Friday, July 11, 2008

Lima! Lima!

So i hooked up with the Lima Lima Flight Team Friday for a ride to help promote the upcoming Gary Air Show. I arrived early and watched the first wave of people go up and waited my turn.

Finally it was my turn. I jumped in with John "Ripper" Rippinger and got the pre-flight briefing on how to escape the aircraft in the worst case scenario. I also posed for a new picture.

We then took off and circled over Gary before moving out over the Lake.

We performed a series of manuevers and split-off from the main group after these moves.

It was as we got back together that the heat started to get to me. I was only a little nauseous from the Gs we were pulling, but it started with my fingers starting to tingle. Bad sign. I knew it from my past experinces. I called up to Ripper if there was any way for some fresh air and said we couldn't open the canopy, there were two silver dollar sized vents near my hands for air. Being a large man with a higher then normal body temperature and a higher blood pressure, I'm more prone to getting heat exhaustion, but I know how i react in the heat and I know how to diffuse the heat situation. In this case, I was helpless to try to beat the heat.

I was starting to really heat up when i called for a time check on the run. Five minutes to go and my vision was starting to tunnel and i was starting to see stars here and there. I let ripper know i was burning up. I knew what was coming, heat exhaustion was kicking in. At some point, I think I fully tunneled out and fully blacked out. Also around this point, I stopped sweating. Even worse news, I was showing signs of heat stroke and I was now very nauseous and reaching for the little blue bag.

Dry heaves led to losing some water. Ripper saw what was happening and he disconnected from the pack and got me on the ground fast to try to get fresh air to me. We rolled on the ground and met up with the rest of the flight team and parked. I tossed the blue bag out the plane and ripper helped me out of the parachute and life vest while sitting in the plane. I was slouched over in the seat trying to recover when I heard our correspondent call out "Someone used their blue bag!"

Chrrriiiissssttttt, I had no energy to even move and was still very dizzy. I was helped out of the cockpit and onto the tarmac. I posed with my bag for a picture (I'm waiting on that one). I shambled my way to the air conditioned terminal and cooled down for 45 minutes while drinking lots of water. At some point i realized i didn't remember much of the flight before i started losing it due to the heat. It has come back to me somewhat as i recovered during the day.

I had a really good time until the heat got the best of me. Ripper took care of me when I was at my weakest and i could not be more grateful. 12 hours later, I'm about fully recovered although I still have waves of nausea and headaches from my ordeal. A good nights sleep will do me right.


Guy Rhodes said...

I LOL'ed when you wrote, "Chrrrrisssst!" Hahaha. Hope you're feeling 100% today!

Brad Armstrong said...

That's a great story! That sound terrible. Despite of your body rejecting the flight and the heat you still came away with a couple of nice frames.

I have had similar flights as a photographer. Very tight, confining hot space with little ventilation. Fortunately I didn't get sick, but I still felt like I got the crap beat out of me with a bat. At least you got a great story out of it. I hope you feel better!

broad said...

I can attest -- it is exTREMEly rough up there if you're not used to it. I didn't get quite as bad as you, but it took me a good day or so, too, to not feel assy.

And your shots were amazing, as always. Ima posting 'em.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott!
These pictures are AMAZING! Sorry you had to go through the heat episode...I know the feeling. The last couple of years I have been prone to being unable to stay in hot weather without getting lightheaded and seeing stars. I actually collapsed three years ago on the fourth of July while covering a parade and it was 82 degrees at 10 a.m. It resulted in three staples to close a scalp wound from the impact of hitting the concrete and a MRI. So I feel you on the heat.

Anonymous said...

scott, those are some freakishly awesome pics!!!!!

mikey prohaska