Recently, news about debauches in the sky has become familiar. The most famous, of course, was the New Year’s flight of the Saratov businessman, “deputy and special forces of the GRU,” Sergei Kabalov: he arranged a fight on board the Moscow-Hurghada plane, was put on the international wanted list and was recently arrested on charges of attempting to hijack an aircraft. State Duma deputies intend to ban the carrying of alcohol on board, but it is obvious that this alone cannot be solved. In many cases, the “drunken brawl” is more likely not a cause, but a consequence: people are afraid to fly. It is no coincidence that in early April at the Sheremetyevo airport a center for combating aerophobia should open. At the request of Life around, Maria Maximova found those who by all means avoided airplanes, and talked about the fear of the sky.
42 years old, brand manager
I had three symbolic moments in fate. I was about ten years old, and we rested in the south with my mother and sister and had to fly back on an airplane, like there were already tickets. But something suddenly did not work out, and we went by train. Then in 1989 I served in the army, and we were supposed to be sent to serve in Germany, naturally, by plane. It was December, we were brought to Vnukovo, and we sat there for two days due to bad weather. As a result, we were sent by train, which is not usual. Accordingly, the reverse was also: there was a queue for the plane for those who served, and I was again sent by train. I thought that I probably should not fly, since it does not add up. I refused all opportunities.
Then, I am panicky afraid of heights. Although the funny thing is that according to my first education I am an electrician on aircraft instruments. But the fear that the plane is very high, and in the event of a catastrophe, this process of falling and turning into a cake is very psychologically pressing. My first flight in my life went fine. I had to fly on a business trip to work, then no one asks you - it is necessary. I expected big experiences, but maybe with age already came. I’m even disappointed that I was scared on the Ferris wheel. On take-off it was nice, but in flight the worm inside, of course, starts to nibble.
I also did not like the seats, which are not very comfortable - you can’t sleep, nothing. Then, now the pilots have a problem, because of the automation of the process there is a drop in professional skills. Previously, they did everything themselves, but now they just take off and land. Then it’s necessary to fully automate everything, because a large number of disasters are precisely due to the human factor, and pilots with dubious professionalism are of concern.
first time appeared in the sky
last fall, with age, became less afraid of heights
37 years old, logistics manager
My grandmother raised me, and my grandfather served in Kamchatka, and she had to fly to him often. And every time I heard complaints that it is very scary. Then the grandmother completely stopped flying and rode the trains. In general, I have absorbed this fear since childhood. And at the age of 19, I flew for the first time myself: on some old IL, where everything rattled and rattled. It was terribly scary, and I decided to avoid flying in any way. Whether by car, by train, by ferry, just not a plane.
If you lay out the fear on the shelves, then there seems to be nothing. But all the time it seems to me that a chain of events will happen and this will lead to disaster. And it will happen to me. I used to have active aerophobia, but since I work for an American company, I had to start flying. I understand that I need this, but I can’t do anything with this line of thinking. Before the flight, I can’t sleep at all, I wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares. And I fly on percussion alcohol or tranquilizers. I tried without alcohol, but at once a monstrous story begins: to take an icon of my beloved bear with me.
Now I go to aerophobia treatment courses, trying to understand that every day 20 thousand people cross the ocean and everything is fine with them. It’s just that in general there is not enough information: how the plane flies, why it does not crash. For me it is always important to see the pilots that they are alive, sober. When they talk to each other or turn to the salon: now we are flying there and there, the height is such and such, it immediately becomes calmer.
Another situation was this summer. We flew with children with transfers in Madrid. And they were waiting for the aeroflot crew. We see that they all began to come and sit opposite us. And then they began to tell each other how they walked all night in Madrid. And one pilot is sitting completely, stoned some, rubs his head with his hands. It’s not clear at all whether he’s drunk or something with him. As a result, I could not stand it, went to the pilots and said: "I am a mother of two children and will not allow flying with the captain in this state!" Men reassured me, saying that it was a flight attendant, and they were pilots. Well disgraced. Everyone laughed.
I haven’t flown for about 10 years,
now taking a course
27 years old, journalist
Once, when I was a kid, I asked my parents for a birthday to steer an airplane. In the city where he grew up, there is a flight school. It was summer, and students were just doing flight practice on corn. Through a distant relative who worked in the summer, and got on such a flight. When they took off, the pilot instructor put me on his lap. Of course, I did not steer, but rather just held on to the helm. The pilot-cadet actually controlled the aircraft - he had a second steering wheel. Then I was not at all afraid. I knew that planes of this type are capable of planning, well, childhood, though. In jet aviation, everything is different. If the engine fails, do not straighten the flight path strongly.
