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Are you afraid of heights? It's probably embarrassing to admit it, but if you're like most other pilots, the answer is 'Yes.'
According to Chaytor Mason, a retired professor of aviation psychology at the University of Southern California, the rate of acrophobia is upwards of 90% in some of the pilot groups he's encountered.
Several theories of acrophobia exist. One theory suggests that fear of heights is a classically conditioned response. Another theory says simply hearing about the perils associated with heights is enough to spark a phobic response. A cognitive theory even suggests people are frightened by thoughts surrounding their inability to counter a perverse, irresistible urge to jump when near a precipice.