Ask Me Anything

As a nervous flyer you may have many questions related to air travel, and the aviation industry. Whether it be related to take-off, landing, turbulence, noises you have heard…..etc etc.

This is where you can ask me any question you want, and I will answer it for you. Simply post your questions below, and I will answer within 24 hours.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: DUE TO HIGH DEMAND FOR HELP I CAN NO LONGER PROMISE I WILL GET BACK TO YOU IF YOU POST A QUESTION HERE. BECOME A VIP MEMBER BY CLICKING HERE.

Comments

  1. S.M. says

    Hi Kevin,
    Thank you for your site, I will comb through the pages in hopes of getting over my fear. But my fear is a little different and I wanted to know if you have ever experienced this with any of your collegues. The thing is I am an Ex Flight Attendant – Ex because 4 years ago I walked off a flight after suffering from tremendouse aniexty and have never been able to fly (for the purpose of work) since. I have travelled maybe 4 times since then and it was the most HORRIBLE feeling.

    It would be so easy to just get a desk job and forget about it, but the problem is I MISS MY JOB MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD! There is nothing else I can see myself doing. Have you ever seen anything like this? A flight attendant who fears flying… I am so embarassed because all I hear from friends and family is ‘are you still a flight attendant?’ or ‘why dont you fly anymore…..’. I look at all of the friends I left behind, only to see all of thier layover photos and just want to cry! To make matters worse, my younger sister was just hired as a flight attendant!

    Can I get over this you think???

    Regards
    SM

    • says

      Hi SM,

      Sorry to hear of your anxiety and how it has affected your career. Personally, I have not experienced this with any of my colleagues. BUT, anxiety can affect anyone – even those, such as yourself, ‘in the know’.

      Despite knowing how safe flying is, your anxiety is taking control of you. Can you overcome it? Yes. But, you have to overcome it BEFORE working as a Flight Attendant again. You know as well as I do that passengers look to us for support in times of anxiety, and any sign that you are not 100% comfortable will only increase their uneasiness.

      I highly recommend the SOAR Course for overcoming your anxiety. The longer you let this continue, the harder it will be. Remember, YOU CAN OVERCOME THIS.

  2. Lauren says

    Hi!

    First of all, your website is great! I stumbled across it tonight as I was trying to find anything that may help calm my fear of flying before my flight across the country in a week and a half. I used to love flying. It put a smile on my face when we’d take off, which I think was because the thought of being so far in the air was really exciting to me. However, on a flight about a year and a half ago, we hit slight turbulence on both my original and returning flight. When the pilot told the attendants to sit down, it really shook me. Since then, I’ve refused to fly. But now that I’ve got a brand new nephew on the other side of the US, I know I have to get over my thoughts and fears.

    Just reading your entries has eased my fear a good bit. I don’t think my fear is extreme, but at the same time, I have additional questions that until I have answers, I think I’ll still fear flying anywhere. All of my questions are about turbulence, and I’m sure have easy answers.

    First question: People always tell me that when the plane hits turbulence, the pilot will try to avoid it by dropping the plane, and this is what I feel when it seems like I’m dropping many feet. Is this true? I know you mention that pilots try to avoid it, but do they do so in such a way that passengers can really feel the movement? Or is what I’m really feeling the small bumps of turbulence that you talk about?

    My second question: I’ve never experienced bad turbulence (a small amount was enough to scare me). Why does the length of time of turbulence vary? If pilots try to avoid it, why have some people experienced turbulence for long periods of time? If it continues for a long period of time does that mean that there is no better altitude to fly at to get out of it?

    My next question: Is turbulence caused by weather (like a storm system) more serious than open air turbulence? The turbulence I’ve been in was while we flew through dark clouds, and not only did I worry about the turbulence, but I was also worried that the plane would get struck by lightning. Does that ever happen?

    My last question is: Where is the best place to sit on a plane to minimize how much turbulence you feel? That may be a dumb question since the whole plane moves, but I’ve heard in certain sections of the plane, you don’t feel turbulence as much. If so, I’d love to be in that area during my flight. :o)

    I appreciate any response that you can give. Being in your position, I feel like what you say is more factual and calming than the people (like my family/friends/boyfriend) who tell me everything will be ok.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    Lauren

    • says

      Hi Lauren,

      Turbulence is a big fear for many people, but truthfully, it really shouldn’t be. I always tell those that don’t like it to compare air to water. When on a boat, you do not fear movement, because you can see the water you are floating on. When on a plane, you fear movement simply due to the fact you cannot physically see the air surrounding you. Imagine air as thousands of rivers flowing in different directions, and it becomes easier to understand turbulence.

      Let’s answer your specific questions…..

      Question 1: Movement during turbulence

      Yes, pilots can sometimes change altitude to avoid turbulence but this is not what you feel. The movement you feel is the effect of turbulence on the aircraft itself. However, the plane barely moves more than a few inches in either direction (up, down, left, or right) – despite the fact it feels so much more.

      As I mentioned, a pilot can increase OR decrease altitude to try and find ‘clearer’ air. Yes, you may feel this, but they will not continuously change altitude and it will be a gradual change – not sudden movement. You may also notice the aircraft slow down as this helps minimise the bumpy sensation. Just like when you drive fast over a speed bump, an aircraft will move around more the faster it is travelling. So, if a pilot cannot find any clear air, he/she may request to slow down to make the ride more comfortable.

      Any change in altitude or speed is cleared with Air-Traffic Control before action is taken.

      Question 2: Length of Turbulent Conditions

      Turbulence can occur anywhere, however it is more common in some areas than others. Locations are dependant on weather fronts, jetstreams and various other factors. Therefore, there is no set ‘size’ of a turbulent area. It can last for 5 seconds, or 5 hours.

      As I’ve already mentioned, pilots will always actively try and minimise turbulence in order to give you the most comfortable journey possible. Sometimes though, it’s simply not possible to avoid it. Turbulence is a completely natural occurence. It has always been around, and always will be.

      Also, Air-Traffic Control may not allow a pilot to increase or decrease altitude due to other traffic in the area. Don’t forget that they are in overall control of the skies and pilots will always follow their instructions without deviation.

      Question 3: Storms

      Pilots will always avoid severe storms as they can produce severe turbulence which would likely cause injury to passengers onboard. These storms appear on radar and can always be avoided – depending on severity/intensity.

      Flying through stormy clouds though, is a completely normal occurence. Yes, the clouds may cause some turbulence but it is completely safe and no different from that experienced whilst in clear air.

      Yes, planes do get struck by lightning regularly but they are designed to withsatnd this. You can read more about this by clicking here. It’s an article I wrote a while ago on flying in lightning storms, and I even show you a video of a plane that is struck and continues flying as though nothing has happened.

      Question 4: Where to Sit

      It’s not a dumb question as you are correct in saying some areas of the aircraft experience more movement in the event of turbulence. Anywhere near or over the wings is the best place to sit. The worst place to sit during turbulence is near the back of the aircraft as the tail moves more than any other part.

      In Summary

      Turbulence is NOT dangerous, but can be uncomfortable. At no time is the aircraft in danger as it is built to withstand more than it will ever encounter. Pilots do not have to fight to control the plane in turbulent conditions, in fact, the autopilot handles it perfectly by itself.

