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All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

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By prattguy
#404172
Hi everyone -

I'm a former private pilot and lifelong lover of everything that flies. I've been wanting to get into hang gliding for over 20 years, and finally took my introductory flight yesterday. On the way up, the thermals were much rougher than I had expected. Once we released from the tow, the pilot went into a long (45 second) spiral while climbing in a nearby thermal. That activity got my nausea acting up pretty strong, and consequently I ultimately had to request that we take a slow glide down to the ground rather than continue to stay up.

I've always gotten motion sickness rather easy, ever since I was a little kid (44yrs old now). Boats, being a car passenger, etc, with the exception of airliners I've always been pretty susceptible to it. However, the scopolamine patch has always prevented my sea sickness when I took fishign trips into the gulf. So, I'm wondering what all of you feel about whether scopolamine will likley allow me to take hang gliding lessons given my initial bout with nausea.

What I will say is that I was tandem, it was late July in Houston, mid-afternoon (100F), and the thermals were strong. My pilot told me that the thermals are great for hang gliding but not for an introductory flight given how rough it could be. So, as much as I want to get into hang gliding I'm worried that my susceptibility to nausea might be a contra-indication and I should look into something else. Or, will my success with scopolamine preventing sea-sickness also translate well to nausea and hang-gliding? I would appreciate your thoughts.

thanks!
User avatar
By WhackityWhack
#404173
For what it's worth, I taught aerobatics in airplanes for several years. I never had one single student throw up in the airplane. The things I learned about air sickness were these:

*the pilot at the controls is less likely to get airsick. A passenger riding along is more likely to get sick.
*If you feel yourself getting queazy, don't try to push through it but rather land as soon as you can. You'll start to build up a tolerance for it.
*contrary to popular belief, an empty stomach doesn't prevent air sickness. I used to give my students some saltines or something kind of bland before we flew.
*Feeling nervous about it will only exacerbate your problem. So refer to points one and two above.

I think you'll be fine to start learning HG. It will be quite a while before you're up turning in thermals and by then you'll have no problem with it (or very little). I say Go For It!

P.S. I don't have any experience with the patch. I'd say try everything you can to avoid it if you can and then use it as a last resort if it doesn't make you drowsy.
By nuclearmatt
#404175
I just got my H2 at Wharton and I too get motion sickness. I found following the tug (moving point on the horizon) was enough to get me feeling ill. Doing it in thermic conditions and then following it up with tight 360s in a thermal definitely would have been bad.

I have been taking "less drowsy" off brand motion sickness pills before flying. For me this has made it a non-issue during my training. Maybe I could have done without but I was very intent on doing this and didn't want motion sickness to get in the way. I don't have experience with the patch.

If you decide to start training your flights will be in calm air and you won't be working thermals so it probably won't be nearly as bad as your intro flight was. You had everything going against you there (not at the controls, rough conditions, heat). If it's something you want to do I would say at least give an evening flight a try (maybe with the patch) and see how it goes.
By prattguy
#404176
great to hear. Thanks to both of you for your input.

Matt - I too was at Wharton. And thinking back, I believe that watching the ultralight in front of us on the way up may have actually kicked off my initial symptoms.

Their online training options don't seem to list the details of what is involved during the first training stages, so I wasn't sure if we'd be doing everything tandem at 1500 ft or what. Good to know that I have some viable options as I don't really want to drive to Austin.
User avatar
By red
#404184
prattguy wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:39 pm
Hi everyone -
I'm a former private pilot and lifelong lover of everything that flies. I've been wanting to get into hang gliding for over 20 years, and finally took my introductory flight yesterday. On the way up, the thermals were much rougher than I had expected. Once we released from the tow, the pilot went into a long (45 second) spiral while climbing in a nearby thermal. That activity got my nausea acting up pretty strong, and consequently I ultimately had to request that we take a slow glide down to the ground rather than continue to stay up.
I've always gotten motion sickness rather easy, ever since I was a little kid (44yrs old now). Boats, being a car passenger, etc, with the exception of airliners I've always been pretty susceptible to it. However, the scopolamine patch has always prevented my sea sickness when I took fishign trips into the gulf. So, I'm wondering what all of you feel about whether scopolamine will likley allow me to take hang gliding lessons given my initial bout with nausea.
What I will say is that I was tandem, it was late July in Houston, mid-afternoon (100F), and the thermals were strong. My pilot told me that the thermals are great for hang gliding but not for an introductory flight given how rough it could be. So, as much as I want to get into hang gliding I'm worried that my susceptibility to nausea might be a contra-indication and I should look into something else. Or, will my success with scopolamine preventing sea-sickness also translate well to nausea and hang-gliding? I would appreciate your thoughts.
thanks!
Prattguy,

Relax, it's fairly normal, and you took on a rather active sky. Even experienced pilots can get overdrawn on that account, sometimes. I am not recommending any drugs, but if you have a need, do what you have to do. I would recommend some smoother air instead, which usually happens (at most places) earlier in the mornings, or later in the evenings. The hardest thing about HG can be knowing when NOT to fly. This is always just a temporary delay of some hours, not a total washout. You are still in the game, pilot.

