Sonntag, 26. Juni 2016

It's (all) about decisions or what diving has to do with flying an aircraft

Some people are asking me;" Hey, what are you doing to prepare for this trip. You will not know everything what will happen, so how will you prepare or exercise!?"

In a certain way this is a valid point. I do not know exactly what I have to expect. The best weather forecast is not a guarantee for a bright sky, and especially in the Northern Atlantic, fog or rain can appear immediate and with very limited pre-warning.

But preparation for a project like this is not only to foresee all possible situations, but to be prepared for taking good decisions.

It's given, that humans have only limited cerebral capacity to solve problems. While I'm training my skills in handling and operating the aircraft and its technical equipment,  I'm producing "free capacities" to handle unforeseen situations and issues- and to take (good) decisions.

In my time as scuba trainer and guide in Germany and Egypt, I was very often facing difficult, and sometimes, dangerous situations.

I remember one situation while a wreck dive in the "Lake Constance", at the triangle Germany, Austria, Suisse. I wanted to explore the wreck of the "jura", a wooden boat, sunk in 1864, with a group of experienced divers. The relic is in very good shape, due to the cold waters, and it is one of "the" hotspots in this lake for experienced divers. Laying in 39 meters, doesn't make it a "piece of cake". The weather was drizzling, the ride with the boat to the diving spot was a kind of a nightmare, due to wind and current and waves.

While the descent into the cold and dark lake, in approximately 30 meters, I felt alarming symptoms of "rapture of deep"  occurring.

Within seconds I lost contact to my group, and my breath was escalating. I had to take an immediate decision what to do. Due to the well trained skills for handling my dive gear, I was using a dry suit, and the "self-acting" skills in buoyancy kept me enough resources to analyze my situation, take some options into consideration and take a decision.

Understanding the root cause of the problems I had, there was only one way to get back to safety: a slow and controlled climb. Nitrogen can lose it's bad impact on a diver within only a few meters.

Having taken this decision, I was within a few seconds climbing controlled 4-6 meters. The impact of the harmful nitrogen decreased. Holding the new level for some minutes got me back to normal and I could resume my dive. Finally I met my group again, and could enjoy the wonderful wreck of the "Jura".

Well, having the skills and routines for the "normal" workload (handling the airflow in my dry-suit, breathing and pressure equalization, using the lamp, controlling the air supply), gave me time and capacity for taking problem solving decisions.

So this is exactly what I have to train and practice for this adventure in the opposite element. My skills for the basic workload in an aircraft.

As a scuba diver you have to dive, dive and dive. As an aircraft pilot, guess what?

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