      Always remember that the plane is not moving anywhere near as much as it feels like it is. When the pilots put the seatbelt signs on and/or ask the Flight Attendants to sit down they are only doing so to ensure nobody injures themselves by falling over. We have a duty to keep you safe and unharmed, and therefore we make sure you use your seatbelt FOR YOUR SAFETY.

      I promise you that your family, friends, and boyfriend are correct when they tell you everything will be ok – but I hope hearing me say it helps you! I operate on average 40 flights a month, and at no time do I ever feel as though I am not safe.

      Enjoy your flight, and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions……

  3. jacki walker says

    I flew to Portugal several years ago and we hit an “air pocket” this caused the plane to drop. I asked a gentleman beside me who said he was an RAF pilot back in the war and he says it seemed to be about 1000ft that we dropped. I am terrified of flying, i know its irrational. I have spoken to pilots and i know the logistics of flight and how safe it is, but i am due to fly to India in 2 weeks and i know ill be a wreck. Can the plane fall out of the sky with turbulence? this may be one of the stupidest questions you have ever been asked! your site is very helpful. thankyou .

    • says

      Hi Jacki,

      Sorry for the late reply…..hope it’s not too late!

      Firstly, ‘Air Pockets’ do not exist. There are no holes in the air, it’s scientifically impossible. There are varying air pressures though, and this can lead to turbulence. One thing is certain, there is ALWAYS air surrounding us.

      This gentleman may have been a pilot, but if so, not a very good one! There is absolutely NO WAY the plane dropped 1000ft and I can tell you that with complete confidence despite the fact I was not there. It just does not happen, EVER.

      So, on to your question; NO, the plane cannot just drop out the sky in turbulence. It is not a stupid question and you are not the first, and will not be the last, to ask it. Turbulence is an annoyance. It can be uncomfortable in some cases, but it is not dangerous. Simply stay in your seat, and fasten your seatbelt and you are 100% safe – that’s a promise.

  4. M.G says

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for this website. It has been so much more helpful than the other ones I have looked at.

    I have a problem where I am afraid of basically EVERYTHING about airplanes(almost all the things listed on the homepage). The problem is that, I live overseas and therefore have to fly all the time. My fear wasn’t this bad until a couple years ago when my family and I flew over a snow storm and hit the worst turbulence I have ever experienced and an air pocket. Since then, my fear has escalated and I cannot go on a flight (even short ones) without having severe nervous breakdowns at least 2 weeks beforehand.

    This week, I have to go on a trans-atlantic flight, and I was wondering if they are safer than most flights? I know you have said multiple times that turbulence are normal, but I can’t seem to shake the terror I feel every single time I hit them.

    Thank you again for your sight!

    -M.G

    • says

      Hi M.G,

      Turbulence is not dangerous, and air pockets do not exist. There is no area that is without air, but air pressure does change which can lead to turbulence.

      With regards to your trans-atlantic flight, there are stringent regulations regarding which aircraft can be used on these routes due to the length of time spent over the ocean.

      I recommend you check out The Take-Off Today Program for more help regarding controlling your fear.

  5. Jerry says

    Hi, Kevin

    I love your site. It is very helpful. Now I feel much better about the flight I will take next week. It will be from Beijing to Fort Lauderdale, which lasts for more than 20 hours including the time spent at at airport.

    I have a question here. Sometimes, especially during take-off and landing, the airplanes are surrounded by thick cloud. Is it possible that two planes hit to each other because of the poor view condition?

    Thank you so much.

    • says

      Apologies for taking so long to reply. I’m glad the website has helped you in some way.

      With regards to your question, thick cloud is irrelevant. During take-off and landing Air-Traffic Control are in charge of aircraft separation, and keeping safe distances between arriving and departing flights.

      Further to this, each aircraft has radar that detects all other planes in the area. All modern commercial aircraft are fitted with TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) that warns pilots if they are on a collision course with another flight. It then takes evasive action on behalf of the pilot by automatically sending one aircraft upwards, whilst moving the other down. Modern technology on aircraft is simply amazing, and makes flying safer than ever before.

      Just remember, pilots do not need to see to know where they are going as radar and Air-Traffic Control shows/tells them.

  6. BMR says

    Hi,
    First of all I am a general aviation pilot so I know how safe flying really is. I am completely comfortable flying and being in GA planes but when I get on a commercial plane I get really anxious. About 4 years ago I was on a flight from Chicago to Phoenix and had an anxiety attack. Ever since then,every time I have to get on a commercial plane I feel like it might happen again. I am going to Italy in 4 days from Az and I am so anxious that I can’t even think straight. I guess my biggest fear is having to fly overseas. What if the plane has an engine failure or something like that, what is the procedure taken if you’re in the middle of the ocean? What can I do to get over this fear? I don’t want to miss out on great opportunities to see the world. Help!

  7. Josh says

    Hi there,

    So, my wife has a genuine fear of flying for a reason to which very few people in the world can relate. She and her entire immediate family were supposed to be on Alaska Flight 261 on January 31, 2000, on it’s fateful flight.

    They all missed their flight by 15 minutes because when they took their rental car back in Puerta Vallarta, the rental agency claimed they damaged the car. They argued for an hour, and by the time they rushed to the airport and got through security, they had barely missed their flight.

    As you can imagine, the thought of flying alone is very difficult for her. When we fly, it is hard before we go for several days, and then it is hard on vacation because she is thinking about flying back when we’ve already flown one way. Also, she doesn’t want to fly internationally because it is too difficult.

    To top it off, our last flight out of Palm Desert was particularly traumatic. We had so much turbulence that people on board were screaming and grabbing the seats in front of them as we all watched the wings outside our windows flexing like a birds’ wings.

    We both want to travel and it just simply scares her. Can you give any advice?

    Thanks,

    Josh

  8. katie says

    Hi! This site is incredible, thank you so much! I do have a question for you as it relates to turbulence. I understand why it happens, how it happens, etc. I also know it is not unsafe. However, I dont like it. My real problem is this: I am fine if the plane is bumpy so long as I can see out and have a point of reference–like other clouds, the land below, etc. However, when the plane is stuck in a cloud of turbulence or it’s pitch black out and i cant see anything with no frame of reference, I freak. I mean completely panic. It’s really because it makes me motion sick and I hate nothing more than being naseous. I even take dramomine as a precaution but I still freak. So, my question is, in an effort to avoid motion sick, where should I look or concentrate when we are stuck on a shakey plane with no point of reference?? I am due to fly every week this summer for work and it’s a shame because I love to travel but have extreme anxiety of flying because im scared of the bumps and hate the sick feeling it creates. please help!

  9. Tina says

    Hello,
    First of all, thank you for your website. It is so helpful to me as a fearful flyer, and has eased some of my fears a bit.

    I think I contacted you on a different email, but I didn’t get to explain myself fully. I am sure that most, if not all, of my fears about flying are irrational. However, I still have them and people telling me they are irrational does not help me, because I already know that, and it doesn’t make them go away.

