20 August 2008

Fear of Flying

"Man, you'd never get me in one of those things!"

It's another of those utterances I hear more frequently than you might imagine.
Lots of folks are afraid of small aircraft in general and helicopters in particular. (And looking at the recent EMS helicopter accident record, maybe their fear isn't too illogical.)

But it's funny, when I ask why they'd be frightened of flying with me, more than half say, "I'm afraid of heights".
So am I...
Put me on a ladder and force me to climb above the 4th step, then stand back and listen to my knees sounding like castenets! I cannot walk to the edge of a tall building and peer over the edge without feeling anxious and grabbing hold of something solid to steady me.
But is that a fear of heights?
I'd argue it's a fear of falling, and the fear of falling isn't illogical.
Strap me into any aircraft and that fear just isn't there... I'm not gonna fall out.

Still, in most cases I'm pretty sure those with whom I have this discussion are not convinced. And that's okay... they're better off not needing a ride in the back of my helicopter anyway.


Paul said...

Interesting, I was having this discussion with a co-worker this morning. Same thing: I am timid of heights and yet up in the plane I don't feel it. After all, we're only a few inches off the floor!

cary said...

Falling doesn't scare me - I have done the "jump out of a perfectly good airplane and rely on the biological by-product of a worm to land safely" thing a time or two.

It's the sudden stop at the end that I'm scared of.


Autorotate said...

Nothing freaks me out more than climbing up to tail pylon to check the t/r on the 60...nothing.

added ya to the circus!

cj said...

So, I was thinking about asking this question...

I hate heights but I've always wanted to fly a helicopter.

Dang. Now you got me thinking again.