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Overcome Fear of Flying

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1996 Mindscape Limited

Designed By David Lloyd-Hoare Bsc(Hons) MBACP(Accred) INLPTA

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Cure Your Fear of Flying

The fear of flying can be debilitating, resulting in sufferers missing out on family events or holidays and – in some cases – work promotions. Many of you suffer in silence, others have to cope with loved ones, or work colleagues simply not understanding your fear. I do understand and want to help you.

I write with some experience of flying as I am a private pilot and fly regularly from Exeter airport in a light aircraft known as a Piper Warrior.


Many people’s fears stem from a lack of understanding, and a lack of control. Understanding how and why flying is so safe will better enable you to hand over control to the professionals, and allow you to relax and enjoy your next flight.

Just imagine what it would be like to be a cool, calm and confident flyer. With the help of hypnotherapy and NLP, that's exactly what you'll become.

It's no surprise that so many people have a fear of flying. Even young birds, born with wings and a natural instinct to fly are nervous, so given we don't have wings and our natural instinct is to walk, it's no surprise that we're fearful of being on board a huge chunk of metal travelling at 35,000 feet and some 500 miles an hour!

And then there's the bombardment of frightening images from the media; the outrageous fantasies of Hollywood; the misconceptions of society in general; and, the antics of the airline staff themselves (cue the stewardess showing us all where the nearest exits are in case of an emergency!).

With all this in mind, it's amazing that any of us get on airplanes in the first place. But from a rational and conscious perspective, we all understand and accept that flying is by far the safest mode of transport available, statistically even safer than riding a bike!


So why is it that so many people feel sick at just the thought of flying and dread forthcoming holidays or business trips? Well I could spend some time explaining, but keeping it really simple, it's because fear, or more specifically a fear of flying, is an entirely unconscious reaction based on our conditioning; if we could control it with our conscious mind, we would!


Using Hypnotherapy and NLP I will help you overcome your fear of flying and turn you into a cool, calm and confident flyer. Because these two treatments focus on retraining the unconscious mind, once treated you will be able to see the perceived threat or danger in a more rational, resourceful and often humorous way. Imagine that, the thought of flying no longer being scary, but rather something you can laugh at!


Hypnosis and NLP bypass the conscious mind and create an alternative state of consciousness in which attention is focused away from the present reality. Rather like day dreaming, attention can then be focused towards particular images, thoughts, perceptions, feelings, motivations and behaviours which will help change your conditioned responses and learnt behaviours.


You can overcome your fear, and I will be with you every step of the way. So let me start by explaining some of the things that worry some people about flying.

Will Turbulence Damage the Airplane?

Turbulence is a dreaded experience for many fearful flyers, and is the source of the majority of anxiety amongst airline passengers. Whereas Flight Attendants see turbulence as a mere annoyance. Usually because they only seem to experience it at the very same time they get their only chance to have a cup of coffee! Either that, or when they’re desperately trying to complete paperwork.


In a way though, it’s fair to say that I enjoy turbulence. For those of you with a fear of flying, that probably makes me sound a little crazy. But, try and think about it differently;


Would a pilot really enjoy something that could cause damage to the aircraft?


I’m sure you can guess the answer. If I knew that turbulence was in the slightest bit dangerous, there is not a chance in heck that I would find it enjoyable!

What is Turbulence?

 Understanding what turbulence is will be your first step to getting over your fear. I need to eliminate your fear of the unknown…..


Turbulence comes in various forms, and various degrees of intensity;

  1.  Light – Still able to walk around, but can feel slight movement. Seatbelt signs may not be switched on in this case.
  2.  Moderate – Harder to walk around. Seatbelt signs will usually be switched on. Flight Attendants will normally continue with their work.
  3.  Severe – Flight Attendants will be instructed to put their seatbelts on. To put this in perspective, I’ve experienced this once in thousands of flights!
  4.  Extreme – I’ve never experienced this, and most airline crew will go their whole career without doing so.

You may be thinking you have experienced severe or extreme turbulence – but it’s more than likely you haven’t.

Clear-Air Turbulence (CAT)

When you are cruising at 38,000ft with not a cloud in sight, and it starts to get bumpy, you are experiencing Clear Air Turbulence. This form of turbulence is often found in mountainous areas and near jet streams.


