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Crash Course in Air Safety

  Normally, there are a relatively few people who are afraid of flying. This fear has been spreading ever since the September 11; the TSA is not helping too much in this department. Seeing so much security, instead of calming people down, makes them more nervous. Plane crashes rarely happen, but when they do, they gets international coverage. Both on TV and the Internet circulate graphic images of the debris and what remains of the passengers. Who would not be afraid after seeing such horror? Two years ago, there was the Malaysian Airlines disaster. There was also Flight 17 that was shot down over the Ukraine, possibly by the Russians, though they would never admit it. There was also Flight 370 that disappeared while flying over the Indian Ocean. These events happened so long ago, and yet they are under investigation. They are now embedded in the collective memory of all travelers and would-be travelers. And, even just last year the Germanwings pilot arbitrarily flew his plane in the Alps. Experts point out to the obvious facts. The IATA has says that of all the commercial flights there have only been 68 accidents. Of these accidents only 136 suffered fatalities. The WHO says that road traffic deaths caused on average 1 million deaths each year. Meaning, one should not opt to drive when one can fly in a plane. Sure, the service is going down the tube, the safety features still work. Despite these facts, in US alone 17 percent of Americans admit they are terrified of flying. These fears are further reinforced by celebrities. For example David Bowie one day stopped going on planes, after a stormy flight from the Cyprus in the 1970s. He tried again, but stopped after suffering a heart attack after the birth of his daughter. Some people just can’t handle the stress of flying. If flying on planes makes you sick with worry, the laymen think it is best not to bother. Kate Winslet and her husband too travel in different planes to make certain one survives to look after the kids. Psychologists admit that fear of flights is as irrational as most phobias. Just like the phobia of little insects. Sure, one can easily squash a little roach, but when it starts flying our bravery flies with it. Part of facing the problem is admitting that there is a problem. We should not think that fear of flying is rational, because it is one of the safest way to travel. After the attack in September 11, the Mark Planck Institute for Human Development noted that air travel went down. However, the extra deaths from car crashes went up by 1500 people. They did not understand the true risks of driving, and they overestimated the dangers of flying. There will always be an arbitrary nut bent on destroying this Great Country. However, the TSA is there to keep this from happening. Even if you think they are a bit too paranoid, it comes from a good place. Other people fear flying because of fears of being enclosed spaces. This fear might be born of something completely unrelated to flying. It soon gets discovered after some mild turbulence. One main issue that gets people worrying is ironically the TSA. Seeing so much security, instead of reassuring them, makes them paranoid. The safety videos inside the plane also do not help. People who are prone to panic choose not to see the video. However, avoidance is not the solution. One does need to prepare for eventualities. A good example of not being prepared occurred in the crash landing of the Emirates plane in Dubai. Passengers had been instructed by the video to get out first, and foremost. Instead, they were wasting their time by picking their carry ons. Personal possessions are nice and all, but being alive is far more valuable. So, listen and heed the advice of the safety videos. There isn’t a shortage of ways of dealing with the fear. Some companies recommend using headphones. Other planes actually serve hard alcohol, like the Mexican airliners. Breathing exercises can also work, just focus on taking slow deep breaths. If you have never flow, it might be fun to read some literature. Once you find out how a heavy plane can stay flying, it will help you become less paranoid about it. Read up the section on turbulence and why it occurs. Understanding the science behind it is a great way of dealing with one’s fears. Mankind used to think Lightning was the wrath of God or Zeus. Once, we came to understand how lightning works, we lost the fear of this force of nature. The same fear of flying can be dispelled with casual knowledge of aviation. Another good option is to expose yourself to flying indirectly. Try a VR flight simulator, or fly inside a plane with your therapist, while he holds your hand. By controlling your exposure to flying, you can face your fears and dominate them. Through VR, you can stay inside the fake plane for as long as your nerves hold out. In time, you will associate fake VR flying with real flying. The last recourse is to learn to fly a plane. For example, one of the survivors of the 2009 Hudson crash coped with his new fear of flying, by taking piloting lessons. By knowing how to fly a plane, one can lose the fear of flying indefinitely. Even if the pilot inexplicably dies, you can still land the plane. So what’s there to be afraid off? It is important that grownups learn to deal with fears of flying. Parents usually do not realize that they can transfer their fears to their children. This is one of the many reasons why babies cry in planes all the time. If they see their parents growing anxious, the babies start imagining there is a reason to panic. It will not do children good to grow up with the fear of flying. So, even if you are scared try to overcome it, for their sake as well as your own.

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