Pacoima flight school aims to help fearful flyers

PACOIMA, Calif. (KABC) -- Air Hollywood, considered the world's largest aviation film studio, is also in the business of helping fearful flyers.

The Pacoima-based studio has partnered with FearlessFlight for classes geared toward getting potential passengers off the ground and in the air.

"This is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done," said Ron Nielsen.

The 71-year-old retired commercial pilot, who founded FearlessFlight in 1987, said the problem for nervous flyers is the lack of control.

"We always like to believe we can somehow predict our destiny... you could say it's about being afraid to die," Nielsen added.

Saturday's course, called "Cleared for Takeoff," will cover much more than mid-air turbulence. It will also take people through a mock terminal, a TSA checkpoint and down a jetway - each considered a trigger for nervous flyers.

Nielsen thinks the course is also well-timed for flyers concerned about the current grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

"Airplanes will always crash but not with the same frequency that you're worried about," said Nielsen.

Talaat Captan created Air Hollywood in 2001. He thinks the partnership with Nielsen's FearlessFlight program is equally important as his company's film endeavors.

"You really open the world for (travelers) because they're grounded... they cannot go anywhere - they take a train from here to New York, it's impossible," Captan said.

Seats are still available for Saturday's 8 a.m. class at AirHollywood.com/events/fearlessflight/.
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