NesNes
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am

Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:26 am

Hello everyone,

I signed up here hoping someone can help me with my extreme fear of flying. I'm absolutely terrified. I dread it more than anything in life. Every single time I board a plane it feels likes it's the end of the world. I have backed out of trips and lost plane tickets before. I have to go on an 8hr (or so) flight and then a 2hr one in about 7 weeks. Then of course I have to travel back. So that's four flights. It's a trip I absolutely HAVE to take.

My problem is that I can think of a million things that can go wrong, such as:
1) terrorism (number one fear)
2) plane crashing during take-off (ex.stall,engine failure/fire,etc)
3) in flight hidden fire (ex lithium batteries in cargo)
4) poor inspection/maintenance (what if the mechanics who service the plane missed a potential problem? I can't remember the name of the episode on air crash investigation, but I remember a plane crashed because a wrong screw had been used).
5) major mechanical failure
6) major structural failure
7) major electrical failure
8) deep stall
9) severe CAT/severe wind shear/microbursts
10) total load outside of safe limits or load shift
11) loss of cabin pressure (from say a cargo door not shut right)
12) major pilot and/or ATC error
13) total loss of control
14) fuel exhaustion
15) false instrument readings (confusing the pilots)
16) wake turbulence

And the list goes on and on....:(

I understand no one here will go through the whole list and I don't expect that, but if someone could at least address the first four I'd really appreciate it. They are my biggest concerns.

I can NEVER relax on a plane. I am aware of every single smell, sound, etc. I watch all flight attendants carefully to make sure they don't appear nervous. I don't watch movies, listen to music or like to speak with anyone (aside from FAs) while I'm on a flight. I usually skip the meal. My stomach is usually in knots so the last thing I want to do is eat. I constantly look at the flight info screen and watch the speed, altitude and where the plane is. I freak out when the seatbelt light comes on because that usually means turbulence is coming up ahead. I freak out if someone happens to be taking too long in the lavatory. Meanwhile the poor passenger is probably not feeling well. During the whole flight I'm constantly looking at the time and calculating how much flight time is left. One time I even put the timer on my iPhone to do the countdown. I realize it's ridiculous, but I cannot explain the level of fear I have. It probably comes from the fact that if the plane crashes the chance of survival is pretty much zero. I feel sick just thinking about getting on a plane. I am absolutely DREADING it.

Please don't tell me "you're more likely to get in a car accident on the way to the airport" or "flying is the safest form of travel" or "there's risks with everything in life". While I know these things are true it doesn't help me one bit.

I also wanted to ask a few questions about engine failure/fire on take-off. Is an engine fire at this time a rare event? What usually causes this and what happens if pilots cannot abort take off? I have heard over and over that pilots can take off with just one engine, but planes have crashed from this, so...

I apologize for the extremely long post and I thank anyone who read all of it. If someone can give me some advice and answer some of my questions I would REALLY appreciate it.

Thanks so so much

Ps. Is Alitalia a safe airline (inspection/maintenance)?
 
ORDJOE
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:27 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:48 am

So right off the bat if a plane crashes you have about a 96% chance of surviving it per data from this article. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5402342.stm


Engine fires are extremely rare usually from what is called an uncontained engine failure where pieces of the engine break off, extremely rare event. In the event the pilot can not abort a take off or as we call reaching V1 speed they will likely reach V2 a second latter which V2 is the minimum speed needed to fly with one engine (watch a video in the cockpit of a plane taking off the pilot will call out V1 Rotate and V2 indicating they hit these speeds and it is done quick)
As for alitalia they are safe, Alitalia has to follow the rules set for by the EU aviation authority thus are at the same standards as most other EU airlines such as Lufthansana KLM etc.


What advice can I offer you? Your anxiety response to flying seems extreme and something you want to improve. My suggestion is to find counseling on this, there are classes and sessions that help people over come this specific fear and you are not the only one. From what I have read these programs do acheive success. Your other option to supplement counseling is look into getting a prescription for Xanax klonopin or the like to take the edge off these meds have minimal side effects if used as directed. But seriously I am a medical doctor while I am a surgeon and not a Psychiatrist I do think therapy probably is the best way to deal with this. I wish you the best of luck
 
travaz
Posts: 446
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2001 1:03 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:58 am

First of all Welcome to Airliners.net. You didn't state what airline you are using but a lot of Airlines have programs that are run by psychologist and other professional people that often help people with a fear of flying. If the airline you are using does not offer any programs reach out to a college or university and I am sure you can receive some help with the fear. I know of people that were able to conquer thier fear with counselling from various sources. Best of luck and hope you can learn something here and enjoy the pictures and discussions.
 
tocoto
Posts: 1
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:02 am

I can relate. Have to travel for business so tried lots of things. Best quick fixes: get good noise cancelling headphones and music to listen to. This cuts out a lot of the engine noise, beeping gadgets, babies, announcements, etc. While flying, think of yourself as being on a ship with that three dimensional movement, like a sailboat or a hammock. Take off you shoes, much more comfortable. Close your eyes and go to sleep. Don't stress before the trip, there are no bad flights really, they all are similar, like car trips become similar with experience. Eventually you will get over fear and become a pro flyer if you try.
 
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KTPAFlyer
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:06 am

One the easiest ways to get rid of a fear of flying is to love it! Sounds crazy, right? For all of the hassle and anxiety that surrounds flying, it's easy to forget how incredible it is to fly at all, let alone to the other side of the world! If you take the time to look out the window and watch the clouds or the horizon, you will gain a new appreciation for flying, and you can take your mind off of the anxiety. One day, you might even join us as a fellow AvGeek and won't be able to get enough of flying! :)
 
AA737-823
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:12 am

Well, I'm not going to ridicule you (just wait a few minutes, someone is bound to come along and do that, this being a.net).
But I will say that your fears and concerns are well founded, and legitimate, but blown out of proportion a bit.
Of course, those things CAN happen. Anyone who believes otherwise is deluding themselves.
But, the industry takes GREAT PAINS to do our absolute best to make sure that they don't.
I, for example, work in the airline maintenance industry. Do we sometimes get something wrong? Sure. We're human. But, we have layers of oversight and redundancy designed to detect that scenario, and mitigate any detrimental results.
If you're as tense about flying as you say you are (and I fully believe that you are), I'm not really sure that there's anything ANYONE can say to help calm you. Because you've already made up in your mind to terrorize yourself with these fears.
You're certainly not alone- many people feel the same way you do!
But all I can really offer is the assurance that there are many, MANY people employed to do their very best to make sure that you arrive safely. We don't take the responsibility lightly.

As far as specifics, I want to point out that airliners in the US have cargo pit fire extinguishing systems. And detectors. If the fire detection system activates, the captain will discharge the extinguisher. So that should assuage your concerns there.

Terrorism is of course a very valid concern for us all. And you can play a part- if you see suspicious activity, by all means, report it. That said, there are also many policies and things in place, which I cannot discuss, to keep you safe.

Oh, crashing during takeoff. That's technically possible, but pretty darned rare. You should keep in mind that an engine failure before V1 (the speed beyond which you're committed to continuing the takeoff) will result in a rejected takeoff. Beyond V1, the takeoff will be continued, and once things have stabilized, the engine will be shut down, and the aircraft will return to base. See today's AVHerald report on Air Canada:
http://avherald.com/h?article=4a6ee5c3&opt=0

As far as maintenance goes (hey, that's me!), if you're flying in a first world country (and frankly, nowadays, many many "developing economies" as well), know that aircraft maintenance is a pretty well known art. It's not really cutting-edge anymore. A plane is a mechanical thing- they break all the time. So we fix them. Don't be alarmed when you're delayed at the gate for a mechanical issue. That's just part of machinery. It doesn't mean that something has been done poorly, or is about to be done poorly.
I spend countless man hours testing redundant safety systems on aircraft that have never even been used. Auto slats (designed to prevent some of the stalls you're concerned about), standby rudder, flap load relief... these are all things that we spend a lot of time verifying the correct operation of, yet none of them have ever even been used in the history of my small airline. And that's fine- that's just the way we want it. But we also want them to work if they DO become needed!

Cargo door not shut right? There's an indicator light in the flight deck that tattles on it.
Cabin pressurization failures do occur. So reach up, put your mask on (if they even fall; many times, the flight crew will recognize and descend before the cabin altitude raises to a level high enough to deploy masks!), and breathe. As big a deal as CNN will invariably make out of it, it's closer to a non-event.

Major electrical failure? There are multiple generators. And frankly, most airplanes can fly for a period of time even if ALL generators failed. The APU can be started and that generator used, or the Ram Air Turbine can be deployed for adequate power to control the aircraft.

CG out of limits... there are multiple people in multiple departments that look at that before a flight is released. Dispatch, ramp, and the flight crew are all aware of CG status, and use it to calculate aircraft performance.

Fuel exhaustion? Well, technically possible, but..... keep in mind that the pilots are ALSO hoping to arrive alive, so are unlikely to put themselves in a situation of inadequate fuel.

If you have any further specific questions, feel free to message me. Wait... is messaging still a thing on new a.net???
 
