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Keep your cool: How Pilots Can Stay Cool in the Summer Heat

Date: June 6, 2017 Category: Blog Tags: ,
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Summer is here at last, bringing with it perfect flying weather. However, as the temperatures begin to rise, it’s important for pilots to take certain precautions to stay cool before, during, and after flight. Heat exhaustion can be incapacitating for pilots, causing issues like dizziness, headaches, and even loss of consciousness. Avoid overheating this flying season by following our simple tips to stay cool all summer long.

Preflight precautions

The effects of heat exhaustion may not hit you until you’re already in the air, experts say. If you have been working on your aircraft in the sun before takeoff, it’s wise to take a minute to rehydrate, cool off, and rest before taking to the skies. If possible, keep your aircraft covered and in a hangar until takeoff. If you must be in the sun, keep yourself cool by wearing light-colored clothing, sunscreen, and/or a hat. Most importantly, keep hydrated by drinking lots of water or other fluids and avoiding drinks that have caffeine.

Stay cool during flight

If your aircraft is equipped with air conditioning, by all means, turn it on as soon as you start the engine. If you don’t have A/C, be sure to pack a water bottle or two to keep you hydrated during flight and wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Higher altitudes can increase your risk of dehydration, making it important to stay hydrated before hopping in the cockpit.

Rehydrate after landing

After you’ve landed safely at your destination, don’t forget to reach for that water bottle again! Choose drinks like plain water or sports drinks with electrolytes to help your body recover from the heat. Avoid diuretics like coffee, tea, or alcohol, which can deplete your fluids and lead to more dehydration. Monitor yourself for the symptoms of heat exhaustion, including fatigue, weakness, headaches, nausea, and muscle cramps.

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