Fear of flying can be a problem when you first start traveling overseas. What you need to realize is that flying is far safer than any other mode of transport (including walking). In fact, Boeing correctly points out that in the US, it is 22 times safer flying, than driving in your car.
All commercial aircraft have the strictest maintenance schedule, which every airline must adhere to. Every aircraft (whether it be Boeing or Airbus) has a countless number of backup features so that if a system fails, there is another system that takes over. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it. Flying is extremely safe and is getting safer.
Still not convinced?
In the US, a commercial aircraft accident happens approximately once every 2.2 million flights. Boeing points out that, if you board a commercial airliner every day of the year, for the rest of your life, chances are it would be 29,000 years before you are involved in an accident. Even then, chances are good that you would survive.
Here are some points to think about when flying:
Most airline crashes (85%), which occur, are unrelated to mechanical failure. Human error plays a big part on many accidents. Pilot training is therefore an important factor in flight safety. Most airlines now have plenty of flight simulators so that their pilots are getting thousands of hours of experience before even climbing into the cockpit of a real aircraft.
Some people believe that a 4-engine airplane (such as the 747 or A380) is safer than a twin engine airplane because if an engine fails, there are still 3 left as a back up. Obviously, if an engine fails in a twin, there is only one left as a backup. So, on those long over-water flights, it is comforting to know that you have the security of 4 engines powering you along.
Some people believe that the newer the aircraft is, the safer it is. In reality, it doesn’t matter how old an aircraft is, but how well it is being maintained.
Are you worried about those unusual noises and vibrations the aircraft makes? Here are some explanations for those noises:
- Can you hear a noisy clunk and short vibration coming from underneath the aircraft just after take-off and a few minutes before landing. That’s the landing gear coming down or being retracted.
- Can you hear a whirring sound coming from the wings a few minutes before landing and just before takeoff. The flaps are being extended or retracted. Flaps give the wing a larger surface area so the aircraft can fly safely at a lower air speed (for take-off and landing).
- Can you hear a loud windy noise and vibration coming from the wings during descent. The air brakes have been deployed. These help slow the aircraft down and control the level of descent.
Understanding and Preparing for Turbulence
Airplane turbulence refers to air movement, which is unseen and sometimes unexpected. Many different conditions create turbulence. Jet streams, changes in the weather (cold fronts), heat rising off mountains and thunderstorms.
Fortunately, advanced technology means that pilots can identify any turbulence in their flight path and make adjustments to detour the worst of it. However, not all turbulence is visible to the pilots, so the best advice is to always wear your safety belt when you are sitting at your seat. It’s as simple as that. To date, no turbulence encountered above 30000 feet has ever caused a large airliner to crash. Pilots are always in control, even during the worst turbulence. Don’t be afraid. All commercial airliners are built to withstand the worst turbulence thrown at it – and then some. However, humans don’t fare as well – so fasten that safety belt.
Dealing With A Flying Phobia
The best way to get your mind off your fear of flying is to try and sleep during the flight. If you can not get some sleep naturally you may need the assistance of a drug like melatonin, which helps promotes sleep. Many community centers and churches offer Fear of Flying classes to help you relax on your upcoming flight.