Although I love flying and aviation, I understand that it can be a very scary experience for some. The tight spaces, lack of control and massive height can prove to be too much for travelers. I have covered this topic in a previous blog, however, whereas that article focused more on overcoming the general sense of flying, this blog will focus exclusively on dealing with one of the most terrifying aspects of flying: turbulence.
In today’s world of aviation, many of the standard fears of flying can be easily prevented. Airplanes go through rigorous inspections and have several failsafes and a lot of technology built into them to ensure that they stay in the air; airport security has been dramatically increased in order to prevent terrorist attacks; and windows can be shuttered should the passenger become uncomfortable with the extreme height. While these are not the only factors that contribute to aviophobia, they are some of the most popular. However, with all of the technology and security at our disposal, the aviation industry still has not been able to end turbulence.
Turbulence can be terrifying, even to the most seasoned of fliers. The sudden interruption of sharp jumps and rough bumps on an otherwise smooth ride can really scare people.
However, as is the case with most fears, understanding your fear is the first and foremost step on the road to overcoming it.
Turbulence, in the sense of aviation, is when an airplane is swayed in multiple directions from the surrounding air, causing a rough experience for fliers. This could be due to warm air meeting with cool air, mountain ranges or tall buildings interfering with the normal flow of air or two separate streams of air colliding. A great way to think about it is to compare turbulence to waves in the ocean. As a boat sails through the water, it can get moved around quite a bit depending on the size of the wave. Turbulence is essentially the same principle.
It is also important to understand how planes work. Airplanes, with all of today’s technology, have been designed to withstand an enormous amount of turbulence. Professional pilots have even stated that an airplane can not flip upside down or go into a nosedive due to turbulence, no matter how bad it gets. Pilots are also trained for these exact situations. They can even be given a heads-up from their ground support.
You can also alert flight attendants before the flight that you are a bit worried about turbulence, as well as any surrounding passengers, and they can help guide you through the process. Distraction also helps take your mind off of the fear of flying and helps refocus it on something productive or entertaining. Bring some work to do on the flight, or bring a book or a sudoku puzzle.
Flying is an amazing technical achievement, but it is understandably frightening. But there are ways to overcome that intense fear. Hopefully these few tips can help make your next flight a breeze.