Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

Articles written by James D. Lakin Phd Md Facp

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Alcohol and Aviation: They Don't Mix

It’s challenging enough flying a high performance aircraft stone sober. Lord help the pilot that’s even slightly impaired. The FAA strongly agrees with that sentiment. That’s why the Eight Hours Bottle to Throttle rule was instituted (FAR...

 

Signaling for Survival

Stuff happens. You never think it could happen to you, but sometimes it does. Engines quit, sometimes even when you have avgas. Wings ice up and suddenly you're in a stall. Trees or powerlines get in...

 

Glaucoma: Early Detection Keeps You in the Cockpit

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. In the U.S. it's estimated that some three million people have it but only half of them know it. The tragedy is that if left untreated...

 

Deep Vein Thrombosis: A Cockpit Concern

It’s warming up out there and I bet you’re thinking about some cross-country flying! There’s nothing greater than watching the landscape change from checkerboard farmland to rolling plains to majestic mountains as the hours roll by. With that...

 

Vertigo: Dizzy Pilots Make Distraught Passengers

Vertigo is a common experience. It's not just a feeling of light headedness but a sensation that the world is spinning around. When you were a kid and spun around you intentionally set off a form of...

 

Stayin' Alive with Pulse Oximeters

Last month we talked about the dangers of hypoxia and some procedures to avoid the potentially fatal effects of low blood oxygen levels. Symptoms of hypoxia vary from airman to airman so it is a good idea to take a ride in a hyperbaric chamber to...

 

Up Where the Air is Thin: Hypoxia

Oxygen is the elixir of life. Our body’s cells need it to metabolize. Without enough of it we die. It just so happens that as we ascend in the atmosphere that’s exactly what happens—we get less and less of this vital gas and we suffer from low...

 

Flying With Contact Lenses

Every time you fill out your MedXpress form for a flight physical, you’ll find Question 17b. “Do You Ever Use Near Vision Contact Lenses While Flying?” Most folks get the question wrong. It’s not surprising since if you are not an eye doctor,...

 

You Can Fly With Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

There was a time when the diagnosis of diabetes was the prelude to a short life. Then insulin came along in 1922, which gave diabetic patients a reprieve from the immediate effects of a deficiency of that vital hormone. However, as time passed it...

 

Say Again, Please: Flying and Hearing

If you don’t think hearing is important, try flying IFR into Chicago Bravo Airspace some afternoon. We were slated to land at Midway taking the OHHMY transition on the ENDEE SIX ARRIVAL. I dutifully plugged in all that info into my trusty Garmin...

 

Opioid Epidemic An Aviation Concern

COVID-19 is storming back with the Delta variant. Yet another deadly epidemic lurks in the background, claiming many lives—opioid abuse. According to government estimates almost one-third of the population suffers from chronic pain of one source...

 

Deydration And Heat Stroke: No Fun In The Sun

Over the past few years, we’ve been setting record temperatures and dealing with the health hazards that go with them. Very few of our general aviation fleet has the luxury of air conditioning. Even if you do, summer flying without adequate fluid i...

 

Oh Say Can You See: Flying with Color Blindness

If you have ever landed at a Class Bravo airport, you know that the runway looks like the Las Vegas Strip. The strobing glide path, PAPI, illuminated runway centerline, side and center line taxi way markers all combine to make a colorful and...

 

Medical Certification - Pilots with Leg Amputations

More than 1.2 million Americans live with the loss or absence of a limb. Each year over 1,000 children are born with limb deficiencies. Over 130,000 amputations are performed annually as a result of trauma or disease, with 86 % of these amputations...

 

Death by Diphenhydramine: The Benadryl Bane

If you look at the autopsy data of pilots killed in aviation accidents the No. 1 drug found in their bloodstreams is diphenhydramine. It is marketed as Benadryl® and a host of other brand names. You would think the most common killer would be...

 

Breast Cancer and Medical Certification

Breast cancer is common. Currently, the average risk for a woman in the United States to develop breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. That’s about a 1 in 8 chance. Fortunately, if it is detected early the outlook is good. That’s the...

 

Aviation Fluids: Put Them in the Plane Not You

To get an airplane off the runway you’ve got to pump a lot of unusual fluids into her…avgas, oil, hydraulic fluid, deicing solvent. And let’s not forget the coffee and pop to pump into the pilot! There are many liquids involved in flying and...

 

COVID-19 Vaccines: Get 'em Before They're Hot!

t is my sincere hope that the day is near when I will not be devoting this column exclusively to Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, more Americans are dead from COVID-19 than died in the entirety of World War II. Pilots are in a unique...

 

Seat Belts and Shoulder Harnesses: Use 'em!

The NHTSA isn't the only federal agency that has fun crashing things! Our own FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City has blasted a number of perfectly good airplanes to smithe...

 

Aeromedical Forum

This spring I received a note from an airman wondering about his odds of getting off a Special Issuance. Five years previously he had a heart artery calcium scan which showed heavy calcification in... Full story

 

Aeromedical Forum

A couple of months ago we talked about the then looming pandemic. Well here it is and it looks like it's going to be around for a while. The good news is that Minnesota has done an effective job of slowing the rate of viral transmission of SARS Cov... Full story

 

Aeromedical Forum

As I sit in my office at Airlake, a King Air is revving up its engines. Good Lord it's loud and I have the benefit of 30 yards separation and a wall between me and it. Pity the lineman that's out... Full story

 

Aeromedical Forum

How many months are we into winter? How many pounds have we put on? Since you can only get so much exercise from throwing around snow, it's hard to avoid the "Late Winter Couch Potato Syndrome"! Lack... Full story

 

Aeromedical Forum

One thing about the aviation community, we get around. We are exposed to many different terrains, population, cultures and, unfortunately infections. If you’re flying under Part 121 or 135 you often cover a lot of territory and come into contact... Full story

 

Aeromedical Forum

What better flying weather than a crisp clear February day in Minnesota. You’d think you were flying a helicopter with the short takeoff runs. The air is smooth and the visibility unlimited in bright sunshine. The reflection from the snow is... Full story

 

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