Capt. "Slim" Cummings' suggestions for overcoming fear of flying:

Arrive at the airport early to avoid the tension of rushing.

Buy a magazine or book that will entertain or distract you. Try "Playboy" for men or "Playgirl" for women because, entertaining or not, they are distracting.

Expect to be excited and nervous; accept that. Begin deep-breathing exercises while in the boarding lounge and again after boarding. Take along a tape recorder with a relaxation tape.

As you board, tell the flight attendant that you are a Fearful Flyer. Ask to take a peek into the cockpit. Talk to the cockpit crew members.

Sit near the front where it is quieter and smoother. Speak to a stranger. Being either accepted or rebuffed presents a distraction. Or bring an interesting and supportive companion with you. Act friendly.

Lean way back on takeoff and wiggle your toes. From the start of the takeoff roll to liftoff is usually about 20 seconds. Time it.

If you're still tense after takeoff, do a rhumba-step in your seat.

As soon as the seat-belt sign is turned off, get up and move about. Use the toilet. Visit, read or listen to a relaxation tape.