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88 votes
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How do people suffering from hypoxia not realize they aren't getting enough oxygen?

The key point here is that your body does not measure blood oxygen levels. Instead, the urge to breathe is caused by a surplus of carbon dioxide in your blood. At sea level, this is fine: the only way ...
Sanchises's user avatar
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54 votes
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Are you required to disclose medical conditions to your flight instructor?

When it comes to the AME, you must disclose everything fully and completely. Failure to do so may void any license and insurance and expose you to extraordinary civil and criminal risk. When it ...
abelenky's user avatar
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44 votes
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Why do I get a severe headache just before landing?

Your sinus passages were obstructed and it was atmospheric pressure squeezing your skull as the increasing pressure on the descent tried to equalize the pressure. The air in your sinuses escapes much ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
44 votes

The FAA is asking for medical records that I don’t want to give. May I refuse?

It has already been established in other answers you must provide the documents/information requested, else there will be consequences. Also consider this: FAA is concerned with the overall safety of ...
Jpe61's user avatar
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42 votes

Does breathing 100% oxygen cause health issues?

When we discuss a mixture of gasses, it's often useful to compute the pressure of each component separately. This is called the "partial pressure" of that component. For instance, oxygen ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
39 votes

I believe I was misdiagnosed with ADHD when I was a small child. Can I get my private pilots licence?

There's a couple of things I want to get out of the way before I actually answer the question. First, I actually do have ADHD, confirmed via multiple tests, including an EEG. It was never any obstacle ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
36 votes

People in a rollercoaster or falling elevator feel the rapid descent, so why don't pilots in the cockpit?

You only feel the acceleration downward. In roller-coaster this sensation is maximized for maximum thrill. A stall isn't instant: some parts of the wing can be stalled while the rest still provides ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
31 votes

What kind of injury would force a Navy EA-6B pilot to stop flying and take a desk job?

Years ago I met a guy with an aerospace supplier I used to deal with in the US, who was a former instructor in the USN in the T-45 Goshawk. I asked him why he quit flying to do what he was doing, and ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
30 votes

People in a rollercoaster or falling elevator feel the rapid descent, so why don't pilots in the cockpit?

You only feel the plunging sensation during the initial downward acceleration. Once stabilized at a constant rate of descent, things feel normal again. The other thing is, the amount of vertical ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
30 votes

The FAA is asking for medical records that I don’t want to give. May I refuse?

If the FAA medical division is asking for something on a deferred application, you have two choices: either send it and probably get your medical, or don’t send it and definitely be denied (and not be ...
StephenS's user avatar
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29 votes
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How can skydivers start at 15,000 feet without the jumper suffering from hypoxia?

They don't. Hypoxia is an actual concern in medium and high altitude skydiving. It has been specifically researched as a possible safety risk. Skydivers jumping from over 10,000 ft do begin to exhibit ...
Therac's user avatar
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28 votes

How to convince the FAA to cancel family member's medical certificate?

@Chris has a great answer but to expand on that The FAA has a hotline for reporting safety issues that you can try, you can start a filing here If the individual is actually on 10 or more medications ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
27 votes

How do people suffering from hypoxia not realize they aren't getting enough oxygen?

No, lack of oxygen, in an of itself does not trigger negative physiological responses; quite the opposite. Most people who are affected by hypoxia have a general feeling of elation or euphoria and ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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27 votes
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What should I do if the FAA requests health records that no longer exist?

I had a very similar situation. Along with the documentation they requested that was available to me, I submitted a letter explaining my lack of the older records. This was apparently acceptable to ...
capnmojo's user avatar
  • 426
27 votes
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How to convince the FAA to cancel family member's medical certificate?

The FAA will probably get around to reading your report, eventually. It's a large bureaucracy, and I wouldn't expect quick results. If you want a quicker result (and you should, with what you are ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 16k
26 votes

Will having a history of depression prevent me from flying?

This is one of those questions where you really need to talk to an AME, preferably one who has significant experience working through these sorts of issues. In order to get the Class II medical that ...
Ralph J's user avatar
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25 votes
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How to safely handle AVGAS (100LL)?

If you don't crawl underneath and breathe in the exhaust fumes from the engine, you'll be fine. If you do crawl underneath and breathe in the exhaust fumes, you'll be dead from carbon monoxide ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
25 votes

Effective eating habits as a student pilot

A lot of new pilots get motion sickness starting out in light aircraft, and it goes away with repeated exposure. So, it's just a matter of toughing it out until you get used to it, or if you're ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
22 votes

What options are there in Canada for treatment of severe depression and anxiety for pilots?

I'm not going to address the legal aspects of your question, but I will tackle the psychological side as I have a degree in it - although I'm not a practicing psychologist. It sounds like you have ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
19 votes
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How do solo fighter pilots sleep?

Generally, the only time fighter pilots are asked to remain airborne long enough where this is a factor are when ferrying aircraft across the ocean, (or for long distances over territory where there ...
Charles Bretana's user avatar
19 votes

The FAA is asking for medical records that I don’t want to give. May I refuse?

[MRI]could lead down another problem if anything else is found on it. It certainly could, and no coincidence that the FAA wants to see it. The MRI reveals information about a possible multiple ...
Scott's user avatar
  • 191
18 votes
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Do pilots ever suffer PTSD after emergency landings?

Yes, for a while: Capt. Al Haynes, after saving 184 lives on United Flight 232. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Al Haynes a few years ago, and he told me that he had a very difficult time ...
Steve V.'s user avatar
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17 votes
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What causes the phenomenon that pilots don't believe their instruments, while they're working well?

Human decision making is an entire field of psychological research and there are many, many studies and books about it. Yet for all that we really don't know exactly why people make the kinds of ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
17 votes

Are you required to disclose medical conditions to your flight instructor?

There's no legal or regulatory obligation to tell your instructor about medical conditions as others have said. There may be rare cases where there are insurance considerations the flight school must ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
17 votes

Does breathing 100% oxygen cause health issues?

Yes... but not predictably, and (almost certainly) not seriously. If you're worried for yourself and you're not already dead and not doing any crazy maneuvers, it is vanishingly unlikely that you need ...
fectin's user avatar
  • 474
16 votes

Will having a history of depression prevent me from flying?

I have a history of depression and hold a 3rd class medical certificate. In my case the depression is managed by medication so the certificate is issued under what is called a Special Issuance (SI). ...
BigEndian's user avatar
  • 354
16 votes
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Does oxygen become less available during night-time?

Night vision is one of the first things affected by reduced oxygen levels, and that effect is masked in daylight, but can become consequential at night. But no, the O2 molecules are the same night or ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
16 votes

Does a history of social anxiety significantly damage commercial pilot career prospects?

I don't know about the question in your title, but I can answer the question in the body: I was wondering if it's important that I disclose this to employers or just lie if asked? No, you should ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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16 votes
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Has there even been a case of pilot incapacitation due to food poisoning?

Pilot incapacitation due to food poisoning does appear to have occurred. The linked question, Is it true that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals? contains this New York Times ...
Penguin's user avatar
  • 4,483

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