No matter how many flights you’ve piloted, it’s possible to get anxious in the cockpit. If you feel anxious while piloting a plane, don’t feel ashamed.
Instead, try to work through your discomfort and reclaim more joy. Use these helpful tips for overcoming pilot anxiety.
Fly with a friend
Flying the aircraft with a friend can be a useful way to address your anxiety and feel supported. If you’re still a student, confide in your instructor. They might be able to give you guidance on overcoming your discomfort.
If you have your license, fly with a fellow pilot friend. If you’re not a member of a flight club yet, one of the best benefits of joining one is connecting with other pilots. Get to know some club members and go on a few flights with them.
Another helpful tip for overcoming piloting anxiety is to fly often. Sometimes, anxiety comes from a fear of the unfamiliar. The more often you fly, the more competent and confident you can become. Yet anxiety over flying can cause you to avoid piloting.
If you only fly once a week, you might not feel like you’re gaining enough experience with the aircraft to truly handle it. Once again, being a member of a flight club can help you because it makes flying more affordable. Fly multiple times a week so that flying becomes second nature.
Get comfortable with your gear
Though anxiety is an internal process, external factors, such as your flight gear, can help you feel more comfortable. Choosing items of quality that feel good can help shore up your confidence and eliminate distractions.
One of the most important pieces to pack in your bag is your aviation headset. When you’re choosing your headset, focus on how its features can help you. Your headset will cancel noise, but if you’ve been bothered by how noisy smaller aircraft are, consider upgrading your headset. Or if your headset sits uncomfortably on your head, look for a replacement with better padding.
Consider professional help
Finally, whether you try the other steps in this list or not, consider getting professional help for your anxiety. A therapist can help you work through the problem, making your experience in the cockpit so much better. And the insight you gain about yourself coupled with your problem-solving skills can benefit you in many other ways too.