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Old 29th Dec 2012, 06:26   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Sick Pax

I took a couple of friends flying a few days ago. We hired the trusty 172 on a perfect VFR afternoon and set off for what I had planned to be about an hours flight over the beautiful south Australian Outback.Everything was going great , everyone in high spirits , cameras clicking , pointing and looking , loving it . That was until about 10 minutes into the flight. I noticed that everyone was very quiet all of a sudden, I looked around and saw that both pax had turned a ghost like shade of white , and both were reaching for the sick bags.
I continued on hoping they would get over it, and as soon as we hit some nice clear air over the coast they did get over it. Not for long though,just as we were heading back to the airfield and just as I was turning onto base it started, ......synchronised vomiting . We continued to land uneventfully with 2 extra bagful s , and 2 pax very happy to have their feet back on the ground !

It is an extra thing to think of when you have sick pax , even a distraction.
If anyone can share any advice or tips to help prevent this (other than leaving not carrying pax) then I'd love to hear.
Has any pilots got motion sick before?
tismee is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2012, 08:07   #2 (permalink)
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Its the cameras that do it.

Confuses the inner ear and barfing commences.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 08:22   #3 (permalink)
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I carry sick bags and in my two seater I let the passenger take control and this helps. However, most pax won't want to take control, so it's just a case of engaging them in conversation and tasking them with looking for ground features "to help with navigation", really to take their minds off the nausea. I then get down ASAP.
It may also help to get them to concentrate on the horizon.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 10:20   #4 (permalink)
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Synchronized vomiting - now here's a new Olympic sport

Seriously - MJ has it right. It's the cameras. Unless you are used to doing aerial photography (or photography from any moving object for that matter), this is highly disorienting and induces nausea PDQ. Reason being that the motion your body experiences and what your eye sees through the viewfinder or monitor are out of sync. Even worse, btw, from a boat that rocks and sways w/o forward motion. If you take people up again, tell them NOT to take pictures, at least not for a while.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 11:42   #5 (permalink)
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My 11 year old daughter gets travel sick in almost anything - including a train. However I always insist she has a 'Joyride' travel sickness pill before taking her flying. She has never felt sick in the air - despite taking thousands (literally!) of photos whilst airborne.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 11:55   #6 (permalink)
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Hi, Maybe it is wrong camera technique... If using a modern digital there is no need to adjust focus / shutter speed by looking through the lens. A point and shoot at arms length is Ok. with maybe a quick look at the LCD to centralise the frame. On the ground this also has the benifit of being able to take pictures above peoples heads at say football matches or weddings.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 12:10   #7 (permalink)
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I've had this four times now, certainly opening air vents, getting them looking off in the distance and keeping them talking all helps to stave off the barf, but sometimes they are just going to chuck up whatever you do.

One lad on a trial lesson, halfway in he brought out his own sick bag, and then announced that he always gets travel sick before he proceeded to fill the bag to the brim. Thanks for the warning

Sometimes there's nothing you can do to make the ride smoother, so it's more about dealing with the aftermath and getting on the ground within a reasonable time.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 12:55   #8 (permalink)
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There are actually two different reasons for barfing.

One is the confusion between inner ear and eye.

Anything which you look at thats moving in a way that disagrees with your inner ear will make you barf. Looking at the inside of your eye lids will also settle your stomach.

The other is to do with natural frequencys of bits of your bodies.

Young childrens natural frequency of thier stomachs unfortunately are on one of the harmonics of cars suspension systems. As they get older and bigger the natural frequency changes and they don't barf any more. You can gig the stiffness of your suspension springs on the car and get rid of it that way as well.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 13:15   #9 (permalink)
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My recommendation is ginger capsules. Cheap, no side effects (even OK for pilots, unlike most other stuff against motion sickness), and so far helped all my pax (and myself during my first flying lessons).
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 13:44   #10 (permalink)
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Has any pilots got motion sick before?
My first ever full glider circuit was completed with a mouth full of sick. Not something you'd like to repeat. The second time I ever flew a light aircraft was in a C150 and I felt terrible but that was more down to having a jumper on and being red hot. I took that off, opened a vent and was fine after 10 minutes. I haven't felt ill since then.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 15:44   #11 (permalink)
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Passengers and pilots who suffer from any kind of sickness should try to spend most time looking out of the windows. I get sick if I spend too long looking down at my camera or iPad or something else which means I cant see what's moving in the background, and prolonged unusual attitude recovery training. If I look out the window most of the time - no problem at all. Same in cars and boats.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 17:54   #12 (permalink)
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its all in the mind, think your going to barf and you will do !
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 17:59   #13 (permalink)
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its all in the mind, think your going to barf and you will do !
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:23   #14 (permalink)
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If its very hot I find flying makes me feel sick. If its hot I wear nothing more than trousers and tshirt.

Last edited by Thecope; 29th Dec 2012 at 19:04. Reason: Autocorrected.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:44   #15 (permalink)
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ya dirty sod Cope.

I reckon if I just wore a T-shirt or trousers the pax would be spewing before even taking off.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:50   #16 (permalink)
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"nothing more than trousers or t-shirt"

I've never had this barfing problem with a passenger, thus far. However, I have a Dan-Air sick bag tucked in the document pocket just next to my Little Chef map. Can't be too careful now
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 19:03   #17 (permalink)
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Oops I got auto corrected ill change that to and tshirt.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 21:45   #18 (permalink)
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When I take pax flying for the first time I have a number of sick bags strategically placed but out of sight, a wet facecloth in a sealable poly bag and a sheaf of paper towels (Kitchen roll will do).

They are all out of sight of the pax but easily accessible.

I agree cameras are a no-no at least for the initial part of the flight and when the barfing starts get on the ground as soon as possible (not necessarily your departure airstrip).

Get pax out walk 'em about and wait 30mins before setting off for the home strip: Interestingly the sickness rarely seems to recur after it has initially worn off.

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Old 29th Dec 2012, 21:48   #19 (permalink)
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That's interesting about the cameras, next time ill pack the ginger and let them know not to take any pics till they are adjusted to being up there.
I did try talking and putting them at ease as much as possible.nothing worked . It was a bit bumpy too which wasn't helping. On the bright side the bags held together ! Cheers
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 22:59   #20 (permalink)
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The biggest mistake I made was watching the stick movements whilst being shown how to do my first aileron roll. Head down, no outside visual reference. Fine first time, but then I said 'Do that again, so I can watch the stick one more time"......
I was sick thereafter during almost all of my aerobatic flights. I'd grab the bag, be sick, then carry on. It must have at least been partly psychosematic as occasionally, even now the smell of aviation fuel can trigger a vague sense of nausea. Didn't stop me enjoying the flights and wouldn't stop me now, but very difficult to get rid of!
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