Fear of Flying

Confession: I am a nervous flier. I know that statistically speaking, flying is safer than driving, but when you’re in a metal tube shooting through the air at 36,000 feet at 500 mph, I’d much rather be in my car with four wheels on the ground.

I thought that if I understood how planes actually fly, I might feel more confident in the air, so I asked my boyfriend, an engineer, if he could explain it to me. After hearing his description involving terms like mass flow, pressure regions, and lift, I realized I felt much better when I just thought it was magic. Basically, if he had said, “The pilots lift up a wand and say Wingardium Leviosa!” I would be happy.

This Saturday, I will be in the air for 6 hours total (with a 2-hour layover in Miami breaking it up) and I know that I will be my usual anxious, sweaty, paranoid self every time I feel the slightest turbulence or hear the mechanics of the plane shift below me. I’ll close my eyes, lean back, and try to think of it all as magic.

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