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  #1  
Old 07-12-2016, 02:57 PM
RyanS RyanS is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Darwin, MN
Posts: 70
Default Passenger choking while eating ? Heimlich Maneuver in an RV

Nothing gets your attention like seeing your child struggle to breathe. My son (7 years old) and I were on a 2 hour 10 minute cross county recently in our RV-9A. About an hour into the flight, while cruising with the autopilot on at about 8000? AGL, he told me he was hungry. I remembered a protein bar I had packed. I pulled it out and instructed him to break off ?pea-sized? pieces and eat them. What could go wrong?

A couple minutes later, I looked over and saw a distressed face looking slightly downward towards his knees. I asked, ?Are you OK?? He looked at me, very frightened and wiggled his head. ?Can you breathe?!? He shook his head side-to-side.

I immediately unhooked his seatbelt and pulled him onto my lap. I gave a quick thrust to his abdomen and then heard him speak. It was the most relieving words ever, ?Dad, I don?t have my seatbelt on!?

We were both very thankful this event turned out the way it did.


Reflecting back, I?m constantly monitoring my position on ForeFlight, so I knew the nearest airport. But, here are a few other thoughts I took away from that flight:

1. NO EATING IN THE AIRPLANE. EVER. Not even a bite. If we?re hungry, we?ll land.
2. Know the quickest safe way to get your airplane on the ground, without compounding the problem.
3. Keep on a radio frequency that can best help you in an emergency. If it?s an option, consider keeping 121.5 dialed in on your #2 radio.

Blue skies!
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2016, 03:01 PM
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Infidel Infidel is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: WV22
Posts: 849
Default

Glad to read this had a good outcome and he was sitting beside you and he was accessible. Way to go Dad! 👍🏻
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2016, 03:20 PM
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RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 3,000
Default Guilty

I think all of us are guilty of eating while flying, especially on long cross country flights. I usually have some fruit, a sandwich and other snacks on board.

Glad it worked out. For some of us, all we need to do is land to knock a blockage loose:roll eyes:

Good work!!!
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  #4  
Old 07-12-2016, 04:05 PM
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ChuckGant ChuckGant is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Collierville, TN (M41)
Posts: 129
Default

I choked on a sandwich one day while flying a KingAir 350 over the Persian Gulf. Fortunately I was able to get out of the seat and save myself. The other pilot had no idea what I was doing, and then laughed at me when I climbed back into the seat. Sometimes Marines can be jerks

I am very happy that you were able to help your son. You are correct, a little plane is not a great place to be eating.
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2016, 04:05 PM
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flightlogic flightlogic is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 1,674
Default timely action

One of my flight students is a plastic surgeon. He won't even chew gum inflight. Said the choking hazard is a concern.
Glad you dealt with it. Oxygen to the brain is so critical, that I am afraid the nearest airport, the best frequency etc... asking for help is all pointless.
Getting the airway open, as you did... saved his life.
Some dual instruction from a medical source is prudent too. Most of us are equipped with oxygen onboard and nasal canulas. A mask is usually part of the kit... but not used until 18K ft.
In a medical emergency... putting a mask on a patient and cranking full flow just might prevent brain damage, until you can get more assistance.
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Last edited by flightlogic : 07-12-2016 at 04:06 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2016, 04:07 PM
StuBob StuBob is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 258
Default

Might've been a much different story in an RV-4 or -8!

Glad it turned out well.
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2016, 06:39 PM
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Caveman Caveman is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 685
Default Bad memory

Boy this story brought back a bad memory. Back in the late 90's the wife and I took our Cherokee on vacation. We spent a day and night in Sante Fe, then headed for Sedona and the Grand Canyon. About a third of the way to Sedona, the wife pops one of those red striped peppermint candies like you get at Sonic Drive-in's into her mouth. A few minutes later she started coughing and gagging. It got real serious real quick. We were in the middle of nowhere with nothing below us but the I 40 interstate and its median. I started losing altitude and tuned to 121.5. The look on her face was scary. She bent forward in her coughing attack and I hit her hard on the back a few times and fortunately the offending culprit was dislodged. We didn't eat in the airplane for a long time afterwards.
Thanks for posting and reminding us that little things can become a big problem while airborne.

Joe
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  #8  
Old 07-12-2016, 08:29 PM
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Russ McCutcheon Russ McCutcheon is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
Posts: 911
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I?m sure happy this turned out ok!!! I fly an RV-4 and no one has ever eaten in it on my watch, a side by side would be better but you?re lucky this was a child, helping a full grown man would be a problem.
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  #9  
Old 07-12-2016, 09:52 PM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,758
Default Choking

Way to go! Glad all is well.

Just an FYI for VAF.
Last first aid training, 2015, the recommendation was back slaps before the Heimlick.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2016, 12:06 AM
waterboy2110 waterboy2110 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 247
Default

I've thought about this often. I may have food in the plane but I can't bring myself to eating while flying. Most of the time I'm alone so there's no way to get the help you'll need. Until the RV is flying I'm in a 152 so even with a passenger the hymnic isn't an option. I thought I was just being paranoid but after reading this I guess I was being a good pilot.
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