Events for information about our periodic Fear of Flying
and ASDI Groups for our ongoing
fear of flying support group.
Fear of Flying:
Learning to Fly Comfortably
If you are afraid of flying, you've got lots of company.
Various surveys suggest that 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 Americans identify
themselves as "fearful flyers." Some experience only moderate
apprehension before a flight and more acute distress during
take-off. Others fly but live in fear of even the slightest
turbulence. For others, the fear of flying may keep them from
visiting relatives, taking a job promotion that would require
occasional travel or taking a trip they've dreamed about much of
their life. Such avoidance can contribute to marital friction when
one partner very much wants to travel. It can lead to marked shame
and self-denigration among those who feel that they cannot face
flying. For some, the fear of flying is an isolated concern; for
others, it is just one dimension of a broader anxiety
Fear of flying can take many forms, most commonly
- Fears about the safety of flying. Most people assume
that the fear of crashing is paramount, but this is only true for
1/3-1/2 of fearful flyers. Such fears are more pervasive after a
- Fear of frightening feelings, including "feeling out of
control" and the symptoms of a panic attack (most common reason
for flying avoidance).
- Associated fears: a) claustrophobic concerns b) fear of
the unknown or misunderstood c) fear of giving up control d) fear
of the possibility of turbulence or bad weather e) fear of losing
composure or "making a scene" f) fear of heights
Coping With Fears About the Safety of Flying
Fear: "The plane is likely to crash. No matter how safe they say
it is, it feels like my plane is the one that will go
- A study of airline fatalities between 1989-1999 suggested that
someone who takes a daily airline flight could, statistically
speaking, fly every day for 31,000 years before facing a
fatal crash. (Barnett, MIT) USA Today says, "The risk of a
passenger dying on an airline jet flight has fallen sharply . . . .
The risk from 2000 through 2005 was one flight in 22.8 million, a
60% drop from the 1990s." Given these data, a passenger on US
airlines would have to fly every day for 64,000 years before
facing a fatal crash. (USA Today, 6/29/2006) Given data
since then (see below), you would have to fly every day for well
more than 100,000 days to reach your statistical risk of fatality
on a US flight.
- When corrected for the number of travelers involved, it is
estimated that you are up to 89 times safer each time
you travel by airline than you are each time you travel by car.
Because of frequent exposure and familiarity, when we travel by
car, we can retain our illusions of control and safety. (Imagine
if you traveled by car as rarely as you fly and that each
automobile fatality was given media attention comparable to airline
- Average annual fatalities in the United States:
||= 100 (but see below)
- Most of our everyday activities involve some measure of risk
that we construe as an "acceptable risk" in the service of
convenience or pleasure. It is estimated that flying on a major
airline is safer than using electrical power, bicycling, swimming,
hunting, x-rays, and anesthesia. Statistically, the risk of
fatality by airline flight is comparable to the risk of fatality by
taking a bath.
- Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do, but we
get complacent about safety because we drive so often and because
we retain our illusions of control when we have the steering wheel
in our hands.
- The compelling news headlines, videotaped images and computer
recreations after each major crash sensitize all of us to
the potential dangers of flying. In contrast, articles touting
flight safety are often buried in the back pages. Remember when you
look at the statistics below that there are nearly 18,000
domestic flights of airliners every
- In any given three month period, there are more people
killed on American roads than have been killed by all the
airliner crashes in the history of American aviation.
- Rational versus emotional risk assessment: What are the
(From What The Odds Are, by Lee Krantz)
You will eventually die in a car crash
|1 in 125
|You will be a victim of violence in the suburbs
||1 in 2,000
|You will develop a brain tumor
||1 in 25,000
|You will die in a fire this year
||1 in 40,000
|You will win a state lottery jackpot
||1 in 4,000,000
|You will be killed in an airplane crash
||1 in 4,600,000
Fear: "I don't trust a stranger to fly the plane!"
- Airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers are trained
repetitively for every imaginable emergency situation. Such
training is regularly updated to encompass what was learned from
air disasters. Frequent refresher courses and flight simulator
training is required. The seniority system requires lengthy years
of training, experience and demonstrated expertise before pilot
status is attained. One publicized lapse will stick in your mind
and alarm you. However, flight crews are scrutinized more than any
professional in whom you entrust your safety, (e.g., drug/alcohol
screens, physical exams, taped cockpit conversation, surreptitious
observation of operations, etc.).
