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Even Aerospace Engineers Get The Blues

Anil has a great thread on fear of flying today. I particularly like some of the comments:

I don't know, Anil. I'm an aerospace engineer by education, and every time I board an aircraft, I'm reminded of two things:

1. I know how many things could cause us to take that terrifying, fiery plunge.

2. Some of the idiots I went to class with are designing these birds.

I agree with Anil that information and experience both help make flying less scary, especially for novice or infrequent flyers. Knowing that a plane is supposed to throttle back soon after takeoff, or that the landing gear will make a loud noise when it drops, can only help. Still, in the end, it comes down to luck. Some people are wired so that heights, or random translations in the x, y and z direction, cause freakout. I got the short straw in that lottery.

Now, if only traveling between cities involved completely smooth flights during which vipers dropped from the overhead bins at unpredictable intervals, I would be home free.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. We're gotten reports of some occasional constrictors up ahead, so please buckle up, put away your tray table, and put on the protective helmet. Should be through it in about 20 minutes. Hope you enjoy the rest of the flight."

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