As June continues to raise the mercury in the thermostats, it becomes more and more necessary to remind ourselves about the importance of staying hydrated. Despite bringing an end to cabin fever, the beginning of swimming pool season and weekend cookouts, the heat also brings a new set of concerns to the air show environment. Fatigue, dehydration and slowed decision making come to mind as the most critical of these concerns.
The hot and muggy weather at air shows is taxing to both the spectators and the performers. The human body burns more energy trying to maintain a cooler temperature, and as a result, the body has less energy to spare. This fatigue can compound a very complex task such as flying aerobatics and steps should be taken to help the body retain its energy. Keeping performers indoors, in air conditioning and in shaded areas is the best defense for heat fatigue and its negative side effects.
Dehydration is more likely in the summer months as the body uses more and more of its water reserves for cooling itself. This increase in sweating without properly replenishing one’s fluids will cause the blood to thicken and become resistant to circulation. This reduced circulation of blood has a direct relation to a reduced G tolerance for performers. Remember to keep your performers over exposed to bottled water, and performers should not feel bashful in asking for something to drink.
It is a shared responsibility of both the performer and event organizer to ensure that these needs are met. Performers must ensure that they hydrate themselves, and event organizers must ensure that the opportunity to meet these basic needs exists as a matter of safety.