Interested in hang gliding? Currently learning to hang glide? Post your questions here.
This forum is open to unregistered users

Moderators: sg, mods

By blindrodie
...driving at night smoking a gar...
Oh yea baby THAT will do it! :lol:


PS I have been known to do the same :wink:

User avatar
By psuguru
One cause of motion sickness is spatial disorientation, caused by a dissonance between the eyes and the ears. The ears are subject to gyroscopic forces whereas the eyes are not.
More experienced pilots get to cure their early motion sickness by unconciously adopting the simple strategy of initially only moving the head in the plane of rotation of the aircraft.
So, if you're pitching up: only look up. If you're rolling, don't look "Up" but roll your head only to the side. And especially avoid compound motions in 2 planes at once. Once the turn is stabilised you can SLOWLY move your head around to look behind etc., but track your eyes along the horizon.
Once you have some time in the air without feeling sick, you can be more flamboyant in flinging your head about.
It took me a long time to twig what was making me sick and I developed a disciplined scan during turns that not only stopped me honking but improved my detection range because my eyes weren't flcking around so much.

Boats are a different thing in that the motion is quasi-random and it's not under your control, much.
Sea-Bands work for me.
User avatar
By Cloudhopper
Several years ago, when my job required I fly on the NASA C-9 (aka Vomit Comet) zero gravity research plane for a week of 60 parabolas a day, they gave everyone on the flight (I don't know about the pilots) a combination of Scopolamine and Dexamphetamine. These drugs are extremely powerful psychoactive substances, yet somehow in combination, they mitigate the symptoms of motion sickness, without impacting my perceived alertness or reactions. I was reluctant to take them at first, but the flight surgeon strongly advised that I do. I would consider researching the advisability of using such drugs when acting as pilot in command, but for what it's worth, all of us on the flight were performing highly demanding tasks, and I imagine they wouldn't had administered these drugs to us if it would pose added risk. The NASA guys are very risk conscious.

P.S. no motion sickness at all, but I'm pretty bullet proof anyway.
User avatar
By Scott Prell

Below are my responses. I’ve also created a handy dandy list of everyone’s thoughts in case any pilots want a summary.

Remmore & Dan Harding & blindrodie & Paraglider Collapse & Sam Kellner & davisstraub: Good tip re: the tandem experience differing from the solo experience. The driver/passenger analogy is very helpful for a noob like me. Funny thing was I actually got a bit motion sickness on the drive up the mountain to the launch site this time around! I almost cancelled pre-flight, but after I took off my jacket in the truck and then got out of the truck at the launch site, I felt completely fine again. Since you advised to stop taking tandems, but they’re a necessary stage of the lessons, I suppose you mean it’s a stage to get OUT of as quickly as possible!

Day Dreamer: Staring at the ground was my problem in ’85 at Crestline. I knew better this time around, but still I retched! But you’ve taught me something new: don’t stare any anything opposite of my bank (e.g., the launch site).

Chattaroy Man: “Very different” is what I had hoped. Also, I wear tri-focals, so my vision is fine.

Buran: Kudos to you. I definitely would not continue flying if I knew I would “always” suffer motion sickness. I can’t relate to your statement, “I always felt way better in the air than on the ground, even vomiting.” That simply isn’t an option for me: that’s the precise point where the detriment of the sport outweighs the benefit! Getting sick while stepping into the plane while still on the ground – I commiserate with that, and it sounds like part of my problem is physiological and part psychological. I think I would be willing to tough out a month or so of motion sickness per your recommendation. Maybe I should think of it as just “part of the training.” Although there’s no guarantee of an eventual cure, if it doesn’t cease, I could quit at some future point instead of right now.

HGXC: Why have I always been a couch potato? Because I’m an American! Recently I saw an Internet meme – a photo of an obese married American couple sitting in front of the TV eating processed snack foods. That pretty much sums up my current lifestyle. Haagen-Dazs and Breaking Bad. I hadn’t thought of my body as experiencing “resistance” to a new activity, but I can appreciate that as a factor. I agree with your comment that “the mind has interesting ways and patterns to new experiences.” It’s ironic: I had absolutely no (conscious) fear of jumping off the mountain, but I KNOW I psyched myself out about motion sickness weeks before I took the tandem lesson! Wish I knew a Jedi mind trick to overcome this!