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jumpship
Posts: 19
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:12 am

How come you don't trust the countless people who strive to make your journey a safe one? Please don't get me wrong. I get anxious in large crowds but I repeat to myself that any one of these people could save my life if needed to help myself calm down. I have gotten more aware of the what-ifs as I have aged and do not like to fly as much as I once did when I had less to lose.

With anything in life sh** happens and you have to know that if the unfortunate happens there are a lot of people that want to learn and your death would not be in vein. This is more than I can say about the countless people who feel their phone is more important than driving. I have been rear-ended twice by drivers on their phone and I have issues that will be lifelong. I have to put aside the what-ifs and still do my job which requires me to be on the road. I am not saying I won't lose my stuff if one more person hits me but it is only worse if I do not go out and keep moving forward. Don't make it worse for yourself by not trying.
Have a nice day.
 
afcjets
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:19 am

I wouldn't worry about terrorism on Alitalia.

Stop watching things like Air Crash Investigation. Plane crashes are so rare but if you watch stuff like that your mind gets tricked into thinking they are typical outcomes of flights. Youtube is very unforgiving and if you watch one for months similar videos will be suggested for you so clear your cookies. Look for movies or tv shows where there are airplane scenes which are happy, fun, or there is drama or humor unrelated to flying. Home Alone II opening scene would be great. Or TV shows like 1979-80 Flying High. Hell, you could even watch porn about slutty stewardesses doing the First Class passenger, there are tons of videos like that on free porn sites. The goal is to associate flying with anything else.

Or, if you insist on worrying about flying, think about all the germs on a plane instead, and how the re-circulated air is blowing germs from 20 rows away through your overhead vent and how nasty the cabin air is. I am not trying to overwhelm you, just trying to replace your fear of flying with hopefully something about flying you find less scary yet more of a real concern, because let's face it, your thousands of times more likely to pick up a nasty cold from a flight than to have any type of aircraft incident. If that's not exotic enough, what if there is some new undiscovered killer disease which is mysteriously only spread between airline passengers, and there is no cure. Flesh eating too.

Also, recognize how arrogant you sound. Plane crashes are so rare, yet you feel like you can almost cause one by focusing on so many things. You are not that powerful, no one is. Moreover, you list 16 things that could go wrong, none of which are even remotely likely. The odds of TWO things happening on your list of 16 even if not catastrophic is likely statistically impossible, yet you list those things like its some kind of checklist like you are choosing what toppings you want on a pizza.
 
rhuns
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:02 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:56 am

White-knuckle flying is not uncommon, but your list of fears of what 'could go wrong' is obviously much worse than the average knuckler. I have known two different people with similar over-the-top fears, and both attended counseling and 'fear of flying' seminars. Both now fly with little anxiety. As mentioned above, you could contact a major airline in your area and see if they have information on anything in your region.

With only a few weeks until your trip, you will be limited on professional help. But "when in doubt,Google". There are fear of flying blogs, books, etc., available. There is one well-known online course at a very reasonable cost, that I have heard has good results. The course was started by a commercial airline pilot, if memory serves me. I believe there is even an introductory first lesson for free. I have no personal knowledge of the course, and will not put a link here, but check it out as well as other resources online.

The suggestion of earplugs/music should help. Simple background noises such as closing the door after boarding, flaps, landing gear, change in engine pitch, etc., can be of concern to nervous flyers, and by blocking those sounds, it takes away some of the things that keep you on edge. A movie/book helps. Keep your mind occupied.

I know you don't want to hear "safer than driving" type comments. But do take some solace in the fact that IATA says 3.5 BILLION people flew in 2015. So find help for what causes your panic, then find some comfort in the safety statistics.

Good luck.
 
Airstud
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:04 am

O MY GOD stop watching "Air Crash Investigation."

If your three-year-old daughter won't go to sleep because she's scared of ghosts, do you have her watch Poltergeist?
Pancakes are delicious.
 
Jshank83
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:39 am

I can relate to you. I wouldn't say I am afraid of flying but I am a nervous flyer. I am not as bad as I used to be and only really get nervous when we are flying at night and it's cloudy so I can't see the ground. I also check the altitude/time left if I have that option pretty frequently. I always want to sit where I can see the wings.

I think that got me so into the airline industry and message boards like this. I want to know all I can about it so I know what to expect and when I shouldn't be worried. I watch all the airline crash shows. I know it's not smart but I just like to know what REALLY is an issue and what isn't. Hearing some of the pilots talk about scary situations they make it out of makes me feel better.

Like you my stomach get really upset and in knots abour the moment I get through security. For me it usually goes away once we take off. I am pretty good above 10k feet anymore. Windy landings make me a little nervous also sometimes.

As to your issues and how I as a fellow nervous flyer look at them.

1) terrorism. In the USA my worries are really low. It hasn't happened here since 9/11? And they have made improvements to keep that from happening again. Overseas it still is pretty rare that your flight would be the 1 out of millions it would happen on.

2) if you are nervous on takeoff I think it's okay, lots of people are, just do your best to get past it. Again it's rare something happens and once you get above 10k and especially to crusing altitude the chance of an issue goes way down. Turbulence is just another way of you knowing the air is there for the plane to fly. It used to really bother me but now bumps mean you aren't going down so I don't mind as much now.

3) I am not sure a litheum battery has ever taken a plane down. They have sensors in the cargo hold anyways that would let them know if there was an issue.

4) Most planes have backup systems incase something fails. Those airplane crash shows are showing you the very few times a mechanical problem (like missing a screw) have happened. You have to remember those are all the times it has ever happened in the last 70? Years. Not very often.

This was a long post and I won't make it longer but if you want more perspective from someone else who is nervous about flying and what has helped me feel free to ask.
 
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Channex757
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:31 am

I'd just add that every time there is an incident or problem, a lesson gets learned. Airlines, pilots and manufacturers take something away from this occurrence. So after over 100 years of flying that's a huge amount of experience and data backing up the flight you are going on. Critical systems get backups, metallurgy is hugely mature as a science and engines are extremely reliable.

I'd add that Alitalia is watched over by EASA and the local Italian authorities when it comes to safety. Their standards are every bit as high as the FAA with whom they share common standards of excellence for aircraft maintenance and operations.

Flying is like riding a bus nowadays, except the bus has bigger windows and is a lot more dangerous! If you fly on an airline regulated to the standards of the FAA or EASA then you are flying on some of the safest metal out there.
 
Georgetown
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:53 am

There have been some really really great posts on this thread. Truly a.net at its best.

I fly a couple times per week for work, and my time in the air is something I hold dear, look forward to, and relish every minute of. BUT, it wasn't always this way. I'd put myself in the the worry wart category generally speaking and every issue listed is something I've thought about in the past. There's been a couple frames of mind that have helped me immesely.

1). That flight you're on? Not unique. There are literally thousands occurring in the US that very day. Everyday. Some city in the US (and world!) every single day is expericing crappy weather with hundreds of planes landing perfectly safely.

2) When you're sitting in a plane, you are surrounded by more redundancy and engineered safety mechanisms than in any other situation in life. Sure, mechanics could miss something (they're people!) but the plane is engineered such that what is missed isn't alone capable of bringing down the plane. Even two, three, or four things combined most likely couldn't do it. On top of that you have people on your plane and on the ground focused on nothing else but safe operation - monitoring every moment of the flight. Compare that for a second with my current house: It was built 125 years ago on landfill in the marina district of San Francisco. When the quake comes, the landfill turns to jell-o, and I'm left hoping that the guys that put this thing together generations ago did it right. Said differently, there's no redundancy and no team of professionals constantly watching it. I feel much safer on the plane.

3) and this has been mentioned... I always tell myself what an arrogant (insert word) I am for thinking my plane is the one that's going to go down. You might as well just plan on winning the lottery if you think otherwise (and we alll know that ain't happening).
Let's go Hoyas!
 
spacecadet
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:54 am

I can completely relate. In fact, while I fly a lot, I'm in that same hyper-aware state most of the time.

Here's what helped me, and the *only* thing that helped me. And that's realizing that every single day, in the US alone there are approximately 36,000 commercial flights. That's 13 *million* commercial flights every year. That's not even counting general aviation or other types of flights, just flights you can book a ticket on on an airline. How many of those flights crash? In the recent past, basically none. Why's *your* flight so special? It's actually incredibly egotistical to think that *you* are somehow going to be on the one flight that crashes, out of all those millions of flights that takeoff and land successfully every single year.

This isn't to ridicule; realizing this is honestly how I got over the worst of my fear. I'm not special; everybody else is the same as me. I can look up at the sky at any given moment and see three or four planes up there - why am I not convinced *they're* going to crash? Because I'm not on them? That's just incredibly self-centered. I'm not a special snowflake and neither are you.

I'm still very aware of anything that seems out of the ordinary on a flight. But most things that seem out of the ordinary really aren't; they're just not things you have personally experienced before. And whatever happens, I know that there's an incredibly large chance that my flight will meet the same fate as all 13 million other flights that year, meaning it will land safely.

