About The Author, and the Book

Posted on: December 16th, 2011 by

Dragons of Thin Air audio promo (2013)

If you would like to hear Doug talking about Fear of Flying, the book Dragons of Thin Air, and the process of tackling fear and returning to the skies check out this audio piece, an entertaining and relaxing discussion which aired in late 2013 on the fabulous Xtended Aviation Podcast in the UK.

(A special thanks to the podcast producer Pieter Johnson and Xtended Media for permission to play this piece in it’s entirety. Pieter has been a huge supporter of our efforts in educating about and destigmatising Fear of Flying. If you want to learn more about aviation you couldn’t do better than listen to their monthly show. You can subscribe to the Xtended podcast on iTunes.. Erratum: Doug is not a Captain.)

About the Author


Doug Worrall lives in Australia and is an airline pilot, software developer, electronics engineer, cartoonist and aviation educator. Doug is a married to a great gal and has two fabulous kids. Here are some words about Dragons of Thin Air from Doug…

Dragons of Thin Air grew out of another of my projects, the Junior Flyer website, a place with a focus on making learning about aviation fun and entertaining. It was during the creation of that website that I rediscovered how much fun it is to present information using cartoon characters. In fact, that website is populated entirely by cartoon characters from across the broad spectrum of the aviation industry, telling their stories in their own way.

As Junior Flyer evolved – and it isn’t finished yet – it became apparent that much of the educational material I was presenting is just kind of thing that Fear of Flying courses present to their students. When I learned that quite a few kids suffer from fear of flying and that there is very little material available to help them, the idea of a book was born.

I discussed the idea with Melbourne based psychologist Rod Jepsen who, among many other interests, is closely involved in the delivery of the Qantas Fearless Flyers courses. He filled in a few gaps in my knowledge, gave his thumbs up to the project, and Dragons of Thin Air was underway. Rod has remained closely involved in the project.

So how does Dragons of Thin Air differ from other fear of flying books? Perhaps the most obvious is that it is fun!

I like information conveyed with stories and pictures. Sure, I can read a dry, boring textbook and get something out of it but I do necessarily enjoy the process. Much better to wrap the knowledge up inside a story and make it interesting. A wise man once said “you can eat ANYTHING if you have two slices of bread,” and our book is just such a sandwich.

Dragons of Thin Air is not only for kids. I prefer to describe it as being “accessible to all,” as it is equally enjoyable to adults and kids alike (although younger children may benefit from parental assistance). The characters and humour are interspersed with very real knowledge and facts, and some serious observations that may help explain how and why your fear has developed, and how the world around us seems to foster such fears.

There are several excellent books that help combat fear of flying, some of which are listed on our Other Links page. Some are quite technical, others are more conversational. While covering many of the same topics, Dragons of Thin Air is like none of the others; it is a story, an adventure and an event all wrapped into one delicous sandwich. It is interesting, easy to digest, and good for you too. How many textbooks can say that?

I am an airline pilot and, like so many other pilots, I love flying and travel. It is my hope that you will realise that, of all fears, fear of flying is one of the the least necessary and that by dealing with it you will enrich your life.

I also, of course, have a vested interest in encouraging people back into the sky… paying passengers pay my wage! In this day-and-age airlines squabble over the available passengers like seagulls fighting for breadcrumbs but, when you look at the huge number of people who are afraid to fly, it seems obvious that the aviation market can be grown simply by encouraging reluctant flyers back in the sky. That is a big part of what Dragons of Thin Air is all about.

I hope you will enjoy our book and that it will help dispel your fear, but I want to know what you think. After reading it I invite you to send us your thoughts and comments. See our Contact Us page for how to do this.

Best wishes for you journey. It will take a little courage, but I know you have it in you!

Doug Worrall