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How To Get Rid Of Your Fear of Flying

By: Julie Michelle Smith

Fear of Flying

Travelling by airplane is about 29 times safer than driving by car, but if you suffer from fear of flying, those statistics won't make much of a difference.

Don't let your next vacation be spoiled by your fear of flying. It's time to battle the fear.

1. Analyze your fear

What exactly is it that you're afraid of? There may be multiple causes, including:

  • Heights
  • Enclosed spaces
  • Crowded conditions
  • Sitting in hot, stale air
  • Being required to wait passively
  • Not understanding the reasons for all the strange actions, sounds, and sensations occurring around you
  • Worrying about the dangers of turbulence
  • Being dependent on unknown mechanical things to maintain your safety
  • Being dependent on an unknown pilot’s judgment
  • Not feeling in control
  • The possibility of terrorism

Fear of flying is different for everyone. Understanding your personal fear is the first step towards getting rid of it. For instance, if you're afraid to be in enclosed spaces in general, you should seek help for that and not focus on flying so much.

If your fear is caused by a trauma, you might like to consider joining a support group or seeking therapeutic help. A good place to start is Wings of Light, a national nonprofit public charity that provides a 'survivors support network', a 'family and friends support network', and a 'rescue/response personnel support network'.

Hundreds of planes land safely in bad weather every day.

2. Get your facts straight

Be aware of which parts of your fears are irrational. Learn a little bit about aerodynamics and the engine of an airplane.

For instance, you may not know that even with all the engines stopped, an airplane can glide back down to a safe destination: it won’t fall like a rock. Its altitude will be traded for airspeed, and the airspeed will generate enough lift to fly it back down to the ground for a safe landing.

When your plane makes a steep turn, it's not a sign that it's about to crash. Sometimes noise abatement regulations require a sharp turn to avoid noise-sensitive areas on the ground. Turbulence is only problematic when the weather is really bad. But even then you should realize that hundreds of planes land safely in bad weather every day.

Trust the technique and professional experience of pilots. They are specifically trained to fly an airplane even when the engines are not working. Getting back to the ground after an emergency might be scary, but you will probably survive.

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