Video – VLog #51
How can I cure my fear of flying?
What is the phobia for flying?
Is fear of flying a mental illness?
Script – VLog #51
David Logan: Hi and welcome to The Techno Dinosaur Meets The IT Geek. Another series, another video. Fun and entertainment. My name is David Logan the IT Geek. I live, sorry, I am based in Annan, south west of Scotland. As the IT Geek, I take the jargon out of technology for you, the home worker. With me this week is my partner in crime, Willie Nicol. So, Willie, how are you and where are you?
Willie Nicol: Thank you David. I’m very well thank you. My name is Willie Nicol. I am the Techno Dinosaur due to being technologically challenged. However I am also a personal development life coach. I am based near Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland, U.K.
David Logan: Fantastic Willie. This week’s question …. I want to refer to a programme I used to watch, I think it was every Saturday afternoon, in my teens where I can always remember a guy getting laid out before they put him onto a helicopter and flew. It was B.A. Baracus. To the viewer, can you remember the A Team? B.A. Baracus, he had a big fear of flying. But, Willie, the question is …. what is the fear of flying and how do we overcome it without being laid flat out?
Willie Nicol: Yes, I do remember that programme David and I do remember the character who was always tricked into flying by some subterfuge, generally involving being drugged. However, that’s the humorous element to it. Fear of flying is relatively common depending on which definition you use. It’s either aerophobia or aviophobia. I’ll go with aerophobia – A.E.R.O phobia, funnily enough as in aeroplane, right, aeronaut, whatever. And you will be surprised to hear that I’ve done a wee bit of online research to look up some figures. So, 40% of the population have some degree of fear of flying but that doesn’t prevent them from actually flying so it’s not that serious that it stops them going on a plane. However, 2.5% of the general population have what we call a clinical phobia where the thought of flying terrifies them and .…
Willie Nicol: Right, so 2.5% of the general population have a sufficiently high level of fear of flying that they won’t go on a plane because it really upsets them. The irony of it is, you go back to our old friend the “fight or flight syndrome”. And to use the word “flight” when talking about a fear of flying is quite ironic in my view.
Willie Nicol: So, these people with the chronic case of aerophobia will “fight” before they get on a plane or they’ll run away, or they’ll freeze. So, it’s a bit like the fight or flight syndrome. However, this is quite an irrational fear because if you look at the statistics which I’m just about to quote you, travelling by air is extremely safe. There is an average of 1 fatality for every 287 million passengers who fly. Compare it with a 1 in 19 million chance of being struck by lightning and killed. Or a 1 in 17 thousand chance of being killed in a car accident.
Willie Nicol: So, rationally, flying shouldn’t hold any fears being statistically proven it’s one of the safest modes of transport. However, phobias and fears in general don’t go down the rational route. Now, how do we get a fear of flying? It might be that we’ve seen other people scared of flying and we have absorbed that fear. Maybe parents, siblings or whatever. Perhaps we’ve seen something on a movie or on the TV about a plane crash and that has generated a fear. Maybe we’ve got a fear of heights, so the thought of flying is only exacerbated by these things.
Willie Nicol: One other element of fear of flying is some people have the fear that they’re not in control, or loss of control, because you’re now sitting in a big metal cylinder with perhaps 200 other people, 30,000 feet above the ground. Now, if you’re in a car you’ve got control because you’ve got the steering wheel. Now, that’s up to the pilot of the plane. If you’re on a train or a bus you’re at ground level so if anything goes wrong, you can get out and walk away hopefully. Not so much on a plane. One client who came to me for a fear of flying, I said, “What is it about flying that scares you?” And he said, “Willie, I’m not scared of flying, I’m scared of crashing.” Now that was said half flippantly but that was always in the back of his mind.
Willie Nicol: The people who are that apprehensive about flying but want to go on holiday, for example, to sunnier climes, they will take medication generally tranquilisers, they will self-meditate with alcohol. Anything to get them through that fear to walk up the steps, sit down on the seat and take part in a flight. I wouldn’t recommend that because if you’re so out your face when you’re on the plane and something does happen, it’s not really a good state to be in. However, that is essentially what fear of flying is. Does that make sense?
David Logan: Absolutely, great. Fantastic.
Willie Nicol: Now how we, how you overcome that, there are many and varied ways. You can go onto the internet, type in ‘fear of flying’ and come up with all sorts of solutions. Which range from, there are courses you can go on run by airlines and other agencies which teach you about flying, the aeronautics, how this big lump of metal gets off the ground, explain to you the mechanics of it, explaining the statistics that I’ve just said about the safety element and explain in a rational manner why you don’t need to be afraid of flying.
Willie Nicol: However, if that still doesn’t cut the mustard, so to speak, you can come to a therapist, a coach like me for hypnotherapy or other counselling. Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, is also useful on overcoming it. So, that is when we are not appealing to your rational mind, it’s safe, here’s the way it works and so on. We’re looking at the irrational, subconscious fear you have and addressing that. So, there are ways to overcome it and I would urge anyone who has this fear of flying to whatever degree to look into that and I do have a little help guide that I can send you and you can post on the website.
David Logan: Great Willie, fantastic, great. Very interesting subject and, as you say, the fears are, it’s like the rest of the fears, it’s getting over it. Doing it. There’s your hypnotherapy and other methods to get over it, so that’s great. Good. So, to the you the viewer, if you have the fear of flying or you know somebody, speak to my friend here, Willie Nicol. He’ll sort you out and you’ll be good. So, for now, please stay safe, be healthy. To you the viewer, have a great week and we’ll catch you next week.
Willie Nicol: Thank you David. By all means get in touch with me if you’re having problems with thinking about flying and hopefully in the not-too-distant future that will now become an option for us after lockdown. All that remains for me to say, Willie Nicol, the Techno Dinosaur and coach is …. stay safe folks, keep well, and try and have some fun along the road. Bye from me.