formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

Be sure to read your weekly Liberty Gazette newspaper, free to Liberty area residents!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5, 2017 See Plane? Sea Plane?

The Liberty Gazette
December 5, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: As Robert Burns wrote in his poem, To a Mouse, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Ours did just that as we hoped for cooperative weather in the Pacific Northwest in November. It’s been years since I first flew a seaplane. With the annual flying stipend my employer provides, I planned to complete the commercial seaplane rating. But gale force winds dominated the game and scrapped my playbook.

I remember fondly our honeymoon in Maine, the first time I did a “splash-and-go.” We had been driving and saw a float plane flying low, appearing to be landing nearby. We drove in the direction we saw it go and happened upon a wonderful seaplane base. It was a lake ringed by houses with docks. Cessnas, Pipers, and other small aircraft on floats were tied securely, bobbing on gentle currents looking like they were gathered at a lake party, laughing and in a happy mood. Happy seaplanes.

It was an impromptu flight. A seaplane instructor who lived on the lake had time to take me up. I learned about the huge differences between taxiing, taking off, and landing on the ground versus in water and logged four splash-downs.

So two weeks ago, with that grand memory, I was excited to schedule a week of flying off the coast between Seattle and the San Juan Islands with one of the premiere float plane operators in the world—Kenmore Air Service.

Kenmore doesn’t just offer training. They take people on sight-seeing flights and partner with many of the bed and breakfasts in the Seattle area for romantic and fun flights to the islands.

I met my instructor, Bill, who had just retired from United Airlines. I knew we couldn’t fly the first day because the wind was howling so fiercely the waves would topple an aircraft with no warning. We hoped the weather would improve. But when we came upon continued harsh winds and high waves on the third day, Mike and I decided we’d reschedule for next summer and go on to visit family.

All was not lost, however. We had time with one of my sisters way up north in Bellingham, Washington, not far from the Canadian border, and then with several members of Mike’s family in Oregon.

Mike: My kinfolks are more the laid-back type, while Linda’s are usually on the go. This explains our different perspective on roses. I say we should stop and smell them. Linda says take a good whiff and enjoy as you breeze by.

We spent a few days at full throttle with Linda’s family and then relaxed beyond her comfort zone with my family, partly at a farm and partly high on a hilltop overlooking miles of Oregon land with views of snow-white mountains.

Linda: With all that “relaxing,” I’ve earned what I’ll do next—spend that flying stipend on more aerobatic training; full throttle, right here in the Great State of Texas. See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28, 2017 Joshua Knowlton

The Liberty Gazette
November 28, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: Joshua Knowlton is a helicopter mechanic in Oregon. More than that, he’s a dad to a ten-year old girl.

It’s been an active fire season in the west, and Joshua’s services have been critical for keeping firefighting helicopters flying. All summer he’s supported a Bell 407 for the Bureau of Land Management Helitack crew from Moab, Utah. In the long hours away from home, he promised his daughter a trip to Disneyland when dry season was over.

And a friend? Sure, a friend, too. While this upped the costs, Joshua was happy to have the friend along. But then he got to thinking. The friend has twin twelve-year old sisters. He couldn’t leave them behind—their family is homeless.

Joshua reached out to a compassionate world with a GoFundMe campaign for $1,000 to offset the extras. Genuine and unpretentious, he’s just a dad who wanted to do what felt right. The world felt good about his intentions. Swarms of people cheered his efforts, piling $1,800 on him. As a result, four young princesses enjoyed an escape, did whatever they wanted, laughed and played, carefree.

The happy, tired, crew of five returned from Disneyland last week. For the parents who trusted him with their three daughters, and donors who trusted him with their money, Joshua documented a grand vacation on Facebook.

Joshua: They met Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and other characters, and ate about a month’s rent worth of churros and ice cream. I’m not sure if they ever get full.

They rode the “Guardians of the Galaxy” twice, the roller coaster a good half dozen times, the “Grizzly River Run” five straight times, the Ferris wheel, the swings, the metal zeppelins, the “Soarin’ Around the World” ride twice, and I can’t remember everything else.