The most effective way to describe turbulence, is by directly comparing air to water. Both act in a very similar way; in fact, many aerodynamic tests are carried out underwater.


Think of air as thousands of streams, joining together, and splitting in different directions. Where these streams meet, you will find the water is unsettled. A streams flow is also interrupted and altered by any obstruction in its path; for example a rock. This can be compared to the way air moves over the earth’s surface, and how it behaves when it encounters a mountain range.

Convective Turbulence

Convective turbulence is sometimes encountered in warm climates, during sunlight. Air is warmed by the sun and rises as a result, before cooling and falling. This process continues on a constant basis, so air is rising and falling continuously. When we fly through this it can cause turbulence as the air is moving in different directions.

Is Turbulence Dangerous?

 I could answer this question in one word; NO! But, I’m sure you are looking for a more detailed answer, so I’ll do my best to give you one…….


If you are sat in your seat, with your seatbelt fastened, then turbulence will not cause you any problems. I’m not saying it won’t be uncomfortable, but it certainly isn’t dangerous. A huge misconception amongst airline passengers is the idea that pilots are desperately fighting to keep control of the aircraft during any encounter with turbulence. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s very rare that the autopilot will be switched off, as it is perfectly capable of staying in control. The aircraft is designed to naturally fly straight, and therefore always corrects itself if bumpy air interferes with this.


Turbulence is NOT a danger to the aircraft itself either. It’s actually pretty amazing how strong modern airliners are. You will NEVER encounter any weather that puts so much strain on the aircraft that it will damage it, and so the wings nor anything else will NEVER break………. NEVER!

Dealing With Turbulence Anxiety

When there is anxiety about the uncertain outcome of some event, we naturally seek some means of control, so that the matter works out to our benefit. When seeking control as the means of securing a good result, anything that seems to defy control can feel threatening. That seems to be a factor in fear of turbulence. It seems, to the anxious flier, that turbulence is out of control and could throw the plane out of control.

No. Turbulence is not out of control, nor can it throw an airliner out of control. Turbulence is controlled by Mother Nature. Think about the temperature of the air outside. Some days it reaches almost 100 degrees, and some days it is below freezing. But, though the temperature, like turbulence, is not controlled by you or me, it always falls within a certain range.

Because we know the temperature falls within a certain range, and that range is limited, we have learned how to deal with all the temperatures we may encounter. The same is true of turbulence. It is never above a certain level. But I suspect an anxious flier doesn’t really understand this, and thinks it might become so great it could threaten the plane.

No way! We know the most intense turbulence can become and we build airliners with twice as much strength as is needed for the most intense turbulence possible.

So you understand why turbulence is limited, consider this. Turbulence, the kind you get at cruise altitude, is called Clear Air Turbulence, or CAT. It is caused when the jet stream, which is a stream of fast-moving air, scrubs alongside air that is not moving. The speed of the jet stream is limited. How? Consider what causes the jet stream: the earth’s rotation. Since the earth’s rotation is constant, the maximum speed of the jet stream is restricted to what that constant speed of rotation can produce. And, since turbulence is caused by the interaction of fast-moving air and air that is not moving fast, the amount of turbulence has to fall within a certain range, a range that is not controlled by humans, but is in fact controlled by the earth.

That certainly should help you understand that turbulence is, in a way, very much controlled, and thus is not a threat. Though this information can help you understand, it may not change the way turbulence feels. Pilots can indeed change how you feel when you fly, even in turbulence, but doing so requires specialised methods which all airline pilots are familiar with.

How Safe is Flying? Detailed Statistics

Everybody tells you that flying is statistically safer than almost any other mode of transport. But is this true?

YES IT IS! As proof, here are a few statistics and charts;

A US National Safety Council study showed flying to be 22 times safer than travelling by car. On average, 21,000 people die on the road in the US in a 6-month period. This is approximately the same amount of all commercial air travel fatalities WORLDWIDE in the WHOLE OF 40 years!

More than 3 million people fly EVERY DAY.

A Boeing aircraft takes off or lands every 2 seconds somewhere in the world – all day, every day!

Below is a chart showing a direct comparison between different modes of transport in the US. As you can see, more people died while riding a bike than on an airliner. These statistics are from 2008.

