Most people come to class for the obvious reason that flying is a miserable experience that results in dreading or avoiding. Just like the many thousands of fearful flyers just like you, your hope is to find a cure and you need it NOW because you have avoided it hoping that it would somehow miraculously disappear or wouldn’t be as bad as you anticipated.
Many thousands of fearful flyers like you have attended the Cleared for Takeoff 101 Class over the last 31+ years at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Here is a brief story to illustrate the transformative power of this free class:
Gordon hadn’t flown in over 16 years. It wasn’t only his anxiety about flying. He had developed a generalized anxiety following a surgery over 20 years before. But meeting the woman who would become his fiancée and a surprise trip she had planned for the two of them that sense of urgency to overcome his fear.
For years he had tried DVD’s, counseling, hypnosis, talk therapy, relaxation therapy, visualization, “tapping,” EMDR and EFT. Nothing had worked. He couldn’t even go to the airport! No matter what he tried, nothing helped.
After repeated attempts to get over his fear, Gordon grew more desperate. He was in danger of losing the woman of his dreams – at least that’s the story he told himself. He worried his engagement was in jeopardy because he picked a partner who loved to travel. She had a dream vacation planned for England and Ireland starting with a transatlantic flight to London. Gordon’s anxiety was sky rocketing out of control.
Three weeks before his London vacation, Gordon called me. He came to class and began using the FearlessFlight® Kit (FFK). He thought he had tried everything, but what he really needed was to let go and teach his mind to relax.
He practiced with the FearlessFlight® Harmonizer (one of the components included in the FFK). He noticed changes in his behavior. He began to feel more relaxed. He wasn’t obsessing about the trip to London as much. And when those obsessive thoughts would come up, he had a process which he could use that turned the anxiety around. It wasn’t like the anxiety had disappeared.
He could now manage it. And with each practice, he felt his skills getting stronger and more like they were a normal part of his routine.
About a week before the flight to London, he noticed his anxiety stating to climb again. He was a little queasy and his heart would race. So, he doubled down on the FearlessFlight® Harmonizer.
There was no way he was going to give up this trip to London! Or the woman of his dreams. Besides, he could actually feel it working when he practiced. His thinking was changing – or at least the way he reacted to his thoughts of being confined with no way out. The fight was on! He was winning.
Because the flight had such significance, Gordon decided to take a practice flight.
Time was critical and he couldn’t wait for our next Cleared for Takeoff 301 - The Flight Class.
Because of prior commitments I was unable to accompany him. After assuring him that I could see a newly acquired confidence in him, and providing his son with some coaching hints about supporting Gordon in my absence, the practice flight was on.
Gordon used the FearlessFlight® Harmonizer in the boarding area before the flight. He continued listening through the boarding process except for the time he took to meet the pilots (a very important strategy that we discuss in class). He took his seat, got settled in and resumed using the Harmonizer. As the flight attendants began their final preparations, they announced, “Please turn off all portable electronic devices” (a requirement that no longer exists). Gordon felt a small spike of anxiety. “Will I be able to handle the takeoff without the Harmonizer?” he wondered.
As the pilots turned onto the runway, instead of his mind’s eye autopilot switching on and starting a flood of anxious thoughts in his consciousness, something strange happened to Gordon. He was now able to visualize the display from the FearlessFlight® Harmonizer and immediately place his mind in a relaxed state—something that was impossible just weeks before. Gordon could now focus his attention on what HE wanted to think about. This was the first time he could remember having this kind of freedom and confidence—an entirely different experience in an airplane.
Gordon went on to complete his romantic getaway with his fiancée. He flew 10 flights in 19 days. He found challenges on every flight, but he met every challenge with growing confidence following the regimen he learned beginning with the Cleared for Takeoff 101 Class. In fact, his biggest challenge resulted in a bonus flight on this extraordinary adventure.
The final leg of his trip was supposed to be his flight home from Charlotte, NC, to Phoenix, AZ. Shortly after leveling off after the climb out, he heard a muffled popping noise. Soon thereafter, the captain came on the loudspeaker and announced that one of the engines was “under performing” and that they were returning to Charlotte. They landed uneventfully with the fire trucks and emergency equipment standing by.
