Assessing Risk: Why It Troubles Us, and Why We Do It Poorly

A risk may seem significant even though it has never happened. Something that has happened only once can drive us up the wall. Why?

After a Crash: The Worst Mistake a Fearful Flier Can Make

Imagining the unimaginable releases massive amounts of stress hormones, and feelings of high anxiety, feelings that become pre-associated with future flying.

EgyptAir: Now What?

The cause will not be officially determined for some time. But no airliner has come apart in mid-air due to technical failure in more than sixty years.

How Likely Is Your Airliner's Engine to Fail?

Airliners can fly on one engine. Since that leaves no engine in reserve, pilots are required to land immediately if over land. But what happens over water?

The FlyDubai Crash: What Is Its Impact On You?

Imagination, when it is allowed to masquerade as reality, can cause high anxiety - and even panic - for no good reason at all.

Mandatory Reporting of Pilot Mental Health: Will It Work?

The problem at Germanywings was not the failure to identify a troubled pilot. The problem was failure to maintain two or more people in the cockpit at all times.

Emotional Regulation: Is There an App For That?

The ability to self-regulate is developed early in life. How well it develops depends upon the parent-child relationship.

Why We're Afraid of Heights

Will our plane fall? Will I lose control? What about the urge to fly like Mary Poppins? What if the view is too much?

How Wise Is "Better Safe Than Sorry?"

"Isn't it better to be safe than sorry? I've passed up opportunities to travel Europe with my husband. But, I think, isn't it better to at least still be alive?"

When Pilots Switch to a New Airliner, How Are They Trained?

Today's simulators are so realistic that takeoff and landing training can be done in the simulator rather than an actual aircraft.

Self-Awareness: Does It Increase Or Decrease Anxiety

Thoughts can cause the release of stress hormones.One way to limit stress is to limit inner awareness where troubling thoughts often reside. But, this strategy can lead to trouble.

Fear Can Make You Believe the Worst Will Happen. How?

Reflective function critiques our take on reality. When stress hormones cause reflective function to fail, it becomes impossible for us to know what is imaginary and what is real.

Is Terrorism Changing Your Life?

Given all the recent terror issues, I feel security cannot truly stop an individual intent on harm. Am I being anxious for no reason? Do you truly feel that our security measures are 100%?

The Essential Power Of Relationship

The most important psychological discovery in years, Porges' research explains how non-judgmental relatedness calms.

Don't Let Recent Events Cause Panic at the Airport

The news is disturbing. If we keep it out of awareness, we feel better. But, avoided concerns can catch up with us. If they hit all at once as we board a flight, panic may result. We are better off if we deal with disturbing news as it happens.

Are Discount Airlines Discounting Your Safety?

The door nearest the burning engine was opened and its escape slide deployed. Passengers slid down into smoke and nearby fire. Passenger Daniela Magro said "all the smoke" was a problem. "When we go down the slide, I couldn't see anyone because we went from the left side." Are all flight attendants being properly trained?

Is It Time To Worry When Flight Attendants Are Told To Sit?

Pilots try to turn the seat belt sign on early. This is because the flight attendants must put away loose items in the galley and stow the serving carts before they are seated.

Why It's So Hard for Anyone to Get Over Fear of Flying

Forty million isn't personally meaningful. But, the number one hits home. It's personal. What did people on that flight feel? Maybe they got on expecting nothing bad would happen.

The BA Engine Fire Is Scary, But Pilots Follow Procedure

Context is vitally important on a day like today after the British Airways plane experienced an engine fire as it began to take off at Las Vegas. Failures like this are extremely rare. But, pilots are ready to deal with these things if they do happen.

A Pilot Fearful During Flight as a Passenger

A pilot writes, "I understand all of the concepts of flying and the safety relating to it. This is not my problem. I’m afraid only when I’m a passenger. It’s the feeling of not being in control. Also, my fear fear is associated with the plane’s movements, and not knowing if a turn is coming or when it is coming."

"Inquisitr" Faux News Report Terrifies An Anxious Flier

The headline says, "Chicago-Bound Flight Diverted After United Express Airline Flight's 10,000 Foot Drop." The story calls this as "a minor accident." The plane did not drop. This was not an accident. The plane was flown - completely under control - to a lower altitude where pressurization was not needed.

Fear of Flying: Suffering From Imagination

Some of us can set improbably disaster aside. Others require it to be impossible. When uncertain, we are bothered by things that bothered us during childhood: being alone, powerless, not responded to, and unable to escape.

Can Using Xanax When Flying Cause PTSD?

“We barely made it. After we landed, they closed the airport. Thank God I had my Xanax to get me through it.” Though life-threatening events happen rarely in aviation, they happen routinely in the Xanax-fueled mind of an anxious flier. Threats to one's life, whether real or imagination-based, can lead to PTSD.

Arousal: Must It Mean Fear and Danger?

We can feel fear when safe. We can feel no fear when in danger. It takes more than feelings to determine whether we are safe or not. A sophisticated system hosted in the pre-frontal cortex does that.

BA's In-Flight Meditation: Good PR. Bad Psychology

Meditation can help a person keep anxiety-producing thoughts out of mind. It works only if the flight is smooth. If turbulence begins, no matter how deep the meditation, when the plane drops, stress hormones are released that push whatever is being focused on out of awareness, and refocus the person on thought of possible danger

Four Quick Videos On Anticipatory Anxiety And Fear of Flying

A vicious cycle can hold you captive in a state of anticipatory anxiety. The thought of your plane crashing - or of having a panic attack - can trigger the release of stress hormones. Once released, these hormones keep your thinking locked on those thoughts, which, in turn, trigger even more stress hormones. How can you break out of this vicious cycle?

Can Psychological Screening Prevent Pilot Suicide?

For every intentional crash there are hundreds of unintentional crashes. The money spent on a wild goose chase trying to keep a suicidal pilot from intentionally crashing would be better spent on training non-suicidal pilots to prevent unintentional (pilot error) crashes.

Why the Germanwings Tragedy Couldn't Happen in the U.S.

Can a flight attendant in the cockpit keep a deranged pilot from intentionally crashing a plane?

"Why Die All Tensed Up?"

The Fighter Weapons School is the Air Force equivalent to the Navy's "Top Gun," of movie fame. A statement posted by one of the instructors on the bulletin board recommended against hypervigilance.

The Germanwings Crash, and How We Can Think About It

As uncomfortable as it is to accept, we now have to deal with the fact that a pilot locked his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally flew a plane filled with passengers into a mountainside.

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