Fear of Flying in Bad Weather


There are two reasons why I have written about rain. Firstly, a client who I recently worked with suggested it, and secondly, a passengers boarding aircraft in torrential rain often ask the flight attendants;


Have you ever flown in rain like this before? Is it safe?


Never before had I thought that rain could cause fear amongst airline passengers. But, it does. The following information should help you to understand why it is nothing to be concerned about.


It appears that the main concern with regards to flying in rain is the take-off and landing on a wet runway. It may look as though the runway is as flat as your average road, and therefore susceptible to surface water. As this possibility enters your mind, you find yourself instantly thinking the runway is slippery and unsafe. Thoughts of aquaplaning aircraft and impending doom fill your mind.


What you can’t see is that runways are designed to ensure surface water drains off via a grooved surface, therefore improving grip during and take-off landing. Further to this, constant improvements in runway design ensure safety standards are increased year by year, it’s the just in case factor once again.


In poor weather conditions (rain, snow and/or ice) Air Traffic Control receives information from pilots regarding the braking action on the runway. Normally the runway is ‘split’ into three parts, and a pilot would report braking action for each individual part – i.e. poor, average, poor.


This information is then passed on to pilots on final approach to the runway to enable them to be better prepared for poor conditions. It’s important to note that a ‘poor, poor, poor’ braking action report does not mean the runway is unsafe, but simply ensures pilots are prepared. This may simply mean that reverse thrust is used to aid braking and slow the aircraft down quicker.


Another important note: Just as always, if at any time the runway is deemed to be unsafe it WILL NOT BE USED.


With regards to flying through rain clouds, it is not a problem. In normal circumstances these clouds are not turbulent and feel no different to flying through a standard cloud. In more severe storms the clouds may cause a few bumps, but are by no means anything to worry about.


Finally, in case you were not aware, planes are equipped with wipers allowing pilots to still see where they are going. However, due to the speed at take-off, rain usually moves off the windscreen of its own accord, just like driving a car at 100mph forces the water to move upwards and to the side.


Before I discuss aircraft flying in lightening storms, I want you to watch this 30 second video. Click play to watch;

It’s important to note that it’s not likely that a commercial aircraft will land in crosswinds as strong as shown in the video. But, the aircraft must be able to land in extreme conditions before being given a certificate allowing it to fly passengers.


I’m sure you noticed the planes coming in almost sideways. This is normal procedure in crosswind landings so do not be alarmed. In summary, it’s perfectly safe to fly in strong wind. The aircraft can handle it, and the pilots are well trained to do so. Just expect it to be a little bumpy during take-off and landing. But, there is nothing to be scared of. Your safety is never compromised.

Snow and Ice

 Snow and ice can cause havoc for an airline, and we all have our part to play in ensuring the safety of our passengers in these weather conditions.


With regards to snow, most airports are well prepared, and manage the situation efficiently whilst minimising delays. There are always a few airports that are not ready for a sudden snowstorm though. This usually results in an airport closure while the ground crew utilise all the snow clearing equipment.


However frustrating this may be, I’d rather they take this action than leave the runway open in an unsafe state. Rest assured, this would not happen. Landing in snow is, believe it or not, a lot less dangerous than take-off.


An airport will constantly monitor any snow and will ensure the runway is clear and safe by completing constant runway checks. If at any time it is deemed to be unsafe, it will immediately be closed, and any aircraft due to land will be diverted to a nearby airport, or will join a holding pattern until the runway is reopened.


In freezing temperatures, ice can form on the aircraft; just as it does on your car. Similarly, the aircraft must be de-iced before take-off. De-icing procedures can be seen by watching this video.

That was a video of a commercial aircraft being struck by lightning on takeoff.


Why have I shared that video with you? Because I wanted some video proof of what I’m now going to tell you. Here goes; the plane is designed to withstand lightning strikes.


In fact, you are in more danger while disembarking the aircraft than you are experiencing a mid-air strike. Watch the video again to see that the plane is fine. It doesn’t start to fall from the sky, it doesn’t alter course, and it doesn’t catch fire. So, how do aircraft withstand such a violent force of nature?


Planes are designed with every single metal part wired together, to allow the electricity to pass through and exit via “static discharge” wicks on the wings and the tail. It’s very rare that an aircraft is struck by lightning. One pilot said “In over 3,000 flights I have never experienced it”. However, some pilots have, and they have described it as a “non-event”. Basically, as a passenger you may not notice anything at all! At the most you may hear a slight noise, and see a bright flash. Just remember, at no time are you in danger.


