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PSYCHOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF AEROBATIC FLYING

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PSYCHOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF AEROBATIC FLYING

Postby Luka Slak » Fri Oct 29, 2010 0:10

Odlomk iz knjige Acrobatics k sm ga ene parkat prebrou pa se mi zdi dobr.


PSYCHOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF AEROBATIC FLYING

WHY FLY ACRO?

Normal pilots, pedestrians and various authorities often ask what is the fascination with acro flying? Another good question is… why fly at all? Why not be like the majority of other people and spend your leisure time in front of TV enjoying a few beers and never take any risk? The answer to both of these questions is more or less the same: self experience, to experience one's limits, to be different, stand above some things and to feel good at the same time. For many pilots, flying acro is also an expression of their search for success, recognition and an escape from the humdrum of daily life. »Normal« pilots often make judgements about acro flying without recognising that their motivation is the same as acro pilots, just at a different level. For one, numbers of kilometres flown is all – important, whereas a perfectly flown acro manoeuvre is what counts for the other. Both are moving in a dimension that is normally not made for humans. Both are risking their lives. The acro pilot is aware of this, but those pilots who criticise acro consider themselves often immortal ignoring the risks.

THE STATISTICS FAVOUR ACRO FLYING

In the last couple of years there have not been any serious accidents during acro competitions. The few accidents that occurred during training resulted in broken bones and pulled muscles. Serious accidents in acro occur significantly at the launch and during soaring. The number of serious accidents during Cross Country competitions is much greater. Based on the number of completed flights, the statistics favour »oh so dangerous« acro when it comes to safety.

ACRO IS VERY TIME CONSUMING AND EXPENSIVE…

However, as soon as the first manoeuvre has been accomplished the pilot is hooked and will have realised that acro cannot be done with the same time allowance as normal flying. It is absolutely necessary to spend all available leisure time for training, to invest in equipment, lift tickets and travel expenses. He will also very quickly come to the conclusion that acro is only safe if taken seriously and organised thoroughly.

…AND CHANGES YOU RADICALLY

Just like frequent Cross Country flying, intense acro has a profound effect on the personality of a pilot. He learns to deal with fear and stress situations. He learns to observe his actions, feelings and instincts. He learns to zone in on his senses and to think about the brevity of life.

WHAT IS THE REAL APPEAL?

Very few pilots are consciously aware of what the real attraction of acro is. After consideration, the most intensive feelings are not after successfully completed acro flight but moreover after successfully overcoming a seemingly hopeless situation. In these moments, sometimes pilots go into a condition called »flow«, where space and time are blended out, your whole being concentrates on what you are doing, thought is mostly subconscious and much faster than in the »normal« condition. Body and soul form a dimensionless unity for a very short time span. Spiritual searchers must reach this condition through meditation. For acro pilots it is a free added bonus which most pilots are not aware of. They are probably these short moments, which make acro pilots continue to strive, even if they are not aware of it, and may beo f the opinion that success, perfection and adventure are their motivation.

INTOXICATION FROM DANDER OR THE DESIRE FOR FEAR?

The following are typical conditions for extreme sports from a scientific viewpoint:

- Extraordinary physical exertions
- Unusual physical conditions and situations (free fall, high speed, acceleration and rotation movements)
- Unknown outcome
- Unpredictable situations and conditions
- Life threatening situations.

Science has various theories as to why people do extreme sports, all of which are similar:

- SEARCH FOR STIMULI: The search for strong stimulants and fantastic experiences is interpreted as a deep personality characteristic, which is up to 50 – 65% genetically predetermined. (Source:Zuckermann, 1978).

- DESIRE FOR FEAR. Physical hazard, which is triggered by fear, is accompanied by confident hope that all will end well. This means that security has to be foregone and then regained. (Source: Balint, 1960).


- OVERCOMING FEAR. Risk seekers are aware of danger and feel fear. They face up to fear and, by attaining skills, they are in a position to control the elements of danger. This way. Fear loses its fright. Borderline experiences are therefore also self – experiences. The power to control risky situations can be transferred to the everyday and can arm you to deal with day to day problems. (Source: Semler, 1994)

Everybody has a tendancy to seek out »thrills«. People possess an individually developed sense, which flics between the search for excitement and its avoidance. People who can achive a good balance of both states and who can change from one to the other at the right moment, live the most intense lives. Extreme sports are also seen as a search for limitations – a test for personal performance limitations and risk – and as a search for adventure – a search for intense stimulation of the senses and unusual emotional states.