- Remember: The flight crew is as invested in their safety as you
are in yours. They want to get home safely to their loved ones as
much as you do.
- Remember: Your concern about the flight crew is really about
your own fear of giving up control or, more to the point, the
illusion of control.
Fear: "I don't trust a stranger to maintain the plane!"
- A commercial airliner receives 12 hours of maintenance and
inspection on the ground for every hour it spends in the air. In
addition to daily maintenance, there are periodic in-depth
inspections involving thousands of person-hours of scrutiny.
Compare this to our blind trust in the mechanical integrity of our
- Again, one news story about an incident of shoddy maintenance
will stick in your memory. However, every part of the industry and
the FAA places top priority on effective maintenance, if for no
other reason, because a well-publicized mistake can be a business
and public relations disaster.
- If anything, the industry's cautiousness about any minor
irregularity may result in your being inconvenienced by a delayed
or cancelled flight, even when there is no real decrement in the
safety of the plane. The next time you see a disgruntled customer
shrieking at airline personnel about delays or cancellations, go
out of your way to tell the airline's staff that you appreciate
their putting safety first!
Fear: "I don't trust the plane!"
- Airliners are carefully designed to fly safely and efficiently
no matter how heavy and awkward they may appear to you. Even a 747
operates efficiently according to simple laws of physics (e.g.,
lift, power, direction)-they do not somehow defy natural forces in
order to fly!
- If your fear of flying is primarily about the fear of the
unknown or misunderstood, read about the mechanics of flight and
talk to a pilot about what you've read.
- From engines to emergency mechanisms, from hydraulics to
electricals, from computers to navigational aids, there are back-up
systems, even multiple back-up systems for virtually
Fear: "What if we run into bad weather or lightning?"
- The weather is constantly monitored by radar and radio both
onboard by the crew and on the ground. Every effort is made to
divert the plane around or above thunderstorms so that you will
have a smooth and comfortable flight. If you are in a lightning
storm, you are much safer in an airplane than on the ground. The
plane is a conductor which lightning can strike without hurting
either the plane or its passengers.
- "Wind shear" seems to have contributed to some well-publicized
crashes. This has prompted design and installation of wind shear
detectors at major airports and on-board wind shear detectors on
many airplanes. Pilots are now trained in simulators to manage
dangerous wind shear, drawing on data gathered from previous
crashes. Veteran pilot T.W. Cummings notes, "Perilous wind shear
probably occurs only once in every twenty million takeoffs or
Fear: "What if we run into turbulence?"
- Turbulence is not a threat to the structure or function of the
airplane. Modern airplanes are built to handle much more force than
is exerted in even the roughest turbulence. Turbulence feels
dangerous, but it is not. Pilots try to avoid turbulence for your
comfort, knowing that a turbulent flight may make you less likely
to choose their airline for your next flight.
- However, turbulence does cause many injuries every year when
unrestrained passengers are jostled and hurt. Some experts
recommend keeping your seat belt fastened at all times to prevent
such injury. With your seat belt fastened, turbulence is no more
significant than riding on a bumpy road or a choppy water surface.
Just because you can't see turbulence doesn't mean that the plane
can somehow drop from the sky like a brick. Turbulence is merely a
pothole in the sky.
- Turbulence is uncomfortable because it can leave you feeling
more out-of-control of the situation. A vicious circle is created
as you feel more alarmed and then overreact to subsequent motions
of the plane. Remind yourself that your feeling a loss of control
does not mean that the plane and the pilot are not in control. Try
not to fight and resist the plane's movements during turbulence-try
to go with them, reminding yourself that there is nothing abnormal
or dangerous about such motions even though they can feel
- For more on turbulence, scroll to the CNN article at
the bottom of this page.
Final Note About Safety:
Consider the "acceptable risks" you take dozens of times
each day to improve the quality of your life. Decide whether you
are willing to view flying as yet another acceptable risk. Of
course, safety cannot be guaranteed. However, do not mistake
possibility for probability. Remember that your risk assessment is
driven by your feelings of danger, not the actual danger. Be
sure you are not using your fears about safety as a rationalization
for not facing frightened feelings or scary symptoms which you have
come to associate with flying.
As Reid Wilson has noted, you are unlikely to make progress until
you, first, decide to trust the airline industry and, second,
decide to trust your own body. Initially, this will feel like
blind, na�ve trust, but it is the only way to move forward toward
dampening your fears. If you are still not willing, don't
Coping With Fears Of Panic and Bodily Symptoms While
- Decide to face your fears.
