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Old 10-19-2009, 08:23 AM   #41
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Seeing the pilot has not always been a positive experience for me . On our last flight the one pilot looked like he could collect SS and the other looked like he was earning money to go on spring break .
Yeah, but on average it was perfect.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:06 AM   #42
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im not sure if a couple xanax would help...but i know if *I* took a couple xanax and maybe had a drink, i'd be willing to FLY the darn plane....


no good advice here though.... i wish you luck
Martha, I think this is good advice until you conquer the fear--at least you'll be able to get to the places on your list.

I never was really afraid of flying, but I got over being even slightly nervous about it when I realized I wasn't afraid of dying. Now I sleep through takeoffs and landings. I admit the turbulence still gets me sometimes.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:54 AM   #43
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Anyway, I want to work through this. Anyone overcome a fear of flying? Would taking a xanax or two get you through a flight?
I think understanding the reason for it would be my first concern.

Some years ago I was assaulted on a bus while seated in a window seat, surrounded by five or six large delinquents, one of whom sat next to me in the aisle seat and leaned against me. Long story but eventually he said, "I'm tired of leaning on you" and he and the others got off the bus. I've always had some claustrophobia but that event created a problem for many years.

I just kept trying to get back into window seats and gradually could do it, did it yesterday without a thought to it once being a problem. I still avoid the back seats of other people's car, and have had some embarrassing moments about that. Obviously, this is a control issue and I don't feel any panic in the driver's seat, even of a small car. During the worst of that time, I did fly a few times, and felt panicky but just toughed it out because once you are on board there is no choice. I've never taken any meds./booze or gone to a doctor for it but my friends knew about it and shared their experiences about behavioral changes.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:07 AM   #44
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Thanks for your story CJ. I don't know how important the reasons are. Given that so many people fear flying or heights I think part of the problem is just in our wiring. The key for me is learning how to dial down the anxiety to a reasonable level. It sounds like the dvds and courses present ways to teach you how to do that.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:23 AM   #45
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I had no idea I had mild claustrophobia until I tried to sleep in the lower bunk of a tiny cramped boat cabin. I couldn't stay there the first night. I eventually got used to it. I was in my early 40s - so it took a long time to discover this phobia.

I still get a bit of that creepy feeling if I need to get under a low crawl space - like when I was trying to help my husband find that thing under the car.

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Old 10-19-2009, 11:02 AM   #46
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So I have this one specific phobia. For some reason, I think that I might have better luck trying to fly in a small plane first. (Though that is somewhat contrary to what the psychologist told me about flying and is technically less safe). Take a tranquilizer (MD is willing), go up on a nice day, fly around a bit, and land. I might feel more in control if the flight is only 15 minutes.
Full disclosure: I owned a single-engine airplane for a couple of years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

My first thought was go to a small airport and ask about taking flying lessons. The vast majority of flight instructors love aviation and introducing it to people, and the last thing they want to do is scare someone away. A "once around the pattern" flight takes about five minutes or less. Explain to the instructor why you're taking the flights and he or she will bend over backwards to explain what's going on and why.

And technically, landing a light airplane is no more difficult than parallel parking a car. How many times did you have to practice that to get it nailed down? If you can ride a motorcycle you certainly have the physical and mental ability to fly an airplane. An airplane banks in a turn for the same reasons a motorcycle does.

As was suggested, pick a calm day. Light airplanes do bounce around more in windy weather, but there are days when the air is so calm it's like sitting in your living room. Early morning and late afternoon are the most likely times.

And finally, I respectfully submit the thought that a half-dozen flying lessons might be cheaper than a psychologist. By that time you will have done at least a couple of landings by yourself.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:13 PM   #47
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Martha, I don’t know if it would be effective to concentrate on your motivation, wow, the Galapagos!! I went to a museum yesterday that’s original collection was taken from those islands. They have a short film I always find mesmerizing. I don’t want to go there (yet) but have tickets this weekend to sail around the Farallones Islands in a small boat. One very real risk is that I might spend the entire time seasick but I’ve been nauseous before and will go through with it, very excited to get out on the water; any moments without nausea will be a bonus. I plan to pop one “less drowsy” Bonine tablet in advance of departure. Motivation, planning, self talk, it’s worth a try. It’s shark season, ooh, cool. Maybe whales, definitely seals and birds.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:20 PM   #48
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And technically, landing a light airplane is no more difficult than parallel parking a car. How many times did you have to practice that to get it nailed down? If you can ride a motorcycle you certainly have the physical and mental ability to fly an airplane. An airplane banks in a turn for the same reasons a motorcycle does.
Well, hmmmm - not sure I agree with that. Touch and goes were pretty "exciting".

If Martha has trouble sitting in a big commercial airliner, I had trouble imagining her taking flying lessons. Flying lessons are very exciting - very intense with a lot of adrenaline involved.

Maybe no more than a motorcycle - but then there is clearly some major difference in Martha's mind.

If it's ultimately a control thing.........? Then seems like it would be the control issue that has to be addressed.

Way out of my league this stuff is....

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Old 10-19-2009, 12:23 PM   #49
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Here is an idea - learn about lift.

Flying is based on the concept of lift. If you really understand how lift works (the Bernoulli Principle) and how wings work and how much maneuverability the pilot does indeed have with no power, it might help a great deal with the anxiety once you get past the takeoff which IMO is the scariest part.

Planes are not rocks.

That Minneapolis course sounds like the right medicine! I bet they don't make you do anything that you don't want to do, and I bet you can take the course more than once.

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Old 10-19-2009, 12:47 PM   #50
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Audrey, I do understand the physics of flying as I spent some time learning about it when I tried 10 years ago to get past this. But what is odd, and maybe peculiarly human, is that one part of my brain understands but another does not. I assume it is like those who are claustrophic. You know that the box isn't closing in on you but your body does not.

