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Thread: irrational fear of flying

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    Phoenix to Honolulu…a moment of severe turbulence and an 800’ drop in 12 seconds according to Flight Radar 24…pretty lucky that that they were nearing approach and 30 minutes out, as quite a few people were hurt.

    https://simpleflying.com/passengers-...es-turbulence/
    Kudos to the pilots...would love to hear from those with experience what this would have been like for someone at the controls.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Aloha

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    Kudos to the pilots...would love to hear from those with experience what this would have been like for someone at the controls.
    It's really hard to say what the experience was like from the flight crew's perspective. There's just not enough factual information available yet. All the media reporting at this time is just dramatic (and often inaccurate) sound bites from passengers and local officials. The only contextual facts that I am aware of are that the occurrence took place during daylight hours and there were reports of thunderstorms in the area. A few general thoughts on turbulence encounters:

    - In nearly all cases I experienced, the turbulence was predicted. Frontal/convective activity, high surface winds, mountain wave, and jet stream-related turbulence are all well-known phenomena. They are reviewed as part of your weather briefing, noted on computer-generated flight plans, and passed along as pilot reports by both weather briefers and air traffic control. You plan your flights to avoid or mitigate the worst of the turbulence (e.g., choose different routings and/or altitudes to avoid areas of known or predicted turbulence). It's very rare to have unexpected turbulence. When the seatbelt sign comes on and the flight/cabin crew tell you to sit down and buckle up, LISTEN TO THEM.

    - As a passenger, always keep your seatbelt fastened relatively snugly. Other than to use the lavatory or to stretch on a long flight, stay seated/belted at all times. I've hit my head on the cockpit ceiling during turbulence, despite having seat and shoulder belts securely fastened. A loose seatbelt won't do you much good in the cabin.

    - Don't have unsecured items near you unless you're holding them (e.g., cameras, laptops, iPads, water bottles, etc.). Keep your beverage containers capped. In the event of a turbulence encounter, loose items become unguided missiles.

    - It's legal for children less than two years old to sit on their parents' laps. This is total BS. Buy your kids tickets and have them seated in FAA-approved child seats/boosters. Unless of course you want your kid to be a human football flying about the cabin. Even cabin crew members are sometimes unknowledgeable about this issue. I once had a flight attendant argue with me when my daughter was strapped in her car seat between my wife and myself. The FA first told us that we had to take our then-toddler out of the seat and hold her on my lap. I showed her the ticket proving I had paid for my daughter's seat. Then the FA tried to argue that we couldn't use the car seat. I unbuckled the car seat and showed her the tag stating it was approved for aircraft use. The FA gave up at that point and didn't say another word to me for the remainder of the flight.

    - From the pilot's perspective: we try to avoid moderate or greater turbulence to the greatest extent possible. We don't like safety risks and/or discomfort any more than the passengers do. A full day of short haul flights, bouncing around for hours, is physically very tiring. When turbulence can't be avoided, we slow the aircraft down to its turbulence penetration speed or VA maneuvering speed as appropriate. We advise ATC (if necessary) of the speed change and any need to vary our altitude or heading. Sometimes, we TELL ATC that we are deviating around weather. There's no room for discussion and the flight crew has ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight. I can recall several flights where ATC directed us into thunderstorms. I politely replied "Unable" and worked with the controller to find a safer path. On one occasion, a supervisor had to take over from a controller who simply wasn't able/willing to work with me. The supervisor was much calmer and more reasonable.

    - When severe turbulence is encountered, it's generally recommended to keep the aircraft straight and level, but not to chase airspeed or altitude deviations within reason. Think of letting a mountain bike float underneath you when hitting rough terrain. You do the same thing with a plane. Drastic control responses in turbulence can (and have) led to aircraft being overstressed and breaking apart. If the turbulence encounter exceeds published limitations, the aircraft will very likely need a maintenance inspection.

    During my career, a combination of good training, good mentors, and experience meant that I never had a dangerous, weather-related turbulence encounter. In fact the worst turbulence I encountered were hitting the wakes of heavy jets (a DC-10 and a C-5) at 90 degree angles. Those bumps felt like driving over curbs at high speed!

