Missing airliner exposes fear of losing control, enhances fear of flying

Missing airliner exposes fear of losing control, enhances fear of flying

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Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Walton, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, sprays down a P-8A Poseidon with fresh water before its flight to assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric A. Pastor/Released)

ATLANTA, March 20, 2014 — The shroud of mystery surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 continues to captivate people across the globe. But, the case may expose our inherit fear of losing control, which can manifest itself as a fear of flying.

“The Malaysia Air disappearance continues to occupy our collective consciousness because it remains a mystery, a who-dun-it,” Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and bestselling author, told Sightseers’ Delight. “So, it is making people fearful of flying because of not knowing what dangers lurk in the air.

READ ALSO: Having second thoughts about flying in the wake of Malaysia flight 370?

“Fear of flying is really about fear of loss of control, and the passengers on Malaysia Air certainly do not seem to be in control, regardless of what the danger will turn out to have been,” Lieberman added. “Some people are likely rethinking their travel plans, at least until the mystery is solved, but this isn’t necessary yet, because it seems unlikely that this is the beginning of an ongoing worldwide threat.”

The flight, carrying 239 passengers and crew members, disappeared March 8 shortly after departing from Kuala Lumpur. But, investigators aren’t sure whether the airliner crashed, was hijacked or destroyed as part of a terror plot, and a massive search for the missing plane continues.

The search is now focused on suspected debris that has been reported off the coast of Australia.

READ ALSO: Malaysian airliner highlights global security and media weaknesses

Some reports have suggested the plane’s pilot may have been upset over the trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a relative of flight 270’s pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

“What we do need to learn from this Malaysia Air disaster is that airlines need to be much more careful in their selection and ongoing ratification of pilots, in terms of being more vigilant towards their political and cultural allegiances, and their psychological stability,” Lieberman said. “Air passengers are totally dependent upon the mindset of the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit of their plane.”

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