VIEWS: 13 PAGES: 4 CATEGORY: Science & Technology POSTED ON: 5/27/2010
What the Air Force taught me was that there are three basic threats as altitude increases: reduced temperature, oxygen level and atmospheric pressure. (When I had my 231, I carried a parka, gloves, boots and ski hat in the baggage compartment as a hedge if I needed to fly high, especially in winter.) Sustained supercool temperatures have a debilitating effect on pilots, progressively numbing both body and mind, dulling decision making and inducing a kind of mental fog. The increased levels of carbon dioxide at high altitudes usually result in an increased respiration rate (rapid breathing or, in the worst cases, hyperventilation) in an attempt to gather more oxygen.
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