Monday, August 22, 2005

On the Prevention of Regurgitation

This afternoon, I get to see how much Joe has lost in the three weeks since flying. His mind has been on his struggles this whole time, and he is capable of self-evaluation. Those qualities lead me to believe he will be a little rusty, but generally fine.

My first flight today came as a surprise, sort've. I had written it down on the schedule for the wrong day. Lucky me, I am here basically all the time anyway. The guy is heading off to Thailand to train to be a missionary, and his mother was wanting to get him a present. He had always wanted to fly, so we had some fun. He loved the view. Near the end of the flight, after ensuring that he was not prone to aerial regurgitation, and assessing that he would enjoy it, I gave him a few maneuvers for fun, including a couple of zero-G pushovers, and things like that. Nothing aerobatic, but fun anyway.

I am always careful about what I do in a plane, when there are any non-pilot passengers. I once had a passenger show me what had been for lunch, and that is not a pleasant experience. She had been wanting to take aerial photos, and kept telling me to bank the plane harder to get a better view. She didn't sound the least bit concerned, and I failed to question it.

Then, right after finishing the photos, she suddenly said she didn't feel good. I was still processing what that meant, when her hands suddenly went up to her face in a panic. No time to open a window.

That was just about the fastest airspeed possible for a final approach in a Cessna 172. It was also one of the funkier final approaches I've ever done, coming in from a 45 degree angle, and only lining up with the runway about 50 feet up. I had my door open within two seconds of touchdown.

The tip I got was appreciated, but still nowhere near what would have been worth it for having to clean up the plane later.

Chalk it all up to experience. I quickly learned how to read the physiological signs of an impending reversal of... fortune. The facial expression, perspiration, loss of desire to converse, etc. So far, I haven't had a problem again. I came really close a few months ago though.

I was flying our four-seat Diamond Star for a television interview. We chose an unfortunate day that turbulence played a role. The interviewer was sitting in the front seats with me, looking backward toward the cameraman in the back seat. She had to do about 20 takes before getting a clip that didn't show any significant turbulence.

As soon as she returned to facing front, that's when the purge-urge hit. There are motivations a-plenty for me to avoid passenger meal-reflux, but I was also flying a very new and shiny $280,000 airplane, which I did not want to be forced to clean. This time, i had a little warning, since I had briefed her on the need to tell me about any nausea.

We managed to get to the ground without event though. I just bet it will happen again sometime, and I hope I'm ready.


At 7:56 PM, Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

Another great post. Really entertaining. And that sounds like a neat present by the mom.


Post a Comment

<< Home