Many people with a fear of flying can, and do, tackle that fear and board an airliner again. With help, training, support and encouragement people can, and do, take to the skies. But do they keep flying afterwards? Not always.
Sadly much of their good effort is devalued because they did not see their project through to it’s natural conclusion.
I am talking not about your first flight, but your second.
Success rates for various approaches to combatting FoF can be very high, but the rates of repeated success afterward is harder to judge. Anecdotally, however, the rate of relapses into anxiety amongst those who do not continue to practice what they have learned can also be high.
Taking another flight reasonably soon after your first has huge benefits in cementing your self-confidence, but it is not surprising, I suppose, that many people do not take this step. Part of the problem might be the cost, but it might also be one of expectation.
You may believe, or may have been told, that after taking one flight you will be cured for life. While this may be true for some, it is not true for all. For many, taking a second flight by themselves is the key to cementing their skills.
During a Fear of Flying course, or during an intense period of preparation by other means, you are getting a lot of support and information about flight. Your hand is being held, if you like, all the way to the plane, right up until you safely step off the plane after your flight. We are with you, and you did well!
The next flight you take, with only your own skills, knowledge and confidence to support you, is the money shot. This is the flight that cements everything you have learned and prove to you, that you can fly any time you like, without fear. This is called going solo.
Going solo is a big commitment. After the high of your first flight you will feel empowered, but wonder if the only reason you could do it was that your hand was “being held” (so to speak). Facing that fear requires you doing it by yourself!
Pilots know that going solo is a hugely important step in becoming a pilot. So memorable and important is it that ANY PILOT ON EARTH can vividly remember their first solo (and will tell you about it in great detail if you ask them at the right time! — just as they are trying to get your airliner ready for departure is probably not the right time!). The first solo is the flight that makes pilots into pilots. Your first solo will make you into an anytime fearless flyer.
So allow me to encourage you, if you have the courage to tackle your Fear of Flying and if it is at all within your means: plan your Fear of Flying strategy to include at least one extra flight after your first. You’ll be glad you did!