For many people, flying is an experience to look forward to, thanks to the aircraft's ability to shrink the world for the purposes of business, pleasure or adventure. More than 60 years since the dawn of the commercial jet age, making a flight is statistically proven to be safer than the journey to and from the airport by road or rail.
Despite the huge advances in technology, operating standards and safety over the past several decades, for some, the prospect of leaving the ground in a jet-propelled metal tube is a terror inducing threat that can keep them from visiting friends and family, going on holiday or advancing their careers. So, how can those with an overwhelming dread of flying be helped to address their fears?
For the past 30 years, British Airways has sought to do just this through a regular series of courses staged at locations in the UK and overseas open to people who want to beat their phobia and to the skies. Named "Flying with Confidence'', the initiative is run at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and additionally at Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dubai and Johannesburg.
For the nervous flyer, however, no amount of statistics can remove the fear that something might happen to them. While many who are feeling such unease may get themselves through the flight experience somehow - by perhaps resorting to medications or alcohol. BA notes that one in four people has a fear in flying.
(I remember many years ago, Mike Jackman (Certificated Aircraft Technician) used to hold similar classes out of the Air Canada hangar in YVR - Alan)