Saturday, February 14, 2009

Unnerved Flier

Are any of you nervous about flying? The tragic events of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 brings this question to mind. I will admit to you that when it comes to flying, I make the Cowardly Lion look like an adrenaline junkie. And despite the fact that I've flown on many occasions, the mere sight of an airplane taking off makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Here in Las Vegas, the airport is less than one mile from the Las Vegas Strip. As a matter of fact, you can literally cross the street from the MGM Grand Hotel and stand on grounds that belong to McCarran International Airport.

I haven't flown for a while, but I can tell you that nowhere but on an airplane do I pray Rosary after Rosary until I feel the landing gears of that airplane touch the earth. And before take-off, I look out the window to make sure the flaps are down (years ago a plane crashed after take-off when the pilots failed to put the flaps down). So, when it comes to flying, are any of you as terror-stricken as I am? I almost find my condition comical. Sports commentator John Madden will not fly, and there are no "if's", "and's", or "but's" about it. The man will not set foot inside an airplane even if a game is taking place in Hawaii.

Part of what makes me nervous about flying is that I don't think many airlines take the necessary safety measures to ensure that the aircrafts they operate are optimally safe. Many use the cost-to-benefit ratio to implement safety measures recommended by the NTSB. For example, the NTSB might recommend rewiring a specific type of aircraft because it concluded - after an accident investigation - that faulty wiring contributed to a crash. The airline companies then look at the cost of rewiring their airplanes, which might be 10 million dollars per plane, and decide that it's cheaper to settle with the families of the deceased (it's usually 2 million per victim)) than to refit their entire fleet with new wires. Having said that, watching this video should put into perspective just how safe flying really is. No matter how you may dislike the process of taking to the skies, the numbers don't lie.

The Airbus 380 - Europe's most recent contribution to the fleet of commercial airliners - carries over five hundred human beings inside its fuselage. Can you imagine an accident involving something so massive? God forbid.

Yes, I'm acutely aware of the fact that when it's your time to go it's your time to go. But what a horrific way to exit.

Pray for the victims of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 and their families.


Shirley said...

I admit that I too am afraid of flying. When I flew to the coast last year for my neice's confirmation, I prayed the Rosary all the way there. And all the way back. It may be safe, but I am very uncomfortable being that far off the ground. And I'm claustrophobic too.

Melody K said...

I'll pray for the victims and their families.
I'm not really afraid of flying; but I do have a degree of uneasiness about it. Those statistics are reassuring. I think ship travel would cause me worse anxiety. A coworker recently returned from a cruise; she said the bottom tier of staterooms had no port hole. That would be claustrophobic. Especially if the band started playing "Nearer My God, to Thee".

Mike and Kim said...

It is one of my most favorite things to do...infact, I would have loved to be a pilot or astronaut. Your pictures are so cool. I will watch the video after commenting...I am sure it will be disturbing.

I have always felt safer in the air than on the streets of downtown Dallas.

I will continue to pray for the victims. So sad. And you know I it a result of our "fast paced" world...just trying to get it off the ground and statistically staying "on line" at the expense of so many lives.

Tom in Vegas said...


You speak for me, too. Every little thing you described I suffer from as well.


I think I prefer a cruise ship over flying. There are some pitfalls, of coarse, but I think I'll take those over the expeditiousness of flying any day of the week.

M & K-

I ENVY you!! I wish I could enjoy it the way you do. I could have a vacation ruined by the fact that I have to set foot on an airplane. Kris tells me she’s the same way, although I think she did in fact board an airplane recently.

Kathleen Miller said...


Wow,you have described me to a tee. I have been flying since age 7, and now 40 years later, I have not ever gotten over that fear. It is something I have to do to get where I need to go; but I am ever so happy when the plane lands and I am free to step on land. I am a bit claustophic too so it makes the whole experience a challenge from A to Z.

God BLess!