Gordon confessed that while this was not on his bucket list, it wasn’t the confirming catastrophe from which he might resolve to never fly again. Just the opposite. Gordon said that had he not come to class and learned about new tools and strategies for coping, including the FearlessFlight® Kit, he would have NEVER gotten back on an airplane to complete his planned travel. Instead of being a victim to catastrophic thinking, Gordon recalled his first response was his mind saying, “Just breathe.” With that, he could control what was in his power and leave the flying to the flight crew.
Gordon has since made several more flights including another international trip. He looks forward to flying—enjoying the confidence that he can use the resources he gained through his experiences with FearlessFlight®.
Achieving FearlessFlight® is a process. The famous therapist Milton Erickson told a story about a runaway horse that showed up at his farm one day during his youth. He jumped up on the horse and rode it back to its owner. The owner was surprised and asked how Milton knew that the horse was his. Milton responded, “I didn’t.”
The owner then asked, “Well, how did you know to come here?” Milton replied, “I didn’t. But I figured the horse did. So all I had to do was to give him some encouragement, keep him from getting distracted and he would find his way home.”
Milton believed, as do I, that people have within them what they need to find their way home. I help by providing some additional resources, but mostly I help them find “mindsight” – mindful insights to heal themselves. People generally don’t fail to succeed because of a lack of resources. It’s often that they lack resourcefulness.
The CFT 101 Class is held at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It is generally held on the first Saturday of each month, unless that falls on a holiday weekend.
If you live or happen to be in the Phoenix area on one of the monthly occasions we have a live class, please join us.
The class begins at 5:00 PM and offers fearful flyers the opportunity to meet with others who share their experiences when thinking about or flying commercially. We spend time in a live, interactive and experiential class discussing your experienced feelings about flying, the basics of flying, and coping tools and strategies.
After that we move to a stationary Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, parked at a gate for the night. The remainder of the class is held on the airplane as we continue our interactive experience. The focus moves to desensitizing fearful flyers about being on an airplane and introducing them to more coping tools and strategies. The class ends at 8:30 PM.
We encourage you to bring a “coach” - a support person like a spouse, significant other, or family member. They will not only gain an appreciation for your fear of flying, but they will also learn how to best support you through your fear.
And if that weren’t enough, you can park for FREE in the Terminal 4 Parking Garage. You will receive a voucher once you get to the classroom to present to the parking attendant when you leave the garage after class.
Please Note: During registration, you will be asked for your Name, Date of Birth, and Gender. This information is necessary to process the escort passes you will need to go through Security. You must REGISTER WITH YOUR NAME EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON THE OFFICIAL ID YOU'LL BRING TO CLASS (such as your DRIVER'S LICENSE).
If you bring a guest (friend, spouse or coach) to class with you, you must provide the same identification information about them, too.
See you in class,Capt Ron
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
There are no minimum age requirements for this event. Capt Ron tailors the content accordingly and has had children as young as 8 years old attend. Minors have to be accompanied by an adult. During registration, you will be asked for your Name, Date of Birth, and Gender. This information is necessary to process the escort passes you will need to go through Security. You must REGISTER WITH YOUR NAME EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON THE OFFICIAL ID YOU'LL BRING TO CLASS (such as your DRIVER'S LICENSE).
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
You can park for FREE in the Terminal 4 Parking Garage. You will receive a voucher once you get to the classroom to present to the parking attendant when you leave the garage after class.
What can I bring into the event?
You can bring water, a notebook and all your questions about your fear of flying. Capt Ron will address them all during class!
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
If you have any questions or concerns, you can email Capt Ron at [email protected]
Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?
No, that's not ok! You must REGISTER WITH YOUR NAME EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON THE OFFICIAL ID YOU'LL BRING TO CLASS (such as your DRIVER'S LICENSE).
Sunday, Jul. 812:00 am - 3:30 am