I also don't mean to say to just look at numbers, because that's abstract. Look at the planes flying all around you, or even just think about all the planes flying out of your local airport today. That's a real thing. Then look at yourself. Ask why you're only worried about *you* crashing and not all those other planes. That may jog your perception a little bit. Worrying about crashing in a plane is like worrying about falling down an elevator shaft. Very few people even think about that because we know of so many people who use elevators successfully every day. Well, the same is true of flying these days. You're just like everybody else on a plane.

Do yourself a favor and visit Flightradar24.com, zoom out and see how many planes are in the air at any given time. Then think about how many of them crash. It's an infinitesimal number.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
Birdwatching
Posts: 3631
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:31 am

I'm not sure if you'll get the help you really want here on the forum. Reading through the posts above, most of it can be boiled down to statistics and probabilities. Yes this is true and there is no doubt about it, being at the airport or in a plane are probably among the safest places to be, highly protected and supervised, shielded from most dangers you would encounter elsewhere in everyday life. So the day of your trip to Europe will, statistically, be one of the safest of your life. The things you should really worry about and that are statistically a much higher threat to your life? Stress, unhealthy nutrition, road rage, the Yellowstone Supervolcano and a president who has exactly zero respect for the environment. On Alitalia, in contrast, the biggest worries you should face are: The confusion when everybody claps and cheers after landing; being served a "cappuccino" that has nothing to do with the cappuccino they sell at the 7-11; and a phenomenal waste of tax payer money, but that's more of a problem for the Italians.

None of the above matters, however, because what you have is an irrational fear or phobia. All of the above are rational ways of dealing with it. Myself, for example, I am terrified of blood. Seeing blood makes me faint, thinking of blood makes me dizzy, even writing this takes me a lot of effort. I've managed to live fairly well with this fear, I didn't become a doctor or a paramedic, and I try to avoid getting hurt. My life isn't much worse with this phobia than it would be without. But my life would be much worse without air transportation, not only because I am an aviation enthusiast, it would be too if I wasn't, as it would severely limit my holiday options or the ability to visit friends and family. And for this reason, I strongly suggest you get the issue looked into by a professional psychologist and not on a forum. (The forum post was a good first step though). I am very confident that your fear can be successfully treated and your life will be much better, less stressful and more relaxed.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
Eyad89
Posts: 270
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:40 am

Well, fear of aviation is very common, yet it is very treatable.

Well, this forum has a lot of knowledgeable members who can provide you with tons of technical information that should comfort you. The thing is, you won't feel much better regardless of what you hear. Why? because your fear is being generated from the amygdala, a part of the brain that is responsible for such feelings. If this part is active, your fear will override all of your logical part in the brain and you would start reacting to ideas that may seem ridiculous or illogical. That's completely fine. You taught your brain how dangerous this airplane is, so the amygdala part is trying to protect you whenever it perceives that you are on a plane. The trick is to learn how to teach your brain again that this plane is extremely safe.

The error you could face here is that you are trying to tell your brain that by going through logical analysis. You are doing this right now by seeking answers or numbers for technical issues. As I said, regardless what you hear, your logical brain doesn't get that, the amygdala and fear are stronger that your logical part. You logical part in the brain is pretty much powerless if the amygdala is active. If you are trying to get over this fear by learning more only, most likely it would act up again in your next flight and you will be going through the whole fear thing all over again.

The most important thing to do is trying to not give this thing any significance. You really should stop reassuring yourself every now and then. You are reinforcing your fears by seeking answers. For example, if you are flying and you feeling afraid that engines may have failed, you would immediately look at the airspeed in an effort to comfort yourself and your fear. THIS will definitely keep you stuck in the fear loop. You are giving this idea a lot of emotional attention and the amygdala is taking over. Next time you have this feeling, just let this feeling come and go. Don't react to it. Don't seek answers or reassurances anywhere. It will be uncomfortable. It will freak you out. Don't worry, freaking out won't kill you. After time, this significance will go away and amygdala won't be as involved. when that is achieved, you will be in a state where you can easily dismiss those ideas through logic without having them overridden by your emotional part.

Again, in order to have your amygdala fade back in the background, you have to stop giving the flying thing any significance. YOU HAVE TO EAT on the plane. if you are not eating, you are telling your brain that danger is looming, and you will be stuck in the same loop again. It will be uncomfortable at first, but as I said, let the feeling come as you distract yourself by doing anything else.

If you do any of the following, you won't get over your fear of flying because you still give it significance:
- If you still read aviation safety articles daily to reassure yourself that flying is safe.
- If you check the weather forecast on your travel day.
- If you pay attention to any detail in your flight and try to link it to disaster.
- If you do anything as a response to your fear before or during the flight.
-If you wish that your flight ends NOW.
- and much more.


If you still feel any of the statements mentioned above, you won't get over your fear.

After a while of doing the right thing, your brain will stop perceiving flying as danger, and then you could think however you want without any interference from the amygdala.


Wish you luck.
 
oldannyboy
Posts: 1443
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:03 am

Hello my friend,
I have accompanied many extremely nervous flyers on their first flight, so feel free to private message me if you need further help or want more tips and suggestions.

Best thing would be to have some close friend/family member accompany you.

Next best thing.... Xanax. It works wonders! It just takes the fear away. You should consult your GP and start taking it in smaller doses in the days preceding the flight so that tension and anxiety rubs off easily and does not lead to a build up. Then you take more the day before, on the day, and during the flight. Side effects are really negligible - it will most likely knock you off a bit, which is desirable anyway on a long flight, and if you keep taking it regularly during your trip (one mg.0.50 a day might actually be enough), it will help GREATLY in many ways and especially in not building up anxiety over your return (anticipatory fear), and you might *actually* come to the point of looking forward to it. Mind you, when you take "the fear" element away (which is in most cases irrational), flying is a very liberating experience, in some ways akin to sex.
Looking into how 'safe' flying is helps very little, since fears are irrational, and especially in the few short weeks leading up to your flight reading stats or knowing that Alitalia has one of the best tech units out there will probably do very little to decrease your anxiety levels. You simply have to work on lowering your 'paranoia' and fear levels down to a minimum now, since 7 weeks is not a really long time, and a build up of tension or fear might jeopardise your whole trip. Try to get good sleep (take melatonin, or take pills), do some yoga/relaxation on a daily basis, eat healthy, practice sports, have regular sexual activity, and try to have nice long walks...in short, do all sorts of mental and physical activities that release endorphins and make you relax and take the mind off the "issue"!
Therapy (once you've identified a GOOD therapist) is amazing, but takes time and the willingness do it, and quite a bit of persevering. Seven weeks is by no mean an adequate time frame for you to undergo therapy... You will most certainly need the help of medication. But it will be fine, trust me.
Been there & done that many times for friends, colleagues, etc.. :-)
Warm regards.
Danny
 
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SomebodyInTLS
Posts: 870
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:43 am

I don't know if this is a good idea or not, but I would try installing a flight simulator. Plenty of time spent on that would get me more excited about the real flight because then I'd feel more like an insider and I'd be recognising and looking out for all the little operational cues, etc.

Back in the 1990s I played a Space Shuttle simulator a few times - one of the most boring simulators ever (basically just a control panel with buttons to click and messages popping up), but somehow it opened a little window into some of the procedures and jargon and suddenly the next launch coverage was much more exciting!

I seem to remember seeing a TV programme on a course for people with fear of flying, and the impression I got was that it was familiarisation which was the key - they took them behind the scenes of airport operations, into simulators, into the cockpit on the ground and finally - during the actual flight - most people were taking pictures out of the windows and going for a chat with the crew in the cockpit.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
gearupAPcoffee
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:31 pm

nesnes, you may want to think about seeking some professional help before you go. There are many counselors, therapists, etc who specialize in the fear of flying. They may be able to help you well beyond what any of us may say here.

Here's hoping you will find your answers..
 
Jshank83
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:36 pm

Eyad89 wrote:
The most important thing to do is trying to not give this thing any significance. You really should stop reassuring yourself every now and then. You are reinforcing your fears by seeking answers. For example, if you are flying and you feeling afraid that engines may have failed, you would immediately look at the airspeed in an effort to comfort yourself and your fear. THIS will definitely keep you stuck in the fear loop. You are giving this idea a lot of emotional attention and the amygdala is taking over. Next time you have this feeling, just let this feeling come and go. Don't react to it. Don't seek answers or reassurances anywhere. It will be uncomfortable. It will freak you out. Don't worry, freaking out won't kill you. After time, this significance will go away and amygdala won't be as involved. when that is achieved, you will be in a state where you can easily dismiss those ideas through logic without having them overridden by your emotional part.


This comment I think is good. I usually feel less anxious on planes that I can't check the speed/altitude/time to arrival. I always thought that was really weird but as the reader says when I can't check it, then it is one less thing I can obsess over.

The one thing I will say I do and that makes me feel better is I check the cloud base at the landing airport and which way the planes are taking off/landing. Just so I know what to expect. I guess for me it is one less variable I will think about during landing. I know what the plane is going to do (ie make a big turn to turn back to the airport) or if it is really cloudy, I know we will have plenty of altitude to see the ground after we get through the clouds. I know you mention not to check the weather, but for me I feel like it helps.
 
