Air Sickness?


Well-Known Member
I almost lost my lunch yesterday. I flew in the morning and it was windy (17G25). I was PIC and I didn't have any problems. I did an observer flight in the back seat right just after that, and I wasn't a happy camper for the last 15 minutes of the ride. We were doing eights on pylons, and I kept watching the points on the ground (major mistake).

Has this happened to any of you while flying before? I'll be instructing by the summer, and it gets HOT here with lots of thermals = prime conditions for it to happen again. I'm going on 300 hours and this is the first time it's happened, but it was B A D.

I wouldn’t concern yourself with it too much. I had similar problems when I got started, and they eventually worked themselves out. Just remember to look outside the airplane as much as possible. It is interesting that it’s much easier to get sic when your not flying though… Kind of like the driver never gets car sick…
If you were to look in my logbook, you'd notice that the first page was full of flights that never lasted more than .6 on the Hobbs. I felt like I was going to let go each and every time.. On the flight before my private checkride, I told my instructor that we had to land...right then...or I wasn't going to hold my food down. I threw up on short final.
I've only thrown up one other time...during a NIFA SAFECON event (I was flying a navigation event, in moderate-severe turbulence, getting thrown around.....those flight bags are really leak-proof!!!). My whole point is that it happens!!! Doesn't make you a bad pilot....just means that you have a sensitive stomach! My commercial ticket doesn't have any restrictions because of it, and it just forces me to keep the flights smooth!!!
Stay at it, and don't give up. It really does start to go away after a while. It takes longer for some people (believe me, I know), but it really does go away.

One one of my first instrument training flights I got sick to my stomach for the first and last time (thus far). After 95 hours of flying it finally cought up with me. It was a matter of being bounced around in a hot cockpit doing something I was not used to. I got used to it and it has not happened again, but I'm sure it will.

Don't worry about it too much, it'll happen to everyone sooner or later.


John Herreshoff
I've gotten a bit queasy a couple times doing unusual attitudes. I also got queasy a couple times in my PPL days, but only when my CFI was flying. That was back in MI in a 152. My first CFI was more concerned with showing off and gaining hours (I flew with him 13 hours until he moved and I got an AWESOME instructor as a replacement). When he was flying I was anxious about not knowing what was coming next. I never knew if he was going to start showing off some dutch rolls, or enter a steep spiral to get a closer look at a herd of sheep, or what. That anxiety turned into queasiness.

I can see how 8-on-pylons in the backseat would make someone queasy. You don't know what the pilot is thinking and you may wonder if he knows what the hell he's doing. When you're 800' AGL and you don't trust the pilot 120%, you may get a bit anxious.
Don’t feel so bad it can hit anyone from time to time.

A few weeks back a student of mine asked to take two friends on a scenic flight around our area. It was dead calm and the smoothest air you can fly in. I had heard no complaints from the back seat for the short flight. Upon arriving back in the airport pattern I heard the first "oh I’m feeling a bit off". Uh oh. The first wave was minor, but shortly after that vomit from the back seat was coming into the front seat area. It kept coming and as it turns out the guy had eaten a bag of Doritos and drank two huge sprites’ before flying. A guy in the backseat actually got puke on my knee board which was strapped to my leg!?!? Can you say exorcist?

What was even more fun was that it was about 5 degrees outside and the minute we stopped and opened the doors it was all frozen to every surface. Chipping frozen puke off of an aircraft interior is not a very desirable end to ones day. I guess the bright side is that if it had been warm out the stench would have had everyone draining their stomachs.
I wouldn't worry about it at all. In light aircraft, you'll notice that the CG location is between the two front seats normally, so sitting in back you are "outside" of that and feel the occilations in turbulence more. I never was a big fan of riding in back. I've never lost my lunch, but I've felt pretty queasy a few times and had to focus on not covering the two guys or gals up front. It gets easier in larger planes, and when you can focus on flying the plane and not on your stomach. I wouldn't worry one bit!

I'm sure it didn't taste good though! Haha!
I wouldn't worry about it at all. In light aircraft, you'll notice that the CG location is between the two front seats normally, so sitting in back you are "outside" of that and feel the occilations in turbulence more. I never was a big fan of riding in back.

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Is this why you feel the most turbulence when you sit near the wings on a large jet?
I think what FlyChicaga was trying to say the ride is better near the CG.

I always have a smoother ride when sitting near or right in the center of the wings of an airliner.
Well if you have ever sat in row 14 on a Saab 340, you would know what I'm talking about. Especially if the yaw damper wasn't on!