Health is not valued till sickness comes.

Thomas Fuller

For the few that encounter it, motion sickness is the ‘black bear’ that casts a shadow over their life in the simulator. If you are an SFI then probably you have learnt how to deal with it or you are immune or you are a very hardy soul. If you are an SFI then I don’t have to tell you that for those that experience it the destructive powers of an adverse reaction to the combined effects of motion and visual systems. Unfortunately, once a trainee succumbs to this malaise you have effectively lost them. They may still be in their seat but will be functioning so far below par that to continue the lesson just is a brutal exercise in ‘box-ticking’.

You should tell your trainees that you need to know the minute they start to feel unwell because in many cases the situation is recoverable by changing the lesson content to ‘sensor-friendly’ exercises. On one occasion I used the cloak of the clouds to remove the visual and set the aircraft flying straight and level whilst we did a complete briefing on the FMS and autopilot. We did not lose time, the trainee profited from his personal success at completing the sortie and as mentioned that success fed into his confidence and reinforced his motivation to try to overcome this problem on the next sortie.

The extreme solution is to revert to training with the motion off but this negates the Level ‘D’ approval and therefore should not be used in license related training and testing.

If I had to distil all my experience into one line of advice on this matter I would say ‘never try to teach a 360 degree hovering spot-turn’ on the first lesson and if you can avoid that manoeuvre altogether then do so.’

I have found the most effective treatment for motion sickness sufferers is a product called ‘Travel Gum’. It costs €10 a pack and is available at your local pharmacy. Taken half an hour before flight it works wonders.