Letters to the Editor
SUBJECT: Fear of Flying
FROM: Kevin Rose <email@example.com>
I wanted to tell how I am conquering my fear of
flying: by taking
flying lessons and working towards a private pilot certificate.
This may not be for everyone; it works for me,
possibly because of a technical background as an avionics engineer.
Turbulence has always been tough for me, but
experiencing it as a pilot-trainee (and slowing to maximum-design
turbulence speed) when I'm at the controls, shows me it is not something
One time, when the pilot of a Canadair Regional Jet
suddenly chopped the power, I thought we were going to dive to the
ground and crash. That did
it! I resolved to never fly
again. But, knowing that
wasn’t a reasonable solution to my fears, I decided to learn to fly
It wasn’t easy.
I came back shaking after my first few times in a Cessna 172.
"What am I doing up here?"
But I stuck with it and soon began to enjoy the
training. By the time we
started practicing stalls, emergency procedures and emergency landings,
the rest of my fears slipped away.
I recovered from each potential emergency very nicely.
Now that I am authorized to solo in the local area
and land at two other airports nearby, I am finding true enjoyment of
flight. It is also
comforting to know I can choose to drive, fly the airlines, or fly
I used to get upset with airline agents when I
encountered delays, missed connections, and lost baggage.
My attitude was:
“I'm paying for this; I demand exemplary
But, as a student pilot I have learned the
complexities of flight. I
will never again complain of airline delays, lost baggage,
or missed connections.
A Cessna 172 is complex enough. A plane with turbine engines is all the more complex; I'm
amazed that airlines do as well as they do.
Another side benefit of learning to fly: I'm
now more relaxed in day-to-day life (my wife is very supportive of my
learning to fly). Just
about all my friends are amazed that I can fly -- even after 100 years,
flying is a great achievement. It's
a great way to meet new people.
I recommend learning to fly as a way of combating a
fear of flying. While I
don't plan on becoming an airline pilot, I might acquire a Flight
Instructor rating so I can teach what I now love.
[See the Faq
on the Fear of Flying, Ed.]
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