Fear is a wonderful friend but a lousy partner.
The evolutionary purpose of fear is to keep us safe, of course, and to make sure that we keep our loved ones safe too.
What happens, though, when the fear prevents a family outing?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) CandidCrawdad when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not letting my 11 and 13 yo daughters fly on a private plane?”
Flying right to the problem.
“My youngest daughter recently had her birthday and turned 11 years old.”
“As a birthday gift my brother and his partner wanted to fly the girls to Alpine, WY, for hiking and to play in the river.”
“They own their own small plane. My brother’s husband was a marine pilot, and flying is now his hobby.”
“The trip is a little less than an hour by plane, so this would be a day trip for them.”
A matter of trust?
“The problem is I just don’t trust this plane… it’s so small, only five people fit in it, and that includes the pilot.”
“That means either myself or my husband could go, and my husband has been trying to persuade me since he LOVES planes, and he’s telling me how safe it is.”
“I think he just wants to go as a treat to himself, and he told me I just don’t want to let them go because I’m controlling.”
“We got into an argument over it, and he’s very upset that I won’t even consider it. Does that make me an a**hole to be worried about this?”
OP was left to wonder:
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
“I’m a flight instructor, meaning I teach people how to fly small general aviation aircraft every day.”
“First, your BIL’s airplane is inspected at least once a year by a professional airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic.”
“That person is certified by the FAA and knows what they’re doing.”
“They wouldn’t sign off on your BIL’s airplane being safe to fly if anything was wrong with it.”
“Second, your BIL is a military-trained pilot. He knows what he’s doing. He wouldn’t put your children or your brother in harm’s way.” ~ utterly_caucasian
“Instrument-rated PP here.”
“I always feel safer flying than driving. Mostly I’m in a 172 or a Warrior. I’m confident I can get either one safely on the ground with or without power.”
“OPs ignorance and unwarranted fear are costing her children a wonderful experience.”
“YTA” ~ OTTB_Mama
“I have an old, very lapsed PPL, and that is true. It was stats like that that stopped me flying.”
“I realised I would never have sufficient hours and currency to maintain enough skills to achieve my own ideal of safety.”
“‘My brother’s husband was a marine pilot and flying is now his hobby'”
“.. So he is likely to be in a whole different experience bracket to an average PPL who can only afford to just stay legally current.”
“So I’m going to go with YTA, but it’s a close thing.” ~ Palanquin_IR
A deeper issue?
“You REALLY need to go back through your post and replies and highlight EVERYTIME you use “I”. That’s why YTA.”
“This is ALL about YOU and YOUR fears, not your husband or children’s. Be very careful, you are likely to give your daughters your fears by being SO irrational.” ~ CriticismSimilar3718
“You’re letting your own personal fear and bias limit your children’s opportunities.”
“Your husband has the right to take his children to do things. You’re not their only parent.”
“YTA, and the worst kind of helicopter parent.” ~ Due-Cause6095
“You want to be a responsible parent and that’s commendable. However, that’s not what this is. You have aerophobia, ‘Fear of Flying’, which is common. It’s not the end of the world.”
“However, you are projecting that fear onto your children, and that’s Bad Parenting 101.”
“You want to cripple them like you’re crippled?”
“The Marines trusted your BIL to fly multi-million dollar aircraft, and by your own admission, he takes scrupulous care.”
“If you’re worried about the plane itself, the FAA requires meticulous records for plane upkeep.”
“Ask to see his maintenance logs. Better still, get therapy to deal with this. But don’t turn your kids into junior versions of yourself, phobias and all.”
“YTA. Big time.” ~ Hewholooksskyward
“Being worried is part of parenting, but don’t let your fears limit their lives.”
“A dear friend is super scared of heights but hid it when her son decided he wanted to learn mountain climbing.”
“She did her research and found a reputable place that could teach him. She’s active in the process.”
“Talk to your BIL’s partner and quiz the f out of him about the plane and his track record as a pilot.” ~ debdnow
“Gently, do you always have a contingency plan when you drive somewhere? Do you never take the kids out by yourself?”
“It sounds like your anxiety talking, and I say this because both my parents are exactly the same way AND I have generalized anxiety that I’m trying really hard not to pass on to my kids.”
“So my parents really do want me to never take my kids anywhere by myself just in case I have a medical issue and can’t drive back.”
“No history of that happening, but it could happen… doesn’t mean I never take the kids out by myself though.”
“It does mean that the fear pops into my head now and then and makes me question my mothering abilities and makes it harder for me to confidently navigate the world though.” ~ InterestingNarwhal82
Some saw OP’s point.
“NTA, although it’s an unpopular opinion – I’ve seen too many horror stories of small plane crashes to feel comfortable letting my kids go up in one, even with a former military pilot.”
“In 5 years, your oldest will be 18.”
“She can make her own decisions on flying with your BIL then, as is her right, and her sister after her.”
“Until then, a parent’s job is to keep their kids safe. A big part of that is trusting your instincts and, occasionally, accepting that the ‘safe’ route isn’t always the ‘fun’ route.”
“To the people putting forth straw man arguments about letting your kids into cars – cars are something of a necessity nowadays.”
“Even if you live in a city, at a certain point, your kid will ride an Uber, be in a carpool, and etc.”
“They WILL be exposed to cars and the risk of car accidents – you can’t change that. But you can prevent them from taking another, much rarer, form of transportation that comes with its own risks.”
“You’re a parent, of course you’re terrified of your kids being in a small plane.”
“You and your husband should have a conversation on this and come to an agreement, or at least better understand each others perspectives as co-parents, but come on – controlling?”
“Edit: Corrected my math on the eldest’s age” ~ CoconutChai73
“This is always my frustration when discussing risk.”
“There’s a massive difference between doing something risky that’s required to engage in a normal life and doing something completely unnecessary and disproportionately risky for recreation.”
“And yet, in every thread similar to this, you’ll get ‘It’s less risky than driving a car. The only way to really be safe is just never leave your house.'”
“Right. Because walking out my front door is totally the same risk category as getting in a light aircraft.” ~ RareKazDewMelon
“I’m confused by all these Y T As, maybe because I’ve known 5 people who have died in small plane crashes (3 crashes).”
“One was a professional pilot.”
“The one who crashed last year had asked to take my child up, to which I had said my child could make that decision for themselves after they turned 18.”
“Even with an experienced pilot, small planes are significantly less safe to fly than commercial. With my family history, I would definitely say no and also say you are NTA.” ~ BiegAnn
OP did return with more clarity.
“Edit to add the girls have no idea this was offered.”
“My brother and BIL brought the idea up with me and my husband, and I immediately told them absolutely not.”
“I honestly do not care how much training he has. There’s not enough training where I’d trust to let my girls get off the ground in that plane.”
“Besides, the girls have asked to go up before, and I’ve always said no, so I don’t know why my BIL would think now would be different?”
“At least though, they didn’t go behind my back and promise this to the girls first.”
Fear is great when it’s keeping you from jumping off a building or stepping in front of someone’s fist.
So long as it’s justified fear.