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How do I overcome a fear of flying?

In order to overcome a fear of flying it may take a few steps. Everyone is different and one thing that may work for someone may not work for the next person.

We hope this article (and potentially our course) can aid you in not only dealing with fear of flying, but also overcoming it. This could ensure safe and even enjoyable travel in your future.

What is Aviophobia?

The clinical term for fear of flying is – “Aviophobia”. Getting a diagnosis is rare with only a small amount of the population actually going as far as to get clinical recognition. Suffering from anxiety when it comes to getting on a fast-moving aircraft though, is far more common.

When was the last time you heard about a car crash? Motorcycle accident? A boat sinking? Although these occur far more often than a plane crash… the aviation related incident will gather far more attention in the news. Logic dictates that this is because it happens so infrequently and therefore is news.

Statistics state that more than 4 billion people travel by plane per year, yet the amount of fatalities from crashes are tiny. When flying in the US, Europe or Australia your chances of an incident in a plane crash are pretty much zero.

Even with this in mind, a survey in National Geographic in 2021 found that the number of people suffering from and wanting to overcome a fear of flying is more that 21 million brits!

I could share logic with you over and over again. That the odds of passing due to a plane crash are 1 in 11 million and you are far more likely to die due to food poisoning, falling from a ladder, taking a bath or being hit by lightning! They all have “better” odds of happening… if that is an appropriate phrase to use!

Sometimes though, the reasoning behind it isn’t down to logic. It is down to emotion triggered by something.

Understanding the triggers of a phobia

A phobia is an intense fear that is out of proportion to the associated danger. I’m not a fan of snakes, for example, but when met face to face with one I may well develop a phobia pretty quickly!

If you can identify what it is about flying that concerns you, that is the first step in the right direction. You may find that it’s not Aviophobia alone and is mixed in with another condition such as Claustrophobia. It stands to reason that a fear of enclosed spaces won’t work well with stepping into a plane that you are confined in for several hours.

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The triggers that can cause an emotional response to flying can be long. Incidents relating to take off, landings, minimal to extreme turbulence, potential terrorism, social anxieties, or leaving a home or area you are used to. Others may be concerned by illness through the air regulation system, particularly with the pandemic still very much in our minds.

What are successful treatments for fear of flying?

In recent years people have found that cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT) can be useful to deal with a fear of flying. The therapy can help by teaching you methods to deal with anxiety such as breathing techniques and the focus on performing them. Hypnotherapy can also be a useful option, although not for everyone.

Of course medical treatment is available with anti-anxiety medication being available for those who are more inclined to suffer from panic. Certain one off anti-anxiety tablets can be used on a one off basis, although, they are not a long term solution and you can build a psychological dependency. There are also unwanted side effects that come from taking them let alone the expense too.

You could just not put yourself in a situation where your fear of flying impacts you. I’m guessing though that if you are reading this article, that is not an acceptable option.

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Avoidance will nurture and potentially perpetuate the fear. To fear air travel can negatively impact your ability to experience the amazing people, food and places that advances in travel have made so much easier to reach. Not only that, it could also impact relationships and career prospects.

Avoiding what is causing your fear is not the way forward and will only hold you back. Once the triggers of your condition are identified, it’s time to expose yourself to them!

Education helps to calm anxiety

I am a very logical person. My partner is a very emotional person. We find that we help each other through the challenges of life and make a really good team.

In order to overcome a fear of flying, you will need to team up with your logical side.

Understanding the science of how the plane flies, what turbulence actually is and how it impacts flight can lead to the concern relating to the journey dissipating. The sounds, bumps and general movement of the aircraft are all part of a normal flight. Educating yourself as to what they are, what is causing them and more importantly the procedures in place for safety, can help to remove the anxiety that is holding you back.

We, at Full Motion Experience, have a Fear Of Flying Course that can help you to understand flight, the aircraft and the immense amount of safety procedures and measures in place.

How can a fear of flying course help me?

A course from a flight simulator company is separated between the classroom and a practical session in the simulator.

