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From:  (Badwater Bill)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.homebuilt
Subject: Re: questions regarding oxygen, altitude and cabin pressure
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 1997 00:28:17 GMT

On 5 Aug 1997 04:48:45 GMT, (DHPHKH) wrote:

>>I am confused about when oxygen is needed and........
>     The regulations state when oxygen is required by law, but of more
>interest might be "when is it required by you?"  Different folks have very
>different personal requirements.  Hypoxia sneaks up very quietly; you
>don't know how stupid you've become due to oxygen deprivation until you
>come back down to a lower altitude.
>You just sit there, fat, dumb and happy, watching the world go by.
>Check yourself, then set your own limits.
>Dan Horton

Some of you people might have read my post on "Fear."  I have very
little fear in airplanes nowadays unless something goes wrong and I
can't seem to solve the problem.  I have a lot of experience with
oxygen in high performance sailplanes and I have about 2000 hours in
turbocharged airplanes that are nonpressurized.  I'll tell you what
happens to me.  Everyone is different so this might not happen to you.
I start to get nervous for no apparent reason when I start to get
hypoxic.  As soon as I start to get on edge, it occurs to me that I'm
NOT on edge routinely and something is wrong.  I don't know what is
wrong so I get more nervous.  Then I realize that hypoxia does that to
me.  The first 20 or 30 times this happened to me I experimented with
it by throwing on a mask or nose canula.  The fear, or nervousness
dissappeared in 20 seconds and I was fine again.  I'd take off the
mask and within a few minutes I'd get on edge again.  Put on the O2
and instantly I calmed down again.

So, I'm lucky I have an indicator.  I was training my buddy to fly the
P210 last winter and we were climbing through about 14k one night as I
started to get anxiety.  I knew instantly that there was something
wrong with the pressurization.  Well, he hadn't sealed the door seal
and we weren't pressurized.  It was night, he had hundreds of hours,
so I was relatively relaxed,  the pressurization instruments were
hidden from me in the right seat and I overlooked the fact that we
weren't pressurizing.  My internal indicator went off climbing through
14k and we corrected the problem.  Everybody is different but you
might play with this a bit and see if you have something that gets
abnormal in your mental or physiological make up when you get hypoxic.
Once you realize you might have an indicator, it could save your life.

Badwater Bill

From:  (Badwater Bill)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.homebuilt
Subject: Re: questions regarding oxygen, altitude and cabin pressure
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 1997 14:40:09 GMT

On 6 Aug 1997 04:57:03 GMT, (QDurham) wrote:

>What one must remember is that hypoxia's sneakiest, most lethal
>characteristic is that it is painless, odorless, and has at its first
>symptom a feeling of well-being.

Isn't that odd that I get a sense of NOT well-being.  Is that
bass-akwards or what?

I think too that what I'm dealing with is lower atltitudes where
hypoxia sneaks up on you over a period of time.  At 35k you only have
a few seconds of consciousness.  At 14k you can fly around all day but
in a stupor.  It's at these lower altitudes that I get this sense of
uneasiness.  Another indicator is stupidity.  Once you realize you are
doing something stupid, you are probably slightly hypoxic.

One night about 25 years ago I was flying an Aero Commander 680E out
of LA .  I had to file IFR over Ontario.  They pushed me up to 13k
enroute to Vegas. I had not planned to have to go IFR, and was
thinking I'd fly back home to Vegas at about 9500 that night.  Going
through about 12k I was having a lot of trouble calculating a
reciprocal heading to set my OBS for an intersection somewhere.  This
is something I normally have no trouble with.  I normally just look at
the vertical card on the ADF or the DG and look opposite the heading I
want to reciprocate.  In the old Aero Commander however, the DG was
the old type that rotates backwards and I don't remember what else it
didn't have but this was a hard calculation for me for some reason.  I
sort of talked to myself and was saying, "Come on, you're not that
tired."   What the hell is the matter with you?  My wife was sitting
next to me and noticed I was fidgiting with some knobs or whatever and
she grabbed the mask hanging behind my head and put it over my head.
I cranked up the flow and was OK in about 10 seconds.

This was one of the times I mention where I got all fouled up and
started getting twitchy.  Everytime that happens to me now, I think of
hypoxia first and 95% of the time that's exactly what's wrong.


From: (Badwater Bill)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.homebuilt
Subject: Hypoxia Strikes Deadly!
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 16:32:27 GMT

I have never had the opportunity to watch the effects of hypoxia on
the personalities and actions of humans until recently.  For many
months now I've watched people I know very well, cope with living and
breathing at 10,000 feet in my mountain home.  I'm convinced that
everybody who visits me there loses a good thirty (30) IQ points the
moment they end the climb to that lofty retreat.

This weekend we invited a couple we've know for years to spend a
couple days with us. They had never driven snowmobiles before.  Near
where we park our cars the snow is packed from many launching their
snowmobiles over the past week and there's been no new snow.  I
checked my buddy Frank out on a long track, showed him how to start
it, make it go, etc.  Then I took mine with a sled attached, full of
provisioins and took off to the remote cabin.  When I came back Frank
and his wife were gone.  I asked Boom Boom where they went.  She told
me she gave Frank my sub zero gloves and told him to play with the
snowmobile on the hard-pack until I got back.  Frank put his wife
Nancy on the back and simply drove off into the forest.

