Real Answers from Real Pilots

Motion sicken nausea

Hello pilots,

So, today while doing another flight training lesson, I experienced my first time getting very nauseous after making steep turns. I started sweating profusely and ultimately ended up having to land because I couldn’t really focus on my training after that. This hasn’t happened before (maybe it was just cuz I hadn’t eaten today) but I’m worried this may become a normal thing.

Did you guys ever experience motion sickness and if so how did you fight/prevent it and did it eventually ever stop?

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Layne,

If it hadn’t happened before I wouldn’t be overly concerned. I literally had never gotten any type of motion sickness in my life (car, boat or flying). One day I went to do some aerobatic flying with a friend (which I had done before with no problem). The night before my flight was significantly delayed and I didn’t get in till probably 3am. Only got a few hours sleep and wasn’t hungry so didn’t eat that morning. We went up and I didn’t know what was happening but it was good! Dizzy, nauseous the whole thing. We called it an early day. The next night I slept like a log, my appetite was back and it never happened again.

Now if it does happen again you might want to investigate further but if it hadn’t happened before I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Adam

lol I’m sorry to hear about your experience but glad it’s not just me haha seems to be something that can happen to any of us. Thank you for your quick input I really appreciate it. I will start making sure I have eaten before all future flights, that’s for sure!

Layne,

I’m not a doctor, but I think you answered your own question. Denying your
body the energy it needs before a flight is not a good idea. I’m not saying
it is a direct correlation, but it could be. Since it’s the first time that
it happened the only way to know for sure is to keep flying.

Tory

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Layne,

You should always eat before a flight. Flying on an empty stomach, particularly when doing maneuvers, is a recipe for motion sickness. I would recommend eating and perhaps buying one of those motion sickness wrist bands. Most people get over this in time. I would just keep going.

Chris

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Hey Adam, I went on an intro flight in June hadn’t been flying since I was a kid, and I got dizzy and nauseous too. But I thought it was hypoxia, not from missing breakfast? I’m from California and in Denver now, so not used to elevation here and we went up 8500 ft which is really almost 14k above sea level, plus it was hot and we kept bouncing hitting hot pockets. I’m really hot blooded and used to a perfect climate coming from San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz, CA so when it’s 40° here I’m not cold unless it’s windy. My doctor said it’s from anxiety because I was really excited about the flight and also tested me for positional vertigo, which I don’t have, so I’m not sure what it was? I’m going up again this month now that it’s cooler thinking the heat was an issue, but just wanna fly as much as I can and thinking I just need to get used to it.
I have also been studying DVD ASA ground school and doing the instrument rating test preps, didn’t know we can take the written exams before going into training until I read it on the forum? I’d like to have that done just before I start as you and Chris mentioned.
Hey when you went into ATP were you intimidated by how young everyone was in school? My CFI was 22 years old and there was nothing but a bunch of kids there… I felt really old and thinking what the hell am I doing pursuing this with kids who will be up against me having a long, successful career?? His dad flies for United, got the loan for him, and this kid doesn’t know how good he has it… total silver platter action! I said," you’re living the dream!" and he wasn’t excited just said, I will be in 10 years when I can get the toys my friends have and have a pretty flight attendant bring me coffee!. :roll_eyes: Anyway I was very intimidated, although I did pretty well, taxied using rudders with my feet instead of steering which was all new to me, and I almost nailed the takeoff until I started drifting left before he took over. I didn’t know I was going to get to fly on the intro, thought I was just gonna observe? So that was very exciting and I look forward to flying a few more times before I start! One last thing… how difficult are the check rides? I tend to get nervous when being watched and I wanna be prepared. :sweat How did you do on the checkrides? Hey I have a flight simulator X plane 10, will that help me with learning the basics of flying or is that just more for entertainment? I was surprised that ATP doesn’t have the real motion simulators that the airlines have, looked a lot like mine except obviously a lot more controls on it and 3 screens.
Brad

Bradley,

I will let Adam answer the questions that were pointed at him, but a few points. Airplane altimeters work in altitude above sea level, so you were only at 8,500 feet, not 14,000.

I was once a 23 year old CFI with a father at US Airways who helped me get my loan, but my focus was always on providing the absolute best quality instruction possible to my students. If your CFI is not acting in that manner, I would find a new one. I wouldn’t worry about what his outlook on pretty FAs or toys is, just can he teach you to fly or not.

Checkrides can be stressful, but they are a fact of life, so you had better get used to them. The checkrides never stop in this profession, not even for the most senior and experienced of pilots.

I am not a fan of Flight Simulator, I think it teaches bad habits and is just a game. Adam has his reasons for liking it, which I will let him expand on.

You will learn this soon, but in a single engine airplane, you must always hold right rudder for takeoff or the airplane will drift to the left. Don’t beat yourself up, you had no way of knowing that.

Chris

Hey thanks Chris, yeah I had no idea about using the right rudder more, that’s a great tip! So are there students that just can’t pass a checkride or do they give you time to adjust? My CFI didn’t come across as intimidating he was really cool & professional, I was just shocked I thought my instructor would be much older, so it caught me off guard!
What do you think about my concerns of getting dizzy is there anyway to know exactly what happened? I feel like a moron guess I was only up 3000 ft, it didn’t look that high!

