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You put yourself in a small cylindrical tube, loaded with flammable liquid, trust your life with some unseen pilot who, if media reports are to be believed, probably has a drinking problem. Did you know that at least one out of every six adults has a fear of flying, also known as aviophobia or aerophobia?

It is estimated that 35 percent of all airline crews, flight attendants and pilots, also have either a fear of heights or flying. The key is recognizing it and getting it under control. The fear of flying has many different components, many of them stemming from other fears such as enclosed spaces, heights, strange sounds, sitting in stale air, crowded situations, lack of control, and the latest fear - terrorism. Air travel is the second-safest mode of mass transportation in the world.

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This is second only to the escalator and elevator. Your chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are approximately 1 in 11 million. Your chances of being killed in an automobile accident are 1 in The most dangerous part of your flight is the drive to the airport. All airplanes are designed and built to withstand far more stress than occurs in normal flight, including ordinary and extraordinary turbulence. While it is true that a severe storm could damage an aircraft, this is why flights will divert around or cancel due to thunderstorms.

Tell the gate agent when you check in, the flight attendant when you board, and the passengers around you when you sit down. I know I make a special effort to check in on my fearful fliers several times during a flight. Treat the turbulence like bumps in the road.

At check-in, ask for a seat at the very front of the cabin as possible. Turbulence is usually much greater in the back of the aircraft. Take the shortest flight you can and preferably in the biggest plane possible. Keep distracted. Read a book or do a crossword puzzle. Do anything that keeps your mind occupied and not dwelling on morbid possibilities. There are various classes for those who are afraid to fly. A good 10 million years before the pterosaurs began swooping between trees, fish had begun gliding over the ocean waves.

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View image of A flying fish, doing what its name suggests Credit: B. Most people have heard of flying fish. These sea-dwellers have long wing-like fins, which allow them to coast through the air for tens of metres if they catch a favourable breeze. All of today's flying fish are closely related to one another, and belong to a family called the exocoetids. They aren't much older than bats, having evolved perhaps 65 million years ago, and we don't know much about how they did so, says Guang-Hui Xu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

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But an earlier, now extinct group of fish called the thoracopterids turned their fins into wings at least million years ago. In January , Xu and his colleagues explained how they did so , with the help of some new primitive thoracopterid fossils from China. The process began in the skull. The new fossils, called Wushaichthys , had a broad and flat skull roof typical of thoracopterid fossils.

This possibly helped the fish swim and feed just below the ocean's surface. The second step was the crucial one. Some thoracopterid fossils from around the same time added a specialised tail fin, with a lower fork much longer than the upper fork. It's this asymmetrical fin that helped thoracopterids gain enough power when swimming to jump out of the water, making it the key characteristic for identifying flying fish, says Xu.

Only later did the thoracopterids evolve the wing-like fins that allowed them to make best use of their jumps, by gliding. Finally, the thoracopterids lost their body scales, perhaps because doing so made it easier to wiggle during glides to improve flight efficiency. The ancient thoracopterid fossils give us a good idea how today's flying fish evolved. Modern exocoetid flying fish also have broad skulls, asymmetric tail fins and long wing-like fins, and probably evolved in a similar way, says Xu.

It might seem odd that fish evolved the same flying ability twice, but perhaps the bigger surprise is that they didn't do it more often. After all, a host of land animals have evolved the ability to glide.

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Xu says it's because gliding over land is very energy-efficient, whereas gliding over the ocean isn't. Thoracopterid fish are among the earliest backboned animals to take to the skies, but they probably weren't the first. That title currently rests with a 40cm reptile that lived about million years ago.

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Coelurosauravus is the very quintessence of oddness. When the first specimen was being extracted from rock, researchers found an array of long rod-like bones near the rib cage. They assumed these rods were fin rays of a larger marine fish that had, by chance, come to rest on the dead reptile. So they removed most of them. The rod-like bones actually belonged to the reptile, but they weren't part of its normal skeleton. Instead, they had grown in the animal's skin, effectively forming a second skeleton.

Some other animals grow bones in their skin, usually to toughen it up.

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These "osteoderms" are what gives crocodile skin its scaly appearance. But Coelurosauravus 's osteoderms are different. Instead of serving a defensive role, they supported a membrane that could expand into a large gliding wing. In other words, not only was Coelurosauravus the pioneer of backboned flight, the strange wings it evolved are like nothing else that has evolved before or since.

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It was a true maverick, and ought to be a household name. It only gets less attention because it was a glider rather than an active flier, says Sues. Yes, really. Squid occasionally join flying fish above the waves. Other services purchased together with the flight would not be refunded. Other considerations: Approved refund requests for domestic flight within Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan will be refunded in the form of Credit Account only.

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