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"Fear of Flying"
Season 3, Episode 6
Air date November 7, 1996
Written by Lance Gentile
Directed by Christopher Chulack
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"Fear of Flying" is the sixth episode of the third season of ER. The episode first aired on NBC at November 7, 1996. It was written by Lance Gentile and directed by Christopher Chulack. It tells about Susan Lewis conquers her fear of flying as she and Mark Greene rush to the scene of a car accident by helicopter while Peter Benton makes a mistake during a surgery.


Susan copes with her fear of flying as she and Mark travel by medical helicopter to the scene of the car accident involving a family. During Dr. Keaton's absence, Benton makes a dire mistake with a baby involved in the car crash. Carol deals with an incompetent nurse who can't deal with the stress and the speed of the Emergency Room.

NBC Description

ON THE SCENE RESCUE: In response to a remote, near-fatal car accident, doctors Greene and Lewis ride in a rescue helicopter to help the victims.

Lewis momentarily gets over her fear of flying and arrives on scene to help a family of four involved in the crash. When the parents, their seven-year-old son and infant daughter are airlifted back to the ER, it's up to Benton and the others to save them.

Short summary

Susan Lewis must overcome her fear of flying when she and Mark Greene fly out to the scene of a serious accident involving a family of four. The mother's injuries are relatively minor but her husband is suffering from memory loss. Their teenage son undergoes surgery as does their 10 day-old daughter, Megan. When Benton is left to complete the operation on the baby, he makes an error and Dr. Keaton has to take over. Nurse Hathaway has started her pre-med studies but is wondering if she'll ever make it. Jeanie Boulet and Dr. Maggie Doyle find themselves trying to deal with the corpse of a patient who wants to be cryogenically preserved. Hathaway has to deal with a ward nurse, Rhoda Sterling, who is rotated to the ER but can't keep up with hectic pace and makes a near fatal error.



  • Despite being credited in the opening intro, Laura Innes didn't appear in this episode.
  • The "ice" that Jeanie and Maggie pour over Mr. Brazil is actually chopped up silicone.
  • Ironically, for an episode about one of the characters being frightened of flying (Susan Lewis), Director Christopher Chulack refused to go up in the helicopter as he's terrified of them. Conversely, Sherry Stringfield thoroughly enjoyed her trip up in the chopper.


[Dr. Lewis and Dr. Greene are walking up to the helipad]

Dr. Susan Lewis: Ohh, God...

Dr. Mark Greene: The flight rotation was like the highlight of my residency. You'll be fine.

Dr. Susan Lewis: I'll be thousands of feet in the air, in something shaped like a baked potato with a frat beanie on it.

Dr. Mark Greene: Actually, it's only hundreds of feet.


Mr. Brazil's Caregiver: I've been Mr. B.'s caretaker for 20 years. He wants to be cryogenically preserved when he de-animates.

Jeanie Boulet: He wants to what?

Pickman: Be put on ice when he croaks.

Jeanie Boulet: Frozen?

Pickman: Like a popsicle.


Dr. Dennis Gant: We all make mistakes, you know?

Dr. Peter Benton: Any other words of wisdom, Gant?

Dr. Dennis Gant: You're a real prick, you know that?


Dr. Abby Keaton: I'm sorry, I should have never left you unsupervised. There are nuances in neonatal surgery. The liver's more friable in newborns.

Dr. Peter Benton: I wanted a clean field before I closed.

Dr. Abby Keaton: Yeah, you said that.

Dr. Peter Benton: It seemed appropriate.

Dr. Abby Keaton: What's at issue here is that you ignored my specific instructions.

Dr. Peter Benton: I didn't ignore anything! I followed standard operative procedure. Look, I've done it at least a dozen times in other patients.

Dr. Abby Keaton: This is not "another patient"! This is an infant! Outside, now.

[they step out of the NICU and into the hall]

Dr. Abby Keaton: You don't know anything about pediatric surgery!

Dr. Peter Benton: Look, I thought it was necessary -

Dr. Abby Keaton: Are you unwilling to learn from your mistakes?

Dr. Peter Benton: It doesn't say in the text not to stitch a liver!

Dr. Abby Keaton: It isn't in the text! You didn't know what the hell you were doing! The second you realized you screwed up you should have called me. Why did I find 3 stitches in there?

Dr. Peter Benton: Because I tried to -

Dr. Abby Keaton: Because you arrogantly and blindly think that you have all the answers! If that baby dies, it'll be my responsibility, but it'll be your fault!