Monday, 25 June 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog June 2018

Welcome to the flying without fear blog for nervous and ex nervous flyers!

This blog, thought we might pick up on a few themes that seem to be appearing in emails we have received this week.




We have received a few emails about engines and how good or safe are they?  This is an area we cover really well on our courses because we like engines.  Aircraft don't need engines to fly, that is what the wings do.  However, engines get us off the ground and give us the power to point towards where you want to go.    A little simplistic but broadly true.

What a lot of people don't realise about engines is how much testing they are put through.  It is truly astonishing.  The way that commercial aviation deals with any parts on an aircraft bears true here for engines too.  If your car service schedule said widget A was due replacing at 12, 000 miles due to being less effective, your garage would do that.  In commercial aviation, if we knew widget A was due to stop working, or just not be as effective at 12,000 miles we would probably change it anyway about 4,000 miles!  We have massive safety capacity in commercial aviation - we call this redundancy.

Here is a link to a clip to show you some of the tests that engines go through - you should find this reassuring.

Thank you email & our comments below

From: vunv@<removed>
Sent: 7 June 2018 6:21 p.m.
Subject: Re: recent Flying Without Fear Course

Hi, I recently went on the Flying Without Fear Course at Gatwick which I must admit I did try to cancel and not attend as even the thought of the course made me nervous. 

I've just returned from my first flight to Spain since the course and can honestly say what a difference it's made.  I boarded the plane and sat happily through the take off and landings. Previously I would have clung onto the seat, checked the lifejacket was where it should be, not look out of the window and sit through the rest of the flight hardly speaking until we touched down.  The night before the flight I didn't feel that worried normally I would find it hard to concentrate and be really stressed knowing I've got to fly. 

On this flight, which was just under 3 hours, I was relaxed and didn't feel as scared or nervous as previously. I did think that at some point the nerves would kick in and I'd be terrified but nothing happened.  Although I'm still a little nervous, I'm no where near as bad as I was.  My friend could hardly believe it as I've flown with her before and she knows how scared I am.  

Just thought I'd let you know as I'm sure you'd appreciate the feedback. 

Kind regards


Our thoughts...
We are really grateful for Valerie's email.   It is both positive and honest.  Valerie spoke about something that she used to do which was 'checking the lifejacket, not looked out of window and sit through the rest not speaking...'

Nothing wrong with checking there is a lifejacket. That is sensible.  However, this was also wrapped up in lots of other patterns and rituals that it is easy to get into a habit of doing.  This is quite normal for nervous people.  A lot of people that have fears and one of the ways that they feel safe is to follow certain rituals and rules. These can get out of hand unfortunately.  It is worth considering, 'Is that pattern of behaviour I am currently using helpful for me to get rid of the fear or, is it helping to maintain the fear?'

Valerie nearly cancelled her place on the course and this is a normal thing nervous flyers sometimes do. After plucking up the courage to book a course, they book one. Then, they spend weeks and months dreading the decision. Quite normal and that is why it takes so much guts to show up like she (and everyone else) did.

Another part of Valerie's letter I really liked was the admittance of this ' I did think that at some point the nerves would kick in and I'd be terrified but nothing happened..'   This is really common when people change a habit or behaviour. They can spend ages almost testing it out or even being angry with themselves.  'Why aren't I nervous now?'  'When will I get nervous?'  'I can't believe it has gone!' 

Enjoy it I say. Once you learn something new and practice it, behaviours and thoughts change.

Message board comments - Southampton 24th June 2018

Here is one of a few messages on our forum from Sunday's course at Southampton.  This one made me laugh.  Well done to all those brave people that joined us for a great course.

'Well I spent nigh on 20 years crapping myself about flying. I was also a massive sceptic about courses like this. However having a girlfriend who inspires me and provided me with a massive surprise ‘the course’ I attended and was immediately comforted that firstly my fear of flying was also shared with so many different people.

The guys at Virgin who organise, and run the course were, in two words ‘bloody marvellous’. Warm, funny, sympathetic and realists who collectively convinced me that my fears, shared by may people are simply perceptions of what could go wrong, overcoming these fears was relatively simple in the session I simply replaced the negatives with facts or positives as they’re known. I also took note of breathing techniques, not difficult at all really, still crapped myself when we’re roared down the runway and lifted (loads of turbulence) but I persisted with my new tools ‘positive thoughts and controlled breathing’ and I managed to stay totally relaxed.

IT REALLY WORKED, so a great big THANK YOU to my wonderful girlfriend Jacklyn, and all the Virgin Atlantic team, and Matthew my farmer pal from Kent, well done to him too and all the attendees.'

Carpe Diem

Sometimes life can throw little surprises at us.  In the last four weeks, I have lost two friends of similar age to me.  Bit of a shocker.  This puts into comparison other things going on in one's life which can seem hard to deal with. 

The bottom line is this. Tomorrow is promised to no-one and this course was set up to help people to beat their fears!  That's it.  Of course, we would love you all to just fly Virgin forever more!  However, we actually just want to enable people to be free of this toxic fear that limits our life choices.  Not being able to fly is not the end of the world but it is big deal if it stops you doing what you want... Don't you agree?  None of us can afford to back down from scary things as they truly limit our lives.  You were not born with the fear, it is learned and it is never too later to learn something new.  Good luck :)

Paul Tizzard
Creator and Founder of the original Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear Programme

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