PITingres
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Re: Terrified of flying

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:50 pm

Just a back-of-the-envelope calculation to amplify what spacecadet said about your first fear, terrorism: actual serious attempts at bringing down airplanes are rare. Outside of 9/11 (and was a surprise not to be repeated, plus better cockpit doors), I can only think of 3 or 4. Let's over-estimate and say that there's one serious attempt per year. So your chances of being on a plane that is a target is something like 1/365 * 1/36000, or about 1 in 13 million; but even that's too high because the 36000 is US daily departures, and the most recent couple attempts were outside of the US.

So your chances of being involved in a terrorist attempt this year are no higher than 1 in 13 million and probably much less than that. AND, planes are very hard to bring down, most attempts only injure a couple people if not fail entirely.

Google quotes your chances of being struck by lightning this year as about 1 in a million, or at least 15 times more likely.

I know the emotional side is not always subordinate to the rational, but at least here's some data so that you can give it a try.

Another thought for you: find one of the sites that has the NTSB Aircraft Accident Reports online, such as huntlibrary.erau.edu. Look at the comparative number of accidents reported in the 60's and 70's vs the last few years. That's what Channex757 was talking about. Yes, mistakes are made, but aviation is getting better and better about both avoiding them, and remedying them if made.

I hope one of the suggestions offered by others works for you.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
Planetalk
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:13 am

I can empathise, as a rather contradictory plane enthusiast who also becomes a wreck once the bumps start....

People love to call it an irrational fear bit its not at all, to our reptile brains its perfectly rational to be afraid of flying, it's completely unnatural. It's frankly fairly irrational/unnatural to not ever get nervous....i imagine for many people flying is like being forced to get on a theme park ride they would never, ever get on.

As you don't have long I'd say valium/xanax are your friends. They work wonders and are perfectly safe if you just use them a couple of times for the flights. You have way to many fears for anyone to be able to reassure you here. And I know stats are useless, it still happens. A dose of valium and you'll probably love the flight ;)

Then, look into longer term strategies like therapy or fear of flying courses.
 
NesNes
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:58 am

Thank you SO much for all your replies. Every single post helped. I'm so glad I came here for advice.

A few of you mentioned seeing a therapist, but I know in my heart it won't help much. Speaking to an expert/airline pilot will. I know for a fact that if my concerns were addressed in detail it would make flying a lot easier. As I mentioned in my first post, something catastrophic happening on take off is one of my main fears. If a pilot actually explained to me how unlikely that is and why, it would make me feel a LOT better.

The last time I was on a plane (transatlantic flight) the main thing that helped was looking at a snapshot on my phone that I had taken earlier of the planes shown on flightradar24. Reminding myselff how many flights are in the air at any given time helped calm me down quite a bit.

I'd also like to mention that I tried to look if there were any fear of flying courses offered at the airport in Toronto, but unfortunately I found nothing. I think that would have helped me quite a bit.

Oh, and a few of you mentioned taking an anti anxiety med on the flight...I do on most flights, and definitely will on my next one :)

@ORDJOE Hi :) I'm glad to know that uncontained engine failures are extremely rare, but it doesn't help to know that there were two recent ones..in 2015 (British Airways) and in 2016 (American Airlines).

Does this usually occur during take off? And is it true that the most things go wrong during the first 3 minutes of flight?

I'm happy to hear Alitalia is considered a safe airline although it doesn't help when I read online that they call it an "ailing airline". I'm not 100% sure I'm flying with them, but it's a big possibility.

@AA737-823 Hi :) I know you said that crashing during take off is rare, but I was under the impression that most crashes happen during take off and landing?

Oh, and the cargo fire thing worries me because there have been several recent cargo planes that crashed due to an uncontained cargo fire. So I guess the fire wasn't detected fast enough? See that really scares me.

@Jshank83 Hi :) unfortunately lithium batteries have been a cause in several crashes which is why I have a huge fear of a cargo fire.

@spacecadet Hi :) so many great points and so true. Everytime I look at the sky almost always I see a plane. Heck, I hear one right one. Flightradar24 made my transatlantic flight in 2013 a little more bearable. I go on that website frequently to remind myself how many planes are in the air at any give time. It definitely does help.

@PITingres Hi :) your post really helped me with my number one fear and I'll take a look at the website you suggested. Btw, I'm in Canada.

Thanks again everyone.
 
bennett123
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:37 am

Two points I would make;

1. What you feel is merely a more extreme version of the feelings of many people.

Man can not fly, he has no wings. Therefore we are out of our comfort zone.

2. Try looking at aviation-safety.net and check Alitalia.

Sounds daft looking at info on incidents, but now check how many flights they made during that time. If you consider you have more risk of dying from a Bee sting or lightning strike or of winning the lottery it may put this in context for you.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:49 am

NesNes wrote:
@ORDJOE Hi :) I'm glad to know that uncontained engine failures are extremely rare, but it doesn't help to know that there were two recent ones..in 2015 (British Airways) and in 2016 (American Airlines).


Yes, those aircraft did indeed have engine failures. But did they crash? No, they didn't and neither will your plane in the unlikely event of an engine failure. Either they abort the take-off or they take off on one engine and then return.

NesNes wrote:
@AA737-823 Hi :) I know you said that crashing during take off is rare, but I was under the impression that most crashes happen during take off and landing?


True, but even those chances are very rare. One single system failing is not the end of the world, the plane can still fly safely on the backup system or even on manual control. It happens quite frequently that a system fails and the plane still lands safely, the safety was never in danger.

NesNes wrote:
Oh, and the cargo fire thing worries me because there have been several recent cargo planes that crashed due to an uncontained cargo fire. So I guess the fire wasn't detected fast enough? See that really scares me.


Cargo planes are a different piece of cake, but even they got extensive fire warning sytems. Yes, there have been crashes in the past because of uncontained cargo fires. Investigators have figured out what went wrong on those flights and as a result of that measurements have been taken to prevent similar things from happening again. In aviation you can basically say that everything that has gone wrong once won't go wrong again.

NesNes wrote:
@Jshank83 Hi :) unfortunately lithium batteries have been a cause in several crashes which is why I have a huge fear of a cargo fire.


And that's exactly why you won't need to worry. Yes, lithium batteries can lead to a cargo fire but there are fire detection and suppression systems all over the cargo hold. The worst thing you got to worry about is your luggage getting wet in case there's a fire down there. There are worse things to worry about.

NesNes wrote:
@spacecadet Hi :) so many great points and so true. Everytime I look at the sky almost always I see a plane. Heck, I hear one right one. Flightradar24 made my transatlantic flight in 2013 a little more bearable. I go on that website frequently to remind myself how many planes are in the air at any give time. It definitely does help.


Maybe a tip, pick out one particular flight on Flightradar24 and imagine for yourself you're a passenger on board of that aircraft. In your imagination that's your flight. Just follow it from the departure up to the landing and try to feel like a passenger. At the time you think the meal on board is being served you serve yourself a meal. Then when the plane approaches it's destination things get exciting. Will it land safely. Will the virtual you walk out of there alive? I bet you will.
 
NesNes
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:39 am

That's a great idea regarding Flightradar24. I'll do that.

Thanks for your post Patrick, it really helped.
 
NesNes
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:41 am

Quick question: are lithium batteries even allowed as cargo on international passenger flights?
 
DaveFly
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:08 am

Fear of flying is an irrational fear, so explaining the statistical safety isn't going to help.

In the short-term, I would simply suggest Xanax or several glasses of wine. That'll alleviate some of the fear, which tends to feed on itself -- that is, you're afraid of becoming more afraid, and it just builds from there.

In the long-term, exposure helps a lot -- that is, just fly more. I was never fearful myself, but many decades ago I felt uneasy. Then I took a job that required a lot of travel. That cured me fast. I think the wing would have to fall off before I'd even become curious!
717,727,737,747,757,767,777,
L1011,DC8,DC9,DC10,MD80/90
A300,A319,320,321,330,340,
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DH8,Avro85,DHBeaver,AstarHelo,F100,ATR42
 
coolian2
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:09 am

Go gliding.

Trust me.
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747-200/-300/-400/ER/A340-300/A380-800/MD-83/CRJ-700/-900
 
mxaxai
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:17 pm

NesNes wrote:
Quick question: are lithium batteries even allowed as cargo on international passenger flights?

Following the cargo crashes where the lithium batteries on board were considered a possible cause, the transport of lithium batteries on aircraft and passenger aircraft in particular has been heavily regulated. Significant bulk shipments are not permitted on passenger aircraft and they may be 60 % charged at most. When devices containing such batteries are transported (e. g. laptops) they are sometimes placed in special metal boxes to contain a possible thermal runaway safely. Many airlines (but not all) do not permit spare batteries for electronic devices (not including "proper" devices like powerbanks), and some even forbid carrying personal electronic devices in the hold to allow easier extinguishing just in case. Obviously, the current "safety" measure allowing no large electronic devices in the cabin at some airlines runs counter to this.