Seeing their reactions was pure magic. When we exited the “Soarin’” ride they compared goosebumps on their arms. They wanted to fly. I told them that ride was a lot like flying a helicopter and they could do it if they wanted to, that good things take work, and excuses are garbage. You only fail when you stop trying; the world owes you nothing, gives you nothing. Don’t let anyone slow you down, hold you back, trip you up, or clip your wings. Most of all, don’t let anyone waste your time. We are given a finite amount of time on this earth. Use it wisely; do something worthy of those precious minutes.

Linda: Joshua is a member of Women in Aviation, International, and encourages women to explore opportunities in aviation. And for his daughter and everyone else’s, he’s keenly interested in fighting child sex trafficking. Joshua’s humanity-focused stewardship through the amusement park vacation is not the end of his story. He says he’s called to do so much more to help people.

Joshua: This trip was designed to provide magic and wonder for these girls, and a couple days away from life’s hardships. It worked. Serving others makes me feel better than anything.

November 21, 2017 The Toy Cousin

The Liberty Gazette
November 21, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: How many shopping days left? Back to toy land we go! We wrote a here few weeks ago about the interesting personal and aviation history of Ole Kristiansen, the founder of LEGO, and his son, Godtfred, who created what is today the second busiest airport in Denmark, Billund Airport. LEGO also made a few airplane building kits, including a biplane in 1967. What I didn’t recall was that in my ancestry there was also a toy maker.

My sister, Diane, is the family genealogist. While visiting her in Washington recently, we reminisced about childhood toys, like the painted wood blocks packed in an old-time mail-looking bag. On the front was printed “SIFO Mailbag of Blocks.” The letters forming Sifo were drawings of people who bent into the shapes of each letter. I remember trying to figure out how a person could bend in those ways—especially the letter O, the character drawn in a backbend in full circle! The blocks saw a lot of playtime at our house.

When Diane dug into our dad’s side of the family tree, she discovered Silas Morris Ford Jr., who had a toy company in Minneapolis from 1944-1975. Si for Silas, Fo for Ford: Sifo. A second cousin twice removed, Silas was in a part of the family our dad never knew. So the fact that we had those blocks is kind of surprising. Obviously we didn’t get them from Cousin Silas.

Here I’d been curious about LEGO’s toy airplane history and hadn’t realized the existence in my own family history. A quick search—oh, what did we do before the internet—and I came upon the history of Sifo toys. The brand boasted “from the land of Hiawatha, the great teacher.”

As I searched through the 1956 Sifo Toys catalog, I found pictures of that familiar mailbag of blocks along with many other educational toys, puzzles, and building sets. Among the products for children eighteen months to ten years, I came across my pot of gold on page thirty-one. The “DC-28 Construct-A-Plane” was billed as an “immense and challenging twin-engine ‘do-it-yourself’ airplane,” suitable for children four to ten years old.

It would be neat to discover other aviators in my family history, but how unique to find a toy maker. And it’s okay that there is no such thing as a DC-28 in the real world of aviation—just a Dyson upright vacuum cleaner model. In fact, Sifo’s Construct-A-Plane looks more like a Lockheed Hudson with its twin boom tail. I suspect by naming it such, Cousin Silas didn’t have to worry about infringing on the rights of the Douglas Commercial (DC) aircraft company.

Sifo made their buildable airplane about a decade before LEGO made their first one. How cool would it be if it turned out Silas or one of his children built an airport for their community, as did LEGO’s Kristiansen family.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017 Mrs. Douglas

The Liberty Gazette
November 14, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Helen Elizabeth Burgner Douglas Hart was the only child of a newspaper owner. She had a pony and a cart and could be seen trotting about Charleston, Illinois, circa 1900. Helen was educated at Wellesley College, a classmate of Soong Mei-ling, who became Madame Chiang Kai-shek, First Lady of the Republic of China.

But that’s about enough of the things Helen probably wouldn’t care if you never knew. Helen was so full of life and love that her giving meant far more to her than how gifted she was.

