Fear of Flying
Sunday, 11 December 2005 09:28
Hello Captain Lim,
I really hope you will read this. I have a great fear of landing. I am not afraid of flying or turbulence as such but my heart races away as the plane is coming in for a landing. I always feel like it will tip over and blow up or skid off the runway because every landing is always really rough sometimes; it feels like the plane going out of control for a couple of seconds.
I know pilots are definitely trained, but what are the chances of something happening? I know the most critical times are landing and taking off but landing really, really scares me. I also feel like the plane is coming in at too high a speed to land properly. I also check to see if the plane is level before landing too.
Can you help me ease or get rid of this fear by explaining the exact process of how a place lands, etc, in terms of the wind and stuff?
First of all, you must get this into your thoughts that flying in a commercial airplane is very safe - safer than the journey from your home to the airport! Yes, safe doesn't necessary mean that the flight will be absolutely smooth all the time. You can't help it because the plane has to move in three dimensions - up, down, left, right and forward. When you add in the turbulence factor, flying can be a little frightening to one not used to this unnatural means of travel because you were not born like a bird :-). So even if the plane wobbles a little in the air, it is normal just like you are on a boat.
From day one, a pilot is trained on how to land a plane safely. A landing is unsafe only when a plane is allowed to stall - that is, when the plane would drop off the sky! It should not happen in your flight as your captain has gone through very rigorous training and tests before he is qualified to command a commercial jetliner.
Remember, not every day will be smooth because no one can control the weather. So occasionally, you get the "wind and stuff" blowing the plane as it lands. A pilot knows how much crosswind the plane can take before he aborts the landing. Sure, the plane would shake a bit as it makes its final approach. This is to be expected. Even the landing can be a little harder than normal too.
Remember again, about three million people fly safely around the world everyday. Think positively. If you catch yourself dwelling onto negative thoughts, remind yourself of how safe flying is. (Please read "How Safe is Flying"). Forget about the "what-ifs" and focus on happy thoughts or occupy yourself with something to do.
Leave the flying and landing of the plane to your captain. He has a family to go back to as well. He cares for his safety just as you would worry about it yourself!
I wish you a safe flight.