Small battery fires in the passenger area, caused by a smartphone or similar device, can be contained and extinguished easily using water. In the hold, Halon is used as extinguishing agent, which denies the fire the neccessary oxygen. However, lithium-ion batteries do not need aerial oxygen, burn very hot and may explode, potentially endangering the metal structure and pressure chamber, respectively. Luckily, fire propagation to other cargo can be limited by Halon.

Oh, lastly remember that you need to produce batteries to ship them. The largest producers of lithium-ion batteries are located in east asia and the USA. Similarly, most electronic devices containing them are made in these areas. A flight from Toronto to the EU and back will likely not carry such cargo, especially on the shorter segments.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:59 pm

NesNes wrote:
Hello everyone,

I signed up here hoping someone can help me with my extreme fear of flying. I'm absolutely terrified. I dread it more than anything in life. Every single time I board a plane it feels likes it's the end of the world. I have backed out of trips and lost plane tickets before. I have to go on an 8hr (or so) flight and then a 2hr one in about 7 weeks. Then of course I have to travel back. So that's four flights. It's a trip I absolutely HAVE to take.

My problem is that I can think of a million things that can go wrong, such as:
1) terrorism (number one fear)

Check out this graph on the development of aircraft hijackings over time: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/numb ... de=grouped
Notice how past 9/11 nearly no hijackings occured, with barely any fatalities. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_ ... ng_attacks to see that, save for the recent Metrojet incident and two russian domestic flights, no airliner has been downed by a bomb in the past 20 years. Even many historical cases only involved damage to the airframe and the occupants closest to the IED.
Seriously, terrorism is too overhyped in the public opinion and media. 99% of terrorist attacks concern lokal politics and have no interest whatsoever to damage an aircraft. Check out https://ourworldindata.org/wp-content/u ... nomist.png . Those dark red spots in chechnya, in south america, in northern spain and ireland? Merely local conflicts you likely have never took notice of.

What can you do? Behave normally and be aware of your surroundings. If you see something that bugs you, tell someone (but avoid making a scene). Maybe get an aisle seat to have a better view of the occupants. Or you might want a window seat to watch the wing flex and the flaps move and tell yourself "This is nothing out of the ordinary. I know what these parts and people do." There are smoke detectors in the lavatories if that comforts you. When you walk through the supermarket, does every person in a long coat, every man with a beard make you suspicious? Do you expect that teen hiding his hand in his pocket or that lady who may or may not be pregnant are terrorists? Does every bulging bag and every funnily driving car contain guns and explosives? People on an airplane are no different from people on the ground. You are safe in Canada, you are safe in Italy (or whereever you're headed), it will be no different in the air.
2) plane crashing during take-off (ex.stall,engine failure/fire,etc)

Most accidents happen during the landing phase, followed by the take-off. However, a take-off incident is more likely to deadly. (http://www.1001crash.com/index-page-sta ... age-3.html)

A stall on take-off is very unlikely because you are accellerating, i. e. moving away from the stall speed, and the pilot is monitoring both speed and pitch very carefully. The critical speeds V1, Vr, and V2 are called out to ensure their observation by the pilot flying.

An engine failure is most likely to happen during the take-off roll because there are a lot of objects around it (e. g. birds) and the power settings and related mechanical loads are the highest of the entire flight. Be assured that ANY twin-engined aircraft can either safely take off on a single engine (beyond V1) or stop on the remaining runway (before V1). Now, you might ask: Couldn't both engines fail? The likelyhood of a single engine failing suddenly on your flight is about like winning the lottery. Both engines would be winning the lottery twice in a row. Even without engines, modern jets can glide a fair distance to reach a potential safe landing zone, like Cpt. Sullenberger did. If you have more questions regarding this event just ask. The more precise your question the more precise the answer.

An engine's exterior is equipped with extinguishers to prevent any fires there. Those fires you see after engine failures always develop AFTER the plane has come to a stop. They can only form when fuel from a penetrated fuel tank drips onto the hot engine exhaust or brakes. Therefore, you are perfectly safe inflight. The Concorde disaster was somewhat special in that regard since the concorde's engines are located directly underneath the fuel tanks and their afterburners could ignite the fuel behind them.
3) in flight hidden fire (ex lithium batteries in cargo)
4) poor inspection/maintenance (what if the mechanics who service the plane missed a potential problem? I can't remember the name of the episode on air crash investigation, but I remember a plane crashed because a wrong screw had been used).

You may want to watch this video (2 parts, in German, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIJ8g-7ZEf4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doaMmCSfTV8) on how aircraft maintenance is performed. Even if you don't understand what they are saying, you can see how many people must confirm the proper execution.

I assume you are referring to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Ai ... Flight_261 . Note how the crash only happened due to many mistakes. The mechanic had not properly lubricated the screw. Supervisors had, apparently, not performed as neccessary. The airline had aggressively increased the maintenance intervals. The overseeing FAA had lacked the oversight and had certified the design without noticing the possibility of a catastrophic failure. The manufacturer had created a single point of failure. Each of these is a non-event and only when combined a crash can happen.
5) major mechanical failure
6) major structural failure
7) major electrical failure

Not only is everything inspected by many people according to strict manuals but a single failure should never crash an aircraft. Everything that can fail is in some way fail-safe or redundand. Everything that is only available once (e. g. wings) is designed not to fail under any circumstances (-> point 10). Engine fails -> use second engine. Rudder actuator fails -> use second system. Hydraulic leak -> use second and third system. Complete generator failure -> deploy ram air turbine, rely on batteries in the meantime. Flaps dont extend -> land without flaps. Gear does not extend -> land without gear (both can be conducted safely).

Even an extraordinary situation does not equal an imminent crash and everyone's death. The two recent engine failures, the one at Qantas a while back, the one in London 20 years ago or US1549 all ended well. Visit http://www.avherald.net to see how many incidents are handled every day without any report, often even without the passengers noticing.
8) deep stall

Save for specific T-tail aircraft a stall can always be recovered if identified correctly. Deep stall is something manufacturers consider and take precautions against. In any case, pilots are trained to react far before a stall can develop. There are warning systems in the cockpit (stick shaker, etc.)
9) severe CAT/severe wind shear/microbursts

Microbursts only happen near thunderstorms, which are avoided by any aircraft.

There are windshear warnings on most commercial aircraft that even predict upcoming windshear, giving the pilots ample time to react. The most dangerous thing about windshear (and microbursts) is the sudden change in airspeed due to the changing wind. If windshear is a possibility, the speed is slightly increased to prevent critical situations.

CAT does not harm the airframe. (oh, I suppose extreme cases could. You would not survive in that case anyway). The only danger is you getting thrown out of your seat. Therefore, keep your seatbelt buckled whenever possible. The seatbelt sign is for YOU, not the airframe. Weather charts include likely areas of CAT that are taken into account during flight planning.
10) total load outside of safe limits or load shift

All aircraft parts are designed to withstand the maximum expected loads safely. Examples would be really severe turbulence in thunderstorms, hail, significant overspeed or landings that will really hurt. "Safely" means that a margin of error is added: A safety factor of 1.5 (or greater) is added and tested for. Check out these vids on wing testing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai2HmvAXcU0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B74_w3Ar9nI . You may want to watch other flight testing videos to get an idea what punishment an airliner can withstand.
11) loss of cabin pressure (from say a cargo door not shut right)

Loss of cabin pressure is a non-event. Just pull down the mask and breathe normally until the crew gives other directions. Exploding cargo doors and the like were a specific trait of the DC-10. Since then, designs have changed to prevent this from happening again. Suddenly losing large fuselage parts as in the Aloha flight is prevented by a much better understanding of material fatigue and thorough checks.
12) major pilot and/or ATC error

There are always two pilots and two ATC controllers overseeing your flight. Procedures are designed in way to be easy to execute and tolerate some deviation. There are pre-written checklists for the pilots for nearly all imaginable circumstances to avoid errors. Additionally, modern aircraft crosscheck the pilot's actions and prevent dangerous situations themselves or give loud and visible warnings.

EGPWS to warn the pilots about an imminent collision with terrain.
TCAS to warn the pilots about an imminent plane collision. It works on both involved aircraft and gives all pilots clear commands to follow.
An Airbus will not exceed a certain pitch, angle of attack or roll. These are hard limits and cannot be overridden in normal situations. A Boeing will make it hard for and warn the pilot but allows him to exceed these limits if he deems it neccessary. (Not sure about the other manufacturers)
13) total loss of control

You don't just "lose control". A plane is an inherently stable system and does not suddenly flip or something, like a car could.
14) fuel exhaustion

Happens. Rarely. Aircraft have fuel measurements and pilots like to arrive safely too, so if the think more fuel than what the dispatcher expects is neccessary they may order a top off.
15) false instrument readings (confusing the pilots)

Like everything else, instruments are redundant. If a single instrument fails, the other two override it. Theoretically, pilots undergo training to identify and react to false intrument readings. Cases like AF447 happen but since then the faulty instruments have been replaced and procedures changed.
16) wake turbulence

Only a problem for very small aircraft directly behind and under a much larger one. Think business jet vs. A380 or tiny two-seater prop vs. any passenger aircraft. In any case, ATC knows about this and adds extra spacing where needed.