Now I just feel that I do not want to fly, and I am trivially choosing another option. Statistically, an airplane is the safest means of transportation. But the percentage of fatal injuries in accidents in vehicles is much lower, and in railways it is generally rare. Thoughts about this cause panic fear of flying: plane accidents are always loud, bloody. Again, you can calculate what proportion of trips by car and what proportion of flights ends lethally, but in a car or train there is a feeling that you can change something, jump on the go. On the plane, you completely trust the pilot, technical services and Fatum.
Everyone has their own relationship with fate, but the staff and equipment leave much to be desired. Most Russian aircraft are still Soviet-made. Many airlines often purchase used foreign aircraft. There are few new good sides. And then there’s another scandal with drunk pilots, then the plane will fall, because they simply forgot to treat it with anti-icing liquid.
My fear is misunderstanding and distrust. Therefore, for myself, I clearly decided - the train! In the European part of Russia it is objectively more convenient to travel by train. For example, between Moscow and St. Petersburg it is almost faster than going to the airport through traffic jams, checking in, and then getting luggage and scamming into the city for the same traffic jams. Even more inconvenient to travel by plane to the outback. Airports are only in regional centers or relatively large cities. My parents live in three, four, and six hours from three different airports. That is, in addition to the flight, I then need to get to the city, wait for the local "gazelka" and, shrinking, go hugging with a suitcase. Thus, you can win 7-8 hours. But I got on the train and you go quietly, and then half a day is running around.
First and last time
rose to the sky at 11, travels by train
25 years old, IT analyst
I became very afraid after the moment I began to be closely interested in the stories of plane crashes. And now I am very afraid of the crash or loss of control of the aircraft. I understand that not all flights are perfect and there is always the possibility of an accident or breakdown, human error or a fatal combination of circumstances. In the cabin I feel nervousness, discomfort, try to distract myself as much as possible from thoughts about the aircraft and its reliability, before takeoff and landing I try to squeeze myself into the chair as much as possible, always turn off the phone. Annoyed when other passengers, contrary to warnings, are talking on a cell phone. At first there comes a feeling of insecurity, anxiety, then this feeling intensifies uncontrollably, the brain goes through possible scenarios of events, life passes before our eyes, the feeling of helplessness and non-involvement in what is happening more and more brings fear closer to panic.
I don’t have special rituals to calm me down, because I think that I can’t influence the course of the flight. Therefore, I feel doomed in advance. I don’t know whether this can be called a ritual, but I always listen with alarm to the voice of the crew commander before take-off: suddenly he is drunk, so at least you can try to change something. People are scared. Proper operation and maintenance of the equipment ensure proper safety. But people are not cars: pilots, controllers, aircraft mechanics - all of them can make a mistake at one time, and often it is almost impossible to predict.
Although modern aviation works almost perfectly (hundreds of planes take off all over the world every second, and crashes occur per month), the only thing is to exclude the human factor as much as possible, improve electronic systems, and refine equipment. From the immediate - would have banned alcohol on aircraft everywhere. And I always remembered one very hard night landing, there was a strong wind with snow, a girl sat nearby and shook, clinging to the armrests. At that time I remember that it was not scary, because when you reassure another person, you do not concentrate on your own fears.
Afraid to fly around
two years old, trusts technology
but not to people
26 years old, event agent
At the word the plane covers me a wave of hopelessness and deep bitterness. And this is really a problem, since it’s impossible to get to some countries otherwise. My phobia is accompanied by violent imagination and, above all, distrust of Russian aviation. Ever since childhood, I watched Uncle Kolya, the friend and father of my school friend, who was affable and always foolish, he was a long-distance pilot, flew until he retired with a loss of vision in his left eye. He was probably a valuable shot, but this, of course, did not reinforce my faith in the safety of our aviation. But, in addition to pilots, there is also equipment that can fail, fuel that can be of poor quality, external factors: birds and turbulence zones. All this charm of thoughts is especially sharply felt when you sit in an airplane chair, paralysis covers me, this can not be described! And someone at this moment unfolds fish and mashed potatoes for lunch ...
The last time I flew in 2008 to the States. The flight from Novosibirsk, I did not sleep for three days before the flight, and when I got on board, I started drinking as if for the last time, and this helped, I fell asleep before take-off, but on arrival I was completely useless. On the way back, I flew from Miami to New York, and after this flight I was born again! For a long time we could not take off due to unimportant weather, we were kept on the plane for an hour without explaining the reasons. Literally an hour after take-off, it began to shake like in a massage chair, lightnings sparkled outside the window, flight attendants walked with taut smiles, and next to me a couple of elderly Germans held hands tightly and cried. After landing, some American passenger told me that this is a common story, you just have to ignore the costs of the weather. Maybe it’s true it's okay, but for me, after that, not accidentally - only trains, trains, ships - at least on foot, if only not for the plane.
flew 5 years ago when it hit
into the turbulence zone
Photos: Sofya Tatarinova