I may have ruined GA experience for a friend of mine

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by WannFly, May 24, 2017.

  1. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    It was a surprise birthday present for a friend of mine. planned a XC not to far from here. as the date approached, the weather started turning south. on the day of the planned XC, we had to change the original destination on the east and flew west. ceiling was supposed to drop to 4k at 3 pm. we took of at 930 AM with 7k ceiling, pretty uneventful and smooth ride. landed in the designated airport, took a crew car for some nice steak sandwich.. things were going pretty well. while coming back, went up to 5500... after about 20 mins in, I was pretty sure we will go into the cloud ahead us, or precip, couldn't figure out from 5 miles out, OAT showed about 35 degrees. we decided to drop to 3500, informed Minneapolis center, decent done. in about 3 miles we are in moderate precip with OAT still in low 30s, decided to drop down to 2500. it got pretty bumpy at 2500 for the rest of the 35 min flight. I checked with her if she was doing alright, and told her to let us know if she wasn't feeling alright. in her infinite wisdom, she didn't say anything until we landed.. she was feeling pretty sick for last 25 mins or so. like just about to puke sick (think her exact words were... "I gulped it down, it wasn't fun"). told her that if she mentioned that before I would have told her to look at the horizon, would have giver her a checklist to focus on something else.. we could have at least tried a few ideas.. but it was too late already. don't think she is getting in a small plane anytime soon. if it wasn't for her birthday , I would have cancelled the flight. heck, if the CFI wasn't onboard there is no way in hell I was going to try to get back in 3500 ft ceiling

    had an awesome experience flying in light to moderate precip, got some great exposure and ADM examples, first hand experience when MPLS center couldn't get hold of us and relayed radio call via Air Canada, got the plane washed and the landing was a greaser.... but for my friend.. pretty bad experience :(


    before anyone asks, had a CFI onboard and I fly the blue donut (or a blue Dot in my case)
     
  2. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    Don't sweat it. Things like that are going to happen.

    The only thing I'd suggest is to try and get ahold of a big RX of ondansetron (Zofran). It doesn't make people drowsy and it's by far the best nausea medication you can have. I keep a bottle in my flight bag. The wife and kids and any nervous pax get one prior to departure if there is any doubt in the conditions. We do not go on a cross country without them taking one.
     
  3. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Thanks. I will add that in my flight bag

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  4. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    Unfortunately that will happen from time to time. Sorry about your friend. Saltines, crackers, water bottle, plenty of ventilation, looking forward, communicating, sitting up front all help for people that get motion sick. I think the higher level of general anxiety most people get in planes also doesn't help the nausea
     
  5. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    Don't worry about it too much. Try to be encouraging and see if she will go for a shorter flight on a perfect day sometime later.

    Took a friends son up a few years back. We were flying down the eastern slopes of the Rockies on a spectacular day. Got into some very mild bumps about 30 minutes into the flight, and that really shook him up. Frightened sick. But he overcame it and just got type rated in the Dash 8, moving up from the left seat of a Metroliner.
     
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  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Live and learn. The back seat in turbulence is often worse if your rudder skills are lacking, too.

    Next time you're in turbulence, look back there and see how much the tail is wagging, or not wagging...
     
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  7. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And autopilots don't help. I don't know if that was a factor, but every AP in a spam can gets out of coordination in turbulence. You have to handle the rudder, and it's never in sync with the AP. I've hand flown entire search patterns in continuous light for that reason (and the alt hold feature makes too many airspeed excursions).
     
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  8. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Didn't use AP. But I will keep an eye (leg) on the rudder. Can't see the tail in a piper buy ocational glance at the ball may have helped

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  9. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    If you're taking someone up for their first time in a GA aircraft, make sure conditions are going to be close to perfect. Live and learn.
     
  10. ericg

    ericg Filing Flight Plan

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    I've had success with over the counter non-drowsy Dramamine (meclizine is the generic name). I recommend everybody I take flying for the first time to take one. Zofran is a great nausea medicine but is less effective for motion sickness.
     
  11. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    So this "friend of mine" is a "her"? I can see where this flight was going. :rolleyes:

    But yeah, when taking someone new for their very first small airplane ride, I like to wait until the conditions are near perfect to get the best experience possible. Most of time it's just a quick 15-20 minute ride around the city to get them warmed up, rather than a XC flight. Don't sweat it, it's hard to always predict everything. Sounds like you had a nice flight regardless!
     
  12. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had one guy turn a bit green a few weeks ago. It was CAP search training, and conditions were trying. Windy as heck, mountainous terrain, AIRMET TANGO for moderate turbulence, and cumulus clouds. Searching must be done below clouds and close to terrain.

    It turns out he hadn't eaten properly, and I overused the autopilot.

    The next day, we flew another. We fed him, watered him, put him n the front seat, and left the damn AP off. Conditions were a bit worse, but he was fine.
     
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  13. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I've had the opposite experience. My wife almost wouldn't fly with me as she is super sensitive to motion sickness. Also usually at least 1-2 of my 3 kids are easily nauseated by mildly unpleasant conditions. A Zofran abouta half hour before departure and zero concerns with nausea. It's been repeated many many times.

    The very first time I took the fam in the "new" Saratoga was a hot August lunch trip (I've since learned better). Low level thermal bumps were brutal!!! My 5yr old son puked everywhere mid flight. He didn't warn us and no time for the puke sac. Screaming throughout the plane as my slightly older girls were mortified at the puke everywhere. I had no choice but to reach up and hit the pilot button on the GMA 340. I caught glimpse of a pretty ugly look from my copilot wife but just kept on "flying the damn plane" (as my CFI would say)

    That afternoon I got a bottle of Zofran and even with some brief similar conditions on longer cross countries the nausea has never repeated itself.
     
