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Alec

Any tips for someone with AirSickness?

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So guys! Yesterday was the first flight I made in over 4 years since I last flew. I'm doing the whole PPL training from the start again, since I stopped when I had just 12 flight hours. One of the stuff that always made flying less of a pleasure for me what the constant motion sickness I got from flying. I remember on my first flight that I told the instructor to take it easy since he was doing some high angle turns with climbs and descents, and by the time we landed I was happy to be back on the ground without vomiting the whole plane.

 

I can't remember if this feeling went away after I accumulated more flying hours, I remember feeling kind of bad after some flights, but never the feeling that I was going to throw up, that just happened on that first flight.

 

Well, yesterday it happened again. I was fine, not nervous since it's the same airplane from before, and we started doing climbs and descents, turning, and let me tell you, the air was really choppy ( is that correct?), the airplane couldn't mantain it's attitude for over than 2 seconds without being pushed by the wind, so it wasn't a regular flight. I was trying to mantain my attention outside the cockpit, since that's the correct way to fly VFR, and that can also help to reduce the motion sickness, but setting that RPM wasn't easy, and when transitioning from a climb to a descent I'd have to look for 5 or more seconds to the RPM indicator until the needle was where I wanted it. That's when things started getting back for me, I started feeling that sensation that I hate, that things could go back very quickly if something didn't change. IN less than 5 minutes I got the stomach pain that you get when you body says, either you stop doing that or I'm gonna punish you. I asked my instructor how many flight minutes there were left before returning to the airport, we had 40min already, so we decided to head back to the airport. When we stopped with the turnings and climbs and descents things got better, but I lost my ability to fly that plane, lost my concentration so I couldn't do the approach or let him show me how it's done.

 

After landing I got back in control of the airplane, I was already feeling fine, and disappointed also that my first flight didn't turn out as fun as I expected. But I made the right call, once you get that pain in the stomach, there's no going back, if I tried to continue after I thought I was feeling better, I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to control my stomach.

 

Another thing about this airplane is that when you lower the RPM for the descent. there's a smell from the burned oil that fills the cabin, and let me tell you, it's the most nauseating smell a man can feel. That sure make things even worse.

 

I'm going to fly at least three more times in a row next week, so I thought, many of you here have so much flight experience, maybe you can give me some advise about the matter, if you have ever felt this way, or know someone who has.

 

It's something that really puts me down. People have so much fun flying, and all the fun I get is then the airplane is back on the ground and I'm done with feeling sick, and I want to make my living out of aviation, so quitting is just not something in the book for me.

 

Thanks guys! Please say something if you think you have something and can help me.


Alexis Mefano

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Apparently ginger can help to sort out motion sickness. You might want to give that a try, although you are already doing one of thge things which does help to reduce it, which is looking at the horizon outside the aircraft, since that prevents the main cause of motion sickness.

 

As I'm sure you know, the theory with motion sickness is that your body is fooled into thinking you have been poisoned when it senses movement that does not tally with what your eye sees, thus your body's reaction is to assume you have injested a toxin, and it therefore starts you off vomiting in order to get rid of the supposed toxin, so you need to get your eyes to see what your inner ear is sensing. Evidently ginger helps reduce the mechanisms which trigger the vomiting, but you would need to probably try both to get it to work.

 

Some of it will probably go by virtue of getting used to that kind of motion again, too, and some of it will probably go because your anxiety level of 'wanting it so badly' after having been away from flying for a while will probably settle down too. Thus I would say, don't worry about it, it is almost certainly something that will sort itself out to a large extent, and in the meantime, give that ginger a whirl, it might even have a placebo effect in addition to the actual effect.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

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Eat Bananas.....It tastes the same coming up as it does going down


Matthew Kane

 

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Limit maneuvering, focus on the distant horizon, and turn the air vents on full to get fresh, cool air. I've never been airsick (or any other motion sickness), but it seems to me that those afflicted can have a "spell" regardless of conditions. The biggest help I've found for those experiencing airsickness is to focus outside in the far distance. A common mistake I see is students not eating well before a flight. This can actually make the bought of airsickness worse. On that note, make sure you're hydrated and always keep a bottle of water in the cockpit with you.