She moved to nearby Mattoon and married Clarence Douglas, an attorney and judge, and then Maurice Hart, whose death made her a widow for the second time. Establishing the Douglas-Hart Foundation, Helen built an art gallery, a cultural center, Friendship Park and a nature preserve, all for the benefit of everyone in Mattoon.

Helen supported local businesses, but she was also well traveled. Before their trip to The Hague at the end of WWII, she and Clarence stopped by my grandparents’ house and asked my mother and her sister if they would each like to pick one of their pen pals for the Douglases to visit. My mom chose her pal, Reit Lambrechtse, a Danish girl with five younger siblings. Mom and Aunt Marge’s Girl Scout troop had sent care packages to a Girl Scout troop in war-torn Europe. Each kit assembled was intended for one girl and contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a washcloth, and soap. But the recipient scout troop had more members than the one Mom was in, and she and her friends learned from the Danish thank-you letter that the gifts were divided among the girls to be sure no one was left out. Reit got the comb my mom sent. Her thank-you note expressed gratitude from all six Lambrechtse children, who were very happy they could now comb their hair. One comb—for six grateful children in a family trying to make it through the tragedies of war.

When Helen and Clarence visited the Lambreschste family, they were so impressed with the children they offered to sponsor every one of them who wanted to come to the U.S. Eventually, five of the six emigrated to start a new life. Reit stayed to take care of her parents.

Helen passed away in 1991, but from her vision flow the peace and beauty of Shakespearean gardens at Friendship Park; from her compassion Lambrechtse descendants enjoy freedom. But that only gives you the tiniest peek into Helen’s life. I wouldn’t want you to get the impression she was too humble and peaceful to be exciting. Helen was a renaissance woman, ready to take on the world and the next adventure right around the corner. She never stuck her nose in the air except when she was flying. The first female aircraft owner and licensed pilot in Coles County, Illinois, just made the world a better place.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017 A Mixed Bag

The Liberty Gazette
November 7, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Last week we brought you a cool story about the toy manufacturer, LEGO®. After press time, I received a reply to my inquiry about whether the biplane kit they created in 1967 was the first LEGO airplane. I learned from the LEGO team there were two planes before the biplane. The first was created in 1964 and was called 303-2 Aeroplane. The following year, they made the 320 Airplane, and then “the amazing 328 Biplane” in 1967.

So in eighty-five years of making toys, it looks like the airplane models are rare. They should be real collectibles! Of course, they’ve made an airport set, jets, Star Wars, and NASA models. But the nostalgic airplanes take us back to an interesting era of flight, when LEGO built a real airport.

As an aside, at the bottom of their company email, below the representative’s signature line, is this: “Did you know? The LEGO Group is one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, making more than 675 million tyres in 2015!”

Having stepped on many a LEGO in the dark, I can believe that number!

Mike: Speaking of old airplanes, the showroom-quality Stearman belonging to long time rice sower M & M Air Service is safe in a hangar at the Beaumont Municipal Airport. M & M lost five airplanes in the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but the Stearman was unscathed. The five that flooded were at the Chambers County airport in Winnie, right along I-10. When the levee was breached, that airport became a basin for four feet of rushing water. Up to eight feet was trapped in the hangars.

Water reached the bottom of the windshields on four crop dusters—Air Tractor 602s—and the top of the windshield of their Cessna 182. They also lost fifteen loader trucks and other equipment, and parts stored in the hangar. On the upside, the company has already replaced those four Air Tractor 602s with three Air Tractor 802s. Now three airplanes can do the job that once required four.

Linda: Reducing the number of airplanes without reducing output should help, given the severe pilot shortage these days. Mike has been busy training pilots to fill vacancies in corporate and charter flight departments. Regional airlines that feed the major airlines are in a hiring binge, competing fiercely for the small pool of prospects. They’re getting creative with incentives so attractive it’s caused a trickle-down shortage of pilots in other flying jobs. Sign-on bonuses are over $30,000 at the regional level.

