Courage to Fly


Asking the right questions

One of the intents of the Courage To Fly Program is to encourage thoughtful questioning as a means of gathering information to make informed choices. Following are some of the questions that are most frequently asked by fearful flyers. This is by no means all of them. The CD In-flight program also addresses some of these questions. It is my experience that when people ask those questions that are most important to them; they feel more assured and safer. This is in part because the process of facing fear includes the gathering of information to address the areas of the unknown to assure it is reasonable to feel safe. I encourage you to gather those questions important to you so we can include the answers in your personal program and Flight Manual. The program is aimed at helping you make your flying experience the best it can be for you.  How you take charge of the development of your flight manual will make a great deal of difference in creating your new flying experiences.

1- If an airline is in financial trouble do they cut corners on their maintenance?

Answer:  No, the FAA requires maintenance at regular hours of flying time, and most airlines exceed these requirements as a precaution against having to make costly repairs or cancel flights.  This is also true for all foreign airlines that fly into the U.S.

2- Are some areas of the plane safer than others?

Answer:  No, seats away from the engines are less noisy, seats over the wing feel less pitching motion, seats in the aisle have more leg room, and window seats a better view. Choose your seats for comfort this increases your sense of safety.

3- Are the clunking noises and bells a sign of danger?

Answer:  No, all planes make noises as a part of their working nature.  Ask the flight crew what these noises mean.  Learning the purpose of these signs will help reduce your anxiety.  The bells are part of the airplane intercom and indicate – climbing above 10,000 feet, flight attendants need supplies, the pilots may want coffee etc.

4- Turbulence terrifies me, how much can a plane take without crashing?

Answer:  There is no way to be sure that there will be no turbulence. Turbulence is the change of wind direction or wind speed causing a difference in air current and pressure for the plane to fly through.  It is similar to waves in the water.  The wind is part of the forces that act to support the aircraft and all commercial aircraft are designed to handle these changes. (Turbulence is a big concern for many people and takes some explaining to understand – please feel free to contact us for further discussion)

5- Does it mean that there is something dangerous happening when there is a maintenance delay?

Answer:  Maintenance delays can indicate many situations including shortage of meals, the smoke alarm is not working in the bathroom, one of the non-essential pieces of equipment needs fixing.  (There are many redundant systems in commercial aircraft.  Please feel free to contact us for further discussion of this topic.)

6- What if the pilot has been drinking?

Answer:  There is regular drug testing of pilots and crewmembers.  In addition, if any of the flight crew suspects a drug problem with the pilots and did not report it they would be subject to loosing their jobs as well. All crew members are invested in maximum health and performance for safe flight for their own benefit and safety.

7- What if I go crazy and embarrass myself?

Answer:  This fear is shared by many fearful flyers. Once they acknowledge their fear outwardly and image themselves "going crazy" the feeling and usually goes away.  Ask yourself what "going crazy" would look like for you personally.  It is easier to handle when you become more clear what behaviors you are imaging. None of my clients have ever gone crazy during our flights although many of them have had that fear at the beginning.

8- What if my fear is claustrophobia?

Answer:  Many fearful flyers identify claustrophobia as one of their fears or even their main fear.  The courage to fly process works for many other fears in life in addition to the fear of flying.

9- Why should I believe this course can help me?

Answer:  This is a very common belief.  Usually the fearful flyer believes they will be in the one percent that can not be helped through this type of coaching.  This course like many others offers some helpful tools in overcoming:  lack of knowledge, preparation to support you during flights, alternative ways of thinking about the flying experience, and relaxation.  There is great success when one has the motivation to change what isn't working.  Ultimately it is the individual who makes the difference.  When people get motivated to take advantage of life experiences they have been missing out on there are very few that don´t grab their courage to create a better life for themselves. 

In addition to the above information I have included several web addresses where you can find out interesting and useful information regarding aviation.

See the Flying Facts and Link pages on this site.