I’ve always had a fear of flying. The very thought of a huge hunk of metal hurling its way across the sky has always seemed unnatural to me. Despite all explanations of the science of flight and thrust and lift, I am a white knuckler. I’m not one who gets on the plane and has a panic attack. If you didn’t know me( or read this) you would have no idea I was scared. I quietly sit on the plane with a smile on my face, showing no outward signs of the worry that I feel.
Years ago, I made the mistake of telling my family Doctor that I had a fear of flying. She decided to send me for a counselling session, to see if it would help to ease my fright.
My appointment day arrived and I went with an open mind. I discovered the sessions would progress from a trip to the airport to just go into the terminal, to where (After about ten sessions) I would be getting on a parked plane at the airport (without flying). Did she think I was afraid the plane was going to bite me?? I quickly explained that I wasn’t afraid of the plane itself, but of the plane falling from the sky. I travelled on a plane frequently but just didn’t like it. Counselling wasn’t going to help me.
Around about the same time, I found myself scheduled on a flight with a good friend. My job at the time had me flying by myself about once a month, so the thought of a buddy to sit with was a pleasant change. As the plane taxied down the runway, my friend looks at me and says,
‘I’m a nervous flyer’
I chuckled to myself and told her not to worry, I was exactly the same. We settled in for the flight.
I discovered that our fears were very different. My friends way of dealing with her fear was to complain. Our seat was over the wing of a smaller plane with props. As we gained altitude the engine noise got louder and louder. The higher we got, the more she sputtered about the noise, and the plane, and the seats, etc. It was so excessive it was almost laughable. Until we levelled out.
As we finished the climb and our little plane levelled out, the noise suddenly stopped. Now in a clear head, one would realize that the engines were not working as hard and because of that, they were quieter. Cooler heads did not prevail that day. My companion was convinced the engines had died and we were going down. I didn’t have time to think about my own fears, I had to talk her down from a full blown hissy fit and convince her that it was going to be okay….even though I wasn’t quite sure of it myself.
Needless to say we arrived safe and sound. We had separate flights back home and for once I was glad to get on that plane by myself.
On one of my solo flights, I happened to be looking out the window as I passed over my home town. I was amazed to recognize the landmarks that I knew so well, from so high up in a plane. I was so impressed that I mentioned it to the flight attendant, who in turn told the pilot. Next thing I knew, I was up front with the pilots, sitting in the cock pit for the landing portion of the flight. There I was, with headset on, strapped into the jump seat on the inside of the cockpit door. I was scared out of my mind, but I knew this was a once in a lifetime experience that I had to take.
That half an hour remains one of the coolest things I’ve done. Hubby teases me that they were only trying to hit on young and innocent me, but I was amazed at the sights and sounds before my eyes. It was a very foggy day and the pilot warned me, between communications with the tower, that when the fog cleared we would be very near the tarmac…and it was going to all happen very suddenly. He warned me that as the plane approached, alarms would sound with WHOOP WHOOPS and the plane itself would start to talk to the pilots to update them on their path. The technology, the gadgets, the pilots and the whole landing process impressed me so much that I forgot to be afraid. It was absolutely incredible.
I didn’t meet the pilot for the drink afterwards, even though he did ask (Ok, Hubby maybe you were right!) I discovered after that flight that while I still had my fear of flying, I was no longer afraid of landing. My mind went back to being inside that small cramped space and once again I felt safe placing my trust in the pilots hands.
This week, I fly again. As always, as the plane is taxiing down the runway, I will look at my sweet Husband and quietly say,
“Did I ever tell you I was afraid of flying?”
Just like I always do when we’re about to take off.
Without a doubt, he will take my hand in his and give it a quick kiss. He will smile at me and say,
“It’s ok Baby, adventure is out there. Let’s go find it together”….
and in an instant, I know I’ll be ok.
That’s it for this time, if you have any questions, or comments, I’d love to hear them. If you’re really enjoying the BPA blogging adventures and don’t want to miss out, click ‘follow me’ and your name/email will be added to our growing list of blog subscribers.
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How do you conquer your fears? Are you a nervous flyer?