 

Dramamine (and similar medications) are tempting, but are not allowed by the FAA. Avoid those drowsiness inducing medications!

 

And keep a sicksack on you!

 

Also, make sure you make it very clear to the instructor what's going on. Don't try to hide the fact that you're sick!


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First let me thank the three of you for the nice tips. And let me just add I really don't wanna feel that banana when it makes the travel back from my stomach :LMAO:

 

Chock

 

I didn't know what caused the motion sickness, that's a very interesting fact! I wish there was a way to assure the body we're not being poisoned!! I have heard other people talk about using Ginger before a flight. I guess I will give it a try, maybe it works, who knows? Yes, I can't say I wasn't anxious, it's been four long years without flying, I was certainly looking forward to that very much. Thanks for your encoraging words! Really means a lot to me, I hope it gets better with time. I will know for sure next week, as I have at least three flights booked, so it's sure going to be fun!

 

ZachLW

 

Man, you have to see my plane... It doesn't feature ANY kind of ventilation for the pilots, the second you close that canopy, man, you start baking in your own heat. That, with the usually plus 30C temperature here in Rio de Janeiro can make you look like you just got back from the ocean when you finish your flight. I don't bring a water bottle with me, but I drink a lot of water before taking off. I don't want to feel the need to go to the bathroom at 2000 feet.

Glad you have never experienced motion sickness, it's goes totally against being a pilot, like a doctor with fear of blood.

 

Yeah, I'm not a fan of taking medications like that, specially in command of a machine traveling at 100+ knots, I'll stick with Ginger and looking outside the cockpit, and having to deal with the instructor on my ears telling me to keep the speeds and RPMs because I'm not looking enough to the instrumentation.


Alexis Mefano

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Another tip, well more than one actually. It can get hot under blown canopies, and dehydration will not help you feel well, so take some water of course, and actually bananas are not a bad thing to eat as well, very good source of potassium, so good for your energy levels. Also, in spite of the sun beating down on you, avoid the temptation to wear a baseball cap unless you turn it backwards, or wear one of those floppy jungle hats with the small brim instead. I know they look crap, but the reason for that is, the peak on baseball caps restricts your upward visibility a lot, and restricting your visibility, is bad anyway, but especially not a good idea in a circuit with training aircraft whizzing about with students at the controls. That's another good reason to keep looking at the horizon and having a good look before you initiate a turn.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

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Try those wrist bands that have a plastic pearl on underside. I know sailors and people on cruises use them.

 

I knew one guy who got seasick, but once he got to drive (be the helmsman) and felt more in control, his seasickness went away. It seemed that once he took his mind off his problems, they went away. Maybe you can try to feel like your really in control of things and what is coming next. I mean how often are you going to be doing that many maneuvers over a short period of time?


10700k / EVGA 1070

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There's lots of proposed remedies but only one cure. None of the remedies work beyond their placebo effect. Meds can help some people but at the cost of drowsiness and are forbidden for pilots for that reason. I don't think ginger works. My son has tried it several times without success. I wouldn't eat anything. I believe having something in your stomach just makes things worse. Looking out at the horizon can actually make things worse. In a car, it's a good idea because it reduces your sense of motion and tilt, but your car doesn't bank! :-) Actually looking at your instruments makes your visual and kinesthetic sensations match more closely. But then your instructor will start fussing at you to get your head out of the cockpit (which is correct).

 

The cure is time flying. You have to get your body used to the mismatch between what your eyes tell you about the position of your body (that you are angled when turning) and what your body's kinesthetic sense tells you (that you are straight as long as the turn is coordinated).

 

Shorter flights may help while you are "re-training" your brain. The less you maneuver, the less the problem should be. But the less you maneuver, the less you learn, and the less fun you have. Let's face it. We don't fly to just move like a car in the air (straight and level).

 

The choppiness is a problem because of the rapid changes in g-forces. That is also just something you have to get used to. I don't think the world is divided into those who get airsick in small airplanes and those who don't. I think it's divided into those who fly long enough to get used to the sensations and no longer get sick, and those who don't.

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Nice advices guys!! Now should I go stomach empty or with some food? That's the question =p

 

My next flight will be tuesday, I will let you guys know how it went, since you've been so helpful so far. While I'm here, take a look at the plane I'll be flying.

