Just curious about something that I've been wondering about for some time rregarding pilots and airsickness.
Okay, some of you may know that I'm hoping to become a pilot soon. I actually am going in for my medical exam on the 23rd (wish me luck on getting the 1st class). But a problem I have is that sometimes...but not always, I get motion sickness.
This usually happens in a car after making alot of turns at a medium rate of speed, such as driving through construction zones and whatnot, and frequent stops and accelleration just do me in. I eventually feel queasy, though I rarely ever...well...you know. I just get sick, and after a while it goes away.
I've taken two discovery flights so far. The first one I had absolutely no problem on, but on the second, the air was a bit bouncy and by the time I landed I was pretty queasy. Fortunately for me (and the instructor), it takes alot for me to get to *that* point, but I was still sick, and it did concern me. Because what bumps I experienced on that flight are nothing compared to what you might have in bad weather.
The first flight was flown under fair skies, with alot of cirrus, and haze in the valleys where I live. The second was flown in perfectly clear skies, in cold weather.
Now, my question is this:
If I'm going to become more than a private pilot, and try and make a go of an airline pilot career, how does a pilot...or a potential one, get over the occasional motion sickness that is bound to happen? If you're flying solo it's bound to be hard to deal with, but I imagine a private pilot can just land at an airport nearby (with ATC permission?) and rest for a while before continuing the flight. (Please correct me on this)
But on the airline flights that I've been on, all of which have been hops from SLC
to various points in the west, I've encountered turbulence on all but two of them. I've been slightly queasy, but in good spirits, after approaches into LAX
, and once into LAS
, and the only time I was ever seriously sick was at cruise altitude in a DL738 from LAX
in 2002, when we encountered some clear air turbulence that made the plane drop and climb vertically a number of times. I was glad to be on the ground after that one.
But I've never....oh heck I'll say it...I've never thrown up, and I don't think I will unless I encounter ALOT inflight...but the sick feeling after the flight is still there from time to time, and it can take out an hour out of your day if it's strong enough.
I'm sure I'm not alone. Passengers get queasy all the time from some inflight turbulence, my weakness seems to be sudden rises and dips in aircraft altitude. And if pilots are human, I'm sure they've all encountered their bouts of airsickness and motionsickness before.
So how do they combat the sickness, when at the controls of an aircraft on approach, during heavy, turbulent weather? How do you accustom yourself to the uneasiness of the air, to the point where you no longer get sick? how long does it take?
I've heard of people using those magnetic bracelets but I am extremely critical of those...they appear to be psychosomatic solution to the problem...i.e. you fool your mind into believing the magnet will make you feel better, and then suddenly you do feel better. All in the mind, but no real physical benefit.
And taking motion sickness pills has never been an option because they make you drowsy, and I love to fly, I don't want to be sleepy while flying, especially not while at the controls.
So, yeah, I am curious, how does a person overcome sickness in flight, and be able to have a nice, long, career flying aircraft through all types of weather? I do worry about this affecting my chances of becoming a professional pilot...it seems my own stomach may hold me back.
What are your thoughts? I'm interested to hear your experiences and advice. Thanks.