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by gregl View Post
    It's really hard to say what the experience was like from the flight crew's perspective. There's just not enough factual information available yet. All the media reporting at this time is just dramatic (and often inaccurate) sound bites from passengers and local officials. The only contextual facts that I am aware of are that the occurrence took place during daylight hours and there were reports of thunderstorms in the area. A few general thoughts on turbulence encounters:

    - In nearly all cases I experienced, the turbulence was predicted. Frontal/convective activity, high surface winds, mountain wave, and jet stream-related turbulence are all well-known phenomena. They are reviewed as part of your weather briefing, noted on computer-generated flight plans, and passed along as pilot reports by both weather briefers and air traffic control. You plan your flights to avoid or mitigate the worst of the turbulence (e.g., choose different routings and/or altitudes to avoid areas of known or predicted turbulence). It's very rare to have unexpected turbulence. When the seatbelt sign comes on and the flight/cabin crew tell you to sit down and buckle up, LISTEN TO THEM.

    - As a passenger, always keep your seatbelt fastened relatively snugly. Other than to use the lavatory or to stretch on a long flight, stay seated/belted at all times. I've hit my head on the cockpit ceiling during turbulence, despite having seat and shoulder belts securely fastened. A loose seatbelt won't do you much good in the cabin.

    - Don't have unsecured items near you unless you're holding them (e.g., cameras, laptops, iPads, water bottles, etc.). Keep your beverage containers capped. In the event of a turbulence encounter, loose items become unguided missiles.

    - It's legal for children less than two years old to sit on their parents' laps. This is total BS. Buy your kids tickets and have them seated in FAA-approved child seats/boosters. Unless of course you want your kid to be a human football flying about the cabin. Even cabin crew members are sometimes unknowledgeable about this issue. I once had a flight attendant argue with me when my daughter was strapped in her car seat between my wife and myself. The FA first told us that we had to take our then-toddler out of the seat and hold her on my lap. I showed her the ticket proving I had paid for my daughter's seat. Then the FA tried to argue that we couldn't use the car seat. I unbuckled the car seat and showed her the tag stating it was approved for aircraft use. The FA gave up at that point and didn't say another word to me for the remainder of the flight.

    - From the pilot's perspective: we try to avoid moderate or greater turbulence to the greatest extent possible. We don't like safety risks and/or discomfort any more than the passengers do. A full day of short haul flights, bouncing around for hours, is physically very tiring. When turbulence can't be avoided, we slow the aircraft down to its turbulence penetration speed or VA maneuvering speed as appropriate. We advise ATC (if necessary) of the speed change and any need to vary our altitude or heading. Sometimes, we TELL ATC that we are deviating around weather. There's no room for discussion and the flight crew has ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight. I can recall several flights where ATC directed us into thunderstorms. I politely replied "Unable" and worked with the controller to find a safer path. On one occasion, a supervisor had to take over from a controller who simply wasn't able/willing to work with me. The supervisor was much calmer and more reasonable.

    - When severe turbulence is encountered, it's generally recommended to keep the aircraft straight and level, but not to chase airspeed or altitude deviations within reason. Think of letting a mountain bike float underneath you when hitting rough terrain. You do the same thing with a plane. Drastic control responses in turbulence can (and have) led to aircraft being overstressed and breaking apart. If the turbulence encounter exceeds published limitations, the aircraft will very likely need a maintenance inspection.

    During my career, a combination of good training, good mentors, and experience meant that I never had a dangerous, weather-related turbulence encounter. In fact the worst turbulence I encountered were hitting the wakes of heavy jets (a DC-10 and a C-5) at 90 degree angles. Those bumps felt like driving over curbs at high speed!

    Greg
    I've seen this happen on a flight to the point where the mom was in tears. No amount of explaining could convince the crew that the child was less safe in her lap.
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    I'd be curious to know if they flew into a thunder cell or CB cloud of some sort. The turbulence that gets my attention the most is clear air turbulence that is usually caused by passing through a jet stream. My employer provides us with an app on our work iPad that is quite good at showing likely turbulence and the area around Hawaii has been quite lit up the past few days. Not sure if they encountered clear air turbulence or flew into something ugly.