 

http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/2626/t23o.jpg


Alexis Mefano

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Drinking lemon water or even the smell of a lemon under your nose can prevent or bring your stomach back to reality.

I was very skeptical about that when I heard it from an old chinese lady that I worked with years ago.

I havent tried it myself but my daughter used to get motion sickness in the car and it worked on her so maybe give it a shot.

Edited by Daveo

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Dave Opper

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As I'm sure you know, the theory with motion sickness is that your body is fooled into thinking you have been poisoned

 

I actually googled this, because Al... I thought you were completely joking.

 

I did find it is "a" theory... but does not account for why very young children do not vomit. Personally I don't buy it. I spent a year and a half at sea aboard various U.S. Navy ships... it was not until I was on a Tugboat for a trip from Pearl to Kahoolawe thru some very rough Hawaiian Channel Waters that I actually experienced "sea sickness"... felt absolutely terrible but never felt the need to vomit... and a short nap "cured" it.

 

Alexis,

 

I once read where Eddie Rickenbacker had a terrible time with air sickness... the way I remember he solved it was just to keep going up again and again... he was determined it was not going to get the best of him. So I would encourage you to "just keep at it" and hopefully it will resolve itself "on its own".

 

If the feeling gets pretty strong... I would suggest asking the instructor to take the controls, then close your eyes and take a few deep breathes trying to relax.

 

I am not sure I would want to eat just before flying if I had this problem... maybe 2 or 3 hours before. Possibly half a can of Coke (a-Cola) or Seven-up. Tea maybe? Ginger Tea? Getting the ginger Al suggested?

 

If you were to eat something, (Matt Kane could be onto something here) I would suggest the BRAT diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. This is used typically used for kids or even adults having stomach problems. "Bland" foods that you tolerate well. And I wouldn't "pack myself" full... just enough to put off those hunger pangs.

 

I really think the more you fly, the more accustomed your body will be sorting out the "wild" inputs.

 

-Rob

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If the feeling gets pretty strong... I would suggest asking the instructor to take the controls, then close your eyes and take a few deep breathes trying to relax.

 

I've noticed the effect is stronger when students are not at the flight controls and I'm showing maneuvers.


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Zachary Waddell -- Caravan Driver --

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Supposed to make my second flight today, but the terrible weather didn't help. Hope it clears up for tomorrow!


Alexis Mefano

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I've noticed the effect is stronger when students are not at the flight controls and I'm showing maneuvers.

 

I certainly would agree with that Zach...

 

You understood I meant from the standpoint if things were getting a rough for him (not just to hang on to the controls w/ eyes closed, but let the instructor know).

 

the air was really choppy ( is that correct?)

 

Yeah Alec... that's a term we use. In fact... it's called "chop" if it doesn't really change altitude / attitude (like bumps in a road I reckon).

 

Bad weather? This would be in the vicinity of Rio?

 

Btw sounds like you have a great attitude toward flying... there are going to be hurdles to cross here and there during training, so don't let it get you down. You sound determined, and this is extremely important attitude to maintain, imo.

 

Can't recall this "oil smell" you experience on descent... what kind of plane btw?

 

-Rob

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Hmmmm it did change the attitude, and a lot. The aircraft was moving on all three axis, but nothing very strong, just enough to make me feel bad!

 

Yes, the bad weather is on it's way to the ocean now, tomorrow should be OK for VFR flying, today the Metar was like 2000m visibility 007BKN 010OVC so I stayed home.

 

Thanks, yeah, it's been a long journey for me already, despite me being only 24. I started flying when I was 19 years old, stopped, then come back again at 20, stopped again, I was flying like 2 hours a month, 3 tops, so I was feeling very disappointed about my progress, it seemed I was repeating every mistake I corrected last lesson and was never going to go solo. I thought I was never going to get back to flying, as I had to redo all the exams, but this year something clicked inside my head and I suddenly gathered the motivation to get back to studies, and four months later I took the exams and passed, then it was a matter of doing the medical check up and scheduling my flight hours for the week.

 

The oil smell is specific to the airplane I fly, the Brazilian made T-23 Uirapuru. I believe everyone who learns to fly on this plane never forgets this smell.


Alexis Mefano

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