Considering getting PPL with fear of flying small airplanes

Hey everyone,

I’ve been contemplating getting my private pilot license for some time now but have been hesitant. One of my hesitations is that I’m petrified of the small planes but I know I can conquer this fear but learning to fly. In addition, I think it would be an amazing outlet for my family and I to go places on weekends, etc we wouldn’t normally go to (we live in CA).

Anyhow, I seem to have this fixation in my head that the lower winged aircraft like the SR20 or SR22 would be less fearful for me vs. the 172. Can someone please give me any insight as to training on the SR2 vs. the 172 and if I am out of my mind trying to do this with a fear of small aircraft?

I’ve found an instructor I really mesh well with and think would be fantastic if I actually go through with this. Not sure if I should mention this to me or not. Hopefully there’ll be others out there that have gone through a similar scenario to which I’m describing.

Many thanks in advanced!

I think you’ll quickly find you love it.

First, aircraft-wise, the Cirrus (while a very nice state of the art aircraft) is alot of airplane to start out in. It’s very fast, and performs well above that of a modern trainer. Someplace w/ a 172 or a Piper Cherokee product might serve you better in the instruction and experience building phase.

I take alot of first time flyers, or those who have expressed at least some fear in flying. I like to explain to them what is going on when we “hit that bump”. When they understand the science behind hit they seem to be more at ease.
While I don’t demonstrate a stall usually, I explain that a stall is nothing more than the wings not producing lift . And even if the ENGINE stalls, we’re not going to shed our wings and fall to the ground, but rather we’ll glide to a safe forced landing.

So in my opinion you’ll probably cure your fear of it as you get into it. It’s alot different too being behind the yoke as opposed to being in the back seat.

Eventually the drive to the airport will be the scary part of flying. There’s some crazy drivers out there!

But what if the wings fall off?

Just kidding. I just had to say it.

Then the heart attack should kill us before impact! :smiley:

flyingn00b, I found a nice article about the safety of 172’s here: … kyhawk.pdf

More 172’s have been built than any other aircraft. At all. (43,000+)

The planes are safe. The pilot is generally the variable involved.

I’m petrified of the small planes

Are you scared of large planes?

Thanks to everything for chiming in.

Pfp217 - thanks so very much for your feedback and information! To be honest, your post has been very reassuring for me. While I know it’s very safe, I just have these reserved feelings in the back of my head that I know are total nonsense. I just need to get over it and get going. There’s a whole world out there to explore. I’ve already found a fantastic CFI that I want to work with when I can finally get started.

Misler - thank you for posting the PDF about the 172’s. This makes me realize that the machines aren’t the problem - it’s generally the human intervention that is the problem. Appreciate it!

Will744 - large planes don’t bother me.

Find an airport where you can learn in a J3 cub or some other taildragger. you will be a better pilot for it. Learn to fly by the seat of your pants. be a stick and rudder pilot.
(I for one am tired of flying with pilots that lack these skills)

Also avoid using GPS till you are a PP or decide to get a IFR ticket- remember VFR means LOOK OUTSIDE!

Cirrus is a high performance aircraft, you can really mess yourself up in one of those. Start in a 172 and learn how to use an airplane first, then upgrade to some SR-20/22 time.

Hear, hear J!

Positional awareness is NOT the same as situational awareness!

I can relate. I used to drive an hour each way to go to my flight school when I was working on my instrument. At the time I was out of work and working on flying to be a profession. I had a 5 year old at home who needed my time and was studying alot. The whole drive to the airport consisted of alot of apprehension, am I going to to get this stuff right? What do I do if."
The beauty of it though, once I got in to the cockpit and started doing instead of thinking all that ended, and minus a few bad flights (not flying up to my own expectations) everything went fine.

You’ll get those thoughts, but once you’re strapped in, there’s so much going on (including seeing that your fears aren’t coming true) that they go away and your focus is flying.
You’ll love it!