    Obviously, wake turbulence is dangerous because it's usually close to the ground.

    I have encountered severe to extreme turbulence once and once was enough. Correction, once was one time too many. It's not a nice feeling at all. We were not in control of the airplane and the flight attendant was injured. No advance warning at all. Night flight in the clouds at 18,000' coming home late from Geneva to Lugano and we probably hit a "dry cell" is all I can think of. Radar was on but we were depicting no weather out front. And I've had borderline severe a couple times flying into LGA and PHL in rainy weather. One guy did call it severe and bailed out (went around and diverted) but we landed uneventfully. It was bad enough you could hardly read the instruments. No fun but the autopilot hung on like a champ.

    I'm pretty sensitive to even light turbulence and will fly at altitudes to avoid it when possible. As mentioned, it's physically exhausting as well as mentally tough to constantly battle the elements. Turbulence isn't fun, even for flight crews.

    Greg's comment about ATC is funny. I was flying into LGA about 15 years ago and was a new captain. There was a small cell right off the nose. EWR is to the left and JFK to the right, so you don't have a lot of lateral space to deviate. I said "I need 10º left or 10º right for 5 miles". They said, "Unable". So I flew through it. It was very rough for about 5-10 seconds until we popped out the other side. I knew this one wouldn't kill us or hurt us too badly so I was OK flying through it. The guy behind me was a Northwest Airlines Airbus. He says, "I need 10º left or 10º right for 5 miles". ATC says, "Unable". NWA crusty captain comes on and says, "We're taking 10º left and we'll let you know when we're back on course".

    Lesson learned in how to be a captain and not let ATC fly your airplane for you. I went through it and he went around it. Now I do what he did.
    Last edited by Saab2000; 12-20-2022 at 12:58 PM.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Here’s some information from Flight Radar 24…no weather information on the playback, but I read that there were thunderstorms in the area.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/f.../ha35#2e944ca8
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    Here’s some information from Flight Radar 24…no weather information on the playback, but I read that there were thunderstorms in the area.
    Thunderstorms can be dangerous even when you don't fly through them. You can experience significant turbulence, hail, and lightning strikes just by flying near them. Trying to fly over them can be dangerous if you don't have sufficient height above them and high/low speed buffet margin (known as the infamous "coffin corner"). Aircraft have been lost when they tried to top thunderstorms and stalled when they encountered significant turbulence.

    I once had to take over control of an aircraft from a lesser-experienced captain when he tried to top a thunderstorm above 40K feet. I tactfully warned him that he was putting us in a risky situation as he tried to climb the aircraft to 43,000' to top a storm, but he wanted to prove that he was right. My adrenaline was flowing 100% and I was poised like a spring to take over if things went south. I felt the first shudders of pre-stall buffet at 41,500'. I grabbed the controls, punched off the autopilot, pushed down the nose, built up speed and cranked in a right turn while simultaneously calling ATC, telling them that we were deviating right and descending back to 41,000. The captain was silent for the next 20 minutes. To his credit, he apologized after we landed and admitted he had learned from the experience. To the best of my knowledge, he's a JetBlue captain today.

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Some very hi-tech flying, would it be irrational to fear flying in one? Nope, not for me.

    The older I get the faster I was Brian Clare

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    One daughter flew from NY to Montreal on Air Canada. Her bag which was gate checked did not make it. The agent in Montreal said “oh that happens all the time at LGA with gate checked, they’ll put it on the next flight”. He gave her a voucher for 500 CAD to buy clothes to tide her and the baby over. And the bag is being delivered tonight by messenger to our house which is 70ish miles north of the airport.

    The other daughter flew into Montreal on Air Canada from Denver which she had flown to on United from LAX. Her bag also did not show up. The United agent (they sold her the ticket) said “Not my problem go to Air Canada”. She stood online behind approximately 15 other people looking for their bags. The Air Canada agent said, “Oh here it is at LAX, United never put it on their plane to Denver”. This is even though she checked in at LAX 2 hours before her flight. He then gave her a voucher for 750 CAD to buy replacement clothes and the bag is being messengered up to our house tomorrow morning by noon.

