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Missing Air France Flight 447 Reignites Anxiety in Fliers


The as of yet unexplained disappearance of Air France Flight 447, on an Airbus A330, has fanned the flames of anxiety for millions around the world who suffer with a fear of flying.

The flight, carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic control over the Atlantic Ocean. Early reports indicate weather, lightening, or turbulence may played a major role. Expectedly, those situations are often very common feared situation for those with a fear of flying, and the sudden and unexplained disaster severely worsens individuals’ fears over variables that are generally regarded as “safe” by the airline industry, pilots, and those working with fearful fliers such as the staff at

Commercial aircraft are generally outfitted with static wicks to diffuse electricity caused by the rare lightening strike, and lightning strikes are not typically considered especially dangerous, much less catastrophic to air travelers. First Officer Carolyn Curtice says, “Lightening actually hits our planes all the time without incident.”

Turbulence, which is often a phobic flier’s single biggest fear, is also generally regarded as safe. Chris Underhill is a pilot on a major US airline with both domestic and International experience and has said, “The turbulence you typically get in flight isn’t dangerous at all...”

Rich Pantone, who founded and operates the website devoted to helping those with a fear of flying at, stated, “This tragedy certainly may make us re-evaluate several aspects of flying that we in the past considered so safe as to be virtually impossible to cause harm in a modern commercial aircraft. I think you would be hard pressed to find any authoritative source on the fear of flying, including my own website, that has considered turbulence or lightening to be something to be legitimately concerned about. The positive, is there is a positive in the midst of this catastrophe, is that with every airline accident, the industry generally improves and becomes more safe after learning the cause of the accident. I still think it’s wise to point out and remember that even with this situation, your chances of being involved in a airline accident are 1 in 11 million, so flying is still a remarkably safe way to travel.”

The website at offers statistics, news, articles and resources on flying and fear, as well as a completely free report with answers to common questions about flying, weather, turbulence, lightning, and more, assembled with the input by airline personnel such as pilots flight attendants, air traffic controllers, mechanics, and others. The free report is called “Takeoff Today Flight Crew Q& A and can be accessed on the websites home page.


 Air France Flight 447
 Flying anxiety
 Fear of flying

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