Contrary to popular belief, I am afraid of flying in airplanes. Despite this, I love to travel. How am I able to do it? I am going to share what has helped me immensely.
It all started one day at work two years ago. It was about to travel to South Korea for the second time. This time however, I was going to do a layover in Hong Kong. I just wanted to step foot in China, even if it was not mainland China. Thinking about the nearly 16 hour flight to Hong Kong was making me sick to my stomach. I decided the best thing to do was to scour the internet for information that would lessen my fears. There were certain articles that really stood out to me.
The first one was an interview between the founder of Fear of Flying School, Tim Benjamin and Captain Bill Watts. Turbulence was and still is one of my biggest fears. When I felt even the least bit of turbulence I felt as if the plane was going to crash. The interview defined turbulence as “merely a disturbance in a fluid called ‘air’ – similar to the waves in the ocean.” Captain Bill Watts explained that it can be compared to “a bumpy road.” And that was somewhat comforting because bumpy roads are something we’ve all experienced. And we’re not the least bit afraid of them.
Terrain, such as a mountain can “impact the airflow and cause it to be turbulent.” Even buildings can affect airflow. Other things that can disrupt airflow are “atmospheric pressure”, “temperature”, “or even the rotation of the earth.” “CAT,” or “‘clear-air’ turbulence is a disturbance when no clouds are associated with it. This can be a little scary as it can come out of nowhere. I was assured there was nothing to worry about.
So, I was able to understand what’s going on with turbulence but I was still scared about free-falling. Was it really possible for a plane to just drop out of the sky?
In a different interview, where Tim Benjamin interviewed Dr. Bob Sharman, I learned a few other tips to put my mind at ease. When we understand what’s going on, our fears are decreased. When we feel the airplane going down, “there is still lift on the wing.” “So it’s NOT going to fall out of the sky.” Dr. Sharman also noted that we don’t remember the “98% of the flight that was smooth.” Something interesting to learn was that the pilot will have the plane go up or down “to find a smoother altitude.”
These were just two of the ways I was helped with my fear of flying. I no longer have to worry that turbulence means I am going to die. I still dread it, but I feel safe as I’m going through it. Also, I realize that planes don’t just fall out of the sky. There is a method to the madness. And it’s more about the pilot trying to give me a smoother ride, and less about me falling to my death. It was all thanks to the Fear of Flying School.