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2 Answers

A flight instructor with a head cold

Asked by: 1102 views Flight Instructor

Planning on doing steep spirals with my commercial student in a Cessna 172RG tomorrow morning.  Will be starting at approximately 4,000 ft. MSL.  Problem is I have a bit of a cold right now.  I'm not EXTREMELY congested but let's just say I'm not exactly clear right now.  What do you think?  Weathers been garbage for days and I really need to take advantage of the absence of cloud cover.

2 Answers



  1. Bob Watson on Dec 11, 2012

    I can’t say this will happen to you, but I did some steep spirals from 9500 to 3500 with (what I thought was) a slight head cold and by the time I got to 3500, I thought my eye was going to pop right out of my socket. I eased off on the descent to land in excruciating pain (and with only one eye functional). It took about a half an hour at the airport for the sinus pressure to equalize. I’d never felt such pain in my head. I literally expected to see my eye pop out, it was that bad.

    It might not happen to you and it might never happen to me again (I sincerely hope), but that once was enough to make me a believer. After that, 1,000+FPM descents with a head cold sounds like asking for trouble (or at least severe discomfort) to me.

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  2. Matthew Waugh on Dec 11, 2012

    If you are careful and follow the guidelines from AOPA et. al. you can medicate away some of the issues with colds and altitudes. But be VERY careful with this – you do NOT want to take the wrong drug and then go flying….

    In the end though – you have to determine if IMSAFE – and only YOU can really figure that out.

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