And the list goes on and on....:(

I understand no one here will go through the whole list and I don't expect that, but if someone could at least address the first four I'd really appreciate it. They are my biggest concerns.

I can NEVER relax on a plane. I am aware of every single smell, sound, etc. I watch all flight attendants carefully to make sure they don't appear nervous. I don't watch movies, listen to music or like to speak with anyone (aside from FAs) while I'm on a flight. I usually skip the meal. My stomach is usually in knots so the last thing I want to do is eat. I constantly look at the flight info screen and watch the speed, altitude and where the plane is. I freak out when the seatbelt light comes on because that usually means turbulence is coming up ahead. I freak out if someone happens to be taking too long in the lavatory. Meanwhile the poor passenger is probably not feeling well. During the whole flight I'm constantly looking at the time and calculating how much flight time is left. One time I even put the timer on my iPhone to do the countdown. I realize it's ridiculous, but I cannot explain the level of fear I have. It probably comes from the fact that if the plane crashes the chance of survival is pretty much zero. I feel sick just thinking about getting on a plane. I am absolutely DREADING it.

Please don't tell me "you're more likely to get in a car accident on the way to the airport" or "flying is the safest form of travel" or "there's risks with everything in life". While I know these things are true it doesn't help me one bit.

I also wanted to ask a few questions about engine failure/fire on take-off. Is an engine fire at this time a rare event? What usually causes this and what happens if pilots cannot abort take off? I have heard over and over that pilots can take off with just one engine, but planes have crashed from this, so...

I apologize for the extremely long post and I thank anyone who read all of it. If someone can give me some advice and answer some of my questions I would REALLY appreciate it.

Thanks so so much

Ps. Is Alitalia a safe airline (inspection/maintenance)?


I am sorry for the long post but you did have a lot of questions. :)
 
NesNes
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Re: Terrified of flying

Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:44 am

Hi mxaxai, thanks so much for your post and for addressing all my concerns. You have no idea how much it helped me!

I'll try to remember all of that on my flight :)

You mentioned that during takeoff a stall is very unlikely but I wanted to ask you a few more things as this is one of my biggest fears. How likely would it be for the following two things to happen: speed not fast enough to maintain lift and plane climbing too quick (as these two things will cause a stall).

In regards to a cargo fire, I've read that it can spread unnoticed and FAA testing found that halon gas doesn't work well on batteries in a chemical reaction/thermal runaway.
In 2015 an FAA report found "the uncontrollability of lithium battery fires can ultimately negate the capability of current aircraft cargo fire suppression systems, and can lead to a catastrophic failure of the airframe".

So does this mean that if there's a cargo fire from lithium batteries that there's not much that can be done?

And last thing, has there ever been a fatal crash due to severe CAT?
 
T1a
Posts: 14
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Re: Terrified of flying

Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:41 am

Hi Nesnes,
you said that explanations by an active airline pilot might help you a little more. As you can see, this is my first post on this site, I've been reading here for ages, but wanted to wait with my first post until I actually had something to say. So I'll try to do my best in helping you. I fly for a European legacy carrier (not Alitalia though), so I'll try to give you some insight into how professional pilots work.

First things first, I would suggest to you that you select one airline that you feel safe(r) with and then get more insight into how they work. As already mentioned most big airlines have nervous flyer seminars. I would say, go to the one of the airlines you later want to fly. They'll for example give you tours around their maintenance facilities, so that in the future you feel better about the how professionally the mechanics do their job. Of course the airline itself should fulfill a few criteria for you.

1) For example when I look at your list, you say your biggest worry is a terror attack against your aircraft. So select an airline that you feel is less likely to suffer from a terror attack. Of course this doesn't need to be the actual likelihood, it should be about how you feel about it. Two ways I could imagine going about it, is to either a) select an airline from a country with really tight security measures. The USA (and their airlines) and Israel (El Al) come to mind first for me. Or b) select an airline from a country where you feel terrorism isn't an issue. Probably Egyptair or Air France aren't the best choices for you, even though I regard them as safe carriers, they're probably not ideal for your gut feeling from a terrorism point of view. To my mind first came carriers from countries like Finland (Finair), Austria (Austrian), Luxembourg (Luxair). These countries neither have separatist movements going on in the inside, nor are they militarily active in th Middle East.

2) Your second fear is "plane crashing during take-off" is now obviously more in my field of expertise. So first I'll explain to you, how we (pilots) go about it. For take-off a couple of thing are very important. First a sound take-off performance calculation. For that you enter the data for the take-off either into a computer program or manually enter a table. You put in variables like runway parameters such as length, altitude above sea level, slope; and outside conditions like temperature, wind, pressure; and the aircraft weight on take-off. It will then provide you with first of all the information about whether or not the take-off is safely possible at all. For example it might happen that if the runway is short, terrain is high, the winds are bad and the aircraft is heavy that you're actually too heavy to take-off safely. Then we will offload first cargo, then bags and if that still isn't enough, lastly passengers. It's nothing anybody likes to do, but in my company, on my fleet we have a couple of destinations where this happens from time to time. In a second step the program or table will tell you what take-off-power setting you require and what your flap-setting and V-speeds are. I don't know how familiar you are with these speeds, so I'll explain them to you in short. V1 is the speed up-to which take of can be aborted in case of a failure. It will be aborted in case like engine malfunctions. But we will not stop for everything even before V1. If we are in the high speed regime (higher than 80 knots) and a small failure occurs, let's say "ice detect fail" (the aircrafts own ice detection system doesn't work anymore) and it is a nice sunny day then a high speed rejected take-off is regarded more dangerous than just go flying with this little fault. In that case the Captain calls out "continue" and we take-off with the malfunction. We will then address it after we are established in safe climb-out, run the checklist, maybe contact the maintenance on the ground and then decide whether to return to the departure airport or continue our flight. Beyond the point of V1 a abortion of the take-off is longer possible. The remaining distance of runway would be too short to stop the aircraft. In this case, even with an engine on fire, you will go airborne. Of course this is a failure pilots have trained thousands of times. We will in this case follow our single engine climb out procedure for this runway, try to extinguish the fire with the aircrafts fire suppression system and set up for an approach as quickly as possible. But I can assure you that even with an engine on fire, the aircraft is still safe to fly. The aircraft I currently fly is designed in such a way that it can withstand an unextinguishable engine fire for 15 minutes. I hope I've got your fear of engine failure/fire on take-off covered, if you still have questions don't hesitate to ask. The next speed is Vr or V-rotate, it's the speed where we actually start rotating the aircraft. And then finally V2, it's the speed where you can safely fly on one engine (and of course on two, since that is less challenging for the airframe). Usually for smaller aircraft (not long range) and dry runways these speeds are all pretty close to each other. For example on the aircraft I fly a typical V1/Vr/V2 combination might be 130/130/130 or 122/122/123. Only on very short and/or wet/snow covered runways we usually see a lower V1, like 116/124/125 or so because of the degraded braking performance in case of an abortion of take-off. So you see, you that the point up-to which you can abort take-off and the speed which you need in order to fly safely on one engine are usually pretty close.
By the way, flying at or above V2 of course also keeps you outside of a stall condition. And these speeds are closely monitored by both pilots during the take-off run and initial climb-out. In a modern multi-pilot cockpit with todays procedures and CRM (Crew Resource Management) a stall is highly unlikely in any stage of the flight, but especially on take-off where the speeds are clear and power setting is high it is even more unlikely. The second part of any sound cockpit preparation is to do a comprehensive briefing with the other pilot(s). On our fleet we basically do three briefings. First the "Emergency Briefing", the Captain reviews the procedures before V1, so in case of an RTO (rejected take-off), he/she says who calls out what, for what to stop and what the call-out "stop" implies and how the further workload distribution is. Then the pilot flying will brief what happens in case of a failure after V1. Such as routing in this case, clean-up altitude, safe altitudes, what to do in case an immediate relanding is required (for fire or smoke) and how the workload distribution is. In the second part, the "Take-off Briefing" we talk about the performance we calculated before. At my company for good airmanship also both pilots calculate the performance for themselves and then join for the briefing. If both have the same result we can be sure that nobody did a typo or went into a wrong table. So we talk about aircraft weight, from what intersection we may use the runway, what power-setting we use and the V-speeds. Lastly we do the "Departure Briefing" where we talk about the normal climb out, so SID (standard instrument departure), cleared altitude, altitude restrictions and so on. As you can see, we pilots do not take a take-off lightly, it's something that a lot of thought goes into. By the way, of course not surprising that I say that, but for me the most important part to your safety on board is a well selected and well trained pilot. With good pilots even a mechanical hick-up or a bad day of a controller is no big problem. There is thousand little things a good pilot does that double and triple checks everything he/she himself, his buddy in the cockpit or everyone around does. If you really follow my advice, also find an airline, where you feel good about the selection and training of their cockpit crew. They are you're #1 safety system on board.