Mike: Because many pilots at major airlines are reaching mandatory retirement age (sixty-five), there are more openings at the top of the pilot job pyramid. For each pilot moving up, there’s an increase in demand for new blood at the bottom. However, there aren’t enough new ones in the pipeline. This is a major cause of the delays in air travel. The hiring trend shows no sign of slowing down. One could consider this a good time to be a pilot.

October 31, 2017 Godtfred's Airport

The Liberty Gazette
October 31, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

The airport in Billund is Denmark’s second busiest (Copenhagen, the busiest). Its 10,071-foot-long runway serves airlines and private aircraft. Scandinavian Air first provided airline service there in 1964, when the runway was only about half as long.

Billund’s robust economy is thanks in large part to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, who knew an airport was vital for businesses and communities. He had guaranteed the first five years’ financial needs to turn his little grass landing strip into a community airport. Godtfred had been using his Piper Apache, a four-seat, twin-engine propeller airplane, to travel to his father’s many business locations.

His father was Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the tenth son of an indigent Danish family. Hard times followed when Ole lost his job during the depression. For his family to survive, he put his master carpenter skills to work building stepladders, ironing boards, stools, and wooden toys. But too soon, his lovely wife, Kirstine, passed away, leaving him to raise four boys on his own.

It was 1932 when twelve-year old Godtfred came to work for him. Two years later, Ole had seven employees and decided it was time to brand the business, so he ran a naming contest.

The following year, the company introduced their first construction toy, a wooden duck proven by Ole’s boys to bring joy. They named the duck “Kirk´s Sandgame”.

There were good times, and bad. Ole and his company survived the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, and a fire that destroyed their factory a couple of years later. But his success in the toy business continued and he decided to make wooden toy bricks. Plastic was available, too, so Ole purchased a plastic injection-moulding machine that same year, 1946, and three years later, Ole’s company made their first “Automatic Binding Bricks”–sold exclusively in Denmark. The bricks came in two sizes–with four and eight studs–and four colors.

When Ole ran that company naming contest in 1934, he had declared himself the winner. His entry was a combination of the first two letters of the Danish words for “play well”: leg godt, and in 1953, Automatic Binding Bricks became LEGO Bricks.

A warehouse fire in 1960 ended wooden toy production, but the company was growing, entering the U.S. market in 1961, thanks to a licensing agreement with Samsonite Corp.

From what we could glean from their nicely organized website, it wasn’t until 1967 when they came out with their first airplane kit, a biplane.

LEGO is now sold all over the world, providing jobs for more than 18,000 people, and the company operates its aircraft fleet from the LEGO hangar at Billund Airport, once the grass strip with a wood hangar where Godtfred took off to help sell his father’s toys.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen passed away in 1958, inducted posthumously into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1989. The man who started with nothing, faced setbacks and heartaches, still brings smiles to millions of children, while his son’s airport brings millions of dollars into their community. 

October 24, 2017 Gorilla Flying

The Liberty Gazette
October, 24, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Do you remember the movies and television series, Planet of the Apes? In some scenes, the apes wore space suits. I suppose this was so they could visit other planets, with or without other apes. Their spacecraft was undoubtedly more advanced than those of the golden years of aviation, the first half of the twentieth century. On board their spaceship were complex systems run by sophisticated computers. In their time, they didn’t need a flight engineer. But only a couple of decades before those apes went shooting through the galaxy, on real airplanes with complex systems, flight engineers were an essential part of the flight crew.

The flight engineer was like a mechanic, specially trained to monitor and operate the airplane’s systems. These engineers were essential for safety, operating electrical, pneumatic, fuel, and hydraulic systems. Of course, today, that position has been automated out of most cockpits. In modern jets, pilots monitor computers, which manage all the aircraft systems. But there was that one time, that one close call, when the world wondered if the apes, or gorillas, had taken a step back in time, perhaps jealous of those who had the opportunity to serve as flight engineers.

It happened on an airline flight, from somewhere over there to somewhere over here–the place doesn’t matter, really. Some airline companies had installed video cameras inside the cockpits so passengers could watch as the pilots took off and landed the plane. The trouble was no one could see all the important work the flight engineer did, only an occasional appearance of his hand moving controls. Pilots got all the glory. Perhaps that’s what drove the flight engineer on one flight to purchase part of a gorilla costume. Only part–just the left arm. The camera turned on as the plane came in to land and those passengers watching the closed-circuit TV saw a gorilla arm reach in to view and flip switches.