    So, folks just not caring enough to follow through on their jobs cost the company a decent sum of money.

    Morale is so important throughout an organization.

    Companies are always brought down by their most underpaid, unappreciated employees.
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    One daughter flew from NY to Montreal on Air Canada. Her bag which was gate checked did not make it. The agent in Montreal said “oh that happens all the time at LGA with gate checked, they’ll put it on the next flight”. He gave her a voucher for 500 CAD to buy clothes to tide her and the baby over. And the bag is being delivered tonight by messenger to our house which is 70ish miles north of the airport.

    The other daughter flew into Montreal on Air Canada from Denver which she had flown to on United from LAX. Her bag also did not show up. The United agent (they sold her the ticket) said “Not my problem go to Air Canada”. She stood online behind approximately 15 other people looking for their bags. The Air Canada agent said, “Oh here it is at LAX, United never put it on their plane to Denver”. This is even though she checked in at LAX 2 hours before her flight. He then gave her a voucher for 750 CAD to buy replacement clothes and the bag is being messengered up to our house tomorrow morning by noon.

    So, folks just not caring enough to follow through on their jobs cost the company a decent sum of money.

    Morale is so important throughout an organization.

    Companies are always brought down by their most underpaid, unappreciated employees.
    Airlines will spend a dollar to save a dime. My old airline would whine about stuff that was trivial but made no significant effort to improve staffing on the ramp. That particular airplane cost roughly $50/minute to operate and we’d wait routinely for 10-15 minutes or more to be marshaled into the gate by guys making $15/hour? I didn’t go to business school but this math doesn’t add up in my head.

    One of the problems is that so much stuff is outsourced and those companies just want to keep their costs to a minimum, but that ultimately hurts someone else while the layers of middle middle and upper management seem to be completely unaware of the chaos on the ground level, or they don’t care because they met their budget targets and get their bonuses.

    My current employer is better, but struggling to return to pre-Covid levels of operational effectiveness and now are in pandemonium mode folllowing the latest weather event, known to non-Northerners as winter storm “Elliott”.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    Airlines will spend a dollar to save a dime. My old airline would whine about stuff that was trivial but made no significant effort to improve staffing on the ramp. That particular airplane cost roughly $50/minute to operate and we’d wait routinely for 10-15 minutes or more to be marshaled into the gate by guys making $15/hour? I didn’t go to business school but this math doesn’t add up in my head.

    One of the problems is that so much stuff is outsourced and those companies just want to keep their costs to a minimum, but that ultimately hurts someone else while the layers of middle middle and upper management seem to be completely unaware of the chaos on the ground level, or they don’t care because they met their budget targets and get their bonuses.

    My current employer is better, but struggling to return to pre-Covid levels of operational effectiveness and now are in pandemonium mode folllowing the latest weather event, known to non-Northerners as winter storm “Elliott”.
    i look at this a little differently since I still think a lot of institutional knowledge evaporated during the mass layoffs and some seasoned employees decided not to return.

    All the airlines will look basically the same on these numbers since they all have price transparency for benchmarking.

    UA Headcount is down -5% since 2019Q3 vs 2022Q3. Capacity is down -10% 19Q3 vs 22Q3. This is a huge drop in productivity.

    To compensate, Revenue per Seat Miles is up 25%.. 15.16 / mile 19Q3 vs 19.02 22Q3.

    Margins are now above 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic started.. Passenger loads are also slightly above 2019 levels too.. 87% vs 86%

    I don't see this pricing power changing anytime soon...

    https://www.united.com/en/us/newsroo.../cision-125242
    It's all in the last quarter's release.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Made it to London mostly fine. Flight was delayed by a latch door issue, but flight itself wasn't affected by weather. In comparison, the same flight number on Thursday was delayed by weather for a good 4-5 hours.

    After not being able to sleep on the plane, I'm now trying to wake up from an afternoon nap stupor. Back on our last trans-Atlantic flight, I got no shut eye at all (Delta didn't dim lights for a long time). This time, I got two separate hours, but was again really tired on arrival. I have no idea how anyone manages to stay asleep, and the N95 masks certainly don't help either...

