Although motion sickness
is uncommon among experienced pilots, it does occur once in a while. If
you have ever been its victim, you know how uncomfortable it is. Most
important, it jeopardizes your 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 a bit of anxiety, unfamiliarity, and the bit of bumping
received from the airplane and is quickly overcome with experience.
Motion sickness is
caused by continued stimulation of the tiny portion of the inner ear
which controls your sense of balance. The symptoms are progressive.
First, you lose your desire for food. Then saliva collects in your mouth
and you begin to perspire freely. Eventually, you become nauseated and
disoriented. Your head aches and you may have to vomit. If the air
sickness becomes severe enough, you may become completely incapacitated.
If you are susceptible
to airsickness, do not take the preventive drugs which are available
over the counter or by prescription (unless, of course, you are a
passenger in someone else's airplane). These medications may make you
drowsy or depress your brain functions in other ways. Careful research
has shown that most motion sickness drugs cause a temporary
deterioration of navigational skills or other tasks demanding keen
If you suffer from
airsickness while piloting your aircraft, open up the air vents, loosen
your clothing, use oxygen, and keep your eyes on a point outside the
airplane. Avoid unnecessary head movements. Then cancel your flight plan
and land as soon as possible.