The flight engineer was suspended for his joke and the camera feed from the cockpit was terminated.

Mike: I flew once with an airline captain whose hair was eighteen inches long. He braided it and hid it down the back of his uniform, camouflaging his inner rebel during his day job. But word got out and after completing a flight, as he exited the airplane, the airline’s chief pilot greeted him in the jet way with a smile on his face and a pair of scissors in his hand. The captain kept the braid and had it sewn into a baseball cap. He kept the hair-braid-cap in his flight bag, and when the cockpit door closed, he put on the cap and flipped the braid out, maintaining his individuality, if even in a limited way.

The world is full of characters, and pilots are known to possess personalities prone to practical jokes. Our humor won’t be at the expense of the safety of flight, but it will be amusing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017 Aerial Firefighting

The Liberty Gazette
October 17, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: Our college flying team gathered on the flight deck as the air tanker pilot spun tales of derring-do in aerial firefighting. He explained the little button on his control yoke, the airplane’s steering wheel. Behind him, the instrument panel was dark in comparison to the light shining through a virtual greenhouse of windows. Most airplane cockpits are too small to fit more than two or three people, even in big airliners. But the spacious cockpit of the C-119, a Korean War era plane nicknamed the Flying Boxcar, held our group of ten with room to spare.

The little button, which got more than a little attention, was a release button, like those used by bombardiers. This one opened doors on the belly of the airplane allowing up to eighteen hundred gallons of fire retardant to fall from a tank. That’s ten thousand pounds. The entire load could be dispersed in less than a second, or the drop could last up to ten seconds. One member of our group got a little too close to that button. The pilot quickly blocked her itchy fingers to prevent spilling expensive, gooey fire retardant and painting the entire ramp bright red.

Years ago, the airplanes dropped a yellow-green type of fire suppressant called Borate, which earned them the nickname, Borate Bombers. Borate was made from Borax mined from the California desert. It not only smothered the fire, it killed all the vegetation. The weight of impact was enough to cut off oxygen to the fire so the Department of Agriculture looked for something that could do the same, but wouldn’t be so harsh on plants. Phos-Chek is the suppressant used today. It’s usually dyed red with iron-sulfate so pilots can see where they have dropped their load. Once the fire has been put out, the sulfate and phosphate salts act as fertilizer to promote regrowth.

One of the airports where our flying team practiced precision landings was an air attack tanker base. Hemet Valley Flying Service operated a number of aircraft including several Flying Boxcars. The airplanes were old even then and have since been retired from service, replaced by DC-10s, 747s and others. The 747 “Supertanker” carries more than ten times the load the C-119 was capable of lifting.

While I marvel at their forms as they glide across lakes to scoop up water, and sweep down valleys with seeming grace to disperse their cargo, I do not forget the reason they exist. They are frontline weapons in a fight to save lives.

Dozens of helicopters and airplanes have been dispatched to help put out these fires that have devoured much of Napa Valley, California’s wine country. The two Canyon fires near Anaheim have claimed over 8,000 acres. The Palmer, Atlas, and Tubbs fires have burned more than 20,000 acres, and resources are stretched. This has been a tragic year of natural disasters. With each event, aviation has provided significant rescue and support.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 10, 2017 St. Exupery and the Palms

The Liberty Gazette
October 10, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Of the books written by Frenchman, Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince” (1943) is probably best known among non-aviators. In the minds of prop heads and turbine cowboys, however, the writer-poet-aristocrat-aviator is to this day one of the most often quoted flyers, with relatable declarations like, “I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”

Natural disasters and those brought about by the will of evil remind us that many of our everyday concerns are tyrannized by petty things. The antithesis to the oppression of wretchedness is born in people such as those who rush to the aid of people in need. We’ve seen a great deal of that during emergencies, and praise the heroes who put others first. Among many aviators who commit beyond the emergencies to the long term welfare of the less fortunate are Mark and Kirsten Palm, serving in the East Sepik province of Papua, New Guinea.

