The answer is: I don’t know!
One of the biggest fear in my life is flight. It was from witnessing the space shuttle Challenger’s disaster over 30 years ago. I was totally stunned while watching on TV that well designed shuttle breaking into thousands of pieces just one minutes after soaring into sky. Make things worse the very first flight I took had to return to its airport due to mechanical malfunctions. The flight eventually returned to the airport safely, but the incident carved another deeper mark of fear of flight in my brain.
Since then each time I was in any flights, I felt myself floating in the sky without any supports, I was not sure what will happen in next minutes, “am I still floating or already crashed onto the ground?” Any turbulences could freak me out. Sometimes I grabbed whatever I could reach, including somebody’s hands nearby. Once I grabbed a hand of a lady who was sitting next to me, after I realized the mistake I immediately apologized. The nice lady, together with another lady sitting in one row ahead of us, comforted me with smiles on their faces. Another time a occurrence of turbulence almost broke my nerves, I asked my husband what was going on, he was laughing at me and said “don’t you think it is as fun as a roller coaster?” A few times I could feel some little kids were giggling, I guessed that they were wondering why an adult was such a coward, even not as brave as a little kid.
Last year on a flight across Pacific Ocean, there was slight turbulence at night. Several hundred people onboard were either sleeping or watching movies or playing games, I was the only one who was frowning. One of the flight attendants (I believed she was from Taiwan based on her accent) came and talked to me, “Are you ok?” “I am nervous,” my voice sounded as almost crying out. “It is very save, don’t be nervous,” she spoke to me with a sweet smile on her face.
“安全個頭， 老娘快神經錯亂了！“ I muttered, and continued my actions of frowning until I felt the landing gears hit the ground.
However my fear of flight has never stopped me to see the places around the world, 5 days later I will be in another overseas’ long flight (~ 12 hours). Just as before, I asked my husband why I am so afraid of flight.
“You should not be afraid at all,” he answers. “Statistically there is more change to be killed when driving a car than flying in an airplane,” he even starts educating me using statistics.
“But I am in control while driving a car, I am not while sitting in an airplane,” I argued.
“So trust the pilot who is controlling the airplane, since nobody wants any accidents!” he concluded our conversation on the fear of flight.
Ok, I will try to keep calm on that upcoming long flight, especially during turbulences.
Wish me luck!