Similar courses have been held by some recognisable airlines but have been conducted as a group and therefore haven’t had the important personal and nurturing touch.

Fixed base simulator companies have fear of flying options too. “Fixed base” meaning that the simulator is static and the sensation of movement is more of an optical illusion.

Although you may find these experiences more forgiving on the finances, they may lack the realism needed to overcome your fears. This is not to say that they don’t work… but if your fears are down to turbulence, the movement of the aircraft and the feeling it gives you, a fixed base course may not achieve the results you need.

The simulators that we have access to are “Full Motion” and rated as Level D. This rating means that they are used to train commercial pilots before they are let loose on actual aircraft. They are as close to the real thing that you can get and the best thing is, you can experience flight without leaving the ground. The sheer nature of a simulative experience means the danger you may be anticipating won’t exist in reality.

Full Motion Experience - As Real as you can get

You’ll be able to experience the exact feeling of take-off, flight, hard/steep banking, turbulence, differing weather conditions and of course landing.

Let’s not forget the classroom time I mentioned above. Before you go into the simulator, we will spend up to an hour with you discussing the fears/triggers that make you feel uncomfortable and more importantly the aircraft/flight in general. We will put focus on what it is that makes you feel uneasy and will tailor the classroom session and simulator time to your needs.

The pilots of Full Motion Experience have conducted many Fear Of Flying courses over the years. Being a relatively new company (Est. Jan 2020), you may be pleased to hear that not only have we conducted many courses to date, but the experience of teaching has come from working with other flight simulation companies as well.

Why does a Full Motion Course cost more than a Fixed Base Course?

You may well have done your research and found courses in fixed base simulators around the £170 mark. Our course, however, costs £399.

The reasoning behind this is two-fold. The first being that a Level D, Full Motion simulator when compared to a fixed base simulator comes out on top in every aspect. All of the controls and instruments work and have an effect on the flight. This may not be the case in a fixed base set up where it may look the part but actually only a few of the controls do anything. Then we look at the fact it is a professional set up which pilots use to train.

There’s little point in comparing them! Although, we have in detail in another of our blogs, please click this link if you wanted to learn the difference between fixed base and full motion flight simulators. The biggest difference would be that one doesn’t move at all and the other has 6 degrees of freedom… a literal room on stilts that moves and is the size of a two story house!

The second reason would be the price to buy such a set up. You can get a respectable fixed base set up for £150,000. The Full Motion simulators we use are worth £15 million, once you put the running costs on top of that it stands to reason that time in such an amazing piece of technology will cost more.

We invite you to look around though.

We are not the only company offering such a course in a Full Motion simulator, but at the time of writing this, we are the only company offering it for £399. In fact, you may find we are up to £100 less for the same course in the same simulator. You are also getting 1 hour of classroom time AND 1 hour in the simulator for £21 less than someone who wants to take part in an actual experience with us and fly the simulator themselves. You, incidentally, will get the chance to fly it too, should you want to.

Where can I learn more about the fear of flying course?

We have all the information you may want from our Fear Of Flying Course page.

You will learn how your time with us is spent, what to expect from the classroom and simulator portions of the course and also about our after care.

Yes, that’s correct. We don’t complete the course with you and then leave you to it. Your instructor is there to support you after the course has completed and up to the day of the flight! You are able to contact them directly by phone or text and discuss your fears. We have had students call while in the airport and have not only helped them onto the plane when no-one else could, but also got them close to even enjoying the flight! With the pandemic causing flights to be cancelled, previous students have been welcomed years after their initial time with their instructor and we have been happy to help.

Please read through our Fear Of Flying Course and decide if we may be a good fit for you. Should you have any further questions, you may find the answers in our FAQs, if not, you can contact via online chat, the contact form or telephone.

Convinced? Would you like to book your fear of flying course right now?

If you feel you have read enough and want to sign yourself up right now, that’s wonderful!

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Our articles are written by the Full Motion Experience instructors and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge. They have many years of experience in the cockpit and will continue to add to this blog to inform our potential customers.