The real Nobu has a lot more stories about this particular subject since he has many more hours of flying helicopter tours than me. I had most of my “pukers” during fixed wing flights (among them my dear brother even) and not quite as many in helicopters. People are always surprised when I tell them that but I think with it fast moving skinny blades, a helicopter “cuts through” a lot of turbulence as compared to a stuck wing with a whole bunch of surface area for the turbulence to act on. Although, it’s been said that once you get sick in a helicopter, it will take you the better part of the day to recover. After many years of flying I have developed almost a 6th sense about spotting a puker before he or she gets in the aircraft. It has saved me from massive clean-up operations many times.

And on a side note: I have had days where I did so much flying and making so many decisions all day that when the clerk asks me at the end of the day if I wanted plastic or paper, I’m often so burned out and tired that I find myself unable to make that one more decision.

Has that ever happened to you?

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8 comments on “Professionalism
  1. Charles says:

    Mid-air refueling in a C-17 can get a little bumpy. One of my passengers hurled into a clear plastic sandwich bag and tried to give it to me. 🙁 I just pointed to the trash can and said, “I’m not your mom!”

  2. mike says:

    I have a ton of stories when it comes to this particular subject. As a mechanic I was always amazed about where I would find the left-over tell-tell signs of airsickness going on. One of my least favorite was when passengers turned away from the pilot in the front seat of a Cessna and then got it inside the pouch in the door. You always had to take the door apart to get rid of the smell. One time I found chunks behind the instrument panel underneath and all over the back of the gauges.
    How the hell did it get there? Where they doing rolls or something in the C-172 ??

  3. Moose Massey says:

    Many years ago in the 80s as a new CFI, I was checking a guy out in his brand new Piper Archer…still smelled like a new car. Florida heat in the summer. He took a few buddies up on his last check out flight (we just needed to pound out another 30 minutes to meet the insurance company requirements). Guy in the back lights a cigar and takes a deep inhale and blows smoke in the pilot/owners face…this induces immediate projectile vomiting…hot vomit in a small cabin, within 2 minutes everyone was barfing (not a bag in the plane), I held my nose till I got the plane on the ground at GNV (Gainesville, Fl). Everybody dragged out the cigar guy and beat the crap out of him. Now I laugh. That brand new interior was trashed.

  4. Ryan says:

    That expression on his face is the best one ever in Chicken Wings!

    My instructor used to tell me to stick my finger in my ear if I felt ill. No idea if that works!

    But my worst passenger was one who forgot he had a headset on, and got it all in the mike, of a brand new ANR headset. That wasn’t even mine! I don’t know if they got the smell out!

  5. Karl Winters says:

    During climbout on the return flight following a barbecue run to Stephenville, Texas, a few years back, my daughter almost lost her lunch. I told her to breathe easy and keep her eyes on the floor. I never dreamed she’d be able to hold it for so long — 100 miles back to Georgetown — but we made it home safely. As soon as we got the plane parked and she stepped off of the wing — it all came up. A bit of turbulence and the story might have ended badly.

  6. Matte says:

    Thanks Ryan!

    Now I know why you never lend or borrow (or steal) a headset…

  7. mike says:

    I’ve had that happen before once as well. Was in my younger days and I thought of everything, bringing a bag, did a thorough briefing, forgot about the mike-boom…..
    There was no muff on it either so it really got into the inner workings of the mike. I think we ended up just throwing it away…..

  8. JP Kalishek says:

    Years ago, in my FBO working days, I did a “slightly choppy” ride in a 172. The pilot was a co-worker who was working towards his commercial license (last I heard he was flying for a cargo company so he succeeded) and a racetrack I did photography at wanted some overhead shots. We left from New Orleans Lakefront. First, we set a time to altitude record for the 172. a south wind hitting a levee shot us up, then the trip across the lake was screaming fast (for a 172) and once we got to the track I used two cameras to get the shots while he did a great job circling and keeping the wing on the same spot so focus stayed perfect.
    I really got queasy when staring through the viewfinder. But he didn’t say anything so I kept it to myself.
    we then headed to the nearest airport (McComb Ms.) to refuel (Nothing more useless than fuel in the fuel truck, and Runway behind you) and stretch the legs.
    As we were pushing the plane to the pumps, the owner offered us some gumbo (it smelled really really good too) and my buddy asked “What color is it?”
    {owner} “What?”
    {buddy} “Will it look good on the inside of a windscreen and go with the interior of this plane?”
    {owner, with a big grin} “Yeah, I guess it’d be a good bit choppy up there today, wouldn’t it.”

    My buddy later admitted he hoped I would have backed out over the wind, but was surprised I was fine (as was he) with the ride up. It was only when he was concentrating on giving me a steady platform that the ride got to him. So we were both fine until we had to do the job of taking the shots.
    The trip back I remember traffic passing us as we averaged 50 knots ground speed.
    Yeah, I did mention it was a bit windy … right?

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