Are you an aviophobe?

Are you a white knuckle flier? Does turbulence make you squirm with fear? Or maybe having to take that middle seat between two other passengers causes you to feel uncomfortably claustrophobic.

You are not alone!

From a little anxiety to incapacitating fear, aviophobia – the fear of flying – affects up to 25 percent of Australians, often ruining family holidays and business opportunities that require travel by plane. Treating aviophobia is the goal of a brand new Fear of Flying course launched nationwide by Flight Experience™.

Many people have some fears of flying, but now help is finally at hand. A course has been designed to help those with flying anxieties overcome their fears and make air travel bearable, even enjoyable!

Flight Experience™ has been operating since 2005, after ‘taking off’ in New Zealand, and offers customers a unique experience where they can ‘fly’ a replica Boeing 737 flight simulator. It is now an international franchise with outlets around the globe offering amazing sensory experiences for consumers and CASA approved pilot training.

A global leader in terms of flight simulation entertainment, the company has flown over 120,000 satisfied clients over the past eight years. It is now an international franchise with outlets around the globe offering amazing sensory experiences for consumers and CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) approved pilot training.

The latest project, ‘Fear of Flying’, developed in cooperation with psychologists and airline pilots, helps people to overcome their fear of flying and make air travel bearable, even enjoyable!

(Head of Flight Operations, Julian D’Arcy, explains every step of the flight from take-off to landing)

The unique course is designed over four stages, with each stage supervised by a psychologist, an airline pilot or a qualified Flight Experience instructor.

Stage 1 – Psychological Session: A face to face consultation with a trained psychologist to identify the causes of fear and plan the most successful treatment process. The course includes an extensive psychological assessment to ascertain the origins of the fear, interactive flight education with airline pilots and a session in a flight simulator.

Stage 2 – Flight Education: Interactive learning sessions with a professional airline pilot outlines the stringent safeguards that have been put in place to make plane travel safer than any other modes of transport. One of these pilots includes Qantas Check Captain David Evans. Evans was supervising Check Captain onboard Qantas Flight 32 – the notorious A380 that suffered an engine failure on 4 November 2010 and made an emergency landing at Singapore Changi Airport. The failure was the first of its kind for the four-engine Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Stage 3 – Facing Your Fears: Further sessions with the psychologist to help mentally prepare participants to face their flying fears. This includes the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) strategies – a way of challenging participants’ thinking style and behaviour around flying.

Stage 4 – Simulator Sessions: A Qualified Flight Experience™ Instructor takes participants on the ‘flight-deck’, where they get to choose whether to observe or pilot the aircraft as a way to practice their new CBT skills.

“I had been terrified of flying and could only cope by taking sleeping pills; otherwise I spent the entire flight in tears, or thinking I was going to die,” says Elise Carney, who has recently completed Flight Experience’s fear of flying course. “The course has given me the tools to challenge my fears, and has provided me with tangible and reliable techniques to overcome them.”

“The course is designed to be tailored to every client, ensuring we address each person’s specific fears,” says Julian D’Arcy, Flight Experience’s Head of Flight Operations. “Using the Flight Simulator gives enormous insight into what happens in the cockpit of a commercial airliner, which has proven highly successful for those conquering their fears and flying with confidence.”

Available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the Fear of Flying course is already changing lives of participants.