Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Sniffles in the Cockpit

Have you ever noticed? Pilots don't have sniffles. You never hear an announcement from the flight deck with a stuffy nose voice or a sniff, sniff, cough in the background. Have you ever heard a pilot on CTAF or talking with ATC or the tower with the sniffles? I haven't. You hear that plenty on conference calls or in the office or other place of work, but you won't hear that sound coming from a cockpit.

Well, let me tell you. It isn't that we don't get sniffles. We don't fly with sniffles. Why? because sniffles are often related with sinus congestion and one thing you really don't want to deal with is sinus congestion at altitude in an unpressurized (or pressurized for that matter) aircraft. I know many people reading this have experienced the sharp pain or throbbing of sinus congestion in an aircraft, or heard a baby crying on take off or landing. Babies don't cry because they think take off and landing is dangerous. They cry because the pressure behind their ears is not equalizing and it hurts. Bad. So, severe sinus congestion is one of those things you don't fly with. You get rid of the congestion first. Then you fly.

Why am I writing about sniffles? I woke up this morning with some of the worst sinus congestion that I've had in a long time. The morning before I was supposed to do my instrument check flight, finally. I had to put away my hopes of completing my Instrument Rating today and cancel the flight. I am sad. And sniffling and coughing and I have a head ache. I suppose I'm whining. *smile* I don't do sick well.

Anyway, my experience today made me think about the fact that pilots do not fly with sniffles. So, I'm in good company. If I feel better tomorrow I may do my check flight then. If not, I'll be on the waiting list for the DPE again. I have until the end of January to complete this ride before I have to re-do the oral. So I shouldn't feel hurried, but I do. I just want to be done with this phase of my training!

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