FAA Hypoxia Training in Sugar Land, TX Dec. 7 – 10, 2017
It starts with a warm, fuzzy feeling. You might giggle a little. Colors seem brighter. Next you might feel a little light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous. Your thinking is impaired. What were you going to do next? You can’t focus on the controls. These could all be warning signs of hypoxia – a state of oxygen deficiency that impairs brain function. Symptoms include impaired vision, judgment, and motor control, and can result in incapacitation or even death. But the effects are subtle, and can come on gradually. Rapid breathing, headache, drowsiness, nausea, euphoria, irritability, slurred speech, and diminished thinking capacity can all be signs of hypoxia.
While hypoxia is generally noticed at or above 10,000 ft., it can occur at lower altitudes. And although many modern, technically advanced aircraft are equipped with onboard oxygen, or pressurization, equipment failures can and do happen. So what is your best defense against hypoxia? Awareness is key – and being aware of your own personal response to hypoxia can help you recognize it while you still have time to take corrective action. After all, you may only have minutes to get your oxygen mask on and descend to a lower altitude.
To assist pilots in determining their own personal hypoxia response, the FAA and Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) is offering hypoxia training in the PROTE (Portable Oxygen Training Enclosure). This traveling altitude “chamber” is capable of producing hypoxic environments at ground level by altering the fraction of ambient oxygen. Hypoxia training in the PROTE avoids some of the risks associated with pressurized altitude chamber training.
You need to make a reservation, and it is best to reserve early since demand is expected to be high. Training starts on Thursday, December 7th, and will be offered through Sunday, December 10th at Western Airways (KSGR). Reservations for “flights” are in 30 minute increments, but participants need to show up an hour before their reservation time. Training hours are from 0900 to 1630 on December 7, 8, & 9; and 0900 to 1300 on December 10. WINGS credit is available, but participants need to register in order to get credit.
Please note that you must make a reservation for the PROTE.
How to sign up:
Hypoxia training will be available at the Sugar Land Regional Airport from December 7th thru 10th. For a “flight time” reservation please send an email request to [email protected]. Please include the following information: name, e-mail address, contact phone number, request for day and whether you prefer an AM or PM slot. Due to the number of pilots expected to participate we will do our best to grant your requested time.
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Have a minimum 3rd class medical or Basic Med (if you are using Basic Med bring your most current physician checklist)
- No signing up a “group”- each e-mail request should be for one individual
Western Airways Located at Sugar Land Regional Airport
100 Jim Davidson Dr.
Sugar Land, TX 77498
How it Started
One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.
It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.
The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.
First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).
At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.
Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.
Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.
In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.
More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/
Would you like more information?
Send us a message below.