Stay Cool, Fly Safe

From NAFI's Chair

Stay Cool, Fly Safe

Every one of us has at some point deviated from strict adherence to the AIM Pilot/Controller Glossary. Sometimes it's for a request that might not have been anticipated by the Glossary's writers, such as asking a controller to call for a go around as a training exercise for a student or asking them to "forget" a turn on to a localizer or final approach to see how an instrument student handles the situation, and so on.

Sometimes the conversation falls well outside the glossary. We all have humorous stories about what we've heard or said over the years. I have a collection of my own verbal transgressions, some of which I intended to make, others, well, let's just say no one's perfect. One of my favorite examples was when I was returning to St. Louis after one particularly hot AirVenture five years ago. In fact, it stands out in my mind as being one of the hottest weeks I'd ever spent in Wisconsin, let alone at the show.

I had departed VFR from Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport on the way to the Dells VOR. Once I was well away from the airport, per the NOTAM, I contacted Madison Approach requesting my IFR clearance to Creve Coeur Airport, one of several in the St. Louis Metro area. Once we'd established radar contact, the controller cleared me as filed, "Climb and maintain 5,000." I responded, "Seneca 123, out of two thousand, five hundred, climbing five thousand and a request.

"Seneca 123, say request."

"Madison, it's been 98 degrees all week at AirVenture and I've been in a show hangar all that time. Can I get a higher altitude?"

"[With a smile in his voice] Roger, Seneca 123. Climb and maintain 70 degrees, not to exceed nine thousand feet. Let me know what your final altitude will be once you get there."

"Seneca 123, out of three thousand, climbing. I'll let you know and thanks."

And, from an unknown regional airliner on frequency: "Well, that's a first."

Although I like to tell that story and getting a chuckle from people, there's a serious reason I'm relaying it. As I type this, the temperatures in the Omaha area are in the high 90s. In fact, the outside air temperature gauge on my car registered 100 degrees after I got in it this afternoon. I'd spent the day training employees how to fly small UAS or, more familiarly, drones. We'd been in the sun most of the afternoon, with very little opportunity for shade. I hadn't realized how much water we'd consumed until we gathered up all the bottles for the recycling bin. I can't speak for the students in the class, but I'm still somewhat thirsty and drank two bottles of water when I got home.

With that in mind, in these hot summer months, remember to monitor your water intake and watch for symptoms of heat stress for both you and your student. Some of the symptoms are fatigue, dizziness, nausea, to name but a few. None of them are what you want to have while flying an airplane. Here are a couple of helpful links to the Mayo Clinic and OSHA on the subject:

Remember, there's nothing impressive or heroic about not taking care of yourself. And we all have a responsibility to take care of and set a good example to our students. So, to coin a phrase, stay cool and enjoy your summer.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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