Why Is Flight Training Scary? (5 Calming Thoughts)

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Many people, myself included, have wondered Why Is Flight Training Scary? Let’s explore some of the realities and remedies for any fears that a person may have about learning to fly.

Why Is Flight Training Scary?

1. Fear Of The Unknown.

There is always something to be afraid of if you let the thoughts in. It is very normal for people to be afraid to take flying lessons. We just don’t have time for fear.

Heck, my first ride behind the controls of an airplane’s left seat caused me some doubt and fear. But, the flight instructor made me totally comfortable.

Choose your Instructor carefully.

After all, he had an instructor certificate and was teaching pilots for a living in Helena, MT. so I figured he knew how to fly if nothing else.

So I trusted him and had an hour of fun.

And I was hooked like a big Bass and could not wait to do it again. In each lesson, I took I gained a new insight into myself while learning to master a Cessna 150. I loved it. I wanted to go faster and higher.

Every flight had some fear and lack of confidence in myself but I persevered and did my first solo and my world was immediately changed forever.

2. Apprehension Makes Flying Scary.

Pushing the throttle forward for the first time all alone in the airplane was cause for some apprehension.

I had conquered the fear for the most part but the nervousness made me perspire even on a cold crisp Montana morning.

I just did the exact thing the instructor had made me do over and over in preparation for this monumental day. And, guess what? It all went very well and I had a signoff for solo flight. I call it the greatest confidence builder I ever had.

3. Fear Of Failure Makes Flight Training Scary.

Most of us dislike failure so it is natural to have some nervousness when performing new tasks, Thankfully professional flight instructors brief and debrief students so that each flight is successful. If success is not the outcome then it’s OK to do it until you do it successfully.

This is done by spending time before and after flight lessons to ensure a new pilot understands the lesson. As well as more practice flying. Take away some of the fear.

It is good to remember that during flight training you will perform the maneuver until you have mastered it. Then there is no fear.

4. Flying Is Repetition.

If you pursue your career in Aviation you will find that it is all about repetition.

Once you realize that you just do the same thing over and over, and in so doing you prepare for the unexpected.

Practice makes perfect they say and it does in the airplane. As you prepare yourself for each new certificate or rating you will be challenged again and again. Just remember that you train for perfection and safety. Once you find some mastery the fear simply dissolves.

If you find an airline job a bit of anxiety seems to always precede each check-ride though, Your career is on the line. A failed ride is hard to live down and can lead to termination. Hopefully, just more Simulator time to work on weak spots.

5. Flying the Airplane by “Feel.”

Remember to “Fly The Airplane First”

After a short while when you start flying you begin to feel the airplane and how your body feels in each maneuver and understand all of the forces of flight.

It is not uncommon to become so absorbed in doing the maneuver that you forget how the body feels like in a stall recovery, for example.

When you recognize the feelings you will always know what an airplane is doing. I will use the performance of recovery from unusual attitudes as an example

This is a lesson during Private Pilot training that requires you to put your head down with eyes closed while the Instructor puts the aircraft in an unusual attitude

This is to teach you to see and feel the airplane and quickly recover it to straight and level flight using your senses with the aid of flight instruments while keeping altitude loss to a minimum.

Final Thoughts.

Everything we learn in life can be somewhat fearful.

When you start flying it can scare the s*** out of you! There is no shame in healthy fear. An obsession is a different matter.

Flying is a hand/eye coordination game. (see and do). If you have that as a gift you are ahead of the game. Otherwise, it must be learned.

You will be constantly learning to fly and learning to do it safer each flight since there is always a different scene out the cockpit window.

If you encounter anything in your training that makes you nervous, talk it over with your instructor and work a fix. That is why it is training.

Airline safety continues to get better but pilots still make mistakes and are still the most prevalent cause of accidents and fatalities. That needs to improve. And, I think it can.

Do visit the FAA webpage about safety here.

Related: How Do I Get My Private Pilot Certificate? (The Journey Begins)

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