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Flight Buddy App - #1 for anxious fliers

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Detailed information about the flight
Learn everything about air travel
The audio guide was created by a pilot and a leading fear of flying specialist with 15 years of experience, Alex Gervash:
  • answers to common fears
  • advice and assistance at all stages of the flight
  • "at the airport": get ready for your flight
  • explanation of aircraft sounds
Using our application during the flight and in preparation for it is equivalent to having a conversation before departure with a pilot who understands all the passenger's concerns, especially if they are unfamiliar with aviation and meteorology
Turbulence indicator
Flying without Fear
Over 60 hours of knowledge, techniques, and tools that will make your next flight a calm and conscious process, and 14,000 success stories in overcoming the fear of flying in 15 years guarantee the result
A turbulence forecast for a specific flight based on professional meteorological data used by pilots in preparation for each flight
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What If?
Get the answers to common fears
A pilot makes a mistake
The plane falls down
We don't have enought fuel
I die of fear
The speed is too low or the runway is too short to take off
The engine fails
The shaking is hard
It's "that very" plane
The weather is bad
I have a panic attack
Something goes wrong
Both engines fail
The plane has bad maintenance
Something breaks
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For you as a fearful flier, it is probably hard to trust people. This distrust lies deep down in your mentality. Actually, everybody (even you) makes mistakes. And sometimes they don’t act in the right way. For example, you (yes, particularly you) have sent text messages while driving, right? Aviation never supposes that nobody makes mistakes! On the contrary, the initial postulate in aviation is that everyone in every case will make a mistake.
That's exactly why there are two pilots in the cockpit. The flight itself is automatized to such a degree that having two pilots is not necessary. However, there are two of them. Because we know from the start that pilots can also make mistakes due to their human nature. The second pilot exists just to lower the possible negative consequences of someone's mistakes. The pilots make all their actions according to so-called checklists or control charts. There is a special checklist for every stage of the flight – a list of what needs to be checked and done. Both pilots control every point of the checklist, so that one of them can check after the other. And even that is not all. Every regular plane has approximately 7500 control and monitoring systems. If a pilot makes a mistake, computer systems will immediately give a warning about the mistake and even recommend necessary actions. For example, if pilots forget to let out the gears while flying at a low altitude or moving with low speed, the plane will warn them with audio signal and the voice message "too low, gears".
I'm not trying to say that there are no situations when despite the numerous algorithms and checklists, serious mistakes do happen. Alas, there are no completely safe processes in real life. I just want to say that the chances that two specially trained humans will make the same serious mistake at the same time and none of those 7500 computer systems will help to fix it are slim. Those chances are much less than the chance of an experienced truck driver to make a serious mistake on the road. That is exactly why aviation is much safer than any other field.
A pilot makes a mistake
3 min read
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To take off (and to keep flying), an airplane needs only three things: wings, air and speed. We have no questions about the wings and to the air; we just need to make sure the speed is high enough.
Before the departure, the computer calculates at what speed the lifting force gets bigger than the airplane's weight. This speed is called V1. During the takeoff, the captain keeps his hand on the engine control handles until the V1 speed. If there is something that one of the pilots or the computer monitoring systems is not okay with, before V1 speed is reached, the captain will simply stop the acceleration. If the thrust is taken away during the acceleration the plane will know that it needs to brake. Even if the pilots don’t brake, the plane will stop within the runway. Therefore, at V1 speed, we will either have enough lift for takeoff and we take off, or – if for some reason we don’t have it – we will brake. It’s just not possible that we “don’t have enough” speed to take off. If we didn’t “have enough” of it, we wouldn't reach V1. No V1 – we brake and don’t take off. If we take off and don’t brake, there’s V1 and thus we have enough lift.
The speed is too low or the runway is too short to take off
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That “horror story” is very widespread among the anxious folks. You see, the plane costs between 100 and 500 million (!) dollars. Do you know why it is so expensive? Because giant amount of resources is spent to develop every model! Do you know what are they spent on? Exactly on the figuring out what can “go wrong”. I personally know one man who works at the Boeing Company. He is head of a department that consists of 150 people with brilliant intelligence. When Boeing 787 Dreamliner was in development, all of them spent 10 years to figure out and think through one question: what else could go wrong. During those years, 26 terabytes (!) of information were transferred between them within the internal network. And they earned a lot of money for their work. So, why are you trying to do their job while you
a) know nothing about aircraft construction
b) don’t get any money for that)))
In aviation, there are strict procedure of actions for the crew in every case of “going wrong”. All the situations that demand immediate reaction of the crew are trained to automatism. For that purpose, special training equipment is used in the pilot training. Some of them cost more than the aircraft itself. It is this training equipment that lets one work out everything that “could go wrong” but most likely will never happen in the actual airplane.
