I donated an hour flight to a non-profit organization (www.georgiafalconryassociation.com) several months ago and the auction winners and I took to the skies yesterday morning. It was the first time in a small plane for one of them, and like most who dare to ascend to the heavens above with me, they did great!
One of the things I like to do in a familiarization flight (once my passengers are comfortable) is to show them how well a plane can fly with the power essentially off, in a simulated engine failure. To the surprise and delight of most, little changes apart from the noise level. The plane continues to fly as before. The plane does not (and neither does a helicopter) fall out of the sky.
The reason behind this non-event is relatively simple. The wings of an aircraft must move through the air if the airplane or glider is to produce sufficient lift to balance the weight of the aircraft. Engines produce thrust, which moves the aircraft forward, causing airflow past the wing and producing lift.
A glider, however, relies on the force of gravity to move it through the air. Think of a beach ball rolling down a gentle slope. The ball moves forward because gravity pulls it downward. If the ball was on flat ground, gravity would push it straight into the ground and it would remain stationary. A glider simply inclines its wings slightly downward, tracing an invisible slope downward, and gains lift from the movement of the air past its wings. To continue to produce lift, a glider must always move downward relative to the air mass through which it is moving.
This simple lesson teaches passengers many lessons. First and foremost, it shows how an understanding of the underlying laws can remove doubts and allay fears. Second, it provides a safe and controlled example of an experience that is typically described as “eerie, yet strangely soothing.” Put differently, comfort comes packaged in many ways. Finally, it proves that the line between terror and confidence is an easy one to cross if you approach it correctly.
Many live their lives shackled by irrational fears which are typically held to be well-founded or justified. Most fears, however, are groundless paper ceilings through which you can move swiftly and safely with the right attitude and information, especially when you invest sufficient trust in the process of overcoming.
At a certain point in relation to any fear you hold, you have to invest more trust in the possibility of overcoming than you do in the likelihood of failure. At the end of the day or the year or your life, the fear either leaves you or you leave with the fear. Why not conclude In victory?
The choice is yours.