Oakdude: I hadn’t thought of it that way, but now that you mention it I definitely WAS anticipating becoming air sick due to my previous experiences. I think your tip to concentrate on actively doing SOMETHING throughout flight is an excellent one! Now that I think about it, once I took control of the base tube (after we exited the thermal), things improved a bit. I understand and appreciate your attitude of defiance: air sickness is something to be conquered. While I was lying on the ground in agony post flight, that had occurred to me. In fact, that attitude is at least partially what motivated me to post this thread! And your suggestion to remember to appreciate the rewards of flight is duly noted. If I stay in the sport, I will try to post some pics and/or vids.

Spitfire: A very sincere thanks to you! In weighing whether to continue or not, your recommendation of non-drowsy anti-nausea medication was the clincher for me! I WILL continue in this sport (at least for now…), and medication WILL be my next step.

Red: I read “Red’s Advise for New Hang Gliding Pilots” a few weeks/months ago, stupidly ignored it then, and failed to build up any tolerance. I re-read your article two days before taking the lesson, but it was too late then. I told my kids about it on the drive to the LZ, and they laughed at the though of me spinning around the flagpole at their old elementary school. (We have a heavy duty basketball hoop on top a pole here at home, so I will start 360’s around it today!) But I did try your other tip to watch the less active wingtip while focusing on the vario (to no avail…). LOVE the concepts of taking it easy on myself when flying solo, banana barf, and becoming “bulletproof.”

Piano_Man & jyoder111: Intuitively, I did keep my vision on the horizon rather than the ground or ridge when it was possible. I don’t know what “clearing airspace” means.

Darbbb: I remember following the “Reletex Anti-Nausea Neuromodulating Device”
link from another thread a few weeks ago. (The Sea-Band had been recommended and has been effective for some pilots. It’s cheap, I tried it, it didn’t help me.) In all honesty, I’d rather try medication than pay $150 for the Reletex. But thanks anyway, all advice is appreciated. I’ll consider the Reletex as my last resort. The link also helped by advising that anxiety may be decreased by the knowledge that I can land at will. I used the scopolamine patch with success for boating, but it completely knocked me out sleep-wise. I also tried the ginger gum sample that came with the Sea-Band acupressure bands, but neither worked for me. There are plenty of potentially helpful tips in that link which I’ve summarized below. Lastly, the list of motion sickness symptoms included flatulence. I was reminded that mid-flight I nearly crapped my drawers (motion sickness, not fear) but successfully controlled my bowels. Now I know why. Fortunately, the threat of lost bowel control ended immediately upon landing. TMI?

dscotts: I think yours is the first “treatment” I’ll try! A full-on capsule of ginger instead of the gum.

Windlord & Richard Saffold: Right on about exercise, conditioning and physical fitness. I should clarify that I already started treadmill and weight training months ago. I’m 5’10”, weigh 170, and want to get down to 160 while building some muscle mass. I remember a post I read here a little while ago about older folk needing exercise to help keep up with the younguns, too. I had no fitness problems other than a slight “crick” in my neck from launching and craning my head up to look forward while flying prone. If my understanding is correct, unfortunately there’s just no way to eliminate tandems from the equation when earning the license.

lostgriz: I see you’re from Virginia. I grew up I Fairfax County. Anyway, I have never had any interest in towing. I guess I’m what you might call Old School. I like the natural aspects of hang gliding (foot launch, no powered flight involved, etc.). I’m not sure specifically what you mean by “eat properly.” I find the ideas of restricting myself to strictly smooth conditions, landing when not at 100%, and multiple, shorter flights very appealing! I, too, have considered that different pilots are going to have to work through different constraints, just as athletes do in training. Your comment in right on point there. BTW, nice Alan Watts vid link!

