Wednesday, February 10, 2010

enRoute February Question #2

Q: Where can I sign up my husband for a fear-of-flying course?   
Patricia Cardoso, Barrie, Ontario

I know of one fear-of-flying course ( led by an experienced Air Canada pilot and a psychologist. It’s a two-day seminar that combines behaviour modification techniques with aviation education. Besides managing your anxiety, knowing what causes aircraft noises or understanding turbulence goes a long way toward treating aviophobia (fear of flying). To increase your knowledge – and reduce your fear – there are countless websites, CDs and books, including mine: From the Flight Deck: Plane Talk and Sky Science (ECW Press).

I'm presently in Halifax and thought I'd post question two from my enRoute blog. Tomorrow starts with a 4:00 a.m wake up call and it's off to Montreal and then Orlando. If all goes according to plan, the F/O and I will be solving the world's problems by the pool early in the afternoon. 


david said...

I wonder if it would be useful offering a course in small planes, since it could happen in stages (and a Cessna 150 dual is cheaper per hour than therapy):

Stage 1: Get in and out of the plane while it's parked and tied down with the engine off. Try sitting in it for a while (no seatbelt, door open).

Stage 2: Get in the plane, do up a seatbelt, close the door, and have the pilot start the engine. Try sitting in the plane while it's parked with the engine idling.

Stage 3: Get in the plane and sit with your seatbelt on while the pilot taxis the plane around the airport for a while.

Stage 4: High-speed taxi, maybe with a brief lift-off (1-2 metres) if the runway is long enough.

Etc. etc. An instructor with a small plane can spend a long time before every flight doing a walk-around, talking about each part, etc. Big planes have different noises and different issues, but something like that, done gradually, could give a passenger a lot of confidence.

carlton said...

When you nightstop, do flight deck and cabin crew all stay in the same hotel?

When I was a FA for KLM Cityhopper, we all stayed in the same lodgings, however I remember being really jealous of the Captain - who was always offered the premier suite!

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Carlton. It's 4;30 a.m local and I'm readying for a flight to Montreal. The answer is yes and no. Internationally we stay at the same hotel but not necessarily on domestic layovers. Flight attendants are on totally different schedules and contracts. That blows the theory there is a lots of hanky- panky going on. :)

Yes, some places around the world still treat the captain with the highest authority and as a consequence they are upgraded to better rooms. It hasn't happened to me yet, but maybe one day.
Thanks for posting.

Off to Montreal and then Orlando for a layover. At this hotel we all stay together, but the F/As will probably leave on a different flight.

Ian said...

In the UK, BA and Virgin run courses for those who suffer from being hesitant on heavier than air machines.

My wife, June, I took up in a little single engined machine to help her with her own fear of flying, but had the opposite effect - likely it was my flying that did it. You know the old story - husband and wife should never do driving lessons...same is true in the air...

Believe the Virgin course is excellent, and to those in the UK, I would recommend that one from all the positive press that comes out.

Ian said...

On the hotels Doug...we tend to get a good deal on our routes, with regular upgrades, specially in the Far East.

I bunmped into a number of AC flight attendants (a Scottish girl married to a Boeing 767 skipper at AC) last year, and they were complaining like heck about the hotel they use in London for layovers. I won't name it here for obvious security reasons, but I know the place having been at a function there, and I was amazed they put you guys up there...

Mind you, by the time our CEO has finished, we'll be in trailer homes on car parks next to the approach lights...!

carlton said...

Thanks for answering - at 4:30 am!! (that's impressive)

Enjoy Orlando

Mark said...

David, I like your idea but smaller planes such as the C152 get bumped around a fair bit in the slightest of weather. If someone has a fear of flying, the C152 may not be the best option. Probably better to go for the more formalized courses about this phobia. However, I'm no psychologist, so your idea may have merit. Flying dual in a C152 runs you about 165$ + GST so it can get pretty pricey (and I think this summer the new HST will bleed an extra 8% out of flight lessons). The clock starts when the engine starts!

Doug, I guess I can call myself a student pilot now. Yeah!!!! Flew a C152 last weekend on a Familiarization flight (my second one... first one back in 2001!!!). It felt great entering the time in my logbook. I will use a casual approach to my schooling, trying to fly one hour per week, and do ground school at the same time. I also have to balance a full time job in the mix. Next intake for ground school should be March. Heck, I couldn't wait so I've already started the flying portion! Absolutely love it. Thanks for all your encouragement over the past year. I am also thinking of starting my own blog about my experiences as I work through the process. I love to write, so I am giving it some thought.

Cheers my friend and enjoy the Florida rays.

My next flight is Sunday (weather permitting -- VFR of course)

Safe Flying


From the Flight Deck said...

David, sorry for the tardy reply, but I just finished six days on the road. You could be on to something.

Having said that, many passengers have a fear of flying because they are not in control i.e. they are at the whim of someone else.
So it's this fear that affects successful businessman, celebrities, athletes, etc.

I also heard recently of another reason why people have a fear of flying. They fear they do not know how they will react in an airplane.
They fear they may take an anxiety attack or lose control in front of other passengers.

During the good ole days when we had visitors in the flight deck you would be amazed how many would be put at ease once they saw the flight deck and conversed with the pilots.

Thanks for your post.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mark. I bet it feels good. In fact, I know it feels good. I think you should do some flying before groundschool that way you can relate to what is being said in the classroom.

I also think a blog is an excellent idea. But be careful, it's addicting.


Mark said...

Doug. Yes it feels great. Got out again today for 1hr to practice the basic attitudes. Absolutely loving it. I’m still thinking about the blog, but you are right, it is addictive and between work, and flying now, not too sure if my wife will be fond of me sitting in front of the computer for 2 hours every night!!! Do I now qualify as not “a pilot wannabe”, or is that only when I finish my license?

Safe flying.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mark. Presently in Halifax ironing a shirt for a 4:30 a.m wake up call. It's not all glamourous.

I'm not sure when the "pilot wannabe" status kicks in. :)

Your training, I bet it's exhilarating!

I do a Toronto flight and back in Halifax early tomorrow afternoon just in time for snow to arrive.


Mark said...

I guess I should no longer be considered a "pilot wannabe" since I staretd the flying!!!!

You have to ask AC to get you folks wrinkle free shirts...

Chat later

From the Flight Deck said...

Mark. Looks like you've gone from 'wannabe' status to student pilot. All right!