The FAA requires the use of oxygen if you fly above 12,500 for more than 30 minutes or anytime above 14,000 feet however, low oxygen saturation (pulse ox) can occur as low as 5,000 feet. Mild hypoxia affects vision, motor and cognitive skills; leading to poor decisions and badly executed maneuvers. The insurance claims statistics strongly suggest this is a major problem for GA as 30% of claims due to pilot error occur on landing.
The Black Sky Training (BST) Scenario Based Physiological Altitude Training emphasizes slow onset hypoxia and mild hypoxia. The BST course trains you how to recognize the symptoms before it is too late and while corrective action can be taken.
The BST course is taught in an altitude chamber (hypobaric chamber) under simulated flight conditions. Unlike other training schools, BST uses a hypobaric chamber so that you can experience all of the hypoxia symptoms (ear popping, bloating, etc.) and learn how to detect onset hypoxia quicker while there is time to correct the problem. During the "flight", pilots under instruction (PUI) will do tasks simulating those they will do during an actual flight by flying a simulated aircraft up to 25,000 feet.
PREREQUISITES: Persons enrolled in this course must have:
*NOTE: Despite being healthy and free of upper respiratory symptoms a small percentage of participants will be unable to equalize their ears (Eustachian tube dysfunction). In such cases the flight physician will make an assessment and determine fitness to fly status.
- Proof of age -18 years of age or older. (16 with guardian consent).
- A Third Class Airman Medical Certificate or greater.
- Must not have a cold, significant health problem or any other disqualifying condition.*
COURSE COMPLETION STANDARDS: At the completion of this course the PUI is expected to demonstrate knowledge of the following through testing:
The PUI must also successfully demonstrate the donning of an oxygen mask and the ability to perform within a hypobaric chamber without emotional distress, claustrophobia and or other disqualifying condition.
- Fundamental principles of the atmosphere and how it is related to the human body.
- Understand the fundamentals of respiratory physiology and its relationship to hypoxia.
- Show competence in the identification of the many different symptoms and physical signs of hypoxia.
- Show competence in the phenomena of neurological impairment (time of useful consciousness) due to hypoxia.
- Understand the effects of prolonged oxygen use.
- Understand the difference between Decompression Illness (DCI) and hypoxia.
- Demonstrate using different scenarios the difference between slow decompression and explosive decompression.
- Identify three personal symptoms of hypoxia.
The course meets requirements of 14 CFR 61.31(g)(1)
Course length is 5 hours; preregistration is required.
The brochure can be downloaded here (pdf)