    I am actually in the middle of a trip right now. I have flown many times in my life, and I became fearful in my teenage years. I cannot pinpoint a certain time that I became scared, there was no significant event. The last time I flew was three years ago. Then, 2 days ago, I got on a plane to go on a vacation with a friend. I was scared, I had been scared since I booked the flight. However, I told myself I would be fine. I ran all the rational thoughts “people fly all the time” “It’s safer than driving” through my head, but it doesn’t help! As it turned out, the ride was awful. We dealt with some turbulence, and I was absolutely white-knuckled. My palms were so sweaty I couldn’t grip the seat, my breathing was out of control; I felt terrified! Worse yet, we had to connect, so I had to experience the whole thing all over again…we didn’t even have time to rest between flights, we got off one and directly on to another. By the end of it, I was absolutely physically and emotionally drained. I can’t deal with that again on the way back home.

    Basically, I’m afraid of a few things. I’m afraid that SOMETHING mechanical is going to go wrong with the plane in-flight, or during take-off, whether it’s human or computer error. I don’t know what- a wing falling off, a fire, some type of failure that would cause the plane to “break”, everything would just shut down and we would go down. I don’t like turbulence, and I was very afraid of it on this recent flight, but your tips have soothed me somewhat, so at least I know it is normal and not something that is causing the plane distress. I am afraid of flying through bad weather though- I feel as though we will just be tossed about and blown around! I do feel sometimes as though the plane is just going to “fall out of the air”, even though I have now learned that that isn’t possible. I am mostly afraid that some error is going to be made and we are going to go down, or that the weather is going to affect the plane negatively and that will cause a crash.

    I know that is a lot, and I appreciate ANYTHING you have to say! THANK YOU!

  10. Melvin says

    Hi Kevin!
    Your website is excellent, thanks for it! I’ve been suffering form fear of flying for a number of years, and although I am regularly flying, I still can’t manage to be relaxed with the idea of boarding an aircraft. My fear is not ncecessarily linked to the idea of flying itself, but rather I can’t trust the industry. Although I know they are supposed to comply with strict regulations from the CAA, that doesn’t help. I can’t help thinking that in the current times, airlines are cutting corners on maintenance. I have no reasons for believing that, it’s just a feeling. Probably backed by the Alaska crash which is refered to in a previous comment (and which was due to faulty maintenance practices to save a couple of bucks). Do you think this is a widespread problem? I don’t know which airline you are flying for, I am regularly flying with easyjet. I’ve never had reasons to complain but when I read that airlines are seeking to reduce maintenance costs, I wonder how they can achieve that without becoming less safe? I hope you can help me with that!
    Thanks and safe flying!

  11. Nat says

    2 questions….

    I’ve been told I’m flying Ethiopian air from South Africa to France. Should I be worried?

    The only thing I fear is Turbulence. I know it’s safe. I know the plane is not at risk but I HATE my stomach dropping. It runs through my whole body (same reason why I don’t go on rollercoasters). If only I knew a way to desensitise, I might actually enjoy the rush. As it currently feels, it’s just too much to bare. I spend most of the lead up, fearing such turbulence. Any suggestions?

  12. Lily says

    Hello

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your website. It has helped me so much. After a bad flying experience I have been terrified of flying to the point of tears. I went to Thailand 4 weeks ago, gritted my teeth through the long flights, and although they weren’t bad flights, it was still a horrible and upsetting experience for me. For the return journey I decided to do some research and came across this website, all the articles, advice and information is so informative and helpful. I have now returned back home and the return flights were far more enjoyable. Whenever there was turbulence or I felt unsure about anything, I remembered the information from this website and calmed down almost instantly.
    I hope many others who are scared of flying find your website and it helps them as much as it helped me.
    Thank you again.

    Lily

  13. Sam says

    Hi Kevin,
    Thank you for the website, i have so far found it very helpful. In 3 and a half weeks time i am flying from Manchester, UK to Orlando, US with Virgin Atlantic. I am already starting to feel very anxious. I have flown a good few times before, and this route i did in Winter 2008. That flight went well, we had no turbulence and, apart from take-off which i was very anxious of, i was okay. However, hearing about hurricanes and tropical storms on the news has worried me about the flight over the atlantic and to Florida, where there are many large storms. What are procedures if there are tropical storms? And, being summer, is it more likely i will encounter turbulence than when i went before.
    I wasn’t scared at all when i first flew flew, but when i flew to Rome 4 years ago, on the return journey there was horrendous turbulence through which we dropped hundreds of feet. I have flown at least 5 times since then, but seem to be getting worse as i think about the upcoming flight over and over again. This flight will be 9 and a half hours.
    I have a few questions which i hope you can answer:
    -If, for whatever reason, we are mid-Atlantic, and we needed to land, where would we land?
    -Also, if there are storms over the Atlantic, what are the Procedures?
    -Is it likely that there is more chance of turbulence on the route in summer than when i went in winter?
    There is one part of the flight i am particularly dreading; when i am sitting down, waiting for take off an the cabin crew close the door and we taxi to the runway. I am in a terrible state at this point, and wondered if you had any tips for the situation?
    Many Thanks,
    Sam

  14. I.T. says

    Hi, Kevin –

    Thanks so much for this site. I’ve been flying almost all my life (because I have family on three continents), and I HATE it. After all these years I still get anxious with turbulence, high wind, etc. but your articles have helped. I may have to confront one of my biggest fears some time this fall, which is flying on a teeny-tiny, dragonfly-like propeller plane. What if one of the propellers fails? Can’t turbulence be dangerous for such a small aircraft? (It’s a Dornier 328: http://www.flyseair.com/ourfleet/dornier). How do I get over the worry about flying in a small plane? I’ve flown on a tiny plane once and I almost cried the whole time. You may have already written about this, and if you have, I apologize, but I wasn’t able to find a related article. Any advice?

    Thanks!
    I.T.

  15. abc93 says

    Your website is really helpful. This may seem stupid as it is almost a year away, however I am already apprehensive to fly. I am from the UK and will be flying to Greece/Cyprus which is an estimated 4.5/5 hr journey. Do you have any tips to help calm my nerves as I know I will be a wreck once the day comes. I am going with extended family so I would really hate it to ruin the beginning and ending of what should be the holiday of a lifetime!

    I would be incredibly grateful for whatever response you can give. Thankyou for your time.

    • says

      Hello, and congratulations for taking this first step to overcoming your fear of flying.

      Please do not feel ‘stupid’ for already feeling some nerves. It’s actually a good thing that you have so long to overcome your fear.

      My main tip is to start off researching everything you possibly can about flying, and how it works. Reading all the articles on this site will help a great deal with that. However, if you still have unanswered questions then please do ask.

      A fear of flying is often either the fear of not being in control, or a fear of the unknown (or a combination of both). Therefore knowing how aircraft fly, and who is looking after your safety is a big step to making progress.

      When it comes to the psychological side of your fear you may need more professional advice. If you have read much of this site, you may already know which courses I recommend. If not, my top pick is the SOAR Course. If you need something a little cheaper but still effective then try The TakeOff Today Course.

      Both the above are highly recommended and come as either a physical product on DVD, or an instant download.

      Click Here for more information on SOAR.

      Click Here for more information on The TakeOff Today Program.

      Best wishes.

