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Hypoxia Dangers For Private Pilots

by John M. White |

Recently a private pilot flying his Cessna 400 with his daughter at 23,000 feet wound up with a problem with oxygen and, as soon as he recognized the problem, promptly asked for a lower altitude. Indianapolis Center immediately authorized a lower altitude but the pilot did not respond. In-flight Cessna 400 Shortly the daughter came on the mike and began communicating with controllers, but she had absolutely no knowledge about flying. As an example she did not even understand what a "yoke" was, even though she is female. Anyway, another pilot in the area began assisting the controllers, one of whom was a private pilot as well, and they finally convinced her to push the trim button which disengaged the autopilot and allowed the aircraft to begin a rather docile 600-700 foot per minute descent. Shortly thereafter they reached 7,000 feet the pilot was well enough to resume control of the aircraft and was convinced to land at Zanesville, OH rather than continuing on to his destination in Virginia. Alls well that ends well, as they say. Once again we find aviators assisting one another and averting a disaster in the sky (or on the ground). If you are contemplating learning to fly consider the fact that aviation, and aviators, are truly a fraternity, and a pretty darn good one too! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Any idiot can get an airplane off the ground, but an aviator earns his keep by bringing it back anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances that man and God can dream up. — Walter Cunningham, 'The All-American Boys,' 1977

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