Flight The Fear At Thorpe Park

By: Maxine Sheppard

April 4, 2012

As a result of a spate of panic attacks and a soaring number of people seen sweating and hyperventilating on its newest and most extreme ride THE SWARM, THORPE PARK, the nation’s Thrill Capital, today announced a pioneering collaboration with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear programme. As a world first, the two will work together to create a treatment plan for members of the public who suffer with a phobia of rollercoasters (veloxrotaphobia).

As the UK’s first winged rollercoaster, riders of THE SWARM are taken on a flight for their lives and left completely exposed with nothing above or below them whilst hurtling through the air at death-defying speeds of almost 100km per hour. The ride includes a unique 127ft head first inverted drop and four further inversions, which are proving too much to handle for even the most hardcore thrill seekers.



The treatment plan will use a range of psychological tools and techniques that have been adapted from those used on the highly acclaimed Virgin Atlantic ‘Flying Without Fear’ Course – the leading course in the industry that has helped over 25,000 people, including actress Whoopi Goldberg, socialite Jemima Khan and Coronation Street’s Antony Cotton, overcome their fear of flying since it began in 1997.


Participants on the half day course will be taught a series of practical strategies including Neuro Linguistic Programming, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy elements, Relaxation Skills and Thought Field Therapy to help them overcome their phobia. They’ll also be given the opportunity to ask the course leaders everything they have ever wanted to know about their fear, and will leave understanding how rollercoasters work and why they are safe. The course will culminate in a ride on THE SWARM where participants will be able to put their newly acquired techniques into practice.





As Paul Tizzard, Co-Director at Virgin Atlantic’s “˜Flying without Fear’ Programme explains: “One of the top reasons why people are afraid of flying is the feeling of being out of control and this is also something that can be applied to those who have a fear of rollercoasters. The Fear of Flying course has a 98% success rate and after testing out the ride, our cabin crew and pilots are confident that our techniques can be adapted to help those currently too scared to ride.”

To register your interest in the fear of rollercoasters treatment plan or to nominate family and friends who are always left holding the bags to take part, please email with your details. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Tickets for THE SWARM are available now at

For further information on Virgin Atlantic’s Fear of Flying course please visit


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.