So I did my Intro Flight last week and was enjoying everything until we did the Steep Turn and Stall. I felt dizzy and nauseous, I didn’t throw up in the air and got over the dizziness as soon as we landed but it actually made me doubt my ability to be able to do this. During my flight, I was also so busy trying to make everything right that I don’t think I really enjoyed what is happening. I guess my question is, is that feeling normal? Will I eventually get used to it? I know flying is not everyone, is this a sign that it’s not for me? It’s so heartbreaking
First off, with all due respect, you did the one thing that drives me nuts when it comes to intro flights (I’ll split the blame between you and the instructor). It’s an INTRO flight as in INTROductory flight. It is not intended for you to get EVERYTHING right. In fact you’re not supposed to get ANYTHING right. You’re not a pilot and you have no experience so why would you? Problem is everyone builds this up to the “single most important, decision making, future of my aviation career, if I don’t like it what now I’ve dreamed of this my whole life” flight. It’s not nor should it be. Aside from the pressure they all want to fly like Yeager. The idea is to go up, look out the window, enjoy the view, take the controls and just kind of get a feel for things. The good news is you got this out of your system. I recommend you a) relax, b) go up again and cut yourself a break. In most cases you’ll get used to everything but flying is not an innate talent nor are the sensations that go along with stalls and steep turns. Your heart should not be broken, it just felt some G’s
I wouldn’t say your reactions are normal, but they aren’t abnormal either. I myself have never liked doing stalls or steep turns and I am surprised that an instructor would do them with you on your first flight. I think you also need to back down a bit on “trying to make everything right”, it was your very first flight, you aren’t supposed to know how to do anything, it takes many hundreds of hours to really learn how to fly and even then, we are all still learning everyday.
I would recommend that you take a few more flights and see how you feel. But stop trying to pressure yourself into making them perfect flights.
Feeling nauseous after your first flight in a small plane isn’t normal, but it doesn’t mean that you should give up all hope. I would schedule at least one more intro flight. It can be at any flight school.
The forces and sensations the body undergoes during flight are foreign to your body right now. Proper nutrition, hydration and rest is key.
Next time you go up, just have fun. Perfection is not the objective.
Thank you all for your replies. I didn’t actually feel nauseous in that plane even if it was my first time flying in a small one. I only felt it after the steep turns that was quickly followed by the stall. In my instructor’s defense, he asked me if I have motion sickness before he did the maneuver and because I am not really prone to motion sickness, I told him no. The only time I felt that way was when I did sky diving and even then I didn’t really feel sick until my guide went 360 degrees in the air for about 10 minutes because we can’t get a good landing spot. I will follow your advise and take another intro flight and see how that one goes and this time I will make sure to just enjoy the experience and quit on trying to be perfect with the controls. Thank y’all!
Hi, I’m a very infrequent poster that’s working towards PPL. Im halfway there now, but
just wanted to share I had several flights early on where I did not feel well at all and it was very discouraging (steep turns did me in too). There is hope though!
In addition to what is listed above, one key that really has helped me (and it’s counter intuitive) is to have a full stomach. Essentially, an empty stomach facilitates naseau because liquids are just sloshing around. You may have also been looking too much inside at the panel. Getting my head outside with only quick scans of the panel I think helped alleviate naseau.
Also, it helped to recognize that tension increased this. You may be tensing your core in flight. Be encouraged, this is such a fun outlet (or potential career path) but nothing is fun when your not feeling well. I imagine you’ll have a flight soon where you feel great and can’t wait to go again.
Thought I’d chime in here. First, it makes sense that the first time doing maneuvers never felt by the body before might cause a little queasiness. I remember flying a T-34C for the first time and the difference in performance between that turboprop and the 152 I flew 4 months earlier left me feeling a little fatigued and maybe nauseous. I fly F-16s now so your body can adapt to just above anything if you give it some time.
