Airsickness (and motion sickness in general) does affect people to various extents.
Some outstanding pilots are motion-sick, so if you experience it - don't expect it to be the end of your flying career.


Personally, I seem to be a 'medium severity' case.
Would quickly get motion-sick reading in a coach (but not in an airliner).

My symptoms only show up in thermal flights with some turbulence. Before I've started flying inland, I've never suspected I'm airsick during few years of coastal ridge soaring. After 20-30 min of flight (without any treatment), I start to feel nauseous, up to vomiting mid-air.


All remedies fall into few broad categories :

  • chemical medications (off-the counter, e.g. Travacalm, and stronger prescription ones)

  • herbal medications (ginger)

  • other remedies (chewing gum, Hydralite, wristbands)

  • exercises that induce motion sickness (e.g. on playground equipment on the ground, or wingovers/spirals in the air)

  • lifestyle (hydration, light food, more sleep, less alcohol)

Efficacy of all abovementioned means differs widely from one person to another, but it looks like herbal or off-the shelf medications would work for vast majority. Only one pilot (of dozen airsick ones I know) needs prescription drugs.


Pharmacy medications available in Australia are Kwells and Travacalm (Original in blue package and HO in red package). Both contain hyoscine (scopolamine) hydrobromide. Travacalm Original also contains dimenhydrinate and caffeine.
Despite the caffeine content, full Travacalm pill would make me a bit sleepy after its action is over, so be careful if driving evening after flying. Half pill is enough for me for 5+ hours (i.e. full day of thermic flying), but others need two pills.
Important factor is that Travacalm must be taken 30 min before the takeoff (e.g. after coming to launch, or before driving up launch) I.e it would prevent, but wouldn't cure the dizziness that has already started.
Scopolamine-only drugs (Kwells and Travacalm HO) are noticeably less efficient (for me).
Scopolamine is also sold as patches/plasters, that release it slowly and lasts for few days. Not sure if they are worthwhile to use.
Ginger alone (raw or in tablets, like Travacalm Natural in yellow package) doesn't work for anyone I know, but used as a component of many drugs, so worth trying.
One stronger prescription drug that has side effects (dizziness on the ground and sleepiness) might work (combined with scopolamine and ginger) is chlorphenamine.

Ask your GP, or this specialized pharmacy :

Other remedies

Motion sickness wristbands mechanism is similar to acupuncture - application of pressure (or electric impulses) to a specific point on the inner side of the wrist. Not enough stats to say how efficient they are (and published medical research is contradictive). You can try if pills don't work, or if you want to avoid them.

Chewing gum and hydration solutions (Hydralite) relieve ear pressure, which might aggravate (reinforce ?) the symptoms. Not sure of efficacy (I use them in combination with Travacalm), but Hydralite is useful just because you can drink (and carry) less water when hiking up to the launch on a day.

Coffee is supposed to dehydrate, but I've never felt any difference whether I've had some or not.

For more details on chewing gum, see

Cannot say much on how much does unhealthy lifestyle (i.e. flying hungover, having got abundant breakfast and not enough sleep) affect airsickness, but it looks logical that these factors might reinforce otherwise mild airsickness or dizziness.


Adaptation (or de-sensitization) of vestibular system) matters.

For few pilots, exercises on playground equipment (swings or carousels) helped. For others - doing wingovers (while ridge-soaring or flying sleddies). I haven't seriously tried either, but couple months of flying in thermals does improve my resistance to motion sickness.

Early in flying season, my 'standard' dose of half Travacalm pill wasn't always sufficient, and after couple months of flying in thermals the same dosage would work for 8 hours.

Fly safe !



Thanks for contributions and inspiration to :
Jeremy Gough, Sudin Shetesta, Clif Deyo, Barbara Scott, Brian Webb, Alex Dentener, Maksim Lin, Julie Sheard, Ian Dayble, Mathieu, Amirfarshid Aslani, David McAdam