Do Pilots Get Scared of Flying?

Flights can be worrying no matter how much of an experienced flyer you are, especially when you hit a spot of turbulence.

However, some individuals who are new to flying or are simply curious might be wondering: do pilots get scared of flying?

In this article, I cover all things flying, from whether pilots are afraid of turbulence to whether they get nervous before take-off.

Keep reading to find out more.

Are pilots afraid of turbulence?

The training to become a pilot is intense and intended to stress a pilot candidate, making sure he or she can make decisions and execute tasks and checklists under high-pressure situations.

Pilots are trained to remain calm and deal with abnormalities or emergencies. It is possible that a pilot may be nervous, but they will act in accordance with their training.

From a pilot’s perspective, Patrick Smith claims that ‘it is ordinarily seen as a convenience issue, not a safety issue.’ Although many people find turbulence to be frightening as a passenger as you might misinterpret it to be more severe than it is, it isn’t generally seen as a concern for pilots.

The cause of turbulence is dependent on several factors, from the temperature to the direction that air is blowing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to fly through light and moderate turbulence, but rest assured your pilots will be working hard to find smooth air.

Of course, there are rare occasions when severe turbulence can cause damage to the plane, but these instances are incredibly rare. Turbulence is incredibly normal, and although you may be uncomfortable while it lasts, you’re most likely safe.

That being said, generally speaking, pilots see turbulence as more of an inconvenience as opposed to a fear, especially if passengers themselves feel any anxiety as a result of the turbulence.

There are, however, other reasons that a pilot might get scared of flying. A few of these include:

  • Lithium battery fires. Lithium batteries are found in an array of electrical devices that people often have in their luggage, such as laptops. Although a fire could theoretically be quickly extinguished if it began in the cabin, the possibility of a larger inaccessible fire in a baggage or freight compartment is a bigger fear, despite being a rare occurrence.
  • Bird strikes. Although bird strikes are common, they rarely cause significant damage to the plane. That being said, they can be dangerous on occasion if a bird was to take out multiple engines.
  • Collisions. Although incredibly rare, collisions are a common fear in pilots. That being said, there are safeguards in place that minimize this hazard significantly.

It is important to note that although this gives you a better idea of what a pilot might fear, these events are rare.

Do pilots get nervous before take-off?

It is difficult to answer this question as it is largely subjective as every pilot is different. However, it’s important to remember that even though they’re trained, pilots are human.

To quote Patrick Smith, ‘Do pilots worry about crashing? Of course they do. As a matter of practicality, they have to. It’s their job. It’s in their best interest, and yours as well’. As a result, then, it is normal for pilots to get nervous before take-off.

However, this isn’t something to worry about as he explains that it’s a pilot’s duty to worry about the wellbeing of their passengers. It makes sense, then, that they are anxious about carrying out their job properly as they have a duty of care for everyone on board, including the crew as well as the passengers.

That being said, it is a large responsibility and thus, nerves are completely natural, no matter how many times you have flown a plane. The fact that some pilots can get nervous before take-off isn’t, however, a reason for you to feel anxious about flying.

As I have mentioned, they are highly trained individuals who are prepared for this, so although it’s natural for them to sometimes feel the nerves, it doesn’t make them any less capable of performing their job to the best of their ability.

In summary

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of whether pilots get scared of flying.

To conclude, yes some pilots can get scared of flying for a variety of different reasons. However, it is important to know that these events are rare, and as a result, doesn’t mean that you need to be afraid of flying.

The likelihood of a plane crash occurring is significantly low, and fatal accidents are rare in comparison to the number of flights taken every single day all over the world.

Trust in the fact that your pilot will be highly trained and is prepared for unlikely and unexpected events to occur.