It is also important to know that airplane flies due to the fact that air pressure under the wing is high and over the wing is low. This pressure difference will always exist while there is high speed. So if “something somewhere goes wrong”, it doesn’t mean it will affect the flight in any way.
Something goes wrong
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Something breaks
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An airplane consists of approximately six million (!) parts. Of course, everyone in the aviation world knows that something CAN break. Just like with human mistakes, all aviation is built not on the assumption that some mechanism or device “can break” but on the assumption that it DEFINITELY WILL break. Therefore, everything that affects flight safety in any way is duplicated many times. I’ll give you an example: the electricity is produced by generators which are installed on the engines. There are two generators on every engine. So in total, there are four of them. Chances that all four break at once are slim. And even if that happens, there is a so-called auxiliary power unit (APU). It is a completely independent internal power station, which will generate electricity if all the generators fail. What if it also breaks? Well, the plane has batteries that will last for 30 minutes. What if there’s something wrong with them, too? Ok, then a propeller drops out from under the wing that works just like a child’s pinwheel. Its blades rotate with oncoming air flow and the minimum required amount of electricity is generated. You see, everything is thought out in advance! By the way, every malfunction in the plane has its own checklist – a control chart. In case of any failure, the pilots open the corresponding part of the control chart and do the necessary troubleshooting. It looks like this: "Oil pressure, if it is between 100 and 150, decrease the engine revs down to 70% and watch, if the problem occurs again – go to point 4. If the oil pressure is higher than 150 – do the following A/B/C/D" etc. In other words, every malfunction in the plane has its own strict algorithm of actions. Think about it. The truck driver on the oncoming lane doesn't have such procedures, does he? There's just one procedure there: "perhaps the break won't fail" and "perhaps the steering won't lock up". This doesn't prevent you from driving nearby such trucks. Because the problem is not that “something can break”, it is in your mentality.
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The plane falls down
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An airplane is an AIRplane, isn’t it? It’s not a MOTORplane. It has wings. While it has speed, it flies. If it has no speed but has altitude, it can obtain speed by lowering. Do you remember Newton’s law? A body that approaches the earth accelerates. And when the speed grows, the lifting force which keeps us in the air, also grows. And one more thing: at higher speeds, the air becomes very dense. Remember that cars easily accelerate from 0 to 40 km/h, but it takes effort to accelerate – from 200 to 240 km/h. Why? Because it has to overcome a serious resistance to very dense air. An airplane in the air is similar to a fly in a can of condensed milk. That fly doesn’t go anywhere from the milk, it doesn’t sink even if we shake the can up and down or left and right))
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The engine fails
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A modern aircraft engine is an extremely reliable mechanism. Its probability to fail is one fail for 228 years of continuous work. It's an extremely low probability but it does exist. That's why every airplane has two engines. If one of them fails, it has nothing to do with the other one. In general, the second engine is a backup for the first one. That means, from the beginning, the engines are constructed so that they don't share any systems. One engine is just enough to fly. Of course, in aviation, even the failure of one engine is an extremely rare emergency. The plane lands in the nearest suitable airport. The reasons of the failure are investigated, which serves the further improvement of safety. By the way, many anxious people are worried that in case of an engine failure, the plane will "tilt". You won’t believe it, but it actually will tilt. But that's not a problem, because in the airplanes tail there is a fin, thanks to which the plane aligns itself and proceeds flying straight.
