This time with oxygen

Yesterday I had another opportunity to fly to Berlin for work again. This time I wanted to try using oxygen from the bottle.

Pilots need to use oxygen when flying above 12,000ft for more than 30 minutes. But some people do experience headaches when flying at just 10,000 for a while. Hypoxia is an evil thing that creeps on to you slowly. And when it hits you, you won’t notice because you are actually feeling great - until you pass out.

As some people say that using oxygen even at FL100 (about 3,000 meters) helps to arrive more relaxed, I wanted to try that. And yes, I can report that I arrived quite relaxed. Although there was yet no need to use it, it does have a positive effect and makes airtravel even a little bit more enjoyable.

I believe in commercial airliners the cabin is held at 2,500 meters. It makes you sleepy after a while.

So here I am wearing the oxygen canula. There two little prongs sticking in my nostrils.

2014 06 10 09.48.59

This has two little bags on either side that fill with O2 and when I breath they refill. That saves oxygen.

Precipitation static

On my flight from Aschaffenburg (EDFC) to Schönhagen (EDAZ) I had to divert a bit to avoid a towering cumulus cloud. I was at 10,000ft and the cloud base was probably at 11,000ft. I deviated to the right to not pass underneath it. ATC informed me about a restricted area further ahead and was telling me that I had to turn back northbound in three or four minutes. So I was trying to keep a safe distance and not to get too close to the restricted area.

It worked but I was hit by some very light rain. And that rain was special. It created an awful sound on the radio. It sounded like a circular saw and blocked out all transmissions. The effect lasted only about 30 seconds and as soon as the precipitation stopped it was all silent again.

The other effect was that the stormscope showed heavy lightning all behind me. There was none. It was all the electric charges the rain carried with it.

Here is a picture of a similar cloud that I saw on the other side in the distance:

2014 06 10 09.49.47

See the clouds from above

Clouds from above are much nice than from the side or from below. This evening’s flight back took me at FL100 over a lot of clouds that were left over from the heavy thunderstorms that hit Germany yesterday and earlier today.

2014 06 11 20.36.16

2014 06 11 20.50.35

Flying IFR in good weather is quite an enjoyable way of travel.

There is the saying that flying is minutes of excitement, followed by hours of boredom with minutes of sheer terror at the end. Now I wouldn’t say that approach and landing are sheer terror. That is the phase where most mistakes, and thus accidents happen, but it simply requires concentration and some planning ahead. But ok, the en-route phase of flight is already getting a bit less interesting. There is a lot of monitoring to do, listen to the chatter on the radio but one learns to filter out most and simply watch for the own callsign to be mentioned.

I did return home this evening quite relaxed. Probably because of the bit of extra O2 I got, but I think also because I was able to avoid all the noise, hassle, etc. commercial flights bring with them. Flying yourself means you do everything at your own pace and nobody is rushing you or expects anything from you. That is probably the biggest treat in the end.