  16. Ann Furtado says

    Thank you SO much for this website. I have only flown about 10 times in my life and in November, I am flying to Canada which will be about double the longest flight I have ever made. I have always been nervous about flying and have dealt with it by ‘keeping my mind busy’ or a large gin and tonic. However, last July I came home from a holiday in Italy and there was something wrong with the plane. It was an hour late coming from Gatwick because of ‘mechanical problems’ and then lots of things didn’t work on board eg. the computer screens on the back of the seats scrolled code continuously and the intercom to call the staff was broken. The staff/crew were obviously flustered and rushed and then over Paris, the captain came on to tell us where we were and to say ‘goodbye from me now, because, well…. we’re a bit busy up here’. Everyone looked at everyone else! Then as the plane came into land, say 50ft or something feet up, the wings/plane rocked up and down from side to side in a kind of rolling motion and again, everyone was looking at everyone else going ‘oh god’, and then suddenly the plane landed with a terrific bang as though the pilot kind of let it go from 20 ft up. I was nearly sick and the thought of being in a plane for 7 hours of so is terrifying me. Was this a dangerous situation? Was the pilot landing on manual? Any calming suggestions for me on this Canada flight? At the moment I am seeing ‘signs’ of my imminent death during this flight everywhere and almost backing out of the entire trip! Thank you!

  17. Zara says

    Hello

    I used to work aboroad and have flown many times but after having my children (2.5yrs and 4mths) I have become petrified of flying. It has gotten so bad that I have had panic attacks on the plane and even begged my husband to cancel our honeymoon to Prague as I was getting so stressed out about it. He didn’t (thankfully) but I spent a few months before the flight feeling stessed and nausous and I actually cried during take off!

    We are due to fly to New York in May on an all expenses paid trip with his work. I feel sick at the thought of getting on a plane for 8hrs. My main fear is turbulence (even though I know it is not dangerous).Also on my last flight I had such a bad panic attack that people were asking my mum whether I needed help as I was screaming that ‘we were all going to die.’

    Is there any medication that you would recommend which would help me on the flight. I am going to see my GP but would like to know what to ask for. Basically I want something that will knock me out for the whole flight. I really don’t want to scare other passengers (or my children ) when flying. I have tried herbal remedies/having a drink/deep breathing exercises but nothing so far has worked.

    Also is the flight path Manchester-New York known for being turbulant?

    Thanks

  18. Chaz says

    Hi,
    Your website is brilliant i can honestly say i do feel a lot better after reading. I have only been on holiday abroad twice and my second flight on way home we experienced turbulance which terrified me the attendents where brilliant and moved us to middle of plan so we felt less movement, I was a mess tears shaking and my 3 year old was all excited saying “do it again” while bouncing in her seat, im so glad it didnt frighten her the way it did me. Now im so worried about flying again and im due to go to egypt in january, each time i think about it i feel sick and my tummy turns, I have a fear of dying which really doesnt help and there is always something on the news about a plane going down which makes me feel more uncomfortable my partner wants me to take some calms befor flying to help, Having been on so many flights what would you say flying from uk to egypt will be like in january.
    Thankyou Chaz uk

  19. Jay says

    Hi, There Kevin.
    Much like everyone else here I am someone who wants nothing more than to see the world, but am almost physically paralyzed with fear of the thought of a 20 plus hour flight. I realize that there are probably thousands of flights each day, and we only hear of the one or two maybe a year which have serious problems. My questions are…
    A) Flying during the winter, does that increase the risk for an unsafe takeoff/landing, and
    B) Do you recommend drinking a lot on the plane to maybe calm your nerves…or even make you intoxicated enough to embrace this fear. (I am only being half serious, but do you think it would help anyways)

  20. Fred says

    My wife has a tremendous fear of flying. We fight everytime before we get on a plane, which is very stressful for me because we have young children who need to be taken care of, entertained and calmed too. My wife usually won’t even sit near us on the plane because every few minutes she is panicking about the kid’s seatbelts being on properly or frozen, gripping the seats if there is turbulence. In two weeks we are going on a 15 hour flight and this cycle of fighting and stress is already begun. I admit, i don’t understand fear of flying and I am very sure I don’t know what to say to calm my wife down so she isn’t yelling at the whole family. Any advice of what i can say to reassure her pre-flight? Any advice for inflight? How do I explain this unusual behavior to my kids – I don’t want them developing this fear because they see it with their mother! Any medication that can help?

    Really quite desperate and would appreciatte any advice!

  21. Rebecca Turner says

    Hi,

    I’m flying to Florida in 8 days and I’m starting to feel sick at the thought of it, I hate taking off as soon as the plane starts to taxi round I just want to get off, then any bumps once in the air terrify me. I’m getting especially worried as the weather is so cold at the moment. Does very cold temperatures affect an aircraft and will it make the flight more bumpy? Also on your youtube video it recommends you speak to the pilot before taking off, this would really help but I always feel they are too busy getting ready to come and talk to me, do they really not mid taking the time out?

    Thanks again for your help and the website
    Rebecca

  22. Kassi Hawkins says

    Hello,

    This web-site is incredible! Thank you so much for the information and time you’ve taken to ease our troubled flying minds.

    I’m about to fly out on Monday (the day after tomorrow!). Every time I fly, and I fly often, the entire week before my mind is ill. I have a great anxiety for flying and I know it’s from lack of control. I once even began to cry hysterically on a flight from Florida to California because of turbulence. Reading about what actually occurs has eased my mind significantly; however, I’m at my worst during take-off.

    There is something terribly frightening about going “straight” up into the air when I know gravity dictates we should be on the ground. My Dad once told me this is the most dangerous part of the flight. Is this true? Is there an article, since I could not find one on your site yet, that takes us fearful flyers step-by-step through take-off, i.e. noises, bumps, etc.? Specifically, I’m curious as to just “how safe” take-off is and the likelihood of turning the upward climb into a downwards nose dive! I did watch the take-off video but I’m very familiar with what it looks like, not what is actually occurring.

    Again, thank you for the information on flying. I look forward to revisiting this web-site often!

    Kassi Hawkins

  23. John says

    Thank you for your effort in putting all these up! Your use of word is brilliant, and really calm me down!

    I will be flying next week on a B777 and A320 with Brunei Airline. What do you say about these aircrafts and airline?
    As I am flying at night, is flying at night just the same way it is to operate flying in the daytime? i am quite worried that the pilots might fall asleep. I heard this from news time to time.

    again, thank you very much for your information, looking forward to your first book!!

    • says

      Hi John, glad I calmed you down a bit.

      Firstly, the Boeing 777 and the Airbus 320 are modern and extremely reliable aircraft. In fact the Boeing 777 has never had a fatal accident at all, and the only incident on record involving the aircraft took place in 2008 at Heathrow. I fly on the Airbus 320 very regularly, and have never had a serious problem.

      I’ve never heard of Royal Brunei Airlines but through a bit of research found they are a relatively small company owned completely by the Government of Brunei. I cannot find any record of any safety incidents involving their aircraft, so it appears theyy have a 100% safety record (just as many airlines do!).

      Flying in the dark is no different to flying in the day for a commercial pilot. A pilot will fly his/her aircraft using instruments in the cockpit so there is no need to be able to see where they are going. For a fearful flyer it can appear more dangerous, as it’s easy to become disorientated….. often leading to the imagined belief that something bad is happening. Remember, the pilots will have radar and there flying instruments as well as contact with Air Traffic Control.

