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I agree. When I fly in small planes, especially outside of the US, it can be stressful if I listen too closely and think about it too much. Personally, I end up with Doris Day in my head singing "Que Sera Sera" when the little noise turns into a big one.
So many things can go wrong in so many situations.
Nadine, you are braver than I am. When I am forced to fly on small planes, I close my eyes and do deep yoga breathing as much as possible during the flight, and make sure not to sit near a window for the times when I have to open my eyes.
I've become a white knuckle flyer on small planes, too, Ann. It started a few years ago (okay, it was 1988), flying in a four-seater from White Sulfur Springs, WV to Roanoke, VA. We were flying through thick fog, and the pilot spent the entire flight talking about flyers who crashed into mountain sides in that part of West Virginia. He admitted to being nervous about flying in those low-visibility conditions. Until that day, I always assumed that pilots didn't worry about things like that. We landed without incident, but my confidence has been shaken ever since.
I did have one flight with a steady stream of reddish hydraulic fluid running down the side of the engine housing the whole trip. But I figyred that at the very worst it would make it hard to get the landing gear down, except that it will deploy by gravity alone if they chant the correct incantation. But the real excitement was catching s very strong downdraft during a takeoff from the White Plains airport. They do a 180 degree turn, for noise abatement, early in the takeoff, and with the engines throttled way back for the turn, we hit a serious downflow and lost most of our altitude, such that I could see the folks on the ground very clearly. But then we recovered and regained our altitude, and the rest of the flight was uneventful. BUT the person next to me was as white as a ghost for quite a few minutes after the incident. It seems that I may have muttered something that un-nerved him while we were falling, but I can't recall what.
Chuck, I've always been a white knuckle flyer on small planes. I used to be one on larger commercial jets, but that's backed off. Sorry to hear about your sadistic and/or stupid pilot. I don't ever want to hear anything from a pilot except reassurance. If conditions were that bad, he shouldn't have flown.
I would do the same thing you did, CLMcDade. I would notify the flight attendant, as you did. And I would trust the co-pilot if he took the time to listen. If it were a small general aviation aircraft, and not a commercial aircraft, I might react differently.
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