Aerophobia is a fear of flying. People with aerophobia may be scared about different aspects of flying, such as take-off, landing or getting locked in the plane. You might know that your fear is irrational — statistics show that air travel has the lowest death rates among other forms of transportation — but you can’t reason your way out of the anxiety.
It’s very common, affecting more than 25 million adults in the US. Psychotherapy can usually help people overcome their fear and fly without extreme anxiety or panic attacks.
Do pilots ever become afraid of flying?
‘One month into my year of USAF pilot training a student in our class, and his instructor, were killed in a crash. It was gruesome. There was practically nothing left of them. And we all had to fly over the black burn area on the otherwise plain brown prairie every day we went out. There was no missing it—it looked like a large black bug splat on your windshield, but it was made by two people we knew.
‘Four of my classmates quit, which was more than 10 percent of my class.’
‘The USAF turns down about a thousand applicants for every one who earns wings, so there’s no reason to try to push someone who’s become afraid of flying. They know that once someone acquires a fear like that, there’s no reason to push them.’
‘They simply let them go.’
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb / U.S. Air Force
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