      With regards to falling asleep, it won’t happen. Firstly, there is more than one pilot in the cockpit at all times (and the chances of both of them falling asleep is minimal!). Secondly, us amazing Flight Attendant’s have to check up on them regularly to ensure it never happens. A lot is going on behind the scenes to ensure you are safe, and that’s just an example!

      Enjoy your flight.

  24. Debarshi Roy says

    Hello ,

    I have a chronic fear of flying . It all started in 1984 when I was 10 years old and I had this funny feeling in my stomach during take off. During the entire flight I was clutching onto my dad jacket . I want to fly for my daughter’s sake and take her to places So can you give me some tips to help me with my fear ?

    regards

    Debarshi Roy

  25. Debarshi Roy says

    Hello,

    I have a chronic fear of flying which i have been living with for the past 27 years .
    It all started when I was rudely suprised by a funny feeling in the stomach during take off in 1984
    when I was only 9 years old I had spent the entire flight clutching my dad’s jacket in fear . I would now like to fly for the sake of my daughter and show her places but
    my fear gets the better of me. for me it is more of a fear of that strange feeling in stomach rather than flying.

    Can you help me with suggestions to help me resolve my fear ? I Will be grateful.

    regards

    Debarshi

  26. Esmeralda says

    Hi!
    I found your website after looking for ways to get rid of my fear of turbulence on Google. I’m 16, and my mom used to work at the airport in the city we live in. So, since she got plane tickets at a reduced price we were constantly traveling. Our usual destination is in Mexico which is a 2 hour flight from Houston(where I live). In August 2010, my mom & I were flying back to Houston like any other normal flight. I had never been scared to fly, it was a usual thing, I was always comfortable up in the air. So anyway, the day we were coming back, there was a storm in Houston that we didn’t know about. During the last 15 minutes of our flight, I experienced my first turbulence EVER, in all my years of flying. We’ve been flying since I was about 2 years old. It was HORRIBLE! The plane would shake & DROP horribly ( I do admit the “up bumps” were very relieving!). I was seriously traumatized. In November, that same year, we took a flight to Dallas(the first time I got back on a plane since the incident). I didn’t think about the previous experience I’d had, I was all fine & dandy. But when the plane began to move, I panicked. Any little move the plane would make would stir me up. My heart would begin to race.
    During Spring Break, my mom & I are planning to visit our family in Mexico.
    I’m DETERMINED to not let this traumatic experience overpower me & keep me from getting on a plane again. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me out & tell me how I can overpower this. Thank you SO much!
    -Esmeralda

  27. CF says

    Hi,

    Great website but i need your help…

    I have a real problem here… flying with thai airways next month from Heathrow to bangkok and i’m terrified. Like lots of other people i used to like flying but the past two three years i have been terrified (im now 27).

    I can’t control my fear at all and am terrified of dying on the plane. I think of all the bad things that could happen and just can’t focus at all on the ‘facts and stats’. I only booked the flight yesterday and already feel sick with worry.

    Last year when i flew to India i nearly walked off the plane and was exhausted when we arrived from being so scared.

    I knwo you’ve said it a million times before, but how safe is that flight really? And how can i try and control the fear? People do die on planes and i can’t get that out of my head.

    Thanks for your help x

  28. Ellie says

    Last year me, my mum, my auntie and uncle, with their son my cousin and my nanny and grandad all went to Majorca Alcudia and it was good, I loved the holiday and I enjoyed it too. I just didn’t like the plane because of how high it goes and my dad says it’s good where you take off and hear the engine noise but I don’t think so though. So when we were taking off on the first flight I was more in a bit of shock so I was looking out of my window next to my mum, who was sitting by the window and then when we were up in the sky I started crying and didn’t stop until we hit the ground. I was ok then and then on the second flight it was worse than the first flight! I just cruied on the plane because I’m scared of flying so now I hate the plane because I’m scared of it and my mum said never again because of how scared I was on the plane.

  29. Beth says

    Thank you so much for this fantastic website!
    I printed out a copy of your article on turbulence, because what happens to me is that I read it before hand, and think “Ok, that makes sense, i can do this” then get on the plane and forget everything. The last time I flew (2 years ago) I had a panic attack on the plane. The flight attendant was super helpful, and luckily the flight was short. I’m flying on Tuesday with my family, and I’m just so nervous for that to happen again. So this time, when we get turbulence, I’ll take out the article and hopefully it will help me calm down.
    My fear is that the plane will fall out of the sky. I’m not claustrophobic or anything, I just feel like the plane can fall at any minute and we’ll all die. So turbulence makes it worse.
    Like I said, hopefully having this to read will help. Thanks again!

    Beth

  30. Anonymous says

    When I fly its the noises that you don’t hear that scare me as much as the ones that you do. Mid flight when you are crusing at thousands of feet in the air the plane suddenly goes quiet, almost silent. This really scares me as I feel like the plane has lost all engine power and we will crash. If the worse case senario happens and something goes wrong with the plane and we will come down, what will happen? Can the pilot land the plane by gliding it down? My biggest fear is not the crashing but is the thought of falling for such a long time
    Flying scares me almost to the point of not wanting to leave England unless I can find a train. All explanations are really helpful, I feel that if I can understand then I will not be so scared.
    Thank you
    Annabel

    • says

      Hi Annabel,

      Pilots change speed all the time depending on instructions from air traffic control and the stage of flight. Usually the descent starts about 30 mins before landing, and at this time engine power is normally set to ‘idle’ – meaning there is no engine power! It’s completely normal.

      You may think you can’t hear the engines anymore at certain times, but trust me, if the engines shut off completely you’d be able to hear a pin drop. Just remember that engine power is reduced when descending, and if reducing airspeed.

      Modern aircraft engines are incredibly reliable. The chances of both failing is next to nothing. But, if it did happen the aircraft can glide for approx 30 minutes depending on altitude. Pilots would still have control of the aircraft and its’ systems thanks to the many backups installed on these amazing machines. The aircraft would not just fall from the sky as it’s the wings that provide the lift to keep it airborne, not the engines…

      Hope that helps.

  31. amy hollier says

    hi, im due to fly to dubai from birmingham tomorow evening with emirates, its a 7 hour flight. i am myself terrified and have been since iv been old enough to understand things can go wrong. i loved flying as a child and am now 23. im usually terrified but this time im a thousand times worse as im taking my 10 month old daughter. im not on my own my fiancee is also coming. iv found it hard to concentrate on anything and iv even come up with excuses not to go, feeling ill the rest of it. im terrified that im not going to get on the plane when i get to the airport! my main fear is something rare going wrong and the plane falling out of the sky or crashing on take off or landing. i dont fear turbulance and actually find myself trying to calm others if we experience it which i find very weird, not sure why i do that? i feel possesed during flight and im listening to every bump and noise and my mind goes into over drive as i think of what could go wrong. i no that its safe but for some reason i seem to think im going to get on that 1 flight in god knows how many where something goes wrong!……

  32. Annie Briggs says

    Hi Kevin,

    I just wanted to thank you for your website. I developed a fear of flying about 6 years ago and almost just recently cancelled a trip last weekend to Chicago because of my fears. I decided to talk to the pilots and they could NOT have been nicer! The steward and stewardess came and checked on me every 20 minutes and helped me soo much. This is the first time in the past 6 years I have not cried on a flight and actually managed to smile and laugh with my friend :) Thank you so much for your WONDERFUL site!