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Both engines fail
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While the probability of one engine failure is one failure for 2 million hours of flight, the probability that both engines on one plane fail during the same flight is 2 million hours squared which is 64000 years. It’s a big number, isn't it? And for all that to happen during 1 hour, 64000 years need to be raised to a power of 12. I think there's enough said. Modern aviation knows only two cases of the failure of all engines at once — the famous Miracle on the Hudson (which in fact was not a failure but an external impact when two geese hit both engines) and Jakarta Incident when ash from volcanic eruption disabled all the engines of Boeing 747. Please note that in both cases nothing fell anywhere, both airplanes smoothly glided down. Because as you already know, no engines – no speed. We need speed to keep the lift. When we have no speed but we have altitude, we can “sell” it and “buy” some speed in exchange. So when we bow airplane’s nose to some degrees below the horizon, Newton's law accelerates the plane, keeping the lift and not letting the plane fall down. Of course, such gliding cannot last forever because the altitude gets lower. But it gets lower gradually, the plane stays under control even in such a super improbable situation. Let's not forget that the scenario of both engines to fail is many times less probable than any other scenario in this life))
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The weather is bad
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Worries about bad weather expressed by a fearful flier sound lame. Because you clearly don't have the necessary knowledge and competence of aviation meteorologist. So you cannot know for sure which weather is good for airplane and which is bad. I can tell you just one certain thing: after 120 years of aviation, we know exactly what poses a threat for the flight safety and what does not. And if the weather is such that flight safety is under a tiny doubt, no one flies nowhere. And if the plane is in the air or if there's bad weather in destination airport, the plane will either wait for it to get better or go to the alternate aerodrome. Potentially dangerous weather phenomena are primarily thunderstorm activity, hailstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes. That's why we never fly into them. As for the turbulence (even the strongest one), wind, rain, snow, low cloud cover etc., they are not dangerous. And please let aviation do its job, aviation meteorology is a serious science. We know exactly what is dangerous and what is not and we never put lives of hundreds of people under risk. Don't try to control things that you don't understand. Thunderstorm clouds can be seen on the radar in every airplane, air traffic controllers can also see them and we always fly around them. To get in a thunderstorm cloud accidentally is the same as to accidentally drive your car into the Ostankino TV tower.
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The plane has bad maintenance
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The answer for this horror story consists of two parts. The first part is facts. There are strict and unified standards of airplane maintenance, developed by the company that produced the plane. The Boeing and Airbus companies do not want their great creation (which the airplane definitely is) to fall on the heads of two million people somewhere in Manhattan. Therefore, all of the maintenance algorithms are identical for every air company. The maintenance is conducted in specialized centers, which are accredited and certified by aircraft manufacturers. Every single one of such centers maintains the airplanes of different companies. Every little deviation from strict maintenance rules leads to revocation of the company's air operator certificate, or the maintenance center's license to maintain, for example, Boeing airplanes. The result is an air company, which owns hundreds of Boeing airplanes but doesn't have the right to exploit them. I think no one would even think to take such risks. Moreover, nothing in aviation works with the fear "what if someone notices". Aviation is an area of order and 72 million (!!!) of annual flawless flights would not have happened if clumsy technicians fixed airplanes with sledgehammers as it happens in the fantasies of anxious passengers.
An airplane passes five different forms of maintenance: a fluent check before every flight (transit check), an A-check every 200 flights which takes approximately 10 hours, an annual B-check, a thorough C-check about once in 2 years, and D-check which happens once every 8-12 years, takes about 50000 man-hours and lasts for about two months. During this last check, the airplane is practically disassembled to the bolts. Every juncture, every part, every wire is checked. The cladding and sometimes even the paint is removed. So every little thing has been thought through by smart people.
The second part of the answer is that you probably don't believe me right now, do you? Even if you do, you most likely don't take this information as reassuring. Why? Because it contradicts your paradigm. Look how this works. You feel fear during the flight. But you consider yourself an adequate person, don't you? That means you need to find a proof for your fear around you. As long as you don't have knowledge – you've never seen yourself how the plane is maintained – you replace the lack of knowledge with fantasies. Your imagination paints you a picture: a dark storeroom, where dirty and half-drunk locksmiths screw the nuts in a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Stop your imagination. Tell yourself: I am smart enough to base my thinking on facts, not on wild guesses. There are two facts: I've never seen the process of airplane maintenance, that's why I fantasize, and the second fact is it's been a very long time since the last air crash that happened because of "bad aircraft maintenance". It's a paradox, isn't it? According to your horror story, hundreds of thousands of aircrafts are maintained poorly but fly well. How is that possible? What is the conclusion? The conclusion is that apparently your paradigms are wrong. By the way, this is a very useful instrument for you to get rid of your fear of flying. Question your beliefs, even though it's not easy.
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