By Kevin Zahri (29/11/12)
I have a fear of flying. My wife, family and friends know this. Its not that bad but especially during take off, dont talk to me :)
This is probably a result of having watched all Air Crash Investigation documentaries over and over again (adds to da paranoia) and well, I like to be in control of my life (health etc). Hence surrendering my life over to the plane n pilots does not come easy.
So if you are like me and/or have a fear of flying, following are some handy tips that help me cope whilst on a flight.
- The wings cant simply fall off. They are mounted to the fuselage of the plane by 1000s of “bolts” (cant remember the proper name and can’t google on flight) and are “one” with the plane. Oh ya, and the wings can bend some 20 or so degrees up/downwards in case of torsional stresses (trying to sound smart here).
- Even if all engines fail, most commercial airliners like can cruise for a good few 100km (around 500km if not mistaken) for a rapid but still possible descent.
- Once the plane has reached crusing altitute, chances that something will go wrong are very very very small! Most crashed/accidents happen during landing n takeoff.
- Turbulence is what it is – a bump in the road. In fact a really small bump. Why does it feel so bad? Coz we are moving at 700-800km/hr. just like when u drive ur car, a bump gets worse if u drive fast. Thats why we slow down when the road is bumpy. Planes do the same, they purposely slow down the plane to smoothen the ride.
- Pilot are well trained to cope with most demanding situations. Although human error is a huge contributor to air crashes, most are from “cheaper” carriers. So dont be cheap. I personally judge the pilots by their voice. Haha. Dont you? Am more at ease if he sounds authoritave, confident and seasoned. Better not sound like he is in his 20s (Air Asia anyone?)
- Planes “cant” collide mid-air. Ground radar aside, planes are equipped with their own anti-collide systems which notify and automatically instruct planes which fly in”close” proximity.
- Are u claustrophobic? Somehow, I feel safer in business class. Haha stupid i know but i never liked tights spaces n crowds.
- Explosive decompression of the fuselage again is unlikely due to vigerous inspections and integrity of the plane. Happened only 1-2 in the history of commercial flights .. I think.
- Air france crash which was blames on the pito tubes (i think thats what they are called) which measure air speed freaks me out all little but should only be a problem at night or storms … If n when pilots lose sense of where the horizon is. Hmmm.
- Most modern air planes are super automated with several overlapping safety mechanisms. Good right? Yup as long as they work! Some crashes were coz of these automated features. Lets hope most have been sorted out.
- Oh what if lightning strikes the plane? Well 1) the plane is “grounded” to the ground hence the current would simply do through the plane .. 2) even if the electronics would be knocked out, planes hv several backup systems to fall back on. Right?
- Air pockets? Apparently there is no such thing. At least that is what the “experts” are saying. Their justification for planes “falling several hundred feet” goes back to tip 4) turbulence. Say u fly through a storm with quick opposing winds, u may cross over zones wit verical up subsequent down streams (wind). Here the plane is quickly lifted and then dropped which gives you the illusion of falling. Also bear in mind that the plane is going fast – hence this ascent/descent is simply accelerated. Hope this makes sense. It does for me :)
- Talk to the stewardess if you need to. Did this a couple of times when I was younger. Chat them up? Haha no! Ask them about the planes safety features. Most airline crews are trained to answer some basic air travel safety concerns.
- Bonus – if you are meant to die, you are going to die. There is very little if anything at all that u can do if something should happen. Plus the older I get (34 next month), coupled with having lived a blessed and beautiful life, the idea of death is not as bewildering as when I was in my 20s. At least this is what i am telling myself now :) and yeah no workout or muscle will likely safe you.
If u read this post on my blog, I must’ve reached Miri in one piece :)
Happy flying everyone.