andylongvq: I’m glad you made a distinction between prone and seated positions. I’ve been considering flying suprone; now I will weigh motion sickness as another factor. I got seasick just reading about your windsurfing experience. Your statement, “I didn't hurl but I think it was only a matter of personal pride that kept me from spewing,” is exactly what I experienced at Sylmar! Dry heave, dry heave, dry heave, and one small, swallowed puke-in-mouth. It was personal pride that helped keep me from actually vomiting (“Look out, below!”).

flybop: Thanks so much for personalizing the forum for me with your encouragement! I will follow your advice: “Bite the bullet, start taking your ground skimming lessons, tough it out and see what happens.” In fact, reading everyone’s posts, I’m starting to feel like I’m kind of being a wuss about all this. But it’s no exaggeration that eventually motion sickness could run me right out of this sport. I did quite a few training hill flights back in the 1970’s and LOVED them! They were mere seconds long with no possibility of air sickness. I guess recalling that enjoyment is the primary thing that motivates me to continue despite the motion sickness. Even if I fail at XC, or ridge soaring, or even straight down sled runs, maybe dune gooning will be satisfactory. Not sure how studying will help with nausea, but I know its part of piloting.

Eteamjack: I encounter every type of motion sickness known to man. I had nervous apprehension but only regarding the possibility of barfing.

Aireout: I don’t care if red cherry Lifesavers work medically or as a placebo. I’ll try ‘em!

wes schield & Tomster: I, too, have gotten queasy on merry-go-rounds. I appreciate the advice regarding an open face helmet. I really want a full face, though, so I’m hoping to overcome the motion sickness before any helmet purchase.

Hang TN: Smart input regarding the FAA. Thanks!

epic1969: You were the first pilot to recommend fresh ginger. I’ll try it! I swam a lot as a kid, so I will take your advice about seeing an ENT Doctor to rule out balance problems in the ears.

Urs & Slope Skimmer: Point taken about quitting. I’d watch American Idol as an alternative, but the show, too, induces vomiting. Also, I think I’ll try the fresh ginger before I resort to any pickled.

BBJCaptain & Psuguru: You’re the first and second to recommend limited head movement. Thanks.

Helix: Thanks. Now I’m strongly considered giving up hang gliding in order to fulfill my other lifelong dream: ballet lessons. You may have saved me from yet another failed experience. In all seriousness, though, I followed your Google link and added the term “dizziness,” thereby learning about “spotting.” Not sure that would work in hang gliding 360’s, but it’s worth a try.

mark selner: You of all people recommending a floaty kite?!? LOL! I hope we can fly together in Apple Valley some day, me on my floaty and you on your... T2C is it? The only glider I want to fly is a Falcon 4, so it sounds like I’m on the right track here.

Paicolman: You made me laugh out loud.

Cloudhopper & Spork: That’s quite a cocktail!