During the cruise, an aircraft will rarely come close to lightning storms. Ground radar, and aircraft radar can detect such storms and the pilots will take evasive action.


So why don’t aircraft fly through storms?


Thunder clouds are bumpy. It’s as simple as that. All airlines will aim to give you the most comfortable ride possible. Therefore, we will fly around thunderstorms to ensure that you remain comfortable , and don’t spill your coffee. Sometimes, while flying at night you will see lightning, but just remember that the light passes through the cloud, which makes it look much closer than it is.


The majority of lightning strikes that occur are during the early and latter stages of flight. In fact, an aircraft can sometimes cause lightning by flying close to an electrically charged cloud. The aircraft simply acts as a huge, floating, lightning conductor. Notice in the video above how the strike comes from the back of the aircraft, and continues on it’s course towards the ground. In the event of a particularly violent storm, a pilot will choose to avoid taking off or landing as an extra safety precaution.


Strong winds can cause some ‘exciting’ take-offs and landings. At lower levels, wind can cause the aircraft to sway back and forth, but the pilots are well trained for this.


As always, airlines and airports will have wind speed limits. If the wind is too strong they will choose not to land or take-off. Simple as that! Aircraft are designed to be able to fly in stronger winds than you may think, and although landings can seem scary in these conditions, they are not.


Aircraft land into the wind, as this allows the aircraft to slow down and eventually stop on the runway. If you ever experience a landing in strong winds, do not be alarmed. Rest assured that the pilot knows exactly how strong the wind is, and how to land the plane safely.


If at any time the wind becomes too strong, and he/she becomes unhappy with the conditions then a go-around (aborted landing) will be instigated, and possibly a diversion to a nearby airport where the wind is not as strong.


NB: All aircraft carry more fuel than they need for the flight in case of bad weather conditions. They need enough to allow them to circle (in what’s called a holding pattern), or possibly divert to another airport.


Crosswinds is a term used when the wind is blowing across the runway (rather than down it). Planes are thoroughly tested in strong crosswinds. Here is a quick video for you.

As previously mentioned, the shape of the wings is an integral part of the overall aerodynamics of the aircraft. If ice forms on the wings, the aerodynamics are altered as the wing is now a different shape.


This can severely limit an aircraft’s ability to take-off safely. Therefore we must all keep an eye out for dangerous ice build-up. This includes pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, dispatchers and anyone else who has a view of the wings, including passengers. When you are flying, do not be afraid to mention any ice you may have seen on the aircraft. If nothing else, it will help you relax once you know that we are definitely aware of the situation.


De-icing will take place either before the passengers arrive, or once the doors have been closed. If you are on-board, you will see a large machine approach the aircraft and spray the wings, along with any other part of the aircraft that the captain requests.


It may sound a bit like being in a car wash as the fluid is sprayed over the aircraft. Don’t be alarmed, it’s a good noise! If there is a long wait for take-off, and it’s still freezing outside, the captain may request to be de-iced again before departure.


We are all trained to keep checking the wings for ice in freezing temperatures. You may even notice the crew looking out of the window at some point. It’s nothing to worry about, we are simply double checking. You are in safe hands.


YES, ice can be dangerous. But, there are procedures in place to ensure your safety is not compromised. Many lessons were learned from Air Florida Flight 90 in 1982, which crashed into the Pontomac River in a severe snowstorm, and freezing temperatures.

The next time you fly can be different...

 Take just a minute and imagine you’re on board an airplane, going somewhere you’re really looking forward to visiting. You’re relaxed and comfortable in your seat, with a calm, quiet mind when you notice that you’re actually enjoying the peace and quiet of the flight. You hear the steady ‘whoosh’ of the engines and find it soothing, like the sound of the running water of a beautiful stream as it passes over the pebbles. What used to cause you so much stress and anxiety has become something you actually look forward to as a time for you to let go and just be at peace.

You look out the window and see the crisp blue sky and puffy white clouds far beneath you, and you remember sitting in your chair and first reading these words, when I told you that your next flight could be different. You you smile to yourself as you realise that this moment, RIGHT NOW was when flying began to change for you...