Consider both the costs and the possible payoffs involved in your
fearful avoidance of flying. You must decide whether you are
serious about facing your fears. Be clear about what your fears
are; for example, be careful not to rationalize your fear of
feelings by disguising and justifying them as fears about safety.
Keep your eye on what you stand to gain by facing your fears.
- Be willing to begin changing your thinking.
Consider how you perpetuate your fears. Do you have remarkably
vivid recall for the details of crash stories or of past feelings
of panic? You have likely repeated such thoughts hundreds or
thousands of times. The jolt you feel when you think such thoughts
makes them feel that much more dangerous. Your indulgence in such
thoughts unwittingly escalates your fear and "justifies" your
avoidance or your anticipatory anxiety. You must be willing to try
to shift your thinking toward more hopeful and more realistic
content, (e.g., images and self-talk about coping and safety). Of
course, you won't believe it for now, but strive to do so anyway so
that you stop compounding your problem.
- Notice and accept your anxious feelings.
Remember that the uneasy feelings and bodily sensations
you have when you even think about flying reflect your
body's natural protective mechanisms, (i.e., a fight-or-flight
response to perceived danger). As long as your thoughts give your
body reason to think you are in danger, your body will dutifully
react as if you really are in danger. Your best, common
sense efforts to deal with your discomfort have probably only added
to your symptoms and increased your preoccupation with them.
Do not deal with your frightening feelings: 1) by trying to
control, contain, or ignore them, 2) by desperately distracting
yourself, 3) by closing your eyes to the reality of flying, or 4)
by anesthetizing yourself with alcohol. You cannot "get rid of"
such feelings and your attempts to do so will only make you feel
worse. Give yourself permission not to be and feel perfectly in
control. Make a point of noticing and accepting your anxious
feelings for what they are-just upsetting feelings. These
sensations feel intensely dangerous, yet they are not dangerous.
Your task is to encourage your mind not to continue giving your
body danger signals.
Notice your feelings, accept your feelings, and decide to respond
differently than you usually do to those feelings. Ironically, the
more willing you are to invite, endure and even embrace panic, the
less likely you are to have panic. Try to bring on a panic attack
or try to make your symptoms worse. This is the paradox: You can't
do either by willing it-trying to do so with real conviction is a
move toward acceptance and will help the feelings pass. Trying to
ignore or control panic only fuels such feelings. If your heart is
racing, try to will it to beat faster. If your legs feel weak, will
them to feel weaker. If your hands are sweating and trembling, will
them to do so even more. Similarly, if you tend to clutch the arms
of your seat when anxious, do so deliberately and intensely for
10-15 seconds, then let go and focus on your breathing, as
described below. If you tend to tighten your legs and push your
feet against the cabin floor when anxious, do so deliberately and
intensely for 10-15 seconds, then let go and focus on your
breathing. Adapt and repeat such exercises as necessary for your
"I can be panicky and still fly."
"It's okay to be anxious; it's okay not to feel in control."
"It's an adrenaline surge-it's not dangerous-just accept the
"If I'm going to have panic, let's go ahead and have it now."
"Just because this feels dangerous doesn't mean it is
- Confront your anxious anticipation and worry.
Most fearful flyers' misery occurs more in the anticipation
of flying than in actual flight. If you have decided to fly, don't
allow yourself to indulge in frightened anticipation of all of the
details of your flight or of feelings you may have. Everything you
say or think to yourself will influence how you feel. For example,
thoughts beginning with "What if�?" or "I can't�" have a very
different effect on your feelings than thoughts beginning with
"It's okay if�" or "I can�"
If you are overwhelmed by your worries and can't seem to turn away
from them, begin by trying to limit them to designated periods of
worry. That is, you might choose to spend 10-15 minutes at several
set times during the day during which you focus all of your
attention on the worst of your worries, then turning your attention
to other matters when time is up. Between designated worry periods,
strive to postpone your worries to the next designated time. You
can't "get rid of" your worries, but you can learn to limit the
worrying process and, eventually, to not take your worries so
seriously when they do intrude.
If you have decided to fly, do not try to control things that are
beyond your control. You can't fly the plane. You can't anticipate
and prepare for every bump of turbulence. You can't control your
every thought, feeling and action. You can't control the weather.
