'Plane Whisperer' Helps Others Overcome Fear of Flying

How a retired USAF pilot-turned therapist helps people work through their in-flight anxiety.
6:08 | 11/29/14

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Transcript for 'Plane Whisperer' Helps Others Overcome Fear of Flying
Tonight, we're going see people confronting their deepest fear, flying. More Americans die driving, but there's something that sets us off before takeoff. So, are you doomed with a crippling fear of flying? Not if a man named the plane whisperer has his way. Reporter: For many, it's a terrifying experience. Been 35 years. Reporter: The mere thought of being trapped in a plane at 35,000 feet, it's terrifying. Fear of flying, caught on camera in this documentary. And that's why methese men and women are here. This retired pilot is now a plane whisperer. This is captain Ron Nielsen's new class at the airport. They have one week to overcome a life of anxiety and for many, a deep sense of shame. Time for me to get on a plane. Reporter: It's estimated 25% of fliers have some type of fear. And your chances of dying in a crash are 1 in 60 million, no matter how frequently you fly. But Hollywood has made a profit off these fears for generations. For some reason, my brain attacks my body and tells me I'm going to die. Reporter: Sue is a real estate agent by day. Member of a rock band by night and weekends. This mother of three with an mba is fearless in most phases of her life. But put her on an airplane -- I'm scared. Go on and pretend like you own this thing. Reporter: This is the fourth time she's taking this class. Part of what they'll learn, face your anxiety head on. How about a big cheer for all of us who made it? Reporter: Information the captain tells them is key to overcoming fear. Most people, the first thing they need to do is give themselves permission to be afraid. Reporter: In seven days, they'll go from a classroom to a real flight. Sue will be taking a different flight. To Las Vegas. No matter what it takes, I'm going to keep putting myself on the plane. If I embarrass myself, so be it. Reporter: It's Saturday, the third and final stage of the class. Graduation day. But who will pass? This is something I put off for a long time. Why didn't I go to my parents' burial? Reporter: It's very painful. It's shameful. Reporter: Why? Because everybody does it so effortlessly. Reporter: For Jessica, it will take a team, her, her husband, and children. They're given tips. Distract your mind, and breathe. Go past the food court, grab a straw. And get on, restrict your breath breath breathing through the straw. Then you have 90% of the battle won. Oh, my god. Reporter: Jessica forgot her straw. Oh, my god. Reporter: She took a pill to take the edge off. What happens when you take that much medication, you end up inducing some anxiety. Self-medication may just add to the anxiety. The thing you should be focusing on is you. Okay? I know, but I don't want to die. Reporter: Minutes later, much to our surprise, Jessica is calm. Actually enjoying herself. Just getting over the hurdle, it's actually beautiful. Reporter: The landing was as smooth as the flight. Jessica spoke, or should we say, screamed for the class. Everyone was Ross. Although he kept quiet the entire flight, he was horrified. He decided to drive back to Phoenix. Alone in the car for six hours with more regrets and shame. But remember, it's taken sue four classes to get to this point. It wasn't easy, but she made her flight to Las Vegas. And as for the other students, captain Ron rewards them with a certificate. Once again, you cheated death by flying with me. Reporter: But the real reward is traveling from fearful to fearless. I think the best part is not having the control. Just letting it go.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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