Keep reading and in the next few minutes you’re going to learn how you CAN overcome your fear of flying and why I believe you only need to do two things to make it happen...


What is the TRUE cost of being afraid to fly?

 I don’t mean what does it cost in terms of money...that’s one of the smaller costs. I mean what does it REALLY cost you? Do you avoid flying completely? What does it cost you in terms of your LIFE when you don’t have the opportunity to see new and different places because of your fear?

What about family and friends? Are there people you would like to visit more often but don’t?

Do you make excuses for why you can’t fly? Do you waste your time driving places that you could have been at in hours if only you could fly comfortably?

How does it affect the people in your life? Does your family miss out too because you hate to fly? Is that fair to them?  What about your self-esteem? I know all too well how depressing it can be to be held back by a fear about something so many other people take for granted.


Having a fear of flying comes at too high of a price!


Many people feel terrified of being up so high and feeling claustrophobic and trapped; of having no way to escape that cramped metal cylinder six miles above the ground. They worry about crashing and never seeing their family again, and just can't bear to endure those awful feelings of anxiety for as long as a flight lasted.


People affected like this try everything. Anti-anxiety medications, drinking before the flight, sedatives, but nothing seems to work effectively.


Even before the flight, nervous passengers become filled with anxiety that interferes with their work and life. They have nightmares and trouble sleeping, and their days are filled with repetitive negative thoughts they can't seem to control. The days and even weeks prior to a flight are completely ruined by their fear of flying.


Those who do fly would have panic attacks on board and be filled with a dread that some catastrophe was just about to happen. Maybe they'd run out of air and then wouldn’t be able to breathe and they would lose control and would try to open the door in the middle of the flight. Maybe the plane would break apart and they would have to live the final few moments of their life in the crushing grip of fear. Maybe the panic would just overwhelm them and who knows what would happen next.

It’s a shame that people needlessly suffer for so long because what I discovered is that most everyone makes overcoming the fear of flying much more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be. Let me explain how simple it can be...


Let me explain how simple conquering your fear of flying really is and you can judge it for yourself...


When I was searching for a way for people to overcome their fear of flying, I discovered that flying isn’t the problem....YOU’RE the problem...and that’s good!


If you’re the ultimate cause of your fear of flying, that’s GOOD NEWS, because that means that YOU can STOP IT!

To fly in peace...with complete and total comfort

and confidence, I know you only need to do two things:

Firstly, you need to trust the plane and the people who work in aviation so you don’t need to concern yourself with the plane crashing or wonder how the heck that huge airplane stays up there.


Secondly, and maybe more importantly, you need to know how to control your feelings and reaction so you remain comfortable and in control on board the airplane.


If you can do BOTH of those things, I know you’ll NEVER be afraid on a plane again. In fact, you may even start to LIKE flying, just like I do now.

The methods I use are some of the most trusted and widely used strategies and methods available for changing your life. Please call me to arrange an appointment to finally find peace of mind and conquer you fear of flying.

“I hope that you remember that I came to see you about my fear of flying and my very imminent trip back to the US.

Anyway, the good news is that I am here!  The trip over was not without problems - initially I was put back a day and had another night in the airport hotel, then when I arrived in the US I missed my connection and was rerouted via Chicago, meaning 3 flights instead of 2 and a very long day.   

HOWEVER......I felt very comfortable throughout the whole trip.  I managed to listen to your mp3 a couple of times in the days before and then to half of it at the gate.   Boarding, taking off and the flight itself were fine.  I felt a sense of ease, an inner realisation that the plane is designed by experts to do its job safely and effectively.  I could almost say that I enjoyed the flight!  I also didn't take the tranquilizers that I usually take.  I felt the need to be fully in control of my senses and my mind.  So, it feels a bit like a double achievement.

Overall, I have felt a new sense of freedom, that I can go wherever I want, alone or with others.  Its great.  It has also helped me more broadly with other anxieties.  If I can fly alone, then I can probably cope with most everything.  

I hope that you are well. Thank you so much for your help with this problem that has dogged me for so many years now.  I will always be grateful to you”.

Jenny  - Teignmouth, Devon 2011

What the clients say…

US Transportation Fatalities 2000 – Source: NTSB

This next chart shows a comparison between the number of airplane accidents and the actual number of departures. You can see how safety has dramatically improved since the early days. This graphic comes from the Boeing Web Site.

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