• Quitting hang gliding is ALWAYS an option but can be deferred
• Don’t stare at the ground
• Don’t stare at anything opposite of my bank (e.g., the launch site)
• In the beginning, fly as frequently as possible
• In midseason (July), fly early morning and/or just before sunset
• Eat lightly before flight
• Drink water one hour before flight
• Suck it up (either temporarily or permanently)
• Acknowledge nausea, then “dismiss” it (aloud if necessary)
• Concentrate on actively doing something throughout the flight
• Maintain an attitude of defying air sickness – nausea is something to be conquered
• Always remember to appreciate the rewards of flight
• Take non-drowsy anti-nausea medication. (I may also consult my doctor.)
• Eight hours preflight: apply a scopolamine patch (Transderm Scop) available by prescription (note: causes drowsiness)
• One hour before flight, take Phenergan (promethazine hydrochloride) 25-50 mg combined with Sudafed (ephedrine) 25-50 mg, or take dextroamphetamine 5 mg and scopolamine .5 mg
• Other prescriptions: Compazine (prochlorperazine), antihistamines such as Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), and various antiemetic agents used for suppressing the side effects of chemotherapy
• 0.4 mg oral scopolamine and 5.0 mg oral dextroamphetamine
• Non-prescription medications: Over-the-counter remedies available without prescription include Dramamine, Marezine and Bonine (cause drowsiness)
• Take non-prescription Emetrol (one teaspoon per hour)
• Take a ginger capsule available at the grocery store (ranging from a full capsule to ¼ capsule)
• Eat a bagel just before launch (placebo?)
• Acupressure band (placebo?)
• Ginger gum
• Biofeedback (expensive)
• Acupuncture
• Becoming “bulletproof” is a process
• Practice daily pole-spinning: Maximize bi-directional 360’s slow and easy at first and without inducing nausea (e.g., 5, then 7, then 8, etc.)
• While thermaling, watch whichever wingtip has less background motion while focusing on the vario sound
• When not thermaling watch the horizon, not the ground or ridge
• When piloting solo, I have more control and ability to “take it easy” on myself
• Vomit connoisseurs prefer sweet tasting banana barf, so only eat 1-2 bananas for breakfast
• Clear airspace before turning and coming out of a turn
• Consider the $150 “Reletex Anti-Nausea Neuromodulating Device”
• Reduce anxiety in the knowledge that eventually I’ll be able to land at will
• Exercise for physical fitness
• Eat properly
• Fly only in smooth conditions
• Take multiple shorter flights rather than one long flight
• Land as soon as I don’t feel 100% right
• Similar to athletic training, piloting can have has its constraints
• Follow the dream; stay the course
• Continue hang gliding because I desire it, and like it, and want to, and it makes me “itch,” and it’s how I enjoy spending my life, and I can master it!
• Consider various flying positions
• Remember how much fun it is to fly
• Consider dune gooning exclusively
• Continue to study piloting
• Red cherry Lifesavers
• Consider an open face helmet to maximize fresh air
• Avoid rough air
• Avoid very hot days
• Drink fluids
• Consider skipping breakfast altogether if certain foods don’t help
• Find what works best for me
• If using medication, do so safely and under FAA guidelines
• Chew on a chunk of fresh ginger root
• Try pickled ginger
• Slow, short, limited head movement. Look with your eyes, not with your head. Move my head only in the plane of the glider’s rotation (e.g., pitching up = look up)
• When thermaling, try “spotting” (cf. ballet pirouettes)
• Restrict flights to a small training hill with a floaty kite
User avatar
By BBJCaptain
Scott wrote:I
wear tri-focals, so my vision is fine.
Scott, are they invisaline or lined tri's. I didn't notice if you had mentioned this on original post or not. I use the invisaline setup
for chart reading and instrument panel.

I have never suffered from motion sickness but I did notice that when I first got my new old guy glasses ( bi/tri focal's ) that it
really made me get spacial disorientation while flying the simulator for my recurrent training, it had no effect while flying
the plane, just the sim. The g loads in the sim are not quite the same so you have to rely more on your other senses and this
causes even more problems as the visuals are not the same. It didn't take very long to realize my brain was struggling to proses
the bad inputs. I had to really concentrate on instruments to fight off that feeling. When I take off my glasses it stops right away.

Although my scrip is not very strong I got a pair of single vision glasses to fly with while HG, mainly because I fly supine in my
Millennium and I can't see the windsock while on approach from the distortion.To help your eyes over power the mixed signals
from your inner ear canals do to acceleration/deceleration and G load, you might want to try a single vision glasses as well.
You may not notice the distortion from you tri-focal's but your brain is struggling to process all the wrong signals rushing at it.
Stabilizing your visual clues with single vision glasses may help as well.
User avatar
By spork
Scott Prell wrote: Since you advised to stop taking tandems, but they’re a necessary stage of the lessons, I suppose you mean it’s a stage to get OUT of as quickly as possible!
I guess it depends where and how you're taking lessons. I'm H4 and P4 and have never been on a tandem yet. I think that's pretty typical.
User avatar
By epic1969
BBJCaptain, I don't get sick flying but every recurrent in the sim I do get queasy. I close my eyes when we do a "warp speed" reposition.
User avatar
By BBJCaptain
epic1969 wrote:BBJCaptain, I don't get sick flying but every recurrent in the sim I do get queasy. I close my eyes when we do a "warp speed" reposition.
I hate that too! Got a new sim instructor one time and he wouldn't give you a heads up :ahh:
User avatar
By piano_man
Wow .. Scott, that is some post (#45)

As Spork posted, I did not have any tandems during my initial training. My very first high altitude flight was off the mountain flying solo. I had many, many months on the training hills before that though. I was in no rush. Wanted to make all mistakes there - on the training hills. Of course that's impossible; I'm human.