3) I see you have researched the lithium cargo fire very well. You are right, halon is a gas that stops fires because it chemically alters the oxygen. No O2, no fire. What it doesn't do is cooling. It can stop the flames of a lithium fire, but it can't stop the thermal runaway. That is why at my company and many others (I would almost bet Alitatia as well) lithium batteries are prohibited in checked luggage. If you have a laptop or else, you have to carry it with you in the cabin. In the cabin a lithium fire isn't nice either, but our cabin crew is trained well to handle it. We have a special metal case on board, into which you drop the smoking/burning device. Then you cool it down with LOTS of water.

4) Also mechanics double and triple check everything and then have a neutral other colleague check his work. The aviation industry learns from every crash. So basically whatever you see on air crash investigation should not happen again, because now procedures have been implemented to counter the cause. If still something brakes, we come back to competent pilots.

5) For every kind of mechanical failure in an airplane there is a back-up system. For example on "my" airplane, if the ailerons jam, we can separate the the aileron from the roll spoiler system and continue flying with the remaining system.

6) Like a wing braking off? Airplanes are certified to 2.5g, which means they are tested to 3.75g (1.5 times the certified amount) and can probably handle even more than that. To reach such g-loads with an airliner you would have to hit extreme turbulence. Not even severe would but be enough.

7) Aircraft electrical systems are designed with multiple back ups, on my aircraft we have 4 generators (2 DC, 2 AC), one single generator is enough to power all vital systems of the aircraft. Yes the lavatory might not work, but everything that is important to keep it flying safely will work just fine. Also the systems are designed in different buses. If you have a fault on one of the many buses in the distribution system only a small part of you systems will fail and you still have everything you need to make it to an airport safely.

8) Deep stall is specific to low wing, t-tail designs and as said before, something manufacturers take care of. And first of all, you need a "normal" stall in order to get into a deep stall. Even a normal stall is an occurrence that I can almost not picture happening a well run CRM minded Cockpit. Also something you might be interested in, is the fact that modern Airbus aircraft technically can't stall in "normal law" (an Airbus control design software setup). Even if the pilot pulls the aircraft into a stall, the Airbus will push the nose down, before the stall occurs.

9) At least per EASA definition severe turbulence isn't something to be afraid of, I don't know the FAA definition though. "Severe" means the aircraft bounces out of control for short periods of time, but stays within designed load factor limits. Only extreme turbulence is where an aircraft might brake up in flight. But believe me, even medium turbulence is way more then you would ever expect in to be. And severe turbulence is very rare, maybe a couple of flights each year hit it. But it's still not dangerous.

10) Load Control, Ramp Agent and Pilots take care of this one. Will not happen if you fly a first world airline or in first world countries. Now if you fly with an old DC-3 in forests of the Congo with a regional operator there, I wouldn't be so sure, but otherwise, don't worry.

11) As said before, a non-event. It happens. Even in my airline on my fleet a couple of times last year. Nothing to worry about. Pilots get it announced, return to departure airport, done.

12) As I said, selection and training is key.

13) Falls back into the pilot training category. A good pilot will do everything possible to never lose control (this might actually involve doing nothing at all in certain situations such as instrument failure) and if it ever happens (see wake-turbulence at high altitude A380 vs. Business-Jet a couple of weeks ago) do everything to regain it.

14) Fly first world carriers and no sketchy charter operators South America, Africa or parts of Asia and this won't happen to you.

15) Falls right back to selection, training and CRM. Especially in this scenario these are key.

16) Is usually taken care of by separation. Sometimes you will hit a light wake and it will rattle and bank the aircraft a little. Extreme cases as the one mentioned above are very rare and the A380 wakes are probably "under investigation" right now.

I hope I was able to help you a little bit. If you still have questions, please ask me, I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:10 am

T1a, thank you so much for your post and for answering all my questions and concerns. Reading it has helped me so much. I will message you in a bit as I have just a few more questions.

And again, THANK YOU:)
 
dfwjim1
Posts: 1643
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:36 pm

Lots of helpful info here. Just a quick piece of advice. If possible try to take redeye flights as usually there is much less air turbulence in the overnight hours.
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:06 pm

dfwjim1, it's a transatlantic flight so return will have to be daytime.

T1a, I sent you a two pm's yesterday. Please let me know if you received anything as my inbox is not showing that my messages were sent. I tried twice.

Can anyone let me know how to use the pm? I must be doing something wrong.
 
T1a
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:41 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:00 pm

Sorry I didn't get anything. If I understand it correctly, your messages should show under “Sent Messages“. If they don't, they haven't been sent.
 
mxaxai
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:19 pm

I think T1a did a great job answering your earlier questions, so I will refrain from adding my own thoughts.

Why don't you just ask your remaining concerns publicly? Other people may have the same questions and you can gather more answers. You won't be ridiculed or anything, just go ahead.
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:46 pm

@T1a Yes, I did check under sent messages and there was nothing there. It's weird because I sent two messages.

Can anyone let me know if they also have a problem sending messages? Could it be because I'm a new member and don't have that option yet?

@mxaxai Yes, I will go ahead and just post here.
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:54 pm

T1a, as you know I tried to message you, however I was unable to do so, so this is my response to your post.

1) You mentioned that a lot of airlines offer nervous flyer seminars. Unfortunately not here in Toronto. I think that would have been great though.

In regards to selecting an airline you suggested to pick one with really tight security measures or and airline from a country where terrorism isn't an issue. I am going to book my ticket very soon and my options are: Lufthansa, Air Canada, Alitalia and Austrian. Although, prices have gone up because I really left it till the last minute and I will just go ahead with the one that has the cheapest price. I'd really like to fly with Austrian though.

Btw, is there any difference in regards to safety between Boeing 767 (Austrian) and airbus 330 (Lufthansa, Alitalia & AC)? I know the airbus 330 is more technologically advanced.

2)Thank you SO MUCH for going through all the steps during take off. My question is: why do a lot of the accidents occur during that time if everything is "done right"? And is an engine fire most likely to occur during take off?

3) You said that lithium batteries are prohibited in checked luggage. That's good to know! Does that include cargo? I guess I just worry that maybe a passenger forgot to mention it...

Has there ever been a passenger plane (non cargo flight) that crashed due to a lithium battery fire?

4 & 5) No more questions here :)

6) I meant more like a structural failure due to metal fatigue (China Airlines flight 611). Which is why I am afraid to fly on older planes.

7) No more questions here :)

8) Yes, I know that deep stall is specific to t tail designs which I why I would never fly on such a plane! :)

I guess flight 447 triggered my fear of deep stalls. I see it's something that is very unlikely so I feel much better. Can I ask: has a passenger plane crashed during take off due to a stall?

9) I feel much better to know that! Do you know if there has ever been a plane crash due to CAT alone?

10) No more questions here :)

11) I understand it's a non event but can the loss of cabin pressure be caused from something serious? Is it usually a rapid drop or slow? 2005 Helios airways comes to mind. Pilots didn't realize they were suffering from oxygen starvation. What *usually* causes loss of cabin pressure?

12,13&15) flight 447 comes to mind again.

14&16) No more questions here :)

Id also like to say that I purchased a book on flying yesterday called Cockpit Confidential which I hope will also help me. If anyone has any other recommendations please let me know!
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
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Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:59 pm

Btw, answers are welcomed from anyone!
 
DaveFly
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:35 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:46 pm

Oh my God! I'm having my third heart surgery in July, and I haven't obsessed about it like this. If you're so terrified, don't go. Everyone has answered your questions, what other guarantees do you want??
717,727,737,747,757,767,777,
L1011,DC8,DC9,DC10,MD80/90
A300,A319,320,321,330,340,
CRJ,E135/45/190,
DH8,Avro85,DHBeaver,AstarHelo,F100,ATR42
 
NesNes
Topic Author
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Re: Terrified of flying

Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:12 am

Hi DaveFly, only reason I asked more questions was because T1a said if I still have questions to please ask. And I'd love to not go, but as I wrote earlier it's a trip I absolutely have to take.

I feel a lot better anyway as all the posts so far have helped me tremendously and I'm glad I came here for help. So thanks again everyone.

And DaveFly I wish you the best of luck with your heart surgery in July.
 
Bostrom
Posts: 349
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:28 am

NesNes wrote:
T1a, as you know I tried to message you, however I was unable to do so, so this is my response to your post.

1) You mentioned that a lot of airlines offer nervous flyer seminars. Unfortunately not here in Toronto. I think that would have been great though.

In regards to selecting an airline you suggested to pick one with really tight security measures or and airline from a country where terrorism isn't an issue. I am going to book my ticket very soon and my options are: Lufthansa, Air Canada, Alitalia and Austrian. Although, prices have gone up because I really left it till the last minute and I will just go ahead with the one that has the cheapest price. I'd really like to fly with Austrian though.


You mentioned earlier that you are looking at a long (transatlantic) flight, and then a shorter 2h flight. If you are afraid of flying, have you considered flying to the hub closest to your destination and then take the train? Most major hubs in Europe have their own railway station with good connections. What is your final destination?