    One question…I am flying from Long Beach to Vegas this Friday (6-24-2011) at 8:15 in the morning. I’ve heard that this flight can be extremely turbulent to Vegas in the summer so I am nervous. What can I expect on this route at this time?

    Thanks so much :)

    Annie

    • says

      Hi Annie,

      I’m glad that the website has been of use to you, and that the crew onboard your recent flight done such a great job. Thank you for your kind comments, it’s nice to be appreciated!

      With regards to your question, I am based in the UK so do not know any specific information regarding the route you will be flying. However, I will say this;

      The fact that you have heard the route is particularly turbulent is another indication that turbulence is not a danger. If it was, flights wouldn’t take this route. Does that make sense? Turbulence is a completely natural occurrence, and some routes will be more turbulent than others. This could be due to the terrain below, or position of jet streams (streams of fast flowing air that control our weather).

      Either way, you have nothing to worry about as we are always putting your safety above anything else. Enjoy your flight, and let us all know how you get on.

      Sorry I couldn’t answer your question more specifically,

      Kevin

  33. Em says

    Hello,

    Thank you for a fantastic website! Although this website has helped me a lot, I still have some questions and am very scared!

    1) I’ve flied many many times in my life, and I’ve never, until last week, had a fear. I’ve always disliked flying because of the fact that they are so boring (there’s only so long I can read, listen to music, watch films), it’s not comfortable, the food isn’t great, it’s cramped and I can’t get to sleep on them at all! Anyway, so I’ve never had a fear until recently, and everyone seems to have a cause of it for example turbulence. However, I don’t have a cause, I’m just very scared the plane is going to crash! I’ve not watched a film of an airplane crashing or had a bad dream either! Is it unsual to suddenly get a phobia? Before coming across this website and seeing soo many people with the same problem, I thought I had a bad feeling about the plane crashing because I hadn’t had a fear before.

    2) Looking at the stats and all the facts helped, but I’m still scared. I wanted to know the reasons of major airplane crashes so I looked it up, and well, although I didn’t really understand it because it was all this technical stuff, I did get all the terrifying stuff – I read on the SwissAir 111 flight, they crashed into the sea and the plane disintergrated with the passengers being crushed to death almost instantaneously? That freaked me out so bad. Oh and on the Alaska flight, they cut corners on maintenance? This has reduced my trust in the airline industry a lot! I keep having these images of the plane falling through the sky and the awful feeling in my tummy like when you’re in a rollercoaster but a hundred times worse. It said on wikipedia in the SwissAir111 flight, they dived through the sky at around 18,000 feet per MINUTE!! Im so scared, help!!!! What if this happened to me, what a scary way to die!

    3) I’m going to Japan in just over 2 weeks with my mum and brother to see all my relatives cause I’m half Japanese. I HAVE to go, there’s no way I’m not getting on that plane because I absolutely love going there, it’s the best time ever! It’s 1hour to Paris with AirFrance, then 12 hours with JAL. I’ve been on this flight about 8 times before. I am not worried about the flight to France, but I am about the one to Japan, because it’s 12 hours. That’s 12 whole hours for something terrible to happen, it’s night time (eek) and I have to be stuck on something I fear for 12 hours. Also, there was a terrible accident with JAL in 1985, now I’m terrified! Please help, it is all I think about every day.

    4) Lastly, I am also a bit paranoid about a plane crashing into the house? Everytime I hear one above us, I start thinking about plane accidents and I think what if it crashes into the house. If it’s day time, I go to the window to watch it pass. Is this normal because I’ve never heard of someone scared of it crashing into their house!

    Thank you so much for this website! I understand you probably can’t reply but I would really appreciate it if you could! Sorry about writing so much!
    Thanks, Em

  34. Em says

    Hello, I wanted to make a post to say a huge thankyou :) and that i made it through my flights safely! without this website, I think I would’ve been going crazy on those flights. Yes, I was feeling awfully nervous, but I had all the information to help me from this website. On the first flight to Paris, the plane suddenly dropped, which got me in tears all over again – but everyone else didn’t even react to it, and while I was crying, the 3 year olds behind me were playing and laughing. On the long flights, once we reached cruising level, I was okay. But thank you ever so much, this website has been amazing, and will use it again in the future, but luckily, I don’t need to use a plane for another year or so. And good luck to all nervous flyers who are going to board a flight!

  35. Amir says

    I’m really sorry i know this will be crazy but a few years ago i went on holyday with mum and sis. i was 11. when i was on the way back i had a dream that our plane would crash. I prayed so much on the plane i that nothing would happen and when i arrived at heathrow air port my dad had told us in the car that a spanish air line had just crashed on the pacific.

    I am about to go again with my mother and sister but i now have a 4 year old brother. I am absolutely afraid something will happen this time.

  36. Sara says

    hello I’m traveling in a day and i’m so worried. i saw a documentary when i was 8 and ever since i’m afraid of flying. i travel almost once every month to close or far destination with anxiety. HELP ME PLZZZZZZ

  37. Hannah says

    Please could you explain something for me? I was on a trans-atlantic flight recently and watching the flight information on the entertainment screen in the back of the seat infront. It shows airspeed, tailwind, distance to destination, altitude etc, I noticed that the plane kept at the same altitude for most of the flight, but at one point, it changed by a few thousand feet, before climbing back to the same altitude as before. What could be a reason for a plane to change altitude? Thanks

    • says

      There can be various reasons for this. The most likely is other traffic crossing your path. For obvious reasons there are minimum separation regulations, so ATC may have requested your pilots to descend a few thousand feet to ensure your plane was a safe distance away from another in the same area. It could also be due to a report of turbulence at a particular altitude, therefore your pilots may have descended to avoid this.

      Aircraft descend and climb all the time, however the higher the altitude the better the fuel economy, so aircraft will normally fly as high as ATC allow them too (and the aircraft is capable of). This would explain why your pilots climbed back up to original altitude.

      Hope that helps!

  38. Lizi says

    I’m going on a family holiday to Spain in a couple of weeks and I’ve always been a nervous flier but ever since i was on a very turbulent flight back from America last year, it’s made me freak out. The closer the holiday gets, the more I’m starting to worry and I find myself laying in bed at night panicking. I’m really worried that if we hit any turbulence at all that i’m going to panic on the plane. It’s weird because it’s not that i’m convinced the plane’s going to crash, i’m just concerned by the turbulence because during it, I get very anxious and nervous. Please help :(

  39. Molly says

    I experienced the worst of the worst this summer flying back from the US to the UK and ended up passing out, having panic attacks and refusing to get on my connection flight back home. If it weren’t for the pilot convincing me to get on the plane, I would still be in Atlanta right now. The turbulence was most definitely severe as the air hostesses were screaming and freaking out as much as I was. The bumps were horrendous and I honestly thought that i was going to die. I feel a little better about flying now I’ve had a few months to get over it and am hopefully attending a course run at my local airport to help me get over this fear. I don’t see me being completely over my fear of flying after this experience and wondered if there was any medication that you would recommend to me to either calm me down or make me sleepy during long flights? Thank you!

