im scared of every part of flying! ive been afraid since i was a child. i was forced to fly when i was 16...we had 5 different flights & i hated everyone of them. my fear has gotten worse as ive gotten older & sept.11th only added new fears to the ones i already had. im tired of driving long trips & id like to be able to get on a plane but even the thought makes me panic & break in to a sweat. im not sure if theres hope for me.

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thanks david.

David Wragg said:

Hi Karla,

 

I have an issue with certainty too, and having read your posts I think it's probably a key part of your relationship with flying and perhaps life in general (it is for me.) It seems so dysfunctional and inefficient that we can't make all our decisions based on whether something is certain or not. I constatantly make decisions that would feel so much easier if only I could be certain of the outcome - shall i cross the road here or walk down to the pedestrian crossing? Shall I hold my child's hand or just keep an eye on them? etc. etc. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that life really is more about uncertainty (but with likely outcomes - hurray!), than certainty, and that if you restrict yourself to what feels like certain outcomes then your life and life experiences do tend to shrink.

I'm not saying someone has to fly to expand their lives, but it is an incredibly apt way to do it, and unarguably does fall into the 'highly likely that I'll be safe' category. For me, my life will shrink without flying, for one thing because my brother lives in New Zealand and it would be impossible or impractical to get there without flying. I haven't done it yet, but one day I'm certain I will in spite of my reluctance to accept the 'uncertainty' of doing so. The benefits outweigh the perceived costs.

I can 'what if' with the best of them, but practically all of my lifetime of 'what if's' have been a complete waste of effort, or to paraphrase a psychologist I read once - like paying interest on a loan I haven't even taken out. You could be as certain as possible that you won't die in a plane accident by not flying. But I'm guessing since you've come on this forum that a part of you really does want to fly. My advice would be to expose yourself to a lot of flying 'stuff' by watching the videos on this and it's sister site, visiting airports, talking to as many people as you can about their experiences and maybe doing a course run by an expert like Keith if there's one available to you. This approach really helped me take my first flight. Gradually you may find your reactions to the idea of flying change a bit - perhaps you'll notice a hint of excitement or sense of opportunity in the mix along with the apprehension - signs, in my experience, that you're pretty much 'good to go'. And do you really think your daughter, or her friend, or the child sitting next to on the bus, or whatever, is likely to become the president of your country? If that feels a realistic possibility it might be best to avoid the flying. Good luck!

 

David

thank you pam!

Pam said:

Hi Karla, there is hope I promise.  I didn't fly from  1999 to 2007.  I was comfortable with the fact that I would just holiday in the UK for the rest of my life just to avoid flying!  Then I did the Flying Without Fear course and now I live in Australia.  But dont be fooled, I still hate flying but manage it now.  I flew just last nite and have posted about turbulance tonight cause I just need that reminder.

You can do it hun, it may never be something you love but you will get there with support and education from this site.

Good luck and remeber, you are soooooo not alone.

Pam

well we left for the road trip on the 7th. i figureed it'd b a miserable trip because i wanted to fly so badly but just couldnt muster up the guts. but i must say i could not have been more happy to be on the ground! we left in the evening around 7pm & i drove straight thru to florida & insisted my husband sleep. i said id b the chauffeur since he couldnt fly because of me. i had so many thoughts of "what if i wouldve been on a plane...what if i was flying tomorrow" & i almost sent myself into a panic attack & i KNEW i wasnt gonna fly. i feel like i took GIANT steps backwards. i look @ planes in the air all the time...id say 95% of the people on our cruise flew...including my sister & her hubby...people as far as france...& they all made it ok & returned home ok...but i cant do it. the thoughts came creeping back in worse than before & im really sad & surprised about it. i told my hubby after i decided i couldnt do it maybe we could fly to chicago (6hr car ride) so itd b a short plane ride & if i hated it we only had 6 hrs to drive home. now i dont think i can even THINK of doing it.it was almost like ive reassured myself that i shouldnt & wont be able to fly but thats not what i wanted to do. im so confused & let down.
Karla, you are not alone.  I am currently listening to www.liveatc.net and listening to arrival/departure at Geneva.  Listening to live air traffic controller feeds has so helped me because I can hear what the air traffic controllers are saying to the pilots and vice versa.  I know they are all in control and even before the plane leaves the boarding gate, the pilots are in touch with the air traffic controllers.  They are instructed all the way and it really gives me a good idea about how it all works.  The language is all jargon and technical but they are all so polite to each other.  I am listening to a young lady air traffic controller at the moment and she is brilliant.  Have a go and listen sometime.  Go on to the 50 most popular atc links. You can listen to U.S. air traffic controllers.  Just choose.  I fly but I absolutely hate it and cannot think about anything else other than landing.  I cannot even buy duty free or eat as I am thinking I am not going to land safely.  It is all in our minds but it does not stop the physical and emotional symptoms of this fear emerging.  But as everyone says, don't beat yourself up about it.  You will overcome, you just have to find a way that suits you.  Let me know how you get on.  Maria x

Hi Karla,

 

