I keep finding myself obsessed with how airplanes fly
We work beside the Airport and we hear them all the time
as I stand smoking outside they come roaring overhead
I keep expecting one to hit our building.

Whenever I'm outside I watch them carefully,
I try to put myself inside and see myself from the air
this tiny guy squinting up into the sun-
each time they pass I keep wondering if this will be the one that crashes.

I can't get the thought from my mind that it'll happen
they begin the ascent into the sky - I imagine I see smoke from the tail
I see the fire in the engines
something is falling from the wing.

I'd feel much better if I'd never heard of those crashes
Lockerbie, The Concorde, Flight 800...
...when I put my tray in an upright position
and fasten my seat belt.

The simplest cure for airplane phobia is to understand why it is so difficult to crash a plane for anybody who is licensed to fly one. Airplanes fly on the very basic principle of air pressure. The wings of an airplane are shaped in a way that air pressure is greater on the bottom of the wing, than on the top of it. This is accomplished by shaping the top of the wing as a curve, while keeping the bottom of the wing flat. When air flows over and below the wing its directly affected by the curvature of the wing. On the surface above the wing, air must travel faster since it is curved. Therefore, the air pressure is lower and voila, you have stronger air pressure on the bottom, which in turn pushes the plane up. (This is very short version of the aerodynamics and the laws of physics that accompany this phenomenon.) In other words, short of stalling the engine, nose diving the plane, some kind of mechanical malfunction, wind shear (which literally tries to slam the plane into the ground when flying at low altitude), mix up in the control tower making two planes collide, or just plane human stupidity, it’s pretty hard to crash a plane. (I forgot to include “high jacking gone bad”.) Enjoy.

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