When I got back about 30 minutes later to take in another load Boom
Boom told me they just took off into the wilderness and never came
back.  To make a long story short, two hours later they hadn't shown
up and I had about an hour of daylight left.  I knew they were in the
wilderness and stuck in the power somewhere.  I took off with water, a
radio, a telephone and in my coldest dress clothing to find them.  I
trekked up and down the main trails for a good half  hour but no one
was to be seen.  Then as I was about to give up I saw a single
snowmobile trail going off into another valley.  This was my last
ditch effort to find them since the sun had just set and it was 10
degrees F dropping fast.  Sure enough, there they were, stuck in the
powder. They'd dug a big hole in the snow and had planned to bury
themselves for the night.

The snowmobile is too heavy for one man to get unstuck--it takes two.
We did it and we were on our way.  I put Nancy on the back of the long
track (2-place machine) and drove it while giving Frank the smaller,
single place machine.  We drove and drove and drove for miles.
Finally after about 15 minutes Nancy says, "Bill are you sure you know
where we are?"  Just a moment later we were at the main gate to the
area where my cabin is and she said, "Oh, I see now.  I can't believe
we were that far away!"  I told her, "Nancy, not only were you about 5
miles away, you were off the main trail, in another valley, in deep
powder you can't walk in and you were lost.  It's obvious you were
lost from the question you just asked.  I bee-lined back here on the
shortest route.  You had no idea where you were or how to get back."

I got lucky and found them or they may have died out there.  They were
not dressed for it.  The day was a beautiful day: no wind, bright
sun, about 35 degrees; very deceptive. They had no idea when they
stepped off the snowmobile they were in waste deep powder no one can
walk in.  They just got on the machine and leisurely trucked off into
the wilderness with no thoughts of how to get back (no compass, no
water, no radio, no ELT, improper clothing) or what would happen to
them if they had something as simple as an engine failure.  Not only
that, how did they know how much gas I had in that thing?  Maybe I was
running low and had just put enough into it to get back and forth from
the cabin.  I know one thing, I will have that thing almost empty if I
ever put someone else on it without me around.  That way they'll run
out of gas before they get too far.

This story is typical of what happens when we invite people up to that
altitude.  The next day they couldn't believe they had been so
careless.  It's hypoxia, I know it is.  People get goofy up there.
Boom Boom's dad at 85 started running down a road up there last
summer, stumbled on a rock and knocked himself unconscious.  We had to
medivac him off the mountain.  My mother was sitting in the back seat
of my pick up and got stuck.  She just couldn't get out.   I know
that's a hard one to believe but it's true.  She's a big woman but not
that big.  Others have come to stay for five days thinking 10 bagels
and a quart of jam would be enough food for them.  Some have simply
fallen out of my boat on the lake in perfect calm.

That place is dangerous.  People just can't think up there.  I was
pulling and pulling on the starter rope with Frank and Nancy this
weekend after we unstuck the long track and couldn't start it.  I
looked down and the ignition switch was OFF.  I'm not immune!
Yesterday when we had to leave we had to load the snowmobiles on the
trailer.  It's a flatbed the tilts like a dump truck.  You have to
drive each snowmobile in formation onto the trailer and it tilts down.
Frank got on one and I got on the other.  I said, "Okay, let's go
slowly."  Frank hit the gas, shot onto the trailer, it tilted down and
he kept going right off the front end and into the back of my pick up,
bashing into the tail gate.  I've never seen anything like it.  He
just seemed to shoot into the air until he collided with my truck.  I
wish I had a picture of it.

This is only 10,000 feet.  Can you imagine the mistakes that are
possible in an IFR environment.  Ten thousand feet is not that high.
I fly there all the time without oxygen.  After seeing what I've seen
over the past six months, I'm going on oxygen from now on at 8,000
when flying.

Badwater Bill

From: (Badwater Bill)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.homebuilt
Subject: Re: Hypoxia Strikes Deadly!
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 20:42:48 GMT

On Tue, 02 Jan 2001 12:08:18 -0600, Russell Kent
<> wrote:

>Do you have one of those Nonin blood oxygen sensors?  Take it to the cabin
>and let "new" guests see the numbers when they first get there.  Sort of
>like a pre-flight safety briefing, only it is a pre-vacation briefing or
>some such.  When they see 85% saturation (or whatever), let them know that
>their brains are starved of oxygen and they'll be dumb (-er?) for the
>Russell Kent

Yeah, I sure do have one.  I showed them they were at 85% when we got
to the cabin at the end of the day.  I sort of blame myself for a lot
of this.  I should have briefed them better at the beginning.  I would
have never turned them loose like that, Janice even gave them gloves.
She really had no clue herself at that point.  In fact this was the
first weekend she went up there with me herself.

To answer Corky above, they are neophytes alright but they walked to
the snowmobile on other snowmobile tracks which appeared to be packed.
They stumbled and fell many times just to walk about 50 feet.  I told
them the powder was even worse.  Yet they took off like there was
nothing to worry about.  The real situation was that the snowmobile
was sort of like a boat floating on top of the powder.  Once you were
off it, the force per unit area of your weight on your shoe area far
exceeded that necessary to break through the top layers and sink you
up to your hips.  They experienced this first hand right in front of
me and I told them how dangerous it was...didn't matter, they took off
into the wilderness with no radio, no water, inadequate clothing, no
flares and no snow shoes.

In fact I think the solution to this problem in order to protect
people from themselves is to go get a couple pair of snowshoes and
lash them to the damn snowmobile.  I'm going to town today to buy


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