Oops, I mean I was at 8500 ft duh, I’m over thinking what the altimeter read, sorry!

That is really cool your dad flew for US Airways think Sully flies there! I bet you guys get tired of all the questions but you very patient and professional! I’d like to fly in a multi engine plane, think that’s the seminole… will they let me do my intro flight or am I stuck with Cessna, not sure why ATP doesn’t have a download for Cessna only Seminole so I’ve only been able to study that one. I Just got a new phone and thought I’d get the iPad pro now as my 2nd line instead of tablet and start using some of the apps. I’ve always been good in math and technical skills so thought I might do well in flying and I love it too, I just regret that I didn’t plan this out 20 years ago paving a great future like you have!

You can do the intro flight in the Seminole. I think it’s $300.

Tory

Bradley,

Ok a few things. As Chris said you were no where near 14,000. If you were you’d both be in danger of losing consciousness. Most small planes don’t have a/c and there will be some hot days. If in fact it was anxiety (which it sounds like it was) you will need to find some ways to better deal will it.

Young people don’t intimidate me (I grew up in the Bronx and actually few people do). I won’t go into a rant about millennials but there are many who are in this industry and don’t seem to “appreciate” how fortunate they are, Personally I feel it’s their loss. We have they greatest job on the planet and are incredibly fortunate to be in a very small group of people who get paid to do something we enjoy. If they can’t recognize how amazing that is it’s actually sad.

I’ve had easy checkrides and tough ones. The best defense is being as prepared as possible. If you know you’re stuff you know your stuff. No one is looking to bust you just keep you safe. That said you do need to perform and yes the examiner is watching, no way around that. I have to be honest here, ATP’s program is very accelerated and as such if you’re looking to have the warm fuzzies that doesn’t happen often. There are plenty of flight schools that will hold your hand and let you take months and years and tell you that you’ll take your checkride when you’re ready. Problem is that’s not how it works at the airlines and the checkrides get harder. Your call?

I don’t disagree with Chris completely when it comes to home sims. You won’t learn to fly with one but I do think they can be beneficial in developing a scan of the instruments. Btw, full motion sims cost as much as real airplanes and cost as much to run as well. If ATP used them the program cost would be double and they wouldn’t be able to offer unlimited sim time.

Adam

Oh thanks Tory, it was $250 not sure why it’s so much more? But I wanted to go up in that next and check it out or I might just stick to the Cessna if they’re not that much of a difference, thanks.

Yeah I know I sounded like a moron, I was just saying that I thought 8500 ft was the equivalent to being 14k ft when you’re already a mile high from sea level but obviously I was only 3k ft and I’m supposed to be good st math! :weary: I’ve always worked hard taking no short cuts and I don’t expect anyone to make it easy on checkride or want that, that’s why I’m up for an accelerated and fast paced, stressful program to be prepared for the real thing. Driving a truck although very stressful dealing with all the thousands of crazy drivers, has been a relatively easy job except for the very physical auto parts delivery job i have now. I want more of a challenge to push myself to the next level and be the best I can be. That’s why I’m picking ATP because I believe in excellence and you guys are a class act and an incredible example of their success… so I want to learn from the best, not take the easy route, and I need to get my career off the ground ASAP because I’m not getting any younger!:wink:
Hey you’ve got a great sense of humor Adam, very funny I can tell you’re very grateful and happy, living the dream living and flying in Hawaii how awesome is that! That makes a lot of sense on the simulators, I guess I just thought all the schools had them but like you said it’s a fortune and not cost effective. Ya I thought using my simulator will help me understand the instruments better.
I really appreciate all your help and Chris’s too, invaluable information that will help me immensely to prepare for this very long journey ahead… it’ll be the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I hope to persevere and finally have a successful career that I love, not a job, but a passion! I’m gonna go up flying again in 2 weeks and see how it goes… thanks!

Brad

The Seminole burns twice as much fuel.

Oh ya that makes sense, thanks Tory

To answer your question directly, you have nothing to worry about. I’ve had no end of problems with motion sickness, but I’m getting over them. A few things that will help:
-Make sure you get plenty of sleep
-Make sure you’re full (it’s thought that the sloshing around of food in your stomach can exacerbate the issues)
-If you’re still having trouble, look into Sea Bands, they go around your wrists and will help you with the problems (I know they seem silly, but they do help)
-What does it for me is ginger gum. Ginger is an anti-emetic, meaning it keeps you from throwing up

Hope that helps. If you want this bad enough, you will be able to get through it.

Good luck!

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Hey thanks a lot Eric, I really appreciate your help! I didn’t think sea bands work and where do you get ginger gum, never heard of it? Yeah I definitely want this that’s why I’m trying to figure all this out early before I start.

Motion sickness was definitely something I worried about as it does happen to me occasionally so thank you so much for all the tips.

Brad, I’ve gotten some chewy ginger candy from Trader Joe’s before. I think they are called “gin gins”

Mentors, do you have any tips for avoiding ear barotrauma?

Oh, okay thanks Chantelle :wink: