Virginia Barton

18 May 2018: The Duffer


18 May 2018


It would appear that some TWENTY-ONE MILLION people in the UK are more scared of flying than ten years ago. And it’s engine drop-off that frightens them most.

Please do not mention engine drop-off. Or birds, metal fatigue or pilot error. Mention instead Chesley Sullenberger of New York. In fact, let the film “Sully” be played inflight, on a loop, for all duffers like yours truly. What a hero! What a cool headed superman!

May all pilots be Chesley clones — especially the ones flying me to and from Lithuania.



I never minded flying until I had children. Then in a trice I was smitten with aviophobia. What a boring name that is for the condition. Compared with koumpounophobia or katsaridaphobia (fear of buttons or cockroaches respectively), aviophobia sounds deadly dull.

One could hardly blame BH for refusing to sit next to me on the Sud Aviation Super Caravelle flight from Paris to London many years ago. The blubbering jellied wreck of a woman was no fit travelling companion. Weird; when you think that in 1958, that same woman flew out to Hong Kong (with baby in basket) in the de Havilland Comet 4 with never a backward glance. Pictures of the earlier Comet crashes didn’t affect me.


Come now you fellow aviophobes, no shirking, we know there are millions of you out there. What measures do you take to prevent the blubbing and the shakes? Share your coping strategies. I am now considering a small white pill and a Rosary.

Interestingly, that baby in the basket, now approaching 60, is similarly afflicted. He is also coming to Lithuania, but has opted to drive – or rather his wife is driving him.

Perhaps I should have asked for a lift.







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