person Posted By: Nieteke Loven

I am known for being a tough type of woman, I have a black belt in Judo, I am not easily frightened in the dark and I love speed. But sometimes, I can develop irrational fears.

Like recently, I attended a drink with friends where I met this pilot. I have always been fascinated by a pilots, so I looked forward to talk to him. It is such an interesting profession. I have so many questions for pilots, but never find the right time to ask them. Questions like: Is it true that pilots drink too much? Is it true that pilots have affairs with stewardesses? or did you ever came close crashing the plane? Does your uniform really work on the ladies? And is it really that bad if I keep my phone switched on during the flight? And I can keep this up for a while …

The pilot was a sociable drinker and talked a lot, so some of my questions were answered without even asking. It became clear that the uniform really works on the ladies. This pilot told me full of confidence that he hits the jackpot every bar he walks in. Sometimes his friends (non-pilots) would like to borrow the uniform for a night. Of course, he does not participate in that. Furthermore he told me that he very much looked forward to get on the plane again. He was so bored at home. Before he can start flying planes again, he needs to do some training sessions in the flight simulator he told me.

I asked if he needed to train for a crash or something. The pilot smiled at me with pity. No, just a quite trip without turbulence, just for the routine. Aha, I responded worried. I thought it would be just like riding a bike, once you master the bike you never forget? He looked at me surprised. No that is not the case: a cockpit has so many buttons you must know, so easy to forget ….

I choked on my drink, because next week I fly with his airline to Spain. Although, I understand the pilot to a certain extend (when I return from holiday I can never remember my security code and my password of the computer). However, I could not believe that pilots could forget how a plane works. Ok, sure, so many buttons, but I would expect that that is what they studied for all those years. I wonder how this works with medical specialists and aircraft manufacturers... “where do we place that screw again?”

The pilot reacted that I was a bit of a hypochondriac. And yes, of course he was right. Indeed I am very sensitive for strange symptoms and if I read that a specific dangerous disease starts with an itchy armpit, I develop an itch I cannot control. The same way that I thought I suffered from narcolepsy, because I fell asleep during class so many times. My friends still tease me. That I was thinking of narcolepsy instead of seeing correlation with my work as a bartender in the evening until 2 in the morning. Or the time that I biked in the city at night and it seemed that everything looked smaller. I looked it up on the internet when I arrived at home and no joke, it is a disease called “micropsia”. Upon further investigation I have to admit that aperol spritz could have played a role.

Of course I find these diseases with help of the internet. Since forever my nickname is “Dr Google”.

But did your simulation ever went wrong because you pressed the wrong button I asked with sweat in my hands? The pilot smiled and said that flying is by far the safest way to travel. I decided to leave it at that put my glass down and realized that I just developed an illness; “plane-fear” and that is not the same as fear of flying. That is all about the flying that freaks people out, plane-fear is much more extensive. Even a short conversation with a pilot can cause a melt-down.

Do good!


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