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  14. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I think it depends on the AP. No way could I hand fly my Toga as smoothly as my AP could. Not even close.
     
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  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    +1
     
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  16. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    I can't find the autopilot controls on my Cherokee. Some jokester at the factory must have hid it. :mad:
     
  17. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why do you think he went up to 5500 as soon as he could? 220ft to spare.
     
  18. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Show her this thread. She'll see it happens. Promise to make sure the forecasts will not have even a hint of turbulence next time and invite her up for another flight sometime
     
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  19. N3368K

    N3368K Line Up and Wait

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    I took my new girlfriend flying in my Swift many years ago. I told her we needed to go earlier in the morning. She wasn't ready anywhere near on time and we didn't even get to the airport until 10:30. It was August in SW Oklahoma which mean lots of HEAT. I got the plane out of the hangar and we got airborne sometime after 11. I asked the tower for straight out approach and we climbed as quickly as possible to 5000' MSL (4000'agl) where the temperature was much cooler and air much smoother. Unfortunately, the damage was done. I had told her we could turn around and go land anytime, she just needed to tell me. I had already planned a flight not to exceed 15 minutes. She told me about the time we leveled off she wasn't feeling good. I gently turned around and headed back to the airport. I made a wider than normal pattern to keep the banks at a minimum while telling her, "We will be on the ground in 5 minutes" again at 2 minutes. Fortunately, she didn't toss her cookies, but I taxied directly to the FBO, took her into the dark/cool Pilot's Lounge and set her up with some water while I then went and put the plane back in the hangar.

    We ended up getting married (28 years in a couple of weeks)...and she never flew in the Swift again. She did fly with me in our J-3 several times and once in my Starduster Too. She sill hasn't ridden in the RV-4. I used to have any plane we owned in both our names and told her with her name on the registration, she ought to at least for one ride. When I got the RV-4, she told me not to put her name on the registration. :D

    I need to look into Zofran for her. I have one daughter in Birmingham, AL which is 3.5 hour drive. Another in Knoxville, TN at UT which is 6+ hour drive. They are 1 and 2 hour respectively in the RV-4. She wants to be able to fly, but is concerned about making it that long. I keep trying to get here to go for some short hops, in cooler weather, to start working up to it, but thus far she hasn't tried.

    ...and to think the gf before her had a dad who owned a large public use airport in Texas... Oh well.
     
  20. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Ahh, I missed that part. Good thinking!
     
  21. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    lolz
     
  22. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    My AP (Century 2000 with Alt Hold) flies better than me.. one reason not to touch it :p
     
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  23. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cherokees do like to wallow in turbulence. It can be a challenge to damp the yaw. I tend to be late, then overcontrol which makes it worse.
     
  24. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Unless it's a three axis autopilot, I find this hard to believe in turbulence.
     
  25. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    Same here. I aim for 9am and hope for winds reported as "calm" and high 60s, low 70s. If it's over 85 I won't go, and if winds are over 7 knots I won't go. That may sound too severe, and I agree, but for a first timer I don't want to give them a reason to have a bad experience. I've cancelled a couple flight for first timers and then rebooked... honestly though this has the added benefit of A.) making you seem crazy safe, and B.) making their first experience a good one

    and.. if I can, I sit the person more easily nauseated up front
     
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  26. TylerSC

    TylerSC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am still looking for that one, and the air conditioner!
     
  27. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    +1
     
  28. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Maybe he's just really bad at flying? ;) :D
     
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  29. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    Probably a little bit of both. Great AP. Average pilot (bragging a little).

    Century 41 with Attitude hold is what I've got.
     
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  30. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The AC comes on automatically at about 10,000 feet....
     
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  31. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Attitude hold is pretty common.... (insert evil grin here)
     
  32. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    First ride should be 20 minutes, over their house and back to the airport. Never subject 1st timers to turbulence........None!!
     
  33. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Way to go. Some aviation ambassador YOU are!

    :D
     
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  34. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Maybe this is common knowledge, apologies if it is, but first time I read the idea of asking the passenger(s) to rate how they feel on a scale of one to ten. First on the ground, before takeoff, then every now and then. It was pointed out (and seems to be the case here from how you describe it) that if you just ask "how are you" people have a tendency to just say "ok"...but if they have to put a number to it, they will be more concentrated on actually letting you know. If they start at ten and after ten minutes of turbulence tell you they are at six or so, thy aren't doing well.

    Also, I don't know how much they help, but there are motion sickness wristbands (online also you can find pressure points on the inside of the wrist that when you apply pressure, help. Which is what the wristbands do...Which might be something to try) and ginger gum, etc. can help maybe?
     
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  35. bluerooster

    bluerooster Cleared for Takeoff

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    I found the airconditioner in my Cherokee. It stays on a shelf around 8000'.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    [​IMG]
     
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  37. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    An XC flight with deteriorating WX, precipitation, and turbulence - perfect. Yes, you blew it and your friend will probably never get in a small plane again.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  38. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Well it's been a few days...have you spoke to the lady friend since? @WannFly
     
  39. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I did. Told her next time will take her up when it's calm and near perfect conditions. She is open from what I could tell, but time will tell. She did mention she wants to sit upfront, so... gotto to get my ticket first. Annual time coming up... next 3 weeks don't think am flying....

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  40. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Sounds good. Glad she's willing to let you redeem yourself. Keep us posted!
     
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