Achieving Comfortable Flight

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ISBN: 9780963068330

Achieving Comfortable Flight: Taking the Anxiety Out of Airline Travel

  • 2 booklets
  • 7 audio programs
  • and a set of 14 quick reference cards

“Have a nice flight!”

To the millions of travelers plagued with the crippling fear of flying, these words bring little or no comfort. Each year a growing number of business flyers inefficiently juggle schedules to include alternate means of travel. And the vacationer is limited in choosing destinations by the time restraints of ground transportation. Acknowledging the intensity of this phenomenon, Dr. Reid Wilson and Captain T. W. Cummings collaborated to produce a thorough approach to achieving this much sought comfort level for commercial air travel. The Achieving Comfortable Flight series is not a miracle cure but rather a realistic method, systematically designed to solve a growing problem. The team formed by Dr. Wilson and Captain Cummings matches a clinical knowledge of the fear with a practical understanding of the cause. From these combined efforts the ACF series is now available in booklet/CD format for use in the privacy of home or office. No longer does the busy executive have to wait for a seminar that fits his schedule. No embarrassment for that traveler who feels compelled to hide his fear. No longer do you have to suffer. The ACF series provides you with the luxury of learning in your own chosen environment.

The ACF series is presented in two booklets, four accompanying CDs, and a set of quick reference cards. Noting that there are differing levels of fearful flyers, the series is designed so that you select an area of concentration or pursue the entire study. The booklets present alternatives to assist you in conquering your fears, as well as a detail of the “nuts and bolts” of an airline craft in easy, non-technical language. The CDs range from breathing exercises and skills review to an in-depth guide through a flight. They are also designed for when you desire more practice or information. In addition, a set of quick reference cards is included for later review.

The combination of the booklets and CDs will help you develop the skills to overcome your own personal fears. Millions of Americans enjoy flying as a fast, safe and comfortable means of transportation. Let up help you be one of them.

About the Authors

Captain T.W. Cummings has 36 years of flying experience, including WWII bomber missions and a distinguished 31 year Pan Am career. The Captain established the “Freedom from Fear of Flying” program in 1975, and has conducted over 200 seminars throughout the US and overseas. In addition, his expertise has been requested in books such as Handbook of Phobia Therapy (Jason Aronson, Inc.) and eventually his own Freedom from the Fear of Flying (Pocket Books).

R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D. directs the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Program in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina. He is also Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Wilson specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  He designed and served as lead psychologist for American Airlines’ first national program for the fearful flier. Dr. Wilson is on the Board of Directors of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. He served as Program Chair of the National Conferences on Anxiety Disorders from 1988-1991.

Table of Contents

The ACF Series contains…

  • 2 booklets
  • 7 audio programs
  • and a set of 14 quick reference cards

Booklet A:
Personal Strategies,
by R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D.

Booklet B:
The Flight Experience,
by Captain T. W. Cummings, with R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D.

CD 1:
Introduction to the Series; Practicing Your Breathing Skills

CD 2:
The Captain’s Guide through Your Flight

CD 3:
Associating with the Positive; Creating Comfort from Distress

CD 4:
Rehearsing Your Coping Skills; Generalized Relaxation and Imagery

Booklet A:
by R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D.  (65 pages)

These simple, common sense techniques have helped thousands of people to reduce their worries and tensions. They have been designed in this step-by-step guide to increase your comfort, confidence and enjoyment during flights:

* How to handle your worries before and during flights

* Responding to your uncomfortable physical symptoms

* Brief muscle relaxation skills for immediate relief

* Simple breathing skills that reduce tensions

* Stopping irrational thoughts as they arise

* Paradoxical actions that bring you comfort

* Overcoming the fear of heights and closed in spaces

* Taking care of concerns during takeoff, turbulence

and weather conditions

Booklet B:
by Captain T.W. Cummings, with Reid Wilson, Ph.D. (57 pages)

This booklet discusses in detail all the facts of commercial flight to boost your confidence and trust in the airline industry:

* A step-by-step guide through the flight, describing over 75 sights, sounds and sensations you can expect on a routine flight

* The encouraging truth about weather: decisions for takeoff and landing; ice, snow, thunderstorms and lightning, wind shear

* Turbulence: what causes it, how it affects the plane and passengers

* The facts about the Air Traffic Control System and flight safety

* The aircraft: their maintenance and how they actually fly (the basics of aerodynamics)

* Flight crew selection, health requirements and on-going training


(20 minutes)

This tape provides a summary of what it takes to fly comfortably. It introduces you to the each of the booklets and tapes and suggests the most helpful ways for you to use the series.


(20 minutes)

Our breathing patterns are medically proven to influence our physical symptoms. Learn three straightforward and simple breathing skills to relieve your body’s stresses and quiet your mind. Natural Breathing, the Calming Breath, and Calming Counts will help you to quickly clear unwanted thoughts and let you enjoy your flight with a quiet mind and a calm body.


(45 minutes)

This tape will give you a chance to anticipate and understand the reactions of your own senses in an airplane flight. Follow Captain Cummings voice on an informative journey through every phase of the flight, from the time you arrive at the gate until the time you leave the plane at your destination. Find out what’s going on behind the closed door of the cockpit from takeoff to landing. And learn the reassuring facts about those noises and bumps that can startle you.


(20 minutes)

If you have had difficulty flying in the past, your body and mind may be conditioned to react spontaneously with distress about flying the next time, regardless of how hard you may try to have a positive outlook. Your body and mind need a chance to orient to the positive, to orient toward success. This is the first of three tapes that will use the powerful tool of guided imagery to help build your confidence. This tape will help you associate positive feelings with successfully reaching your goal of comfortable flight.


(20 minutes)

Most people who become uncomfortable on a flight believe that they can’t control those feelings, that they will continue to feel bad no matter what they do. You can, in fact, change how your body feels, by changing your focus of attention. On this tape you will experience, through imagery, how your body and mind can get tense and how it can reduce that tension and return to a calm state, all within minutes.


(20 minutes)

On this tape you will have the opportunity to put all of your new skills together. Through guided imagery, you will “see” yourself in five different scenes of an actual flight which tend to cause people stress, such as take-off, or at cruising altitude in turbulent air. You will get to try out a variety of skills and determine which will be most helpful to you during your future flights. Once you get a sense of your best skills, this tape will also help you condition yourself to respond to your symptoms before and during your next flights.


(20 minutes)

These suggestions and images are designed to help you let go of your tensions and enjoy twenty minutes of peace and quiet. Because this is a generalized relaxation tape, some people listen to it every day. You can listen to this tape any time you want to become relaxed, including while on the plane.


A set of 14 cards summarizing the primary self-help strategies to use prior to and during a flight, including eight ways to handle your worries, ten methods to increase your physical comfort. Carry them in your pocket book or briefcase for easy access to all the suggestions and skills.

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