Letter: Fear of flying well grounded

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The Independent Online
Sir: Christian Wolmar's intelligent and well-argued essay ("How safe is your plane?", 4 November) may help to rid some readers of the commonly held view that those who are scared of flying are phobic.

Collins defines phobia as "an abnormal intense and irrational fear". There's nothing irrational about my fear that I might be sitting in the next 737 to develop rudder problems or the next 747 to lose its engine due to metal fatigue in a fuse pin the size of a tin of baked beans that had been "designed to fail deliberately".

A friend of mine who works exclusively on air disaster cases, knowing of my anxiety over air safety, advised me months ago never to fly on 737s or Airbus 320s, two aircraft types Wolmar identifies as having special problems.

NICHOLAS ROYLE

London W12

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