MotionSickness Motion Sickness

Although motion sickness is uncommon among experienced pilots, it does occur occasionally. A person who has been its victim knows how uncomfortable it is. Most important, it jeopardizes the pilot's flying efficiency - particularly in turbulent weather and in instrument conditions when peak skill is required. Student pilots are frequently surprised by an uneasiness usually described as motion sickness. This is probably a result of combining anxiety, unfamiliarity, and the vibration or jogging received from the airplane, and usually is overcome with experience.

Motion sickness is caused by continued stimulation of the tiny portion of the inner ear which controls the pilot's sense of balance. The symptoms are progressive. First, the desire for food is lost. Then saliva collects in the mouth and the person begins to perspire freely. Eventually, he or she becomes nauseated and disoriented. The head aches and there may be a tendency to vomit. If the air sickness becomes severe enough, the pilot may become completely incapacitated.

Pilots who are susceptible to airsickness should not take the preventive drugs which are available over the counter or by prescription. These medications may make a person drowsy or depress his or her brain function in other ways. Careful research has shown that most motion sickness drugs cause a temporary deterioration of navigational skills or other tasks demanding keen judgment.

If suffering form airsickness while piloting an aircraft, open up the air vents, loosen the clothing, use supplemental oxygen, and keep the eyes on a point outside the airplane. Avoid unnecessary head movements. Then cancel the flight and land as soon as possible.