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Talking to the pilots

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  • Talking to the pilots

    Hello to everybody

    I am new to this forum.I apologise for my bad english.
    I came here after my problem with flying became so severe to make me choose to skip a flight for a job travel (after 10 flights in three months, always for my job, that took me to the limit of my ability to fight fear and hide it) and then inform my employer that I could not stand flying anymore.
    I took some counseling sessions with a therapist but when it came to flying for a small holiday (I booked that flight to "test" me) I didn't fly. Fear winned.
    I tried a second time a few months later and, again, I said no.
    A waste of time, money, self-esteem and job opportunities.

    After these sad experiences, I was surfing on the net and I found the SOAR program: the free material was the best I've ever read on this topic. Most of the anxieties and patterns of thinking that Capt. Bunn describes are exactly as I experienced them and I think that the way he suggest to work with the fear of flying is probably the right one for me.

    So I bought his book and I am planning to buy the course.

    But there is a thing that I am afraid I will not be able to do: when I will "test" myself the next time it will be with a a domestic flight with a big low-cost carrier that serves many destinations here in Europe (and that flyes from the airport nearest to my home).
    I flyed with them sometimes in the past and I think that it is not feasible to talk to the pilots before the flight. Furthermore I am really really ashamed to ask that. I dont want to admit it in front of the flight assistants and the other passengers: it was humiliating to admit to my employer that I have this fear: they were kind, but the rumors ran fast and soon my collegues talked at my back and made fun of me about that...

    Did someone of you skipped to try to talk to the pilots (even the first try after taking the course) and succesfully win his/her fear the same? How it was? What did you do?

    Thank you

  • #2
    I agree. The "talking to the pilot" idea seems very intrusive and embarrassing. I haven't done it. The most I've done is mention to a flight attendant that I'm a nervous flier. They usually get it, and takes a bit of the edge off.


    • #3
      I have had experience talking to the pilots. I was embarrassed at first, but they were actually really understanding and reassured me. I found it a very relaxing experience. They spoke about the radar, all of the instruments that they had, and how for them they were super relaxed. One other thing I noticed in the cockpit was that one of them had a coffee cup, with no lid on it, which I can presume that they expect it NOT to spill all over the instrument panel, which means, I can expect to be relaxed.

      Another thing that they told me which really helped ease my mind was the following knowledge: The plane is traveling very quickly, and the wings move a VERY small amount. Due to the speed of the plane, this small, but rapid movement imparts some amount of energy on the airframe. Because the connection between the wing and body is flexible (for reasons of strength), this causes the airplane to slowly bounce a little bit. This is the "dropping" feeling you get. So the plane is indeed only moving a fraction of an inch. If you look on flight aware or flight radar, you'll see the altimeter almost NEVER shows a change in altitude. That is because the plane is not moving up and down, only the fuselage is moving relative to the wings. So actually also, when you look outside and you see "the wings moving", it is all a matter of perspective, ACTUALLY you are moving relative to the wings.


      • #4
        Well ! Your post sounds interesting. It cannot be considered as embarrassing but yes little awkward. But it's experience is good and nice.


        • #5
          very interesting to hear! i think knowledge is power and as more we know about flying as less fear we feel.


          • #6
            Ignore the people who talk behind your back. Not worth a second thought. Everyone has something that isn’t “normal”. Ask my wife about me!

            Set aside the fear of asking to talk to the pilots, find a moment when you can approach the counter away from others as need be, and let them know about your fear and that you’d like to talk to the pilots before flight. They’ll probably let you pre-board if that’s the best time.

            Fact is, there are more fearful fliers on any given flight than you realize. Airlines know it. Be OK admitting it, meet the flight crew, and you’ll feel a ton better. Don’t suffer alone because you don’t want to be outed. I think it’s admirable when people can admit their fears and still choose to work past them.