I was just wondering if anyone wanted to share ideas about the possible causes/reasons for fear of flying.  I recently did the other two 6 hr  flights (UK - Dubai and Dubai to Mauritius where we are currently living) and felt more scared than I did on the first 2 flights to the UK which i was really annoyed at myself about.  My fear started when i was mid twenties, and at the same time my life was fairly stressful, working full time, DIY on the building site of a house most weekends so very little down time, and started to develop mild OCD and at this point also came the fear of flying.  Maybe this was all to do with a lack of control.  Had flown many times before without any fear.  I felt on my last flight, nervous during take off, turbulence, and descent.  On descent i kept feeling we had stopped descending as my ears kept clearing and this made me feel panicky.  Am worse on smaller planes but I can force myself to get on, especially as I need to go to Guernsey at some point as it is my home, so want to catch up with family.  I just sit there silently gripping the seats so my fear isn't apparent to anyone else.  And as ridiculous as it sounds, hearing the news about 2011 being a very safe year for flying and no accidents for a record time actually makes me worse as i think ' an accident is bound to happen soon, there hasn't been one for a while'... just thought it might be interesting to share ideas about why this fear exists.  :)

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Comment by Patricia Jedlicka on January 18, 2012 at 12:19am

I'm new to this site Suzi but feel I've shared much of your experience throughout my life. Despite having flowen many times all over the world, I am still very anxious.  In my early years, I used to literally get drunk before I boarded an aircraft that's how terrified I was.  I'm pleased to say that is no longer the case. I've always thought, for me, the lack of control 'issue' was a large part of my fear, and the fear of dying (in spite of knowing full well that flying is the safest form of travel.) I still think that some of that plays into my fear, but reading the material on this site, I think much of my nervousness has to do with not knowing what's happening during the flight, and not knowing what the noises are.  For instance, I always worried when I heard the engines accelerate during the cruise, but Capt Keith has explained what that is.  And though I know everyone in the airline industry is highly trained, I still repeat to myself 'trust the pilot,' he or she is trained to fly this aircraft, likely in conditions I will personally never experience.  Somehow I'm also comforted when the flight crew greets you as you board the plane.  At least I can see if they look alright! :) foolish?  yes, but it's obvious all of us with this fear share many thoughts that to others seem really irrational. I have to fly next week - one short'ish flight and one @ 3 hours.  I am 'self talking' about what happens during the flight, hoping to keep my anxiety at bay. sorry this is so long winded, but I certainly appreciate the opportunity to get this out in the open. 

Comment by suzi on January 10, 2012 at 6:23am

Thank you, I will look up that book, and try to work regularly on my fear rather than just a few months before any impending flights... Happy New Year!

Comment by Captain Keith on January 9, 2012 at 8:48pm

Hey Suzi

I lived in Alderney and Guernsey for 20 years. I was going to suggest coming on the course this month but it's a long way from Mauritius ( where incidentally we were for a wedding in September) 

The business about 2011 being safe and therefore more chance of  ...and so on, is called the gamblers' fallacy.  Worth looking up on the net.

Don't worry about why the fear exists, in my experience it's not a route to a cure necessarily. Spend energy in dealing with the fear rather than digging up a reason for it. If you don't find a way to address you fear by finding out about the facts...then it may be worth trying to find something deeper. But generally you don't need to know why you're fearful to overcome it.

Don't waste energy either in being annoyed at yourself either...it won't change anything and will make you feel worse.

I know this sounds impertinent but do you think hanging on to the armrest helps to keep the plane in the air?

If it doesn't then stop doing it because you're telling the rest of your body that you're scared  and it feeds the thoughts of fear in your head. Relax your body and the chances are you'll relax your mind.

Read read read the facts and normalise flying. There are no magical cures or quick fixes.

Do you have my book on motivation and strategies?

Aim not for the summit of the mountain but just try to get further up the mountain each time.

Keith

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