Overcome Fear of Flying
Aerophobia is an extreme, irrational fear of flying (sometimes referred to as avio/aviatophobia). It may be part of other phobias such as a fear of heights or closed spaces. Someone with a phobia of flying will feel compelled to avoid air travel wherever possible. This may be a real hindrance for people who wish to travel for leisure, or for those who must travel for work.
Being afraid to fly is quite a common phobia, and is also treatable. Gaining an understanding of aviation may be a key area for some sufferers, depending on the reasons behind their fears. Some fears include panic attacks, heights, closed spaces, turbulence, crashing, hijacking, terrorism and not being in control. Some of these fears may be relieved through learning more about air travel.
How to Learn About Aviation
- Websites – there are many websites dedicated to helping sufferers of aerophobia, including some courses. Some of these courses are free of charge and can be completed online.
- Books and journals – there are a number of books on overcoming aerophobia, and also a great many journals/magazines on aviation (do have a flick through before buying – some may be quite technical).
- Airlines – many airlines run workshops to help relieve fears through education. These workshops sometimes include an optional flight.
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Some Facts on Flying
Becoming educated about aviation doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. In fact, some online courses only take a few hours to complete, and you may begin to feel more comfortable quite quickly.
Here are some facts about flying to get you started:
- The FAA (Federal Flight Administration) is responsible for ensuring safe and secure flight in the US, though some other countries follow their guidelines.
- All professionals involved in flight, including mechanics, pilots, air traffic controllers and cabin crew go through rigorous training. They are skilled, motivated professionals who are committed to taking their work very seriously.
- There are a number of security measures to prevent terrorism. All aviation staff, including cabin crew, are trained in this area.
- Planes go through a series of rigorous inspections before take-off.
- Planes are sturdy, powerful machines that are built to fly. Planes can endure much greater speeds and forces than are imposed during flight.
- It is physically impossible to open a cabin door during flight due to cabin pressure. Only when the cabin is depressurized can the doors be opened.
- Planes have built-in stability – they will not tip over.
- Turbulence is a normal part of flight and will not damage the aircraft, even at its strongest.
- Pilots are trained to deal with difficult weather conditions, but bad weather is avoidable thanks to new technologies.
- Engines keep the plane pushing forward. In the incredibly unlikely event that all engines were to fail, the plane can still fly and even land. Planes do not fall out of the sky.
Learning about aviation may be helpful, particularly when combined with other interventions. Some treatments include:
- Talking treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy
- Behavioral treatments, such as systematic desensitization
- Relaxation exercises, including deep breathing techniques
- Antianxiety medication, such as benzodiazepines
It may be worth seeking help from a health professional, such as doctor or therapist, who will be able to provide you with more information on treating your phobia.