A few years later with 200 plus mountain flights I went to Wallaby Ranch and did a tandem flight with Malcolm. He signed me off for aero-tow after one tandem - to date, my one and only tandem. Before hand, I did study on the ground watching their operation for a couple of days and I studied the Towing Aloft book by Dennis Pagen for a couple of weeks. I'm a slow reader.

btw - clearing airspace means looking before you turn. Good luck. It appears to me you're taking great notes and are probably an awesome student / learner.
User avatar
By piano_man
And I want to add -

I think it could be or IS "dangerous" to become proficient at aero tow before becoming a mountain (foot launch) pilot because, if for no other reason - failure to hook in. You see as a mountain pilot "hooking in" is ingrained into your skull. At least it was when I was on the training hills at Lookout. If you don't hook in and you launch from a cliff you probably won't make it.

Conversely, learning to hang glide mostly by aero-tow first, IMO it's easier to become complacent with regards to doing a hook-in check, because with aero tow you cannot launch if you're not hooked in. You'll be hooked in by default. You will go in the prone position before you signal - go, go, go! Not so on a mountain or a cliff with the wing on your shoulders.

Bill Priday learned it the hard way. Unfortunately, he had only 3 seconds to live after that. Was a gift to all of us who were there - a first hand lesson as to what will happen if one launches unhooked from a cliff. I may be wrong but I think he was an experienced aero tow pilot and novice foot launcher. It was after that tragic day I came to this opinion that I now share here.

Sure, learning to foot launch before aero tow doesn't make you or me immune to launching unhooked. But I think the odds move in our favor.

I think the BEST way to learn for most knuckle heads like myself is first on flat land (ground school), then small hill, then maybe one tandem, more small hill (optional), graduate to big hill, maybe another tandem when you graduate to the mountain, 2-3 tandems total no more before you're a mountain pilot.

Or do no tandems, that's what I did. But I do think one or two would be better; I just wanted the thrill of my first high altitude flight to be solo, off the mountain.

Become a mountain pilot with a few dozen or a couple of hundred mountain flights first, then go get your aero tow rating if you want; or don't.

When I was down in Florida to get my sign off for AT so I could demo a Wills Wing, I met a young Lass who had over 20 tandems and going (no foot launches) and still wasn't signed off. At $120 a pop that's quite a fee, enough to buy a pretty good wing even if used.

Now if your knees or any conditions make it prohibitive ... well as they say... you picks your poison(s) and you takes your chances. Pardon my buzz kills, I'm out. Peace.
By Buran
Scott Prell wrote: I definitely would not continue flying if I knew I would “always” suffer motion sickness. I can’t relate to your statement, “I always felt way better in the air than on the ground, even vomiting.” That simply isn’t an option for me: that’s the precise point where the detriment of the sport outweighs the benefit! Getting sick while stepping into the plane while still on the ground – I commiserate with that, and it sounds like part of my problem is physiological and part psychological.
don't take my word from the wrong side. as i said, it eventually stopped. :wink:
i just tried to point out to you that in the beginning, in some way and to some extent, motion sickness is "part of the game". so don't get scared or discouraged.
and truly as you said it's part psycho and part physio: your body will get used to the "strange" environment and your mind will be more relaxed.

have fun
main page of the .org

Swiss Mishap video over 9 million views currentl[…]


2019 Green Swamp Sport Klassic

Do you feel like it's too much money, too much ha[…]

Poll on latest USHPA Proposal

I just voted no. If there was a H#LL NO! option, I[…]