NesNes wrote:
Btw, is there any difference in regards to safety between Boeing 767 (Austrian) and airbus 330 (Lufthansa, Alitalia & AC)? I know the airbus 330 is more technologically advanced.


I don't think so, about 1100 767s and 1300 A330s have been built and they have proven themselves to be reliable and safe aircraft.
 
DaveFly
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:35 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:11 am

Thank you for the good wishes. But you're looking for a 100%, and there is no such thing. You will 99.9% surely be fine. But unless you hide
under your blanket, there is always risk in life. My sister was crossing the damn street at a graduation ceremony and got hit by a car. She has spent the last year in hospital and rehab. Just crossing the street. Have a Xanax or a glass of wine or two. You will be fine. I'm going to stop reading this thread because you're obsessed with the need for guarantees. Good luck. Youll have a great time, I'm sure.
717,727,737,747,757,767,777,
L1011,DC8,DC9,DC10,MD80/90
A300,A319,320,321,330,340,
CRJ,E135/45/190,
DH8,Avro85,DHBeaver,AstarHelo,F100,ATR42
 
User avatar
SomebodyInTLS
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:31 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:56 pm

DaveFly wrote:
I'm going to stop reading this thread because you're obsessed with the need for guarantees.


I'm going to keep reading. I think it's great that NesNes seems to actually be getting something good out of this and I want to know how it turns out.

Good luck NesNes - I hope this marks the beginning of a great love of flying! :)
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
mxaxai
Posts: 221
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Re: Terrified of flying

Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:15 pm

NesNes wrote:
2)Thank you SO MUCH for going through all the steps during take off. My question is: why do a lot of the accidents occur during that time if everything is "done right"? And is an engine fire most likely to occur during take off?

Maybe I can make an analogy here: Imagine yourself visiting a (large) supermarket. You go to the eggs section and start gathering just the rotten eggs. In the end, you may end up with, say, 35% brown and 65% white eggs. Now ask yourself, how many rotten eggs have you ever bought? That supermarket may have over 1000 eggs in storage, out of which 20 eggs turned out rotten. Would the knowledge that one sort of egg was more likely to be rotten make you really obsessed about avoiding white eggs? Would you stop buying eggs at all if all packages were 5 white/5 brown?

Transferring this to aviation, you are taking a sample of a handfull, or two, of flights that actually crashed out of hundreds of millions of flights that arrived without a bump. Will some phases of the flight be more hazardous than others? Sure. During take-off, the highest weights and engine power levels are reached. Obviously, stuff tends to break more when subjected to high stress.
In actual numbers, about 20% of crashes happen during take-off and initial climb, or a probability 0.2. However, the overall probability of a crash with at least one fatality is 1 in 4.7 million, or 0.0000002128, or 0.00002128%. Now, the probability of a crash on take-off is 0.00000004255, or 0.000004255%, versus landing at 0.0000000766, or 0.00000766%. The difference between take-off and landing is now 0.00000003404, or 0.000003404%. Does this reduce your fear of specifically the take-off procedure?


8) Yes, I know that deep stall is specific to t tail designs which I why I would never fly on such a plane! :)

I guess flight 447 triggered my fear of deep stalls. I see it's something that is very unlikely so I feel much better. Can I ask: has a passenger plane crashed during take off due to a stall?

Has there been one? Certainly. Just remember that aircraft do not stall easily, warn the pilot beforehand and, in the case of modern Airbus aircraft (A320 and newer), actually limit the pilot's input to avoid a stall on their own.

9) I feel much better to know that! Do you know if there has ever been a plane crash due to CAT alone?

The only case I can think of was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOAC_Flight_911 over 50 years ago.

11) I understand it's a non event but can the loss of cabin pressure be caused from something serious? Is it usually a rapid drop or slow? 2005 Helios airways comes to mind. Pilots didn't realize they were suffering from oxygen starvation. What *usually* causes loss of cabin pressure?


It can be both. A sudden pressure hull breach can make the fuselage lose the pressure very quickly, whereas a slight malfunction of the air conditioning system can lead to a slow change you, as a passenger, may not even notice. Typically, it is caused by problems with the AC and pressurisation system. Leaky seals, stuck air exchange valves, clogged up ventilators, broken motors, short circuits and tripping circuit brakers, it can be anything. The pilots have warnings that alert them of both system malfunctions and low air pressure. Note that sudden pressure (and the associated temperature) drops are very noticeable.

Id also like to say that I purchased a book on flying yesterday called Cockpit Confidential which I hope will also help me. If anyone has any other recommendations please let me know!


Cockpit Confidential is a good book. Fear of flying is a rather common phobia, even if many don't admit it, so you will find much more material should you go looking for it.

I could find this program at Montreal http://govisionair.com/govisionair.com/ ... mme-en.php and another one in a flightsim in Toronto http://uflysimulator.ca/fear-of-flying-course/ .
 
NesNes
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Terrified of flying

Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:37 am

Bostrom, there are trains but it's a VERY long ride and will take two more days off the trip (there and back). Plus, I'm not going alone on this trip. I have to admit though, I was very close to just booking the train.

SomebodyinTLS, thanks!:)

mxaxai, thank you for answering my questions - again. I appreciate it very much. And you made some really great points. It's so true that I focus on the very few flights that have crashed instead of the millions that haven't. It's ridiculous. I will remember those numbers you gave when I'm on my flight :)

I'd also like to say that I booked my flight with Austrian last night. I even have a 12 hour layover in Vienna which is great.

Oh, and I think I should print this entire thread to take with me on the flight :)
 
T1a
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:41 pm

Re: Terrified of flying

Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:01 pm

Hi NesNes,

sorry that I didn't answer quicker, but I was on vacation.

1) It's sad to hear that nobody in the Toronto area gives such seminars. It would've guessed that AC does.
Well, someone like you probably shouldn't just book the cheapest flight, but have a look at what makes your flight less dreadful. I think Austrian is a very solid and good choice, though. Actually all the mentioned airlines would have been. I wouldn't have chosen Alitalia, not because of safety concerns, but because they might not be around next week...

The B767 is a solid work horse, has been around for a long time, has a stellar safety record and is the type with most Atlantic crossings per day (a least it has been for a long time, don't know if that's still up-to-date). And "Austrian Technik" has been servicing these aircraft for over 15 years now (since they acquired them through the Lauda Air merger), these guys know the aircraft very well.

2) Well, the reaction time is just way shorter when you're close to the ground. Say you have an instrument failure say at 500ft or 30,000ft. One Attitude indicator malfunctions. If it happens close to the ground you need good communication in the flight deck to find out quickly which is the faulty one (it actually isn't hard to do, just compare the two main ones to the standby instrument). But at low altitude and maybe high terrain around the workload is higher anyway, so you need a crew that is communicating well to solve the problem. If it happens at 30,000ft you have got time.

On Take-off the thrust setting is high, so the engine is under the most stress and a part failure causing an engine-fire thus is most likely during that phase. But I can assure you engine-fire on take-off is trained in each and every simulator event. Before and after V1.

3) Lithium Batteries as Cargo would be handled as a "dangerous good" and would require special handling and packaging. I think they're not allowed as under belly cargo on passenger flights, but I'm not a 100% certain here, I would need to check that.
And passenger bags are x-rayed before they go into the belly. I remember a time where my mom was called out at the airport years ago because they "found" something in her luggage that they thought looked strange. She needed to open her bag, it was an electric kettle that she packed, because she wasn't sure the hotel in Spain had one.

6) China Airlines 611 was caused by a improper tail strike repair that resulted in metal fatigue and should have been detected by technicians years earlier. You shouldn't be afraid of older planes but of bad maintenance procedures. A well maintained 30 year old aircraft (have a look at Lufthansa's oldest A320 D-AIPA), is a lot safer that a badly maintained 10 year old one.

8) Well you need more than just a T-tail. By far most T-tail designes do not have that issue. It probably has, especially in the early years of flying or when private pilots that only log a couple of hours a year take their Cessna 172 for a ride. But I can't think of any recent event in western commercial air travel.

9) mxaxai answered it already.

11) Of course the cause for a loss of pressure can be something dramatic (Aloha Airlines 243 comes to mind), but if it is a rapid decompression the pilots will surely notice and put on their masks. A slow decompression (or not pressurizing during climb) is way harder to recognize. Of course I know that Helios flight, but I don't remember why the crew didn't recognize the situation. In my airplane, the master warning horn comes on as soon as we get close to 10,000ft pressure altitude in the aircraft.
The top picks on my fleet probably are:
1. Door not shut right by FA or catering.
2. Pilots forgetting to switch on the bleeds after take-off.
But as I said before, a loss of pressure in itself is not dangerous at all.

12, 13, 15) Yes AF447 was a wake-up call for many in the industry. Since then a lot of rethinking has been done and manual aircraft control has been put back more into the center of pilot recurrent training.

And I will also try to contact you per PM, hope it works this way around. Maybe that way we can share some more personal info that we don't like to post openly in the forums.

CU

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