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Fitness & Sports

The Fear and the Fun of Flying

There are many ways to fly, some more extreme than others. Here are the fears and fun of three.

1. Airplanes

The fear: Despite the favourable statistics about airplane safety, there are still a huge amount of people who dread flying- and not just because of the line ups, swollen feet, and jet lag. I’m convinced that their fear is mostly stemmed from a lack of understanding and control. Controlling an airplane and understanding how to navigate the skies is way over the heads of most lay men, and as a result, it makes them uneasy. Even though there are many more reported car accidents, people are less afraid because they understand cars, roads, and how to drive.

The fun: The trip might be long, but it’s usually well worth it, when you get off the airplane and you’re in a whole new place, with new sights, culture, and adventure to be discovered. Or, you’re in a familiar place, but one you have not visited in a while. Finally you have the opportunity to catch up with old friends, reconnect with family, and visit all of your favourite places- the ones you have been very nostalgic for.

2. Parasailing

The fear: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why parasailing would be nerve racking. After all, you are hundreds of feet up in the air attached to the back of speed boat by a rope. Even if you fall in the water, it’s not going to be pretty. This is definitely not an activity recommended for people with a fear of heights (although, it might help you overcome it).

The fun: Parasailing is like the easier version of skydiving, paragliding, or bungee jumping. You still get the thrill of floating through open skies, but you don’t have to do anything other then sit in a harness and let a boat pull you up and drag you around. There is no training required. It’s fun and easy and you can even sit down.

3. Hot Air Balloon Flying

The fear: While this is a sport often enjoyed by senior citizens, some people (daredevils even) get a bit nervous at the idea of being in the sky in none other then a basket. The good news is, there will always be an expert on board to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Moreover, hot air balloons are the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. People have been flying in them for over 200 years- if that’s not tried and tested, I really don’t know what is.

The fun: Like parasailing, flying in a hot air balloon is easy. All you have to do is get in the basket. An experienced pilot will take you up and make sure you’re safe. Heck, he’ll even serve you champagne in flight. There isn’t much like sailing through open skies with someone you love.

Like anything in life, there are pros and cons, fears and thrills to flying. In the end though, I think the fun is worth it.

Tamara Jacobs