The Fear Factor

The Fear Factor

Hello everyone,

I am a private pilot with a little over 100 hour total time and am currently working on my instrument rating. I am now finding myself much more timid than before in regards to my flying.  I feel like I am a good pilot but the fear of something going wrong is gettting to me. 
I recently boucht a Cessna 172 and am still getting used to it so that might be a contributing factor.  Another factor is a book I'm reading called "The killing Zone".  In case you haven't heard of it, this book is about how pilots with 50-350 hours flight are the most likely to kill themselves in a crash.  I have learned alot by reading this book but frankly, it has scared the sh!t out of me.
I am hoping that this anxiety is a common feeling among pilots with relatively low time and hope maybe someone has advice on ways of coping with it.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Rich

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Re: The Fear Factor

I went through the same thing back them.  I now have 700 hours and no longer feel that way.  Thats not to say I feel invincible in the plane, far from it.  But I have learned to have faith in my abilities and I'm smart enough to not get into a situation that could have dire consequences.  Mainly flying VFR into IFR...

    Dave

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Re: The Fear Factor

I'm a CFII and it's the students that don't get scared that worry me.  The fact that you're thinking about it is a good thing.  As time in mpasses and you gain experiance ore situations you'll feel better.  The only thing I could recomend to help is get a GOOD instructor and have him put you in the worst situations you can imagine (preferably when you're not expecting them) and get some experiance handleing bad situations.  You'll gain valuable experiance and it'll boost your confidance.  The instrument training is also a VERY, VERY good thing to get.

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Re: The Fear Factor

Rich
Have you ever thought of joining CAP (civil air patrol)I did 4 years ago and it has provided me with a lot of education ,experiance and flying with great people who are more than willing to pass on years of learning

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Re: The Fear Factor

The first time I hit the clouds I lost it. Scared out of my mind. There was no hood to "peek" out from under. But I composed myself, started my scan and fell back on training. It all worked out great and it was a good confidence builder. Each and every pilot has shared this experience in one way or another weather aerobatics, emergencies, solo, marginal VFR,  or instrument flight, and its nothing to worry about.

Grant Wallace
Analytical Aviation

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Re: The Fear Factor

I am a 1200 hr instrument rated pilot since 1987.  Although always respectful of the potential risks of flying, I found that since my son was born in 2001 & daughter in 2002, I am now much more cautious (not afraid) of flying.  Whether or not the wife & kids are on board, if any chance of serious weather problems I don't go.  My preflights seem to be more thorough.  I scan the engine instruments more often. I tend to do more what my first flight instructor told me "always be looking for a potential place to land". I won't fly over mountains at night. My wife is aware of the "sterile cockpit" rules, i.e. no talking on takeoff and climbout or approach and landing unless it's a traffic advisory or something else important.  Maybe some see this as overcautious, but I guess the natural desire to be around to see my kids grow up instilled this in me.  At least I'm not as bad as one guy at our airport, it takes him 1 hour to do his preflight, no kidding!

tom

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Re: The Fear Factor

The suggestion offered by Brent to look into the Civil Air Patrol is good.  You might also look at whether there is a State aviation association.  In the western states there is the California Pilots Association; the Oregon Pilots Association; the Washington Pilots Association... you get the drift.  Lots of good support out there waiting to be given to low time pilots.  My chapter (and the statewide organization too) of the Washington Pilots Association has a lot of very experienced pilots who are more than willing to tell (truthful and even useful) stories.  Also, check out the AOPA website (www.aopa.org) and the air safety foundation online courses.  There are a couple of good ones on IFR, as well as a number of others (night flying, ground operations, etc.) that are quite good.  Believe it or not, there are a few OUTSTANDING online courses (for free) on the NASA website.  One in particular is about inflight icing.  Lotsa resources out there.

jt

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Re: The Fear Factor

I have 5,000+ hours and own my own small charter company.  Although the fear of something happening is not the first thing on my mind, it is still there in the back of my head.  Now it is stuff like, did I secure the oil cap? Did I shut the nose baggage door?  Will my gear come back down?  Is that a vibration I feel?  Stuff like that is what I worry about these days.  It is probably an irrational fear and I should probably worry more about some drunk driver hitting me on the way to or from the airport. 

I also I remember worrying about flying into the clouds by myself after I got my instrument rating.  Then one day I went out and the bases were at 5000', but it was snowing real hard.  Thus no forward visibility, but also no chance of getting ice.  While I was flying and when I got that feeling that I was turning or something, I could just look straight down and see the ground and any sort of vertigo was instantly gone.  I guess that day helped build my confidence and I have been enjoying insturment flying every since.

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Re: The Fear Factor

I felt just as you did when I was a fairly new pilot-pushing twenty years now-but what helped me was succesfully dealing with a major mechanical problem on takeoff and really having to nurse the plane in. It was terrible but a great confidence builder that I could deal with such a bad situation. I dont encourage you to have an actual emergency, but the previous suggestion to find an instructor to put you through the wringer is a good one. It will be the same feeling when you get out of all the situations he or she puts you through. Good luck!

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Re: The Fear Factor

I owned and bought brand new a 1967 Cessna 172 which I thought flew great. I have recently returned to flying and find in later 172's that the elevator effort at flare is considerable. Have I gotten weak through the years or did Cessna change the leverage or the assist? If they changed the required effort, in what year and why?

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Re: The Fear Factor

Cessna 172 elevator effort
Posted by: Richard Smith (205.188.117.---)
Date: March 11, 2005 03:45PM


I owned and bought brand new a 1967 Cessna 172 which I thought flew great. I have recently returned to flying and find in later 172's that the elevator effort at flare is considerable. Have I gotten weak through the years or did Cessna change the leverage or the assist? If they changed the required effort, in what year and why?

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Re: The Fear Factor

I too have the same problem with you. I have not flown in about a month and am going for a solo nav tommorow. I have about 100 hours and am always worried about my solo flights. When I first started I didnt really think too much about everything but now my mind is constantly running going over procedures and checklists. I just joined this site as I believe the best way to become more confident is to learn everything you possibly can, so that you know your aircraft and environment.

Anyway I guess its just a big hump that you get over like driving a car everyday which becomes second nature.

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