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Fear of FlyingFear of Flying

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CFI to CFI: Apprehensive students
Keep it from becoming fear
By Budd Davisson
AOPA Flight Training, February 2005
Show me a student who comes into flight training with absolutely no apprehension and I'll show you a student who is a terrific actor; a liar who has fooled even himself; an ex-military fighter jockey; or possibly all of the above.

For love or flying
Homefront diplomacy can boost support for your piloting
By Jill W. Tallman
AOPA Flight Training, August 2004

Wouldn't it be great if everybody loved flying as much as we do? Sadly, everybody doesn't. We can grow a thick skin when it comes to the bemused stares or callous comments ("Why in the world do you want to do that?") of casual acquaintances. It's harder to put aside the bewilderment and disappointment we may feel when our loved ones don't want to join us in our aviation adventures.

Flying Carpet: 'We need to turn back'
The pain of fearful passengers
By Greg Brown
AOPA Flight Training, July 2004

"I'm sure it's no big deal," said my mother as we taxied in. "I get this all the time on the airlines. Probably I should take something to calm my nerves before flying." Jean escorted her to the terminal while I quickly secured the plane.

But I'm Afraid of Flying...
Don't let doubts keep you down
By Marc K. Henegar
AOPA Pilot, February 2004

John was involved in an accident about a year after he got his private pilot certificate and just days after he got his commercial ticket. He had to abort a takeoff at a field with a very short runway and ended up on the wrong side of the airport fence, contemplating his life's choices. Though the airplane and his ego were pretty well damaged, he and his passengers were unhurt.

Overcoming Apprehension
Don't Let Crosswinds Keep You Down
By Budd Davisson
AOPA Flight Training, June 2002

We probably shouldn't mention this, but if you look closely at flying, in some ways it really doesn't make a lot of sense. There we are suspended above the Earth in a relatively fragile machine, and we all know that the only absolute fact about machines is that they sometimes break. OK, so airplanes seldom let us down, but a modicum of common sense, which is still lurking in a dark corner of our minds, sometimes causes us to get a little worried. Besides the mechanical reliability, there is the question of possible weather problems. And keeping proficient. And crosswinds.

Continuing Ed: The Reluctant Pilot
By Mark Twombly
AOPA Flight Training, April 2002

Fear of flying is, and always has been, a big issue in general aviation. Many of us know the disappointment and frustration of discovering that a friend or family member is fearful about flying with us in a light airplane. But there is another, darker chapter in the fear-of-flying story that isn't talked about much because it is too embarrassing. Why embarrassing? Because the pilot is the one who is fearful.

Fear of flying: Don't hang up your headset
By Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Pilot, May 2001

An AOPA member recently participated in a Web conference on AOPA's WebBoard Conference center and voiced this concern: "I began taking flying lessons at the age of 14 and soloed at 16. I accrued more than 600 hours of flying time in single- and multi-engine aircraft. In 1989, I managed to get myself from VFR weather into sudden IFR on a cross-country flight. While I got myself and my passengers safely on the ground, since then I have had a terror of small aircraft. When I try to fly now, I have a death grip on the yoke and cringe at any bump or sign of turbulence. In all honesty, I am scared of flying."

Training Together
Take your spouse or significant other with you to training sessions-you'll both learn a lot
By Charles E. Wright
AOPA Pilot, April 2000

Under the FAA's advanced qualification program (AQP), we now have two sim visits. Because of that, I decided to really make the most of it this year — I brought my wife along. I figured that it was going to be a great opportunity for her to see just what it is that I do for a living.

Instructor Report: Long-Held Dreams
It's never too late to learn
By Greg Brown
AOPA Flight Training, October 1999

Few sights match the smile on a person's face after he or she has piloted an airplane for the first time. Add the richness of seeing a dream fulfilled for someone who has harbored the idea for many years, and then multiply by 30 for a hint of the excitement at the first-ever Aviation Elderhostel, hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, in May. For those who are not familiar with the organization, Elderhostel International is a nonprofit group that offers worldwide educational travel opportunities to participants aged 55 and older.

