Author Topic: Irrational fears of balloon rides  (Read 576 times)

Irrational fears of balloon rides
« on: 09 January, 2011, 05:51:19 pm »
I went for a ride in tethered helium balloon in Hong Kong. I describe it here

It's a giant helium balloon, with a basket underneath, that gets winched out to 120 metres above the ground, with tourists on board.

It was the first time in a long time, that I really felt an irrational fear. I'm not scared of heights, or crashing, but what I really was scared of was the winch cable snapping and the balloon sailing off, with all of us aboard.

It's probably very well engineered, and it would be a million to 1 shot, of something going wrong, but to paraphrase Terry Pratchett says, million to 1 shots occur 50% of the time.

So in my mind there was a 50/50 chance that the cable would break, and that meant that either the balloon would continue rising to the edge of space, by which time, we'd have either suffocated/frozen to death, or the balloon would rise and expand until the it burst, at which point we'd plummet to the ground.

It didn't help that I'm sure the cable was making pinging noises throughout the flight.

It's strange, as I'm not scared of flying, can ride any roller coaster, but this thing really gave me the willies. It didn't help that when I returned to the UK, the main news item was 2 people dying in a hot air balloon crash.

So, if I acknowledge that the fear is irrational, then surely it can only mean that it's my super powerful unconscious brain, warning me of the dangers of helium balloon flights, i.e. I might die in a tethered helium balloon ride in the future. So I've decided the rational thing is for me to never get in a tethered helium balloon again.

I don't have a problem with hot air balloons, as they can rise and descend of their own accord, but having lost helium balloons when I've accidentally let go of the string, I'm pretty sure giant passenger carrying helium balloons are an accident waiting to happen.

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: Irrational fears of balloon rides
« Reply #1 on: 09 January, 2011, 06:11:25 pm »
It's the problem that comes with intelligence and imagination - you have little alternative but to die a thousand deaths every day.