but as long as Captain didn't switch on seat belt sign I suppose it was not big one. So I'm still afraid waiting for stronger turbulence.

By the way, Captain Keith, is it true that it is bigger chance to encounter stronger turbulence flying over ocean ?


Kate N Evans said:

If I remember right reading something, light turbulence to us is like, the one we see the most with the bumps and shunts.  Then they have moderate, which is a bit stronger, and then there's "severe" turbulence which is very very rare, and is when bags fall out of the overhead cabins and can cause injuries.  But again, that's very rare, I only ever found one case of it when I was reading up on turbulence.  I think turbulence to us is always going to feel bad no matter what level it is because it's something unknown.   We don't know how bad it'll be, how normal it is or for how long it'll last.   I try not to measure turbulence, mainly because at the end of the day it's never dangerous, always uncomfortable and if I start measuring it in my head during a flight, it'll only stress me more.

Not true about turbulence over the ocean.turbulence is where turbulence is. It's a meteorological process so depends upon lots of variables. Mountainous areas might  be more turbulent but even then it depends upon other conditions at the time.

Keith


Darius R said:

Hi,

Thanks for a reply. Well about measuring it's level... For me its a good thing because if I know it was quite strong and I feel not too bad during it then I'll feel very good and proud. Also measuring is good thing for you to know what to expect more. On the other hand you are right, you don't think about it and it will bother you less. Well at least I hope.
Turbulence never was big deal for me, but maybe its because I've never encountered strong enough turbulence to be fear of. This time, on return flight from my holiday it was strong enough to see it in glass of wine and be afraid not to spill it. Also wings were moving quite a bit, but as long as Captain didn't switch on seat belt sign I suppose it was not big one. So I'm still afraid waiting for stronger turbulence.

By the way, Captain Keith, is it true that it is bigger chance to encounter stronger turbulence flying over ocean ?


Kate N Evans said:

If I remember right reading something, light turbulence to us is like, the one we see the most with the bumps and shunts.  Then they have moderate, which is a bit stronger, and then there's "severe" turbulence which is very very rare, and is when bags fall out of the overhead cabins and can cause injuries.  But again, that's very rare, I only ever found one case of it when I was reading up on turbulence.  I think turbulence to us is always going to feel bad no matter what level it is because it's something unknown.   We don't know how bad it'll be, how normal it is or for how long it'll last.   I try not to measure turbulence, mainly because at the end of the day it's never dangerous, always uncomfortable and if I start measuring it in my head during a flight, it'll only stress me more.

Thanks Captain !

Turbulence never was big deal for me, but maybe its because I've never encountered strong enough turbulence to be fear of. This time, on return flight from my holiday it was strong enough to see it in glass of wine and be afraid not to spill it. Also wings were moving quite a bit, but as long as Captain didn't switch on seat belt sign I suppose it was not big one. So I'm still afraid waiting for stronger turbulence.

Yeah I hear you there.   Sounds like just standard turbulence to me, even if it is still petrifying.  Clear air turbulence, which I tell myself is just bumps in the road, drive me up the wall haha.  If it's bad I normally end up with a death grip on the chair in front of me.   Baby steps for me though.  About the wings wobbling- they do tests on planes to test their flexibility, and if I remember right they can quite literally bend at a right angle.   Not that it could physically happen in a flight, but it's one of the things they still have on their manufacturing things.  The newer dreamliner planes coming out have wings that can flex up to 24 feet with a 150% maximum load.   Which is absolutely insane.

And talking of insane, when I see the wings flexing, I always make those cardboard noises Rolf Harris used to do in time with the flexes.   In my head of course.  It sucked that worry right out of my mind and now it just amuses the heck out of me.

In my case the worst thing is 'falling' feeling. I just can't take it. I can't sleep in plane because of it and I have lots of problems because of it :( Turbulence is connected with that feeling very tight. Also that height feeling, you don't want your plane to shake at high altitudes :) Anyway I need to do something with this. I need to find technique to overcome this. Still not much success.

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