Slow-onset Hypoxia

Bruce Landsberg at the Air Safety Institute has an interesting blog post up about oxygen impairment. He notes that it can begin well below the altitude of 12,500 that mandates supplemental oxygen:

“A pulse oximeter is a wonderfully simple-to-use device that clips on a finger tip to instantly measure your oxygen saturation (sat) and heart rate. Ideally, at sea level, we’d all have 100% saturation and a pulse of about 60 – fat chance! Many pilots may start in the low 90s. When your sat drops below 90%, oxygen deprivation is starting to take place. Thinking slows, and heart rate increases as the brain asks for more O2 to be pumped up.

As the sats fall, so does your ability and it can be quite insidious. After a few hours at 9,000-10,000, where many light non-pressurized aircraft fly, many of us will be hypoxic. A slight headache, fatigue, and the inability to process information as quickly as normal, are all symptoms but they vary person to person.”

The whole article is worth a read, you can find it here.

Cooler temperatures mean….

Fall colors - catch them while they're hot. ccimage courtesy of Carl M on flickr

Better aircraft performance and beautiful fall leaves. There’s still plenty of time to get your fall foliage flight in.

My flight up around Grafton on Friday made for some terrific leaf viewing.

Aviation Affecting College Football Realignment?

As Mizzou contemplates leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, it’s interesting that aviation plays a key role for those trying to get in. From the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail:

“Sen. Jay Rockefeller said sudden complaints about flight access to Morgantown from Big 12 country are “ridiculous,” especially since conference officials have been told the state stands ready to expand the city’s airport.

“We’ve made it clear at every level to the Big 12 Conference that we’re ready and willing to extend the runway if that’s crucial,” he said in a statement issued to the Daily Mail.”

You can find the entire article here.

Now that’s commitment – I just don’t know if it is to aviation or to football.

Stopping the “Panic Pull”

ccimage courtesy of michaelwhays on flickr

AOPA Online has an interesting article from a recent magazine issue. It confronts the “Panic Pull”:

“A multiyear study by Aviation Performance Solutions LLC (APS), an Arizona firm that offers a range of upset recovery courses, found that the pull reflex is especially strong—and particularly perilous—at low altitudes, and it afflicts new pilots as well as seasoned pros.

“An alarming 90 percent of pilots without previous upset recovery experience ‘pull’ when faced with an overbank situation beyond 90 degrees,” according to an APS report. “A full nine out of 10 pilots, regardless of experience level, will most likely pull into the ground in a wake-turbulence upset or cross-controlled stall when faced with the situation for the first time.”

The reason for the reflex is easy to understand. From the very beginning of general aviation flight training, pilots learn to equate pulling on the stick/yoke with climbing—and for almost all of our time aloft, that remains true. Most GA pilots seldom venture beyond 60 degrees of bank or 30 degrees of pitch. And although corporate and airline pilots can be expected to log tens of thousands of flight hours during their careers, they strive to keep their aircraft within even narrower limits.”

The whole article is worth a read. You can find it here.

New FAA Website for Laser Incidents

The FAA has a new website that makes it easier for pilots and the general public to report incidents where lasers are pointed at aircraft.

From EAA News:
“And it’s not just airliners experiencing laser tagging; according to Tammy Jones, FAA spokesperson, “A lot of GA aircraft have reported incidents to air traffic control.” ATC then contacts local law enforcement, which immediately attempts to locate the source and apprehend the perpetrators. GA pilots who experience being shined by a laser in flight should report it immediately to air traffic control, Jones said.”

You can find the FAA website here.

Number of laser incidents by year:
2010: 2,836
2009: 1,527
2008: 913
2007: 590
2006: 384
2005: 283

Double check your iPad before flight

iPad and other Apple device users should take note of a programming issue that can occur after updating the operating system to iOS5.

From AOPA Pilot Reporting Points Blog:

Essentially the device senses the memory is full, or almost full, and will delete previously saved data if new data is brought in. So, the operating system will now favor new data, instead of rejecting it to preserve old data. For those running ForeFlight, WingX, or any of the other large multipurpose apps, you could lose charting data by bringing in any other additional pieces of data. What’s worse, the device will do this with only a minor indication of what’s happening. A small message that says, “Cleaning” will appear under any app that is currently losing data.

Read the whole article here.

When there are no good options

I came across this interesting read on the Air Facts blog. It’s about Pete Bedell’s journey to the AOPA Summit in some rough weather:

This past September, the Northeast U.S. was plagued by “the low that wouldn’t go away.” This cutoff low-pressure system sat and spun for two weeks bringing daily gloom from the Mid Atlantic to Maine. Unfortunately, in the midst of this crummy weather, I was scheduled to give a talk at AOPA’s Summit in Hartford, Connecticut on September 24th.

You can find the whole article here.

With my interest in iPads, I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

Another interesting aside is the role of the iPad/Foreflight in my flying and those who may think Flight Service is becoming unnecessary. I still have a box of charts ready for me in the airplane, but I have not touched them since getting the iPad with Foreflight. Score one for technology. But, I have to say that sometimes you can’t beat a good, old-fashioned briefing. When I got stumped finding a decent alternate, flight service was there for a frank discussion about my limited options. Score one for the old school.