Home Improvement: Season 5, Episode 17

Fear of Flying (13 Feb. 1996)

TV Episode  |  TV-G  |   |  Comedy, Family
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Jill struggles in her piano lessons. Mark finds a new hobby in aviation, but Jill is hesitant to let him take to the sky.



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Episode cast overview:
Bud Harper (as Charlie Robinson)
Mrs. Kluzewsk
Ken Bowersox ...
Himself (as Commander Kenneth D. Bowersox)
Katherine Thornton ...
Herself (as Dr. Katherine C. Thornton)
Al Sacco ...
Himself (as Dr. Albert Sacco Jr.)
Frederick Leslie ...
Himself (as Dr. Fred W. Leslie)
Catherine Coleman ...
Herself (as Dr. Catherine G. Coleman)


Jill struggles in her piano lessons. Mark finds a new hobby in aviation, but Jill is hesitant to let him take to the sky.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family




Release Date:

13 February 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The crew members of the Space Shuttle Columbia (Mission STS-73 in space October 20, 1995 to November 5, 1995) were showcased in "Fear of Flying". The astronauts appearing were Cmdr. Ken Bowersox, Catherine Coleman, Katherine Thornton, Fred Leslie and Al Sacco. Several scenes from the shuttle mission were shown during their appearance. See more »


[repeated line]
Wilson Wilson, Jr.: I'm not at liberty to say.
See more »


References Dumbo (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Into the Air, Junior Toolman.
6 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

We open on a live edition of Tool Time at a project house. Bud Harper drives up in his brand new truck, which he conveniently parks under the riser where Tim would be painting. A cautious Al decides to move it, except the new gear shift knob Tim got him didn't have any numbers. The Tool Man accidentally tells him the wrong method of shifting into reverse, causing the truck to lunge forward, making Tim take a header right into the back bed and spill paint all over the truck. I give that fall a 9.5. Better clean this up before Bud sees... too late! At home, Mark has found himself a new hobby: building model airplanes. Tim helps too, by creating a Spitfire/Mustang hybrid. Jill, meanwhile, is taking piano lessons. Needless to say, she sucks lemons. Her crotchety, no- nonsense teacher is not pleased, and orders Jill to focus and commit to her piano lessons. The next day, as Jill tries to play what slightly resembles a scale, Tim and Mark come home from the air museum, pumped. Not only did they have awesome flying machines, but they actually got to fly in a small plane. Jill rains on this parade as only she can, and as if that weren't enough, Mark expresses interest in taking flying lessons. Tim said it was okay, if it was alright with Jill. She tells him no way in hell, she has to find everything that could possibly be wrong with letting an 11-year-old kid fly a plane. What a drama queen.

Remember when the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor visited Tool Time? Well today, they've got the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Among them is Ken Bowersox, making his second appearance on Tool Time, and still at odds with Tim. The crew shows a video of them using a special screwdriver given to them by Tim, with predictable results. He'd also given them tapes of Tool Time, which put the astronauts right to sleep after a hard days' work. At home, the boys send a message to their mother about her piano playing by way of sticking their laundry in it. Mark isn't talking to Jill over her refusal to let him take flying lessons, so she goes to have a talk with Wilson, who's dancing in nothing but lederhosen in his backyard. Apparently he joined the Polar Bear Club. He also happens to be an experience pilot, logging over a thousand hours. He was a spy during the war, but which war and which side is something he isn't at liberty to disclose. Basically, he agrees to give Mark lessons and even invites Jill and Tim to ride along. Jill reluctantly agrees, and for the most part, the flight is smooth as silk. But with Tim on board, you know that's bound to change. Just as he learns forward to get a look at the Silverdome, he accidentally hits the mixture switches, causing the engine to stall out. Fortunately, Wilson manages to readjust the mixture and level the course, solving the problem. Mark asks if he can take flying lessons, which Jill finally agrees to, with the proviso that they leave Tim at home. So in closing, Jill probably bails on her piano lessons as she wasn't improving, and Tim gets one more chance to be a jerk to Ken Bowersox.

Except for that scene during the closing credits, this episode was virtually flawless. Plenty of hilarious moments, such as at the beginning when Tim falls into the truck, or when he narrowly causes their plane to crash. Now whether or not Mark stuck to his flying lessons, it's left ambiguous because I don't believe it's ever talked about again. I guess had they decided to go further with it, they could've had Tim building a plane when he finishes his hot rod. Now that would've been cool. Now, something we're all thinking about is the ill-fated Columbia, as on February 1, 2003, it burnt up on reentry, tragically killing everyone on board. Not the crew that appears in this episode, however. It was very sad. If you'll notice behind Tim during Tool Time, the calendar says February. That's kind of eerie. So, if you enjoyed the appearance of the Endeavor crew and want to see how the Columbia crew faired on Tool Time, and if you can relate to Jill struggling to achieve something you're clearly not good at, or if you can relate to Mark, wanting to do something but having an overbearing parent deny you, or if you can't relate to any of the above, still check out this episode. It's high flying fun every step of the way!

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Lisa vs. Heidi hankysmom57
This show went really down hill... mcfly2004
rewatching and jill is so annoying!! Itsaduck
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They had the best holiday episodes... bsmale
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