With only one hospital in the province to serve over 500,000 people spread out over millions of acres, medical care is either for those in luxury or luck. For most, the hospital is three to five days travel along the 700-mile Sepik River.

Mark founded Samaritan Aviation to use his sea plane to transport medical staff, patients, medicine, and supplies all over the country. Saint-Exupéry may have appreciated the association of his quote to the selflessness of the Palm family: “Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself.”

One of Mark’s favorite experiences in bartering life came when he was called to fly out to a remote part of Papua to pick up a pregnant lady whose water broke three days prior. Her husband presumed what he’d been told was true–the baby couldn’t still be alive–but he hoped someone would save his wife. Mark flew her to the hospital, while the husband paddled up the river for three days. When he arrived, he found not only his wife alive, but their newborn son as well, and named him Samaritan.

Mark and Kirsten want their three children see things that are bigger than themselves. We think Saint-Exupéry would agree.

Samaritan Aviation was born out of the impact of need when Mark went on a mission trip with a friend during college and considered what he could do to participate in life. From his vision are now two sea planes, three more pilots, a medical director, ministry and support staff, working to fill the medical void.

With Mark’s vision, it is easy to hear Saint-Exupéry saying, “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” (from “The Little Prince”)

Click here to see the interview with Mark and Kirsten.

But you can see so much more if you go directly to Samaritan Aviation’s website. 

October 3, 2017 Elder Travel

The Liberty Gazette
October 3, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Here we are into autumn, and soon we’ll be thinking about holiday travel–Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's. Now’s the time to consider a safe travel plan for our elderly loved ones, because preparation can make a substantial difference in a healthy trip.

On a recent airline flight, an elderly woman suddenly felt like she was about to pass out, and got the attention of another passenger, who pushed the call button. No doubt the flight attendants were relieved that a doctor was only two rows away and rushed to the side of the vacationer-turned-patient.

The elderly woman did pass out, her arm muscles spasmed, and her breathing was labored. As the doctor massaged her chest bone she came to. His diagnosis was dehydration, which brought quick action by the crew to get water for her. Unfortunately, the water didn’t stay down, and the scene was repeated four times. Pass out, wake up, drink water, throw up, pass out again… Not a great way to start a vacation.

After a few hours, the episodes subsided and the doctor returned to his seat next to his wife.

Unfortunately, this startling situation isn’t uncommon among the elderly. To learn more on flying at advanced age, we consulted the Journal of Travel Medicine, where Dr. Iain B. McIntosh, a Scottish physician who lectures on geriatric medicine, explains the physiological disadvantages of the older traveler, and what can be done in preparation for travel. If this applies to you or someone you know, you should read Dr. McIntosh’s article, and follow up with a physician.

As we advance in age, Dr. McIntosh explains that decreases in cardiopulmonary and renal function can affect us at altitude. An airplane’s cabin air pressure depends on the altitude flying, but can be as high as the equivalent of eight thousand feet.

With age and altitude, we are less able to handle hypoxia, and our body’s ability to regulate water, sodium, and body temperature is affected.

When we have trouble regulating temperature, including sweating, hyperthermia and dehydration become a greater concern, especially in higher temperatures. In lower temperatures, our body’s poor regulation can cause hypothermia and exposure. When Dr. McIntosh considered temperature extremes, he cautioned that the possibility of stroke increases, and stress in general can increase the risk of heart attack.

Lots of walking and carrying luggage can put an unusual amount of stress on muscles, including the heart, while sitting for long periods brings concern of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean our older family members should stop flying. The doctor’s advice is to get a health check before travel, stay on schedule with medications, and consider extra insurance and/or the availability of medical care on the trip. Our recommendation is to read his article: Iain B. Mclntosh. Health Hazards and the Elderly Traveler. Journal of Travel Medicine. Volume 5, Issue 1, Version of Record online: 28 JUL 2006.

Wishing you healthy holiday planning.