Courage to Fly


Hot Words

"Terror Attack" and "Safety of Commercial Airline Travel" or more Hot Words

Using a "hot word" is one of the most effective means of stimulating fear in all of us. What are "hot words," you may ask? Test your reaction to the following words to experience how they become "hot words":

  • Terrorist
  • Attack
  • Plummet
  • Crash
  • Panic
  • Tragedy
  • Fire!

Fear is a natural process to stimulate us to take action.

Some words act to trigger very strong feelings and particularly those primary feelings of fear and anger. Fear and anger are feelings we have developed over thousands of years of human existence. They are mainly for our protection so that we watch out for danger and to protect ourselves if we are attacked.

However fear can behave like a dysfunctional smoke alarm.

The problem is that these feelings can arise even if there is no danger or attack eminent. When we hear or think hot words, the feelings pop up first, then we get ready to take action, and then we investigate their validity later. This is of course helpful if we are just about to be hit by a car or attacked by a lion. However, this reactive state can also keep us in a constant state of turmoil when it gets out of control. Just as you can image how you would feel if your smoke alarm went off continuously during the night even when there was no smoke.

Hot, Hotter Hottest!

Hot words such as, falling, crash, terror, explode, screaming etc are all hot words. It isn't that we should never use them, but there are consequences if words are used indiscriminately. It is unlawful to use the word "fire" within a public place like a theater for example. This is due to peoples experience and reaction to certain words. There are many hot words used by fearful flyers. There are both common hot words, as well as particular ones for each person. Terror is the one word today concerning flying that is definitely a hot word , red hot. This word alone keeps us both on alert and in a constant state of unknowing.

How can a individual know what, where or how to handle that danger? We immediately wonder, what is the source of the terror? Who is the one we must fear? How can an individual know when they are in danger? Who is it that they can ask?

The answers to these questions are generally unknown. There are different opinions about the nature of the problems and their solutions. Without the ability to answer questions related to one's safety, it is natural that people are willing to accept any answer that feels like it will lead to an immediate solution. For the fearful flyer this is the decision of "don't go".

How to be the pilot of your own life and decision making, YOU ask questions!

One important duty of a pilot is to determine whether the flight should be taken or should be called off. This is the "go or don't go" rule. In commercial flights there is infrequently a reason "not to go". Occasionally this decision is made due to extreme weather conditions at the departure or arrival airports. But how does an individual person arrive at the decision? You ask questions, ask questions, and ask questions! You gather as much related information as you can. As pilot of your own life and the decision to "go or not go" it is essential for you to be satisfied that you have asked all the questions you need to ask.

  • Listen to who it is that is giving the information! First of all you as a pilot must listen to who it is that is giving the information. Does this person have legitimate information? Are there possible reasons that they would use hot words to encourage your fear level? Sometimes people have investment in getting others to believe what they believe. They use words to help paint the picture they want others to believe.
  • Have you filtered the words through your own "fear shield"? Have you understood others correctly or have you jumped to conclusions because the words match your feelings of fear. Your beliefs start to build upon those fears and it is easy to hear small bits of information incorrectly?

Ways you can investigate safety of commercial flights:

  • Identify the sources hot words (news paper articles with frightening headlines)
  • Inform yourself (flight schedule options etc.)
  • Ask questions (find out about weather etc.)
  • Contact me here at (Learning to ask questions is an important part of the In-flight Manuel that we can development together.)

These are a few of the ways you can investigate the questions of safety in commercial flight. In spite of the very scary possibility of an airplane being attacked, it still remains safer to travel by commercial air than any other means of travel. In fact it is safer to be in the air than on the ground in everyday activities. The next time you see a news paper headline about the lack of airline safety or hear from a friend about a movie on airline tragedy (another hot word), begin by informing yourself. Look for any hot words, and then ask questions to find out the meaning and or purpose of these words.