    • says

      It’s actually proven that most medication prescribed by doctors for fear of flying actually increases anxiety. The best answer is education.. learn EVERYTHING you can about flying and you will find it much easier to relax.

  40. Edward Ryan says

    Hi thank you so much for making this Website!, I too have a terrible fear of flying, and days before i go i am really anxious and can’t stop worrying, but thanks to your website it has given me knowledge and courage now to feel a lot calmer now that i know what is going on, Which is great because i have a 4 and a half hour flight in a few days to Malta which i was really worried about…..so thank you.

  41. Travel2Travel says

    I absolutely HATE flying. I love traveling, but just can’t get over the fear of flying.

    Although I would have to say, I panic more when I fly overseas. Thinking of flying across thousands of miles of water terrifies me. Do you have any different thoughts on safety and how to stay calm while flying over water? Also, it will only be my second time flying on a foreign airline. I’m sure they have the same requirements and guidelines as American airlines correct? Something else I’m not crazy about is sitting in the back of the plane. Is one area of the plane suppose to be better than another?

    Thanks for all the tips you’ve given all of us nervous flyers!!

    • says

      Safety over water is no different to safety over land.. Aircraft that complete trans-atlantic routes are subjected to more stringent safety checks in some cases, but usually these checks are completed on all aircraft anyway.

      Airlines in different countries have different rules and regulations, but in the developed world these standards are very high regardless of where the airline operates from. Also, and aircraft that flies into the US has to reach a certain safety standard, or the US authorities will ban them from their airspace.

      The back of the plane moves around more than the front, so if you don’t like turbulence or experience motion sickness, then the front is recommended. Otherwise, there is no difference. The front is just as safe as the back ;_)

  42. BG says

    Hi,

    I have a flight coming up in a few days and I am a very nervous flyer. The two things that scare me most is the turbulence and the fact that they are calling for Thundershowers at my destination. The one question that I do have is that on the last few flights, my landings have felt rought. As though the plane wasn’t going to stop. All of the passengers felt the same way. I could tell by the way everybody was looking at each other. The over head bins were rattling and I felt as though I would have landed in the seat if front of me if I wasn’t seatbelted in. Is this normal? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi BG.. Sorry for the delay in replying. I have noticed that my reply may be too late as your flight has probably already happened now. So sorry.

      Landings are always different depending on the aircraft you’re flying on, the runway you are landing on, and the weather conditions. The larger the aircraft the longer it takes to stop, and the same applies if the runway is wet.

      Often, the runway is not smooth. This is more often the case in areas prone to bad weather, as more grooves and run off areas exist to help keep the runway clear during any weather.

      I hope that helps.. In short, it is perfectly normal. Every landing feels different, and aircraft brakes are used differently depending on circumstances. If full brakes were applied you would soon know it as they are incredibly powerful and could stop an aircraft extremely quickly if needed.

  43. Jennifer says

    I am so happy to have found your site. I have had some questions that I have wanted to ask someone in the airline industry but haven’t known where to turn. I used to fly alot but the last time I flew I had a panic attack before the plane took off and they deplaned me while boarding was still going on. That was 3 years ago and I haven’t been able to fly since. I think one of the things that scares me most is that I have some medical issues-severe migraines and IBS. I was really afraid that if I felt sick I be stuck in my seat trapped because the seatbelt light would be on and I wouldn’t be allowed up no matter what even if I needed to use the restroom. I couldn’t see a way out of this situation. What does one do if they are having an intestinal emergency and the seatbelt light sign is on? What happens if someone is having a medical issue like a migraine and is dizzy and vomitting on a plane. What about panic attacks? Is anyone trained to handle that? And if I was travelling with my children and something like this happened, would someone make sure my children were OK? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer, sorry for the delayed reply… I’ve been so busy.

      With regards to seatbelt signs being on then they are there to ensure your safety. But if you have a severe problem that means they HAVE to be in the restroom, then so be it. All you need to do is explain to the crew that you have no choice but to get up and use the restroom due to your condition.

      If someone is having a severe migraine and vomiting then we do the best we can. Obviously migraines require darkness and silence to help alleviate the symptoms, but we cannot provide either of those on a plane. We would provide you with water, and something to cover your eyes. Vomiting can either be done into a sickness bag or in the restroom… Nobody should ever feel ashamed of having to use a sickness bag. The crew handle vomit almost daily and we are very used to it.

      If the medical situation gets to severe the aircraft will be diverted if medical attention is required.

      With regards to panic attacks, we are trained to be calming and reassuring. In this scenario we would try and take you away from other passengers (for your benefit.. not theirs), and sit you in the galley and talk to you. Being over-attentive can cause a panic attack to worsen, so we just stay with you and explain anything that needs explaining.

      We would always ensure your children remain safe and looked after. If you suffer from anything on an aircraft, one of the crew will stay with your children and keep them entertained whilst another will help you. We would always make sure your children are not left alone.

      Hope my answers help you…

  44. Michelle McCoy says

    Hi,

    I will be flying with Aer Lingus later this month from the UK to NYC, and I have a very strong fear of flying over water. I am mostly afraid of crashing into the Atlantic, which I think is somewhat common among nervous flyers…

    Do you have any reassuring advice you could offer?

    Thanks.

    Best wishes,

    Michelle

    • says

      Hope I am not too late here, but the best reassuring advice I can give you is that Aer Lingus are a very safe airline with a great safety record, and that flying over water is not less safe than flying over land.

      Don’t forget it is very rare for a plane to come down during the cruise, and I do mean VERY rare. But, if it happens pilots are trained to ditch the aircraft in water if needed. It’s really not worth dwelling on though, as this has happened about twice in 40 years I think.

      Don’t focus on the fact you are over water, focus instead on how reliable modern aircraft are, and how it’s so unlikely that there will be any problem with the flight. The most dangerous stage of your trip will be the car journey to and from the airport.

  45. Deepika says

    Hi,

    You website have been really great help to me so far..

    But there are couple of questions which keep troubling me, hope to get their answers soon

    1) Can Bird hit happens at an altitude of 37,000 feet or so?? Or it can only happen while take off or landing. And if it can happen at that altitude what are the steps taken by the pilot?

    2) Often, the case of most crashes are that the connection from ground is broken between the plane and ground. what actually happens under that circumstance?

    Many thanks in advance..

    • says

      Hi Deepika,

      Glad I have helped you….

      Question 1) Large birds can fly around the 16,000ft area, but higher than that it is highly unlikely to see any birds flying. There is a record of a bird strike happening at 37,000ft. The plane was damaged but landed perfectly safely. It is highly unlikely to experience a bird strike at that altitude though.

      Steps taken would be the same as if it happened during takeoff/landing. Depending on where the bird hit they would possibly look to divert the aircraft to the nearest available airport to get any damage looked at. This is especially true if the bird is sucked into the engine.

      Question 2) I really don’t understand your question… Could you rephrase it for me?