If you are willing to accept that flying is a reasonable risk worth
taking and you are willing to accept having uncomfortable, panicky
feelings in order to overcome your fears, then your worries and
wish for control are just irrelevant noise that alarms your
body. Strive to keep yourself attune to here-and-now realities
rather than anxiously anticipating your flight. Remember: Your
worries prevent nothing.
"Stay in the here-and-now."
"I'll deal with that when the time comes."
"It's not the flying-it's the anxious thoughts."
- Before you fly, learn helpful breathing skills.
When you are anxious, you are likely to breathe rapidly and high in
your chest. If you are not physically active, this can lead to
hyperventilation. Even fairly subtle hyperventilation can cause
lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, sensory
alterations, or a variety of other symptoms that can further
frighten you by adding to the vicious circle of your anxious
arousal. In contrast, when you breathe from low in your diaphragm,
in a calm and rhythmic manner, you naturally activate the part of
your nervous system that calms your body and diminishes your
By learning to change your breathing, you can interrupt and begin
to reverse the upward spiral of anxious arousal. Such diaphragmatic
breathing has several benefits: 1) It helps to keep you focused on
the here-and-now; 2) It gives you something active to do when you
feel passively overwhelmed; 3) It may reduce the intensity of some
symptoms; and, 4) It seems to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous
system which helps your body return to equilibrium. Like any new
skill, diaphragmatic breathing will require practice.
To practice, lie on your back, with one hand on your chest and one
hand on your belly. Observe the movement of your two hands as you
breathe. Now try to focus your breathing low in your belly so that
hand moves while the hand on your chest stays nearly still. Do not
aim for deep breaths. Allow your breathing to be calm and rhythmic
rather than hurried, forced or overly deep. As you breathe from
deep in your belly, allow relaxation to flow into muscles
throughout your body. You might find it useful to repeat a calming
word or phrase to yourself or to picture a calming image within
your mind's eye-experiment with what works best for you.
Once you have developed some skill with daily practice, try the
same skills in other positions and situations. Try the skills while
you're walking, conversing with someone or driving your car.
Eventually, practice the skills while you think about flying or
while you visit the airport in preparation for eventual flight. If
you learn diaphragmatic breathing effectively, acceptance will come
more easily and panicky feelings will pass. However, don't expect
to "get rid of" panicky feelings by focusing on your breathing.
Remember, this is all about acceptance.
"Breathe low and slow."
"Calm and smooth� calm and smooth�" (or similar words)
"I can practice my breathing when I'm anxious."
- Seek exposure to cues related to flying.
You may be remarkably avoidant of any cues about flying,
which also serves to reinforce your fears. Make a point to watch
television and print advertisements about the airlines. Read travel
articles about flying. Visit the airport and departure gates,
accompanied by a friend if you wish. Spend time sitting in the
departure area, picturing yourself getting on the plane, until the
anxiety diminishes. Watch planes landing and taking off. If you
have the opportunity to sit on a stationary plane, do so.
Practice your breathing and picture yourself coping with all the
experiences of flight, even with your own panicky feelings. If you
are a novice flyer or are particularly attune to the noises and
other sensations of flight, read about what to expect and how to
understand what will happen during your flight (see books below).
Watch a video of a flight (see below), imagining that it is your
flight, and practicing your breathing and other coping
"Face the fear and the fear will disappear."
"It's not the airport, it's the anxious thought."
"I can be here and do this even with panic."
- Take a practice flight.
You may decide to take a practice flight with an anxiety disorders
specialist experienced in working with fearful flyers. If you have
decided to face your fear of flying without professional help, you
may still want a sympathetic friend or relative to accompany you.
The book by Cummings offers some tips for involving a companion in
a useful manner. Coach your companion about what you most need to
be reminded of during flight-tell them how they can best be of
assistance to you.
When planning your practice flight, choose a destination that will
require a 45-60 minute flight each way. This will give you enough
time to work with your anxiety successfully without facing a flight
that's so long that you feel overwhelmed in anticipation.
Eventually, on a longer flight, you will have the same opportunity
to feel bored or sleepy that other passengers experience. You may
find it helpful to take your practice flight at non-peak times so
as to reduce other stressors. For example, a late morning flight is
usually less crowded, getting to the airport is easier, and you
won't face an entire day of anticipating a later flight. You may
also want to choose your seat assignment in advance. Your travel
agent can assist you; or, if you are booking online, most airlines
will give you seating choices.
