ASK THE CAPTAIN: Frightened by turbulence

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by W. M. Wiggins

"I fly a lot and love to travel.  In spite of this, I have never gotten over my fear of turbulence.  I have what may be called "anticipatory anxiety".  The minute I step on the plane I worry over the "anticipated" turbulence.  I know in my mind that turbulence isn't dangerous, but I guess in the deep corners of my mind, I feel that the plane may go out of control, or fall, or ????   How can I get over this fear?  I've tried therapy, biofeedback and relaxation techniques.  They work to a certain extent."  - Margo


Hi Margo,

I certainly understand your anxiety and you are definitely not the "Lone Ranger" out there. A medical doctor, I am not. Nor am I a doctor of any sorts, I am a pilot. What I share with you is knowledge from this perspective. I hope what I say is of some help. I can explain to you the "why" and "how" an aircraft flies, but here, I will briefly go over some flight conditions.......just for you.

Hummmmmm ................turbulence, the "rock and roll" of flying.

First let me say......

Aircraft are actually "airships" riding on and in rivers of air instead of water. They ( the airships...a.k.a. airplanes ) are designed and manufactured to a much higher standard than almost any other type of construction. This is so airplanes can bend by design and yet, stay strong. These are both good things.

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