I am going to either:

1. Take the Minneapolis fear of flying class and go on the flight with the class. I favor this option. It seems to be the most structured and will get me on a plane not by myself; or

2. Get the SOAR program DVDs and phone support. http://www.fearofflying.com/ I will do this if there isn't a fear of flying class sometime this winter; or

3. Do the small plane lessons and flight. My original thought was to just go up on a flight but the lessons have some appeal, though I really can't see myself putting in the hours necessary to become a pilot and odds are it is like motorcycles, the risk of accidents is far higher if you are a beginner. The only reason I keep it on the list is that I enjoyed thoroughly learning to ride a motorcycle and I was an uncomfortable motorcycle passenger. Now I am fine doing both. I also have a small airport a couple miles away where they give lessons. But given that winter is here and this option does make me want to hyperventilate a bit I think I will go with number 1 or 2.
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:33 PM   #51
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My fear of flying consists of fear of waiting around in airports, long lines, being cramped in the airplane seat for long periods, etc.
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:51 PM   #52
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Martha , This will not solve your fear of flying but I think it is pretty funny . My Mom who is 93 got invited to a big celebration in Pa. . She is afraid to fly alone but unfortunately both my sister and I had plans so we were not able to fly with her . I told her it would be easy . My sister would escort her right to the plane and my other sister would meet her at the landing in Pa.. My Mom loves a good party so she decided to go . Well flight to Pa. was okay . Flight home they had to make an emergency landing because they smelled smoke . I figured that would be it for flying for my Mom but no , I think she really enjoyed that adventure .Her life had become pretty boring now she has something to talk about in her card club.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:00 PM   #53
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I also have a small airport a couple miles away where they give lessons. But given that winter is here and this option does make me want to hyperventilate a bit I think I will go with number 1 or 2.
This isn't an attempt to change your list but sunny winter days are excellent for flying. Less turbulent than hot days and both engine and aerodynamic performance is far superior.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:42 PM   #54
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Funny I should happen across this thread and right below it find "2010, the year to travel". Trust me, get on a big plane, one where bumps and groans and grinds are mostly mutted. Find a window seat behind the wing and watch all the mechanical marvels that take place in flying. Watch the wing flaps go up and down, in and out. Experience the takeoff speed and lift, the wheels retracting and then the flaps as you accelerate. Then the reverse when you come in for a landing. Neat experience. You'll love it. After years of flying I took a fishing trip up in Canada where you fly into a lake on one of those pontoon planes. My first trip in one of those so the guys let me sit in the copilot seat. Had to wear ear mufflers to keep out the noise. That was an experience. I'll keep my flying to the big boys. To this day, when I fly, I always check the type of aircraft that is on the schedule. I love the MD88, Boeing 757, 767 and 777. Only been on a 747 one time from San Francisco to Okinawa. Eleven hours one way. Tough trip. Go get 'em!!
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:54 PM   #55
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This isn't an attempt to change your list but sunny winter days are excellent for flying. Less turbulent than hot days and both engine and aerodynamic performance is far superior.
And the air is "thicker" too.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:49 PM   #56
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I'm not afraid of flying, I just dislike it. Too many people, too close together. The pressurization feels strange. I don't like the constant loud noise. I've had takeoffs that were delayed for 2 hours and I was sitting with some creepy people. I've been on planes that circled the airport so long that I got nauseous and ended up using that handy bag. I don't look at it as a fun exciting way to travel, but I have to admit it's a great time saver.

I'll do it if I have to but it's more of an ordeal than a great adventure.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:10 AM   #57
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I'm not afraid of flying, I just dislike it. Too many people, too close together.
I'm that way also - I absolutely loathe airliner flying. To me it's nothing more than a bus with wings, and that nonsense of getting to the airport two hours before takeoff is ludicrous.

But owning one's own airplane gets you spoiled. Do the preflight, load it up, crank it up, and fifteen minutes after arrival at the airport you're climbing out. That's the way it should be.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:04 AM   #58
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I'm not afraid of flying, I just dislike it. Too many people, too close together. The pressurization feels strange. I don't like the constant loud noise. I've had takeoffs that were delayed for 2 hours and I was sitting with some creepy people. I've been on planes that circled the airport so long that I got nauseous and ended up using that handy bag. I don't look at it as a fun exciting way to travel, but I have to admit it's a great time saver.

I'll do it if I have to but it's more of an ordeal than a great adventure.
Same here. After ER, I don't expect to have the same pressures to travel quickly so I doubt I will fly much. We love driving places spontaneously, taking whatever route we wish and exploring along the way. But then, we don't anticipate very many long trips after we retire.

Meanwhile, this weekend we will be flying to Oregon to attend the wedding of my daughter and her beloved fiance. We will fly back the next day. I am not looking forward to flying, but I wouldn't miss my only child's wedding for anything!

We can't stay because we have to get back to our jobs. Frank has a hard time getting much vacation time at all, much less at a particular time planned in advance like this. (Sometimes he can take a week here or there at the last minute). He did manage to get out of OT just for this *one* weekend by telling them about it months ago.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:17 AM   #59
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Fear of heights and fear of flying are two separate things, IMO. You would be surprised how many pilots are afraid of heights. This came up in the squadron one day, and 30% of the pilots admitted to being afraid of heights. Your fear is irrational, and you know it, that does not make it any less. I would vote for option 1. However, I would like to talk with some of the folks that have gone through the program and see if it worked long term.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:33 AM   #60
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A friend's mom had an unreasonable fear/obsession that her luggage would break open on the luggage carousel, and that people would see her underwear. Then after a flight, her luggage broke open on the carousel, and people saw her underwear.
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