Using this handout or other sources, write a few key words or
phrases that you find helpful on index cards to serve as quick
reminders on the plane. You may want to bring a cassette player
with favorite music or relaxation cues. You may want to bring a
book or magazine, not to distract yourself from the reality of
flying, but to remind yourself that you can do ordinary things
while flying and while being anxious. If the sensation of fullness
in your ears during descent is a concern, bring gum, practice
hearty yawns or consider taking a decongestant.
Try to keep the day, or at least several hours, before your flight
as free of other stressors as possible. While you wait, practice
picturing yourself coping with your anxiety on the plane. Practice
your breathing skills. Strive not to anticipate with "what ifs."
Strive not to indulge yourself in scary thoughts that "justify"
avoidance. Don't be upset if you have trouble sleeping the night
before your flight-this happens to many non-anxious travelers, too.
You can fly even if panicky and even if sleep-deprived.
On the day of your flight, it is important to allow plenty of time
for travel to the airport and boarding the plane so as to minimize
other potential stressors. Practice your breathing, imagery and
self-talk skills as you travel to the airport and as you await
boarding. If it is important for you to board early, tell the agent
of your special needs as a fearful flyer. If you board early, it
may allow you a moment to meet the pilot or co-pilot which may be
reassuring for some fearful flyers. Alternatively, you may find it
helpful to wait until most passengers have boarded so that you have
less time to wait on the stationary plane before take-off.
Be sure to greet the flight attendants and flight crew as you enter
the airplane, pausing a moment to look into the cockpit if
possible. You may find it helpful to identify yourself as a fearful
or novice flyer rather than striving to hide any sign of anxiety,
which can unwittingly add to your discomfort. This may prompt the
flight attendants to check with you during the flight; plus, you
may feel more comfortable asking them questions that you might
otherwise dismiss as silly. The airline personnel will assume that
you are most concerned about safety; hence, if you're more afraid
of your own panicky response, their reassurances, comments or
questions may not be relevant for you.
Do what you can to adjust your comfort level, (e.g., adjust the
ventilation nozzle, get a pillow or blanket, adjust the light or
window shade). As soon as you get settled, return to reading your
index cards and practicing your breathing skills, coping imagery
and helpful self-talk; but, don't try to ignore the reality of
flying by blocking it all out or by staying in a frenzy of activity
or conversation. Once airborne, when the "fasten seat belts" light
goes off, allow yourself to get up and leave your seat briefly to
visit the restroom or the magazine rack. The activity of your large
muscles and lessening of the feeling of being trapped in your seat
can be calming. However, at other times, keep your seatbelt
fastened to avoid being jostled by turbulence.
Talk to others if you feel up to it, but don't chat incessantly as
a means of distracting yourself from the reality that you are in
flight. Don't keep an eye on the clock. You may find it useful to
look out the window occasionally.
Stauffer and Petee recommend that you join forces with the plane,
as if you were connected to it, (e.g., when the plane banks to the
left, lean your body to the left rather than resisting the motion;
when turbulence causes some bumpiness, experience yourself as part
of the plane, riding the bumps as if they were waves rather than
trying to "get control" of either the turbulence in the air or the
turbulence in your body).
In summary, remember to notice and accept, even to invite and
embrace, your own anxious feelings. Don't mistake the intense
feeling of danger for actual danger. Remember to practice your
breathing skills, coping imagery and helpful self-talk. Finally,
remember that with practice and patience, you can recover just as
so many others have recovered. Imagine how proud you will be and
where you will want to go once you are truly a flyer. Most people
find that their anxiety varies over the course of the flight, but
that they generally feel more comfortable as time elapses after
Some people feel triumphant success with their first practice
flight while others feel a grim sense of accomplishment. Either
way, give yourself credit for facing your fears. How you feel on
one flight does not predict how you'll feel on another flight, so
don't make too much of your first experience. Think of it as a step
in the right direction just because you faced your fears. More
practice can lead to more progress. If your first flight went very
well, remember that you may still face more anxiety on another
flight. Expect it, accept it and deal with it as you have
Don't let turbulence freak you
By Brett Snyder
March 28, 2011
� Rough air usually feels a lot worse than it is
� Planes are built to withstand tremendous force on the body and
� Thunderstorms can be dangerous, but pilots are trained to
navigate around them
Editor's note: Brett Snyder writes a weekly CNN.com travel
column. Snyder is the founder of air travel assistance site Cranky
Concierge, and he writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky
(CNN) -- From a little jolt to an all-out roller coaster ride,
turbulence is a routine event when it comes to flying, but it
scares the heck out of a lot of travelers. Fortunately, if you
follow directions, your chances of getting hurt are slim to
The first thing to remember with turbulence is that it's almost
never as bad as you think. In severe turbulence, it might
seem like you dropped 100 feet, but it was probably not even
Consider driving fast down a dirt road. If you tried to hold on
to a cup of water on that ride, you'd be just fine except for the
thorough soaking you'd get about two seconds in. On the other hand,
if you're in an airplane that hits turbulence, your water usually
won't even splash outside of the cup.
Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to see that next bump
in the sky just yet. For control freaks like me and countless
others, that's an anxiety-producing experience. But there are some
important things to know about turbulence that should help calm
You aren't going to
Airplanes pass through turbulence all
day, every day, and how often have you heard of an airplane
actually crashing because of it? At cruising altitude, it just
doesn't happen. And in other stages of flight it's, at most, very,
very rare. It takes a lot more than bumps along the way to down a
Planes are built to stay in the air. They are meant to withstand
insane amounts of force on the body and wings. (See how far the
Boeing 777 wings bent in testing before breaking). Airplanes have
come out of extreme turbulence with the interiors looking like they
were hit by a tornado, but the aircraft itself flew just fine. But
that doesn't mean you should just ignore it. Turbulence can still
break bones or even kill if you aren't smart.
If there's one thing you should do
when flying to stay safe, it's keeping your seatbelt fastened any
time you're sitting down. If you need to get up to go to the
bathroom, do it when the seatbelt sign is off. Otherwise, stay
seated. Why?Because the people who don't put their seatbelts on are
the ones who do their best impression of pancakes sticking to the
ceiling when the ride gets really rough.
There are several severe turbulence incidents each year that get
reported in the news. And inevitably, a handful of people get hurt.
But if you have your seatbelt on, you'll be fine. The injuries come
from hitting heads on the ceiling or being thrown around in the
aisle like a rag doll. If you're seated with your belt on, it's
like a roller coaster ride and nothing worse.
Remember that I said it's
rare, not unheard of, for turbulence to bring airplanes down. There
is one kind of turbulence that has been known to cause accidents --
the turbulence generated by thunderstorms.
The updrafts and sudden wind shifts can be so violent that a big
thunderstorm can bring an airplane down, especially if it happens
near the ground. But pilots learned long ago to fly around
Modern airplanes have sophisticated radar detection that allow
pilots to navigate around thunderstorms. You might be in the middle
of the clouds, but you aren't flying through the heart of a storm
cell unless your pilot has made a big mistake.
Though we don't know exactly what brought down Air France flight
447 over the Atlantic on its way from Brazil to France back in
2009, some speculate that the pilots flew right into some nasty
storms that led to a series of events that brought the airplane
down. But even then, turbulence was probably at most a contributing
factor to the confusion in the cockpit after systems starting
failing for other reasons.
The best news is that technology and training continue to get
better, and that helps pilots avoid turbulence with greater ease
year after year. In fact, one of the biggest threats, windshear
near an airport, has been significantly muzzled for that
near the airport is one of the most dangerous types of weather. It
involves a dramatic shift in wind direction that causes airplanes
to gain and lose speed and altitude quickly. It's often related to
a thunderstorm. The reason it's so dangerous near the airport is
because the airplane is pretty close to the ground at that point.
There just isn't much room to recover if something goes wrong.
In the past, there have been a handful of accidents from
windshear including Delta flight 191 in Dallas in 1985. The
airplane ran into windshear from a thunderstorm just before it was
to land and the pilots couldn't recover in time.
It's incredibly unlikely that this kind of accident would happen
again in the United States today for two reasons. Training and
technology are far better. As with any accident, people learned
from Delta 191 and training has changed to reflect those lessons.
Pilots are taught to be more conservative in situations like that
and they're trained to abort landings when conditions aren't right.
They're also aided by windshear detection equipment on the airplane
and at major airports.
In the end, turbulence is frightening but the chance
that something bad will happen to you is incredibly small. Of
course, fear isn't always rational. Just keep that seatbelt
See ASDI Events for information
about our periodic Fear of Flying class
and ASDI Groups for our ongoing
fear of flying support group.
ASDI: Serving the Baltimore Area & Central Maryland