“Just take a deep breath.”
“Don’t think about it.”
“You’re more likely to die in a car wreck on the way to the airport than you are in a plane crash.”
These are just a few of the many helpful tidbits of advice given to people with a fear of flying. But as Tom Cruise playing Lt. Daniel Kaffee in “A Few Good Men” said, “I get sick when I fly because I’m afraid of crashing into a large mountain. I don’t think Dramamine will help.”
But there’s a new app that just may. Today, the VALK Foundation, a Dutch group that’s a partnership between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the University of Leiden, launches the app in the U.S. The VALK Foundation was one of the first centers for research and fear-of-flying treatment in the world and is the organizer of three world conferences on fear of flying.
The foundation said the app, called “Flight App VALK,” is the is the first scientifically-developed, web-based treatment for people who suffer from mild to moderate fear of flying.
“The fear of flying application we have created aims to transfer all of the knowledge we have developed through our therapy program over the last two decades into a mobile application that will help ease travelers’ fears,” said Dr. Lucas van Gerwen, director of the VALK Foundation. Dr. van Gerwen is also an aviation psychologist and professional pilot with more than 30 years experience.
The foundation said up to 30 percent of adults are fearful fliers.
The Flight App is designed to help relax passengers before and during flights by educating users about aerodynamics, flight safety and turbulence. It explains the sounds and sensations they can expect during departure, flight and landing.
And, if a passenger’s flight stress reaches a panic level, they press a special “panic button” which provides audio and written information to help decrease stress levels.
Perhaps most importantly, the Flight App can be used during the flight in the airplane mode. Once downloaded, the program does not require internet connection in the air.