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This is my first time posting to this site, although I've been a member for a time.
I am interested to find out if there is anyone else like me out there in terms of my story with flying.
I have never been afraid of flying. I like to think I'm still not (of flying). I am a frequent flier currently, and although I am wary of flying, I still do it.
In 2005 I lived overseas in Scotland for a year (I'm from Canada). During that year I flew everywhere: France, Italy, Greece, England, etc. The thought of a plane crashing didn't even phase me. Neither did turbulene. Actually, tubulence still doesn't. Flying to Vancouver so much right over the ocean has showed me how bad tubulence can be, bt it never affects the actual plane. No flights stood out as even remotely frightening (although landing during a blustery crosswind in Ireland had the cabin clapping). But that was it. No bad experiences. Actually, they were the best kind: entirely forgettable.
On my return to Canada, I began having terrible dreams about the aftermath of plane crashes. Horrible, graphic, and always the same: I can usually see the plane (I'm rarely on them) coming down, and then it crashes. At first I was able to separate the dreams from reality; I still flew, lived my life, etc. But over time, I decided to research why I was having these dreams, and that led to documented examples of plane crashes. Now my fear is entirely about crashing. I am not afraid of heights, I'm not claustrophobic, and I'm not intimidated by turbulence. My fear is 100% on engine failure. It's irritating because I didn't ever go through an in-flight situation that can explain this fear.
To help with my fear, I researched a lot. I know that planes can glide upon complete engine failure (which is ridiculously rare anyway), and I know that planes can divert to a nearer airport in the case of extreme engine trouble. I KNOW this, and yet, when I close my eyes, I see myself strapped in the seat, eyes closed, as we plunge for the ground. This fear is so powerful that I'm just tired of it. I still fly because I refuse to let such a silly thing interrupt my plans (traveling, visiting family, etc), but I would be lying if I said it was okay. Last year, I did what most "flying fearless" type websites instruct to do: I talked to a pilot. He flies for Westjet and was extremely approachable. He basically told me everything I already know (flights are watched closely the entire trip, planes are meticulously cared for and not flown if ANYTHING seems amiss, etc.) but it was still incredibly comforting to hear it from a pilot. He went so far as to introduce me to the Captain and First Officer (who were very understanding and, as they drank their Starbucks, asked "do we look trustworthy??"). After that, I actually flew without any fear for the next few flights. Actually, even despite my new fear, I'm usually okay once I'm ON the plane. It's the pre-trip where I freak out most.
Now, however, I have a flight in August where I fly from Vancouver to Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Kuwait. I chose to fly Condor and Luftthansa for their safety records (and I will NOT go near a prop plane), but it's a 19 hour trip and I'm absolutely petrified. I'm most worried about flying over the ocean. There's never been (as far as I have looked?) a successful ditching on a passenger plane in the ocean. Mysterious instances (such as Air France a few years ago) terrify me. I just cannot get past the fact that as safe as airplanes are, crashes carry devastating turnouts. I was in a head-on collision last August and I survived. I can't help but point this out when people use a blanket statement such as "planes are safer than cars." Are they? I don't know. I know they crash less often than cars, but when they do crash, it sort of seems like the odds are against them. That's what scares me. If planes crashed more but crashes were more survivable, I'd be less frightened. It just seems like success stories are rare. And that's what I fear. Engine failure, and the 5 excruciating minutes of knowing I'm doomed.
Has anyone else randomly adopted an irrational flight terror? Is anyone else only concerned about mechanical issues and/or pilot error (not hijacking and turbulence)?
I guess I just want to know what everyone else's experiences are and what they've done to overcome their fear, or what they're doing to try and fight it?