How do Planes Stay up in the Air and What Will Make You no Longer Nervous about Flying?

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How do planes stay up in the air

I have been nervous about flying my whole life. The very first time I flew was in a tiny plane called a Boeing 737 back in 1978; I had my three children with me the youngest being six months old. It was a four-hour flight, it was nighttime, and there was an insane amount of turbulence.

How I survived was by imagining I was on a bus on a bumpy gravel road in the countryside.

Since then I have been to Europe about five times and on several other planes inside Europe, and each time I have to pretend that I am not terrified. Each time I imagine my funeral in my head while I am packing.

Even with all that I still march myself up the stairs or along the tarmac or through the tunnel all the time sure that I am entering the instrument of my imminent death. Maybe this is real courage, or maybe I have learned to just wade through the fear.

The first time I flew to Europe was especially challenging because it was to be an 8 hour flight and it was in October of 2001, one month after 9/11. Needless to say, I had visions of terrorists dancing in my head for weeks before. I asked my husband if we were to fly over Afghanistan, his answer was to get out the globe and show me where Afghanistan was in relation to the Netherlands which was our destination. Not even close!

Did I mention that I completely ignored geography in school and thought it was boring?

I had to find a way to get over my fear of taking this flight and the way I did that was to research how many crashes there were on airlines during the last few years before my scheduled trip.

The airline we were using at the time was Air Transat. I discovered that there were very few crashes involving Air Transat and surprisingly most were caused by human error. Not terrorists or mechanical failures or bombs in the sky. I know that is crazy, but amazingly it may me feel more secure about flying.


A plane stays up in the air due to something called Aerodynamics. If you’re anything like me, you think they can explain it to me a hundred times, and you still won’t get it. I guess there is a plausible explanation about why planes fly. If you’re an engineer that is.

Here is a picture from depicting how planes get up in the air.


Turbulence on your flight for some can be very scary, but in nearly all instances it is normal and unavoidable. A few different events can cause turbulence such as the wind, rising air, jet streams, and mountains, if you would like to read more on Turbulence, this is an excellent article and explains it in-depth.

Controlling Fear

So how do I stop from being nervous when flying? I guess the best answer is just not thinking about the possibility of anything going wrong.

Keep your mind occupied, read a book, bring your knitting, watch a movie, drink the cocktails, take a tranquilizer.

I have done all of these things, and they do help.

One other thing I do is watch the flight crew and take notice of how calm they are, and try to remember that the last thing any of them want is to crash the plane.

I hope this has helped some of you who may also have issues with the fear of flying. Leave a comment about your flying experiences and how you may have coped with your fear or if you’re not afraid at all let us know why that is.

Moreover, please take a minute to subscribe to this blog so as to receive future posts. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

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  • Jenn

    I like to travel but I hate flying! I get anxiety just because of it. I’m not afraid of it, just don’t enjoy it. However, I still think your tactics will work for me!

    • I hope they help, thanks for the comment. Have a great day.

  • Sarah Camille Hipp

    This is so informative! I’m not afraid of flying but this is perfect for my friend who is. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Cheers, Sarah Camille //

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping and I hope that this article will help your friend.

  • Bailie Butcher

    I always get nervous flying! I think Reading a book or watching a movie definiely takes your mind off things!

    • Hi Bailie, yes I think the only way is just to distract your mind so you don’t start imagining things. Thanks for the comment.

  • Ah! I really don’t like to fly and even more so with all the craziness today! It’s not just the flying part but even just being at the airport! I’m needing to fly cross country sometime in the some what near future to see my grown children. Oh how I don’t want to fly! I sure wish they had moved within a driving distance! Ha ha … I will do it at some point, but I’m still putting it off! 🙂

    • Hi Shileen, yes those darn children sure like to move far away. Luckily most of ours are within driving although it is still 10 hours. Have a great day and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Michelle Richardson

    This is great informafion! I have not had a fear of flying. Perhaps because the first time I flew as a child so had to help my mom cope with the experience!

    • Hi Michelle, you’re lucky that you have never been nervous on a plane. Thanks for posting.

  • saisha

    This is really informative! I was just on a flight and found myself wondering how it all works. I think just understanding how it all comes together usually takes the fear away, for most things.

    • Yes, sometimes knowledge is power sometimes not. I am glad you liked it, thanks for the comment.

  • Chastity

    I actually love flying but my first time doing it was very scary. I usually never think about the plane crashing because it would literally make me a nervous reck. I just have a cocktail and think about the fun I will have once I get to my destination. Thanks for sharing this post it was enjoyable to read.

    • Good points, cocktails can be very helpful. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

    • Good points, cocktails can be very helpful. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Shauna Young

    Great post! It’s really informative and extremely helpful for those who do get nervous while flying. I’m lucky and don’t generally get nervous, but these tips are great even if you experience a small amount of anxiety or fear.

    • Thanks Shauna, I am glad it was helpful. I appreciate the comment.

    • Thanks Shauna, I am glad it was helpful. I appreciate the comment.

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