I recently read an article about a private pilot who was flying his Piper Comanche from Chicago to Indianapolis. He was feeling pretty good as he was an experienced pilot who had recently received hi instrument rating.
The hot air created some turbulence so he ascended to 12,000 feet, higher than he had ever flown before. He felt euphoric as he could see all the way across the Lake Michigan, and marveled at the view.
All of a sudden a mental alarm went off, he was euphoric, and major warning sign. Every piolet learns about hypoxia in ground school. Hypoxia is a pathological condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of an adequate oxygen supply.
As he hurtled through space and admired the view, the oxygen was getting thin. Pilots are trained to recognize the symptoms quickly before it impairs judgement and you pass out. His mind raced down the mental checklist. Check the fingernails. If they are blue, take corrective action immediately. The pilot’s fingernails were as purple as grapes. He pushed the stick forward and quickly descended to a lower, safer altitude.
Flying high in an unpressurized cabin is an accident looking for a place to happen. Thankfully he recognized the first clue-euphoria.
Are we seeing some stock market hypoxia today? Do you know the mental checklist to review? Your retirement may depend on it.
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