FLYING ACRO BRINGS YOU TO THE LIMIT OF YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL LIMITATIONS. THE IMPACT OF STRESS AND ADRENALINE SURGES IS NOT TO BE UNDERESTIMATED!

MUSCLE STRAIN FROM ACRO

…Occurs mostly in the upper body. High resistance and G – forces especially affect shoulders, upper arms and elbows. Strained muscles and inflamations similar to Tennislbow are common. Tension pain and back problems are normal. For this physiotherapists are a common sight at competitions. Ankle and knee sprains, strains and breaks often occur at take – offs and landings. Well known remedies help: massage, physiotherapy, swimming, ointments etc… Up until recently most pilots were convinced that their normal acro training is sufficient to train also their body. But meanwhile some of them perform additionally a specialised muscle and back training.

PHYSICAL STRAIN FROM STRESS

In addition to the psychological stress is the physical stress caused by the huge surge of adrenaline. Aerobatic paragliding is a risk sport where the pilot is under permanent stress. A certain amount of stress is vital. Short – term stress generally has a motivating effect. Peak performance is almost impossible without controlled stress. Long – term stress, however, can lead to considerable healt problems. The body discharges INCREASED ADRENALIN within seconds when under stress – also NORADRENALINE AND CORTISOL: Blood pressure and sugar level rise, puls and respiration become faster, pupils enlarge, the muscular system is beter supplied with blood and the whole body is better supplied with oxygen. The immune system, however, slows down. All available energy is earmarked for combat and problem solving – energy which at that moment is not being used for regenerative and constructive processes within body. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are normally quickly metabolised and excreted in the urine. The effects of lesser – known cortisol last longer. In high doses and after long exposure, cortisol becomes cellular poison. It can cause premature arteriosclerosis, which can result in a heart attack or a stroke. Long – term stress (permanent alarm bells on one hand together with lack of regeneration on the other hand) lead to stress – related metabolic problems and weakening of the immune system. Bowel disruptions, stomach ulcers, cardiac and circulatory problems, diabetes, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and lack of concentration could all be a result of permanent stress. The high discharge of adrenaline especially endangers the kidneys, which in conjunction with an unhealty diet can cause enormous problems.

ADRENALINE CAN ALSO CAUSE ADDICTION,

Not necessarily in the search for the next kick, but more in the way in which the times between acro are bridged. The pilot can quickly become reliant on cigarettes, alcohol, marihuana and other hard drugs for relaxation. This combination weakens the kidneys even more and in extreme cases can cause premature aging of body and mind.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH STRESS

Meditation techniques, relaxation excercises, other sports and a healthy diet are appropriate alternatives. Be careful with your comsumption of alcohol, coffe, tea, chocolate and bananas! They can cause high adrenaline levels and can amplify the effect. In contrast, sugar helps lower adrenaline levels, as can excercise. A most pleasant stress killer is sex. It's best to choose the stress – reliever that best suits you.

DOPING?

As in many other sports, some acro pilots try to gain some advantage through doping. In many competitions, there are doping controls and any positive results lead to disqualification.

CONCLUSION

That's it! We might not have covered every flight figure, and maybe not touched on every aspect of acro; furthermore, after this goes to print some imaginative pilot probably will come up with a fabulous new manoeuvre. However, we hope we have given a good insight into the risks and the prerequisites to anyone interested in the sport. Now you know what to expect and how to achieve it. Anyone who, like us, is completely infected with acro – fever will search this book in vain for the answer to his biggest problem: How can I give up everything to go flying and still have enough money for equipment and to get by? A lot of water flows under the bridge before prize money, the red carpet and an interested sponsor flow your way; time that you need to practise and learn the manoeuvres, but a time in which you are not earning an income. What is more, you will need to replace your wing once or twice a year, your harness every two years. The lift costs money and you have to eat something. Friends and family feel neglected, your wife files for divorce, and your employer gives you the sack. It is certainly as difficult to learn all the manoeuvres as it is to deal with all these problems. A great action sport becomes soon a life's work, which brings to you to the edge of your maximum stress capacity and often has a deep effect on your personality. Some don't make it. They sink in mediocrity. They do not find a way to acquire the time and money necessary for acro. Some forget that acro is only a sport, a way to spend leisure time. It is the pilot himself who chooses to make a career out of a hobby. The pilot's own thoughts, wishes and hopes determine if acro must be the only thing in life for him. For some, acrowill be a sport with which to achieve fame, honour and recognition. For others, it is a way of learning your own personal limits and to continually develop mentally.

With all this in mind we extend our every best wish to each and every potential acro pilot.
What they drives is no death wish, but the avarice for life.For a full, intensive, uncompromising life.
Luka Slak
galeb
 
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