"" Writer's Wanderings: Have You Got Pteromerhanophobia?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Have You Got Pteromerhanophobia?

Pteromerhanophobia, a big word for fear of flying in airplanes, helicopters, and other flying machines. As a kid our family did a lot of flying in small planes and in the historic Ford Trimotor that made trips between Port Clinton, Ohio, and South Bass Island. In the winter time, it was the only way to reach the island when the ferry season ended. There were a few bumpy rides but not enough to scare me away from airplanes.
I do remember the first flight I took all by myself on a commercial jet however. I was a little nervous but mostly because I was alone and then eager to meet my soon-to-be fiance. I sat next to a young woman about the same age and we struck up a conversation immediately as we began to fly through a storm. A couple flashes of lightning had her white-knuckling the armrest and on the verge of screaming. I kept talking, hoping to calm her. 

"We're fine," I said. "We'll be through this in a jiffy."

"We won't get struck by lightning will we?" she asked anxiously. "I mean, the plane's grounded, right?"

"Oh sure," I answered without missing a beat. "We're safe. I'm sure the plane is grounded if lightning hits."

Little did I know. And it was probably best I didn't. I calmed her and I stayed calm in my ignorance. Unfortunately my soon-to-be fiance corrected my assumption with, "What would your ground the plane to when you're in the air?"

If you'd like a few more frightening stories about flying and some urban legends here are a few from Smarter Travel to enjoy:

How to Survive a Plane Crash

"Out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King. . ." I always wanted to be Penny.

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