    Not too big of a deal this time, as almost everything is closed today, but certainly something I'd want to avoid on a subsequent trip. Last time, we missed an afternoon's worth in Berlin, which was regrettable.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Inlaws flew down from Wyoming via Billings. They were supposed to arrive last Sunday, but the flight was delayed so long that they had to cancel because of crew hours. They got hotel money for overnight in Billings (home is 3+ hours away) for a flight the next morning. Monday morning, the plane was frozen, no water for toilets. The pilot told the passengers to use the airport bathrooms, get on the plane, and they'd head to Vegas. On their trip home on Thursday, they were delayed in Denver, and their flight to Billings was canceled. They ended up renting a car one way to get back to Billings so they could get home on Friday, then returned the car to Billings, then returned home in their car.
    Retired Sailor, Marine dad, semi-professional cyclist, fly fisherman, and Indian School STEM teacher.
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Made it to London mostly fine. Flight was delayed by a latch door issue, but flight itself wasn't affected by weather. In comparison, the same flight number on Thursday was delayed by weather for a good 4-5 hours.

    After not being able to sleep on the plane, I'm now trying to wake up from an afternoon nap stupor. Back on our last trans-Atlantic flight, I got no shut eye at all (Delta didn't dim lights for a long time). This time, I got two separate hours, but was again really tired on arrival. I have no idea how anyone manages to stay asleep, and the N95 masks certainly don't help either...

    Not too big of a deal this time, as almost everything is closed today, but certainly something I'd want to avoid on a subsequent trip. Last time, we missed an afternoon's worth in Berlin, which was regrettable.
    Does a sleep mask work for you? Flights are the only situation I use them for, but they do help me get some sleep, cabin lighting or not.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Our oldest had her Friday morning SEA-PIT flight cancelled by Alaska Airlines on Thursday evening and Alaska has essentially no communication system in place to address such massive cancellations. I say this as we have dealt with this particular airline with three similar (weather and lost luggage) events, and you can’t get through on the phone, the chat shuts down and the website did not allow you to make a change earlier than 3 days from the day of cancellation. She was placed on hold for 6.5 hours and someone finally answered the phone…take a lesson from Delta, Alaska, as Delta allows you to leave your number for a return call. She was told that she was lucky that she was flying solo, as it was easier to find one seat, as opposed finding seats for a family of four. No offer of anything from Alaska, other than “we are sorry for your inconvenience”. We understand the inconvenience that was caused by the weather. It’s the inconvenient and irresponsible means of communication and always being left with a sense of uncertainty.
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Yes, I’ve been an Alaska Air flyer for years but in the last 5 years I’ve really appreciated Delta service.
    Dan Fuller, local bicycle enthusiast

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by 72gmc View Post
    Does a sleep mask work for you? Flights are the only situation I use them for, but they do help me get some sleep, cabin lighting or not.
    In the latest case, unfortunately no. Sleep mask + alprazolam did wonders on my past trips with exception of eastward trans-Atlantic flights. I was even fine on the way back across the Atlantic, despite it being sunny outside for the entire trip.

    I actually got 30 minutes of shut-eye between take off and meal service (last time I got zilch). I thought things might go better this time, only to get maybe 50 minutes after meal service, and that was it (even with the alprazolam). My wife, who took no meds, apparently didn't fare much better.

    I think next time, we'll both request to forgo the dinner service, as it kinda disrupted things.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    A time lapsed Misery Map for your viewing pleasure. Saab…hopefully you’re in the air and not sleeping in an airport.

    https://flightaware.com/miserymap/usall/1672158600
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    A time lapsed Misery Map for your viewing pleasure. Saab…hopefully you’re in the air and not sleeping in an airport.

    https://flightaware.com/miserymap/usall/1672158600
    I got to spend a couple unplanned days in California over Christmas this past weekend. Home now. I hope there’s a lot of soul searching among our leadership and a willingness to implement changes to prevent this from happening ever again. I’ve been through a few smaller disruptions since I’ve been here but nothing close to this. Terrible and inexcusable.

    I go back on Sunday and I hope we’re back to a semi-normal operation by then.
    La Cheeserie!

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