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Fear of flying and how to overcome it

Fear of flying can cripple and keep you away from enjoying your vacation or trying out new adventures.

However, you can overcome this phobia by analyzing the reasons behind your aversion. 

This article will analyze the many reasons why flying causes palpitations and panic attacks in many people. 

Do you need help with your fear of flying? Read on to gain some coping techniques that can set you free from your phobia.

What is the fear of flying called?

Aviophobia or aerophobia are the standard terms used to refer to the crippling fear you experience as soon as you step onto a helicopter or airplane. 

Statistics show that 4 out of 10 people are likely to experience moderate to severe Aviophobia.

To help you overcome this crippling fear, we have brought forward the significant reasons that cause fear of flying. 

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What causes fear of flying?

Let’s face it, falling from a height of 10 to 30 thousand feet is not a pleasant thought for anyone.

It is one of the primary reasons why you may be facing the fear of flying phobia. 

However, research shows that one or more hidden reasons may contribute more towards fear of flying phobia than just the thought of high altitudes and the unforgiving hard Earth. 

Woman with fear of flying
Image: Leung Cho Pan

Claustrophobia or the fear of enclosed spaces is a significant reason you might be scared of being trapped in a metal machine. 

The high amount of media coverage showing gore and bloody carnage of the airplane or helicopter accidents is another reason.

No matter what, your fear of flying airplanes or your fear of flying phobia undoubtedly rises from the idea that you might crash into the ground.  

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Is the fear of flying a mental illness?

Flyer with legs dangling from open door helicopter
A tourist enjoying an open door helicopter tour with their legs dangling from the chopper. Image: Flynyon.com

You may be wondering why everyone enjoys their helicopter trips while you are stuck with fear at the mere thought.

What sets you apart from everyone else? The answer lies within your mind. 

The truth about all phobias is that they are mental constructs.

You may have past experiences or visual memory of accidents that have made you fear the idea of flying a helicopter or airplane. 

Aviophobia is not a mental illness and your mind can undoubtedly control your panic level at the thought of flying. 

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How common is fear of flying?

Fear of flying is extremely common amongst the population.

Research show that 4 out of 10 people experience moderate to severe Aviophobia.

Amongst them, 16% of the surveyed population have never been on an airplane or helicopter. 

It is proven that you can overcome Aviophobia using simple techniques.

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How to get over the fear of flying?

If you face anxiety and panic attacks at the thought of flying, here are some coping techniques that can help to set you free. 

Man with fear of flying
TzahiV / Getty
  1. One of the best ways of coping with your fear is to face it head-on. However, you need to pace yourself and expose yourself to your fear in slow measures to give your mind time to understand and accept that it is safe. With lessons or guided trips, you can slowly go flying in small doses to get your mind open because it is safe to do so. 
  1. Behaviour Therapy has met with a lot of success while dealing with Aviophobia. Here, psychologists or trainers help you develop skills to deal with mental anxiety of any form. You might be stressed, or you might be scared to face your fears. Anxiety management helps you deal with both of these scenarios. Moreover, the skills learned via behavior therapy help identify stress points and reduce anxiety in all situations.
  1. The last coping method to be mentioned here is the medication of pharmacological aids. Medicines can work at the root cause of your anxiety and numb the crippling fear allowing you to fly an airplane or helicopter without feeling panicked or scared. 

Most psychologists and behavioral experts suggest that medication should only be a temporary choice.

Facing your fears can help you more in the long run rather than numbing medicines. 

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Medication for fear of flying

Pharmacological aids such as the following medications can help you cope with your fear of flying.

  1. Xanax
  2. Librium
  3. Klonopin
  4. Valium
  5. Ativan
  6. SSRIs such as Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft

It is crucial to consult a doctor before taking any of the above medications.

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Classes for fear of flying

It is normal to be scared of flying, and it is possible to get over them with the help of experts.

Fearless Flyer and Fear of Flying Help Lessons will help you cope with your fears and provide you with a therapist’s viewpoint to decrease your anxiety and make you more comfortable while flying.

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Why should you not be scared of flying

Wordwide over 100,000 flights take off every day.

Date collected from 2012 to 2016 show that there was a 1 in 3.27 billion chance of dying in a commercial plane crash and 1 in 20 million cases of being on one such plane. 

Even if the plane crashes, 98.6% of all crashes do not directly result in a fatality.

From 2012 to 2016, from the 140 plane crashes that happened, only two resulted in a fatality (1.4%).

The rate for helicopter is around 0.84 fatal accidents for every 1 million flight hours recorded. 

These statistics are a strong indicator that flying is safe for everyone.

So, book a helicopter tour during your next holiday and fearlessly enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. 

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# First helicopter tour – what to expect
# Best attire for helicopter tours
Scuba Diving – safe duration before flying
Why helicopter tours are worth it
FAQs about Helicopter tours

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