Learn to fight the panic
By Budd Davisson
AOPA Flight Training, September 1999

Panic has an interesting effect on people. Author Bob Gandt describes the effect perfectly: "Panic causes your brain to shrink to the size of a pea which then rolls out your nose." In other words, just when you need it most, don't count on your brain being there. I call this phenomenon in-flight brain death. The most common manifestation of in-flight brain death is an overwhelming desire to get on the ground. Get-down-itis.

Fear of Flying
Assuring those you love
By Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Pilot, September 1999

You have found your passion; you love to fly. Unfortunately the people in your life with whom you would most like to spend air time don't share your enthusiasm. Most likely it's because of their fear of the unknown facet of flight — how safe is it?

Selling Your Family on Flying
The first flight is critical
By Greg Brown
AOPA Flight Training, May 1999

Your beaming family has just arrived at the airport for their first airplane ride with you as captain. The smiles on their faces, fueled by excitement and anticipation, will be surpassed only by the delight they feel after you have introduced them to the wonders of flight. Every soon-to-be pilot has dreams like these, but that's not always the way it goes.

Fear and Flying
Understanding personal limits
By Robert N. Rossier
AOPA Flight Training, October 1998

The March winds howled feverishly as if the sky were trying to rid itself of pesky winged irritants. I was at the controls of one such winged irritant, training for my commercial certificate. The Cessna pitched and rolled violently as each gust slammed us without mercy. I felt more like a boxer than a pilot, fending off my opponent's blows, rolling with the punches, eyes wide open, looking for the opening when I would make my move. When the opening came, a pause in the stiff, gusty crosswind, I would plant the tires on the tarmac. "Maybe I should have stayed home and played video games?" I quipped to my instructor, John. It was a joke, the kind I'd make when I knew I was in way over my head.

Out Of The Pattern: Keeping One In The Fold
By Amy Laboda
AOPA Flight Training, March 1998
The signs, if I had seen them, meant only one thing - Matt is afraid to fly. But I missed them all, perhaps having caught some of his enthusiasm for learning to fly. That's why it hit me like a lead pipe when, 30 feet in the air, the airplane abruptly pitched down as Matt released the yoke.

Out of the Pattern: Flight By Association
By Amy Laboda
Flight Training, February 1997

Some people come to flying on their own, and others are simply dragged into it by association. In the latter case, the "dragger" is usually a family member or friend who is a pilot. Sometimes the "draggee" is a pilot's wife. She learns to fly because her husband has set up housekeeping at the airport and she feels like it's the only way she'll ever see him again.

This Is Your Captain Speaking
How to brief your passengers before takeoff
By Robert I. Snow
AOPA Flight Training, August 1996

Although FAR 91.519 is in Subpart F of Part 91, which applies to "Large and Turbine-Powered Multiengine Airplanes," pilots of smaller aircraft have a responsibility to brief their passengers on more than how to use their seat belts. As pilots, airplanes quickly become familiar places to us. But to passengers on their first airplane rides, even such a simple act as opening a door might be daunting.

Uneasy Riders
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, December 1994

The first flight can be the beginning of a wonderful love affair or a miserable experience that negatively colors your whole perception of flying. Those with a burning desire may gamble a second time even if the experience was wretched. For the less adventuresome, the closest they'll come to a cockpit will be when making the right turn off the jetway into the cabin of an airliner.

Reluctant Passengers
By Buz Marten
AOPA Pilot, November 1992

To take an airplane ride, most of us will drop what we're doing; many will beg off work or other "important" engagements — just given the opportunity. It's hard for us to comprehend that many of our own species shudder at the thought of being airborne, even though most of us are closely associated with and/or related to these folks. This closeness means that would-be nonfliers often become reluctant passengers.

Fear and Flying
By Lisa Romer Schafer
AOPA Flight Training, September 1990

John didn't get much out of that first spin, at least not much about spin recovery. He was too busy being afraid. What he did learn was that a spin is not necessarily the kiss of death, if you know how to recover. That important lesson enabled him to relax and concentrate on learning the technique.