Second, the main causes of nausea have to do with a disparity between what your eyes see and what you vestibular canals sense. I’m guessing that if you were trying so hard to do things perfectly that perhaps you were staring at your flight instruments instead of outside the window? Once you learn how to use pitch attitude and other outside references then these sensations usually cease. I can make myself sick in an F-16 flying a CAS wheel at night staring at a targeting pod screen for hours.
Another possibility is a head cold can cause some weird vertigo sensations, but I’m hoping your IP verified you were fit to fly beforehand.
BL: give yourself at least another handful of flights to teach your body what it’s like to fly beyond typical airline profiles. And look outside while your enjoying your flight!
I actually just did steep turns for the first time, and when my instructor showed me how to do it, I got that sensation like dropping down on a roller coaster (happens to me very easily haha). However, when I performed it, I didn’t feel the sensation at all.
I feel like actually being in control of what’s happening helps out a lot.
Michelle, I’m a military helicopter pilot and had several in my flight school class that felt nauseated on their first few flights. One pilot threw up on her first ten flights, but she eventually adjusted and became an exceptional AH-64 Apache Pilot, earning the Bronze Star in Iraq.
I had not flown for seven years when I started my civilian airplane training, and it took a few flights to get used to the vestibular and proprioceptive input that my brain was receiving again. It can take time for you to adjust to these new sensations. Don’t become disheartened.
You are correct @Chasmorris1978, I was focusing on my panel and was just occasionally glancing outside. I was too busy with the instruments and didn’t really know what to do then so in a panic, I decided to just keep my eyes on the inside and look on the panel and on the floor.
Thank you all for your inputs! Feels great to hear all these from people who have been in the same situation as mine. I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve done some additional reading on this maneuver and found out that most of the student will almost always feel that sensation during the first few flights but eventually got over it as they progress through the training. So yeah, I will not be disheartened by this, as what @Adam said, I shouldn’t make this the single deciding factor of my aviation career.
What do you guys think of the Relief Band? https://www.reliefband.com/. Did any of you use it during your first few flights?
For me, that did not work. Yet, I am an outlier. I think I got ill 4 out of the first 5 flights. My CFI has not had a student like me. However discouraging as that was, I still wanted to give this my best shot. I am glad I did. I found a few things that truly helped me the most, but of course everyone is different.
Getting a good nights sleep and being hydrated the day before
Eating well that morning, but going slow on liquids
Ginger root (vitamin section of any store) and ginger chews
Developing site pictures for things like Vy and even using sounds for things like powering to cruise or 1500 rpm. This keeps you from staring at the panel.
Mentally preparing for the upcoming lesson. I chair fly the maneuvers i’m about to do. This one was key as well. Flying reminds me so much of playing Quarterback, information comes at you quick and you have to make decisions quickly. I found this helpful to be able to relax more during the lesson. Anyone can say ‘relax’ or ‘be confident’ but in the end, knowing what your doing helps far more.
Again, I am an extreme example, but maybe that could be an encouragement for you. I rarely get sick now, but even on my last lesson, I had to do 9 (yes 9!) 360’s in the pattern due to high traffic (i am doing lessons at a Class C). On my last touch and go, I asked for a full stop because I could feel like I was getting woozy. That is important. Just declare when you have reached the threshold, there is no shame in that IMO.
Last thing, I found holding loose to "pursuing my dreams’ has been better. One, I love my current job. Two, maybe its not for me. Why not just become a really good and safe pilot regardless? Make sense? In other words, I decided to use this as a personal vetting process. Do I really love this? Do I want to keep doing this? I keep finding the answer is yes, but maybe its G.A. maybe it is career. In the same way we must ‘fly with our fingertips’ I have used that as a metaphor for this journey. Hold the dreams with finger tips and just keep pursuing it. Maybe the pressure to get it all right stems from the pressure to pursue your dreams. Just my thoughts.
Hope you get back up there, its an exhilarating blast and a true blessing. I am so grateful to have it in my life!