CFI Instrument Practical Test Standards, FAA-S-8081-9B, June 2001

II. Technical Subject Areas

B. Aeromedical Factors

    5. Motion Sickness (Air Sickness)
      a. A physiological disorder including a sense of not feeling well (malaise) plus nausea that may lead to vomiting, and maybe headache and sweating that occur with movement
      b. Caused by sympathetic reaction of the stomach to conflicting vestibular, visual, and postural sensations experienced by some people when they are removed from their usual one-positive G environment
      c. Emotional state may contribute to occurrence and severity
      d. Unrelated to physical conditioning, pilot skills, desire to fly
      e. Factors increasing probability of motion sickness
        1) Head cold
        2) Medication
        3) Hypoxia
        4) Fatigue
        5) Discomfort or stress in the flying environment
        6) Warm cockpit
        7) Lack of fresh air
        8) Seats with no view of horizon
        9) Turbulence or vibration
      f. Some pilots may experience air sickness as a reaction to stress
      g. Preventing air sickness
        1) Passengers may consult physician for prescription or take an over-the-counter medication (i.e., DramamineŽ, BonineŽ, MarezineŽ, etc.)(pilots should not take any medication without consulting an AME)
        2) Take extra time briefing air-sickness-prone students before flights to minimize sources of stress
        3) Provide complete briefing to air-sickness-prone passengers to minimize surprises
        4) Avoid/minimize turbulence
        5) Keep all maneuvers gentle with minimal pitch and bank changes
        6) Cabin temperature a bit cool
        7) Provide plenty of fresh air
        8) Remind air-sickness-prone passenger to keep visual contact with the natural horizon and keep head relatively still
        9) In order to increase resistance to air-sickness, land at the first sign of uneasiness, before illness occurs
        10) Keep supply of sealable air sickness bags out of sight
        11) In larger aircraft, sit over the wings where motion is least
      h. Treating air sickness
        1) Look outside at the horizon (not inside) to help minimize effect of conflicting sensory signals
        2) Administer fresh air. A few breaths of oxygen may be helpful
        3) Keep sick person cool rather than warm. Loosen tight-fitting clothing
        4) Recline seat back to reduce effects of any up-and-down motions
        5) Land as soon as practicable
    Instrument Flying Handbook, FAA-H-8083-15, 1999
    An Invitation to Fly, Basics for the Private Pilot, Seventh Edition Dennis Glaeser, Sanford Gum and Bruce Walters, 2004, Brooks/Cole

Greg Gordon MD, CFII