      Kevin

  46. says

    Hi, I am a question for you that over something that I got into an argument with my friend over. The debate was over if a plane ( typical 747) lost both its engines at cruising altitude, but still had full power other than that. When, it was brought in to land how dangerous would that be (landing the plane with no engines) , and depending on the answer will you tell me why?
    Tonnar

    • says

      Also, if it is possible how do you land the plane: what techniques are used to avoid the pull of gravity and he wants to know terminal speed. Also, what kind of control would you have?

    • says

      Hi Tonnar, sorry for late reply.

      It obviously would not be a normal landing and would be classed as an emergency, but the plane still operates perfectly. Pilots still have full control over the aircraft, but obviously there is no engine power to complete a go-around so there is only one attempt at landing.

      More focus must be made on level of descent as the aircraft needs to stay at a certain speed before it loses lift.

      • says

        Oh, and it’s not the engines that provide the lift that keeps the plane airborne, it’s the wings. Therefore the wings still provide that lift in the event of full engine power loss as long as the plane is kept at a certain speed (depending on aircraft type and weight).

        As I mentioned, pilots still have full control due to a backup system that deploys a small propellor which will then power all control systems.

        Hope that helps. It’s worth mentioning of course, that it’s highly unlikely a plane will lose all engines.. But if it does, pilots can still land perfectly safely.

  47. Sarah says

    I was wondering what the chimes signified at certain times during the flight. Not the bell that rings for the seatbelt sign or a passenger call button but the other ones that are heard. Often in pairs of 2… Thanks!

  48. zoe says

    HI THERE! I ALWAYS FLY ON LONG HALL FLIGHT TO AND FROM MEXICO TO THE DUBLIN. WHEN I WAS IN MEXICO LATELY I EXPERIENCED A QUITE ROUGH RIDE FROM CANCUN TO MEXICO CITY JUST. JUST AS WE WERE TAKING OFF THE TURBULENCE BEGAN. I COULDNT STOP SHAKING AT ALL. I HAVE NEVER BEEN AFRAID OF FLYING BUT THEN AGAIN HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH TURBULENCE. ON THE WAY BACK FROM MEXICO TO THE UK COMING OUT OF MEXICO WE AGAIN HAD SOME TURBULENCE AND I PUT MYSELF INTO PANIC MODE. THEN THIS FEAR MADE ME THINK SOMETHING BAD WOULD HAPPEN AND I STARTED TO FEEL COULD HEAR THE ENGINE BELOW MY FEET STARTING TO MAKE NOISES. I KNOW IT SOUNDS TOTALLY MAD BUT I THINK I WAS AFFECTED BY THE FLIGHT FROM CANCUN. I WANT TO KNOW HOW SAFE A LONG HALL JOURNEY IS COMPARED TO NORMAL JOURNEY AND ALSO IF YOU HAV ANY TIPS ON HOW IM GOING TO HAVE THE STRENGTH TO RETURN TO MEXICO IN 2 WEEKS TIME LOL. OR ANY TABLETS I COULD TAKE FOR NERVES. THANKS

  49. Lucy says

    Can you write something about windshears please?

    I am terrified that my plane will expierence that :(

    With regards

    Lucy

  50. whit says

    One particular anxiety I have has to do with overseas travel. It seems a LONG way from the U.S. to Europe! How long would it take for a pilot to make an emergency landing; should it be necessary, while over the Atlantic ocean? How far away from land are most aircraft at any portion of transatlantic flight?

  51. Amy says

    In a month I will be flying to South Korea via Korean Air. Although I understand flying is very safe, there have been two disastrous crashes within the last 20 years

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Flight_801

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Flight_858

    My main fear is of turbulence, developed after landing on a hot day in bumpy air – my fear of heights and falling kicked in and although at the time my fear was manageable (barely) I’ve since become much more scared of flying.

    The two major crashes are unrelated to the structural integrity of the plane (falling, bumping, bending, breaking) but were due to terrorism and improper training of pilots. I fear that when my plane encounters turbulence I will attribute it to pilot carelessness or terrorist action. This fear compounds when I consider the length of the flight (20 hours or so) and I imagine being trapped sitting in a bumpy plane very high up. It’s as if one fear (fear of heights and falling) triggers another (fear of engine failure) and it just spirals on and on.

    What can I do to address the fear of problems which fall within human error? How do I know that these pilots are safe and nobody on board will try to down the plane? How can I avoid my fear of heights being triggered by turbulence, and stop the chain of anxiety triggers?

  52. Ashley says

    my question is i use to not be fearful of flying until at the age of 18 I started getting panic attack and had fears of everything. My biggest challenge and what cause the most anxiety is not being in charge. I dont like the fact I cant just stop the plane and breathe fresh air

  53. Anna says

    I have flown many times, but recently developed a fear of flying after I experiencing my first panic attack. The attack was unrelated to flying, but since I have feared that I would feel like this on a flight. This anticipatory anxiety has actually caused me to have panic attacks on the plane, but it is always in the time period between boarding and the plane taking off. I absolutely hate the waiting period and anxiety starts building up as I fight the urge to get up and leave while I still can.
    A common issue with panic attacks is the feeling that you cannot get enough oxygen. My question is about the oxygen decrease when the plane is this high in elevation. How can it maintain the oxygen that we need to breathe? Is it possible for it to run out of oxygen?
    Finally, I am also curious about if flight attendants are trained to handle panic attacks and what you are trained to do.
    Thank you for creating this site!!

  54. Abby says

    Hello, I am a young student pilot & I have always been afraid of flying ( mostly related to my lack of control and turbulance) but now I am a pilot and there is nothing else I would rather do…However, my fear of winds and the weather is still prevalent. I am sure this is related to my lack of confidence which stems from my lack of experience. If you could possibly give me some words of encouragement to help me along my journey I would really appreciate it, your articles are also very helpful.

    Thank you,

    Abby

  55. Shelley says

    Hi,

    I’ve been flying since I was five months, and was fine until I was in a very turbulent flight when I was about 24. After that it’s been a nightmare, cant sleep for days before and am on an almost hyperventillate mode everytime I have taken a domestic flight ( maximum 2 hours). I used to get panic attacks which almost incapacitated me. Over the last couple of years have managed to control it a bit – but am due to take an international flight and with my hyperactive two year old to add to the travel stress. My husband is largely supportive, but tends to get impatient after a bit. So any tips, helps, support would be brilliant.

  56. Cesc says

    Hello,
    I’m experiencing something I didn’t expect to happen which is that, although I’m been always a little bit scared of flying in general, during the last 5 years I’ve taken more then 300 flight and now, after all that experience (for some time I was quite relaxed flying) I’m becoming more and more afraid of turbulence. I’ve had some bad experiences after all that amount of flights, but my tolerance to turbulence is getting lower and lower. I’m quite worried as I have (and will have) to fly for work mainly and I’m thinking about take it seriously and doing something with it.

    My fear is quite focused on turbulence. I do not feel claustrophobia nor fear of some technical failure on the plane, is all about turbulence. I end up looking at turbulence charts (Jeppesen) , convection cloud maps and this kind of thinks … that I’m not interested at all!!!!

    I’ll apreciate comments from someone,

    Cheers!
    Bye!

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