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Home > Fear of Flying > Many questions from a fearful flyer from Australia to Malaysia…
Many questions from a fearful flyer from Australia to Malaysia…
Flying - Fear of Flying
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 16:09

Hi Captain Lim,

I know you have heard this a lot but I would still like to thank you for your great site alt

I am a fearful flyer - to the extent where I had to seek the medical specialist for help. So whenever I travel by air, I will take medication before boarding the plane. I really hope you will have time to answer my questions.

I will be flying from Australia to Malaysia in a few days time and I am very nervous about my flight and many thoughts come to my mind. I have read about thunderstorms and lightning on your sites. I realized that there are many times when flying above Indonesia, there is usually turbulence.

May I know why this is so? Besides, if there are thunderstorms and lightning during the journey and the pilot is aware of it before reaching the thunderstorms and lightning area, does pilot fly above it or will use another route? I know all pilots will try to avoid flying in thunderstorms and lightning. If flying above it, does the thunderstorms and lightning below will still affect the plane in turbulence?

Another question is, if Australia is to be in windy/very windy weather, does the pilot still decide to continue with the take off and how strong can the plane withstand the strong wind during take off? And will there be any turbulence during take off on a very windy day/nite?

There was a time when I was flying to China and it was a flight after midnight. I could feel the speed of the plane although it's already at the cruising altitude and this is the first time I could feel that. The feeling is just like sitting in a car where the driver is driving real fast. I have not experienced this before although I know the plane is cruising fast in the sky. My friend who was travelling with me feels the same too. May I know why this is so?

One last question is, how does jet stream affect the plane in a turbulent condition? There was this time when I was flying from Malaysia to Australia and about half an hour before the plane reached Australia, we were told by the captain that we would go through a jet stream and asked us to buckle our seat belts as there might be turbulence. But there was no turbulence at all. I was very glad as I am very afraid of turbulence. I know it's safe to be in turbulence but I just feel very uncomfortable about it as it increases my anxiety.

In this case, may I know whether we did come across the jet stream at all or that the jet stream would not necessarily cause the plane to shake in turbulent condition?

Hope I will hear from you soon.

Thank you very much, Captain Lim.

Kind regards,


Hi Esterly,

All your questions are found in my site and they have been duly answered before. I wish many readers would now make use of the Google Custom Search in my updated site.

Very briefly, thunderstorms are generally quite prevalent over Indonesia during most times of the year. Whenever they are found along the airways, pilots would make every effort to avoid them. Once clear of them, any turbulence and lightning associated with the thunderstorm would not affect the plane much.

A plane will not take off or land in very windy conditions. Every plane has a limitation as to how strong the crosswind must be before the pilot considers it dangerous to continue. (See here)

Whether one can feel if a plane is moving during the cruise is a very subjective question. We know most jet liners cruise at a speed of around 500 mph or 800 kph. I suppose if the environment is very calm, then one may not feel the speed easily but if it is turbulent, then one would immediately feel the plane moving or rocking like a boat in the sea!

A jet stream can be as strong as 250 mph. Flying along or with the jet stream can be surprisingly smoother than expected. It is usually more turbulent when the plane is flying in the vicinity of the jet stream. This is where most of the clear air turbulence (CAT) can be found. Most captains would be quite prudent and switch on the seat belts when they know they are flying around jet streams. Yes, it is better to err on the safe side where turbulence is concerned than to be caught unexpected alt !

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