     Well, despite whatever thoughts you were thinking about yourself for not flying, I really, really hope you enjoyed yourself on your cruise - you deserve it.  Please don't feel let down or upset with yourself.  But, I would like to point out one thing you said - "...Because I wanted to fly so badly..."  It doesn't matter what the beginning or ending of that sentence was - deep down you do have a desire to fly.  In my humble opinion, that's the first major step!  If you didn't want to fly, you wouldn't be on here trying to work at your fears.  You're even thinking about how to get yourself on a plane for a hypothetical trip to Chicago (I loved that city so much when I visited maybe I'll even go with you - haha! :)  I admire that and I think that's very brave.  The thoughts may cause you to become upset, but that's okay, you're at least allowing yourself to think them.  But, don't get down on yourself or mad at yourself for thinking them.  You may eventually get to a point where you can start thinking "Okay, I really hate this and I'm scared, but is there a way I can get on that plane?"  That's sort of where I've come to - from 1997-2004 I absolutely, completely refused to fly.  And even though I fly now, I'm not a fan of it by any means and I am absolutely terrified.  I get all kinds of upset before a flight and even as I sit down in my seat on the plane.  I've come to the realization that I may never enjoy flying, and that's okay.  My point is, you may be at Point A in how you're feeling about flying, but you can eventually "fly" to Point B or even Point C (hey, you could wind up enjoying it, ya never know).  But don't put pressure on yourself.  For right now, just keep thinking happy thoughts about all the nice, sunny weather you had on your trip to Florida :)

aww thank you so much. you guys make such great points about things. its helps me tremendously but i kind of feel like im never going to be able to drum up the courage to get on a plane.especially w the recent headlines of michelle obama & the traffic controllers falling to sleep ...concerns of mine which people told me things like that "could never happen" :(
i will definitely check that out .had no idea anything like that even existed...THANKS!!

Maria Chumas-Baker said:
Karla, you are not alone.  I am currently listening to www.liveatc.net and listening to arrival/departure at Geneva.  Listening to live air traffic controller feeds has so helped me because I can hear what the air traffic controllers are saying to the pilots and vice versa.  I know they are all in control and even before the plane leaves the boarding gate, the pilots are in touch with the air traffic controllers.  They are instructed all the way and it really gives me a good idea about how it all works.  The language is all jargon and technical but they are all so polite to each other.  I am listening to a young lady air traffic controller at the moment and she is brilliant.  Have a go and listen sometime.  Go on to the 50 most popular atc links. You can listen to U.S. air traffic controllers.  Just choose.  I fly but I absolutely hate it and cannot think about anything else other than landing.  I cannot even buy duty free or eat as I am thinking I am not going to land safely.  It is all in our minds but it does not stop the physical and emotional symptoms of this fear emerging.  But as everyone says, don't beat yourself up about it.  You will overcome, you just have to find a way that suits you.  Let me know how you get on.  Maria x

Come on Karla

 

Time to stop listening to the nonsense that floats around and attend only to the facts. You must NOT keep concentrating on things that might happen and  spend more time  thinking about the chances of it happening.

Truck drivers fall asleep at the wheels of their vehicles, doctors make mistakes, people fall down the stairs, people die skiing, people get mugged , shot, kidnapped....very  very rarely do people die in plane accidents.

 

Recently here in the UK 4 people drowned in a reservoir after their car was just clipped by another car going in the opposite direction. sure things aren't 100% safe...that's life. A chap at work had is child abducted 30 years ago at Disneyland. Add up all those risks and imagine that they apply to each of us and we wouldn't step outside the door. Focus on the chances NOT the outcome. Just because you don't like the sensations of flying doesn't make it more dangerous. And this is what you are claiming when you mention the air Traffic Controler falling asleep. Anyway was anyone injured?

It's no good ignoring the facts...however difficult it is for you. I do not underestimate what you feel...what you think, I do argue with, because there's clear evidence that it doesn't help you.

 

Of course I care...but soft words avoiding the truth will not help you .

 

I'm here for you ...I hope you know that.

 

Keith

i do. im not afraid of tough love. i have this amazing pattern of every time i even think about flying there a mishap somewhere to remind me why i dont fly.

 

No there isn't/aren't otherwise there'd be mishaps every day! You're making the pattern. My mum used to say everything happened in threes... sometimes we'd wait years for the third thing to happen.

 

Keith

Hi Karla,

May I say that every time you see something in the media about a slight mishap in the aviation world it reinforces your thoughts about how dangerous flying must be. However, in reality, because flying incidents are so rare they are sensationalised in the press/ t v etc especially if a personality e.g Mrs Obama was involved. Have you considered how many safe take offs and landings world wide there have been in the few minutes it has taken me to type this message?, How many planes are happily cruising taking many thousands of people safely on their journey at this very second.

Travelling by road is far more dangerous-accidents and deaths are such common place that they may get a brief mention in a local newspaper but we all get in our cars happily and not think of what other drivers may do. I may be a careful driver and in full control of my car but on a busy motorway you cannot control the actions of other drivers- they may have been drinking/under the influence of drugs, take risks, lack concentration all with dire consequences.

Beating this fear of flying takes hard work and dedication. Keith and all the other posters here  can offer advice and encouragement but ultimately it is up to yourelf to take the first steps in managing your fear and get airborne. From my own experience boy is it worth it.

best wishes, Elizabeth.

that is true. my rational brain is becoming aware of this but the voice in my head is still drowning the rational part out. i just feel like ive taken such a huge step back on my own then everyone under the sun that knew how hard i was trying to fly has broken their neck to inform me of every single thing thats happened concerning a plane over the past few wks. it just pushes me back even farther.

Captain Keith said:

 

No there isn't/aren't otherwise there'd be mishaps every day! You're making the pattern. My mum used to say everything happened in threes... sometimes we'd wait years for the third thing to happen.

 

Keith

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