Better, maybe, would be some basic defenses, first. Here are some starters:

http://www.hanggliding.org/wiki/Motion_Sickness_Relief

https://user.xmission.com/~red/#cp

I heard that an F-16 pilot tells his ride-alongs, "eat bananas for breakfast. They won't keep you from getting airsick, but they will taste the same coming up as they do going down." :mrgreen: I can attest. 8)
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User avatar
By DMarley
#404195
A nice soaring flight I had a few weeks ago gave me pause after completing a bunch of climbing spirals.... Some of them were tighter as a witchy's tittty. I thought it was possibly from drinking too much water from my Camel-back, tasting like luke-warm plastic swill.
In my yacht-racing days, during one mildly-rough 500-mile race while beating upwind for 100 miles, I was very surprised to discover a strange discomfort in my tummy. NEVER ever, in all the sea miles I had logged, never got that feeling before. After that, I purchased an electronic wrist-zapper that seemingly did the trick on following prolonged sailing adventures. I did NOT want any drug that could possibly mess with my balance or decision making. I'd rather be sick than to be thrown overboard +200 miles from shore due to imbalances in between my ears, or making a bone-head move costing a rig or worse.
Also, keep your eyes and head constantly moving, constantly scanning, especially the horizon. Sometimes the horizon is the only thing that is not moving, and is a good frame of reference for your brain to focus upon. If you cannot see the horizon, keep your head on a swivel and eyes moving around. If you're looking at one object for too long (a few seconds) it is too easy for your inner ear to tell your brain lies.
It's also all about conditioning as well as your health, emotional state, and amount of rest you have had the night before. Most people suffer from the ills the first and second days out to sea. After a few days max, they adjust. Same with flight I'm guessing. My last flight I did not feel one tinge, even though I had a similar flight to the previous that made me wonder about my state.
If I start having regular bouts, I will get that wrist zapper out again and use it.
User avatar
By miraclepieco
#404196
I get nauseous in cars when I'm a passenger, but not when I'm driving. Hang gliding is much the same. If you are the one in control you can anticipate the turning maneuvers and it doesn't upset your equilibrium.
User avatar
By klh
#404199
Many many tandem passengers get nauseated, or at least uncomfortable. I always paid attention to when they got quiet and started giving one-word answers to questions. Rob McKenzie, who has done thousands of tandems over 40 years, found that a maximum of 25 minutes works well, especially for first-timers.

It is VERY different when you're PIC and your hands are on the basetube and you feel the bumps with your hands/arms BEFORE they hit your body.

You'll be soloing in much smoother air at first so that helps.

Stick with it!
By uajc
#404203
I agree with pretty much everything said here except the thing about moving your eyes and head...I've had problems with motion sickness and my first tandem flight was no different right after practicing a stall. It's true that you won't have as much of a problem with it when you are in control and you will build up a tolerance. I also suggest Sea Bands instead of any drugs to help with the nausea. The only times I've been nauseated while flying since that first tandem is when I'm slightly dehydrated, hungry, or moving my head around continuously (probably excessively but I want nothing to do with an air to air collision) to check air traffic while thermaling and occasionally ridge soaring.

In short, don't give up your dream, this too will pass.
User avatar
By DMarley
#404226
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi ... 006194.pdf

Perhaps practicing in a spinning chair would be good for acclimatizing and lessening the motion effects.

I suppose everyone is different in the manners in which they can best prevent motion sickness. I keep my head on a swivel, constantly. It may be that voluntary head and eye movements help to calm my brain's inputs somehow. Even while tightly spiraling, I'll be looking all over sky for signs of lift (birds, other gliders, floating debris, my vario, etc.), and i'm watching my wing as well if really tight. This keeps me focused on the outside rather than the inside and keeps my brain much too busy to be concentrating on what my ears are telling it. Much like sailing or GA flying and soaring, keep your head outside the cockpit, stupid! (VFR conditions)
Yeah, I know I'm still new to this Hg flying, but being a life-long ocean sailor, the mechanics and feel are very similar to one another, and so much of these two activities go hand in hand. A good sailor is always looking about at his environs. Birds, insects, spray, waves, wavelets upon the waves, color of the sea, water temperature changes, smells, etc.... all clues. And being alert and aggressive, not passive, goes a long way to maintaining your health and achieving what you committed to.

I wonder, if a person is really susceptible to motion sickness while flying HG prone, could suprone or supine be a better option (not that I am a fan of either)?
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