Flying With Heart

I took my parents up for a one hour flight on Friday. The GFA was showing moderate mechanical turbulence under 3000′. The city centre airport was showing winds gusting to 30kts.

I gave my parents the warning that it might be a little bumpy. The ride couldn’t have been any farther from the truth. The ride was smooth.

I decided to bring along my heart rate monitor this time around. It would be interesting to see how my body reacts to the different phases of flight. I was predicting a spike in heart rate during take off and landing, but steady during the cruise phase.

For reference my resting heart rate is around 55-60 bpm.

Taking a look at the map the blue/purple track colour is a higher heart rate. It’s easy to spot that my heart rate is higher near the airport. As predicted, take-off and landing was where the highest heart rates were found.

My average heart rate was 100bpm, which is 40bpm above my resting heart rate. This is still in my “rest” zone, so it’s hardly a workout. However, this elevated rate does explain why I always feel “drained” after flying. Takes a lot of mental processing, and the heart is there to supply it with the necessary fuel when it’s needed.

3 Responses

  1. Ramiel says:

    This is an interesting approach to measuring stress levels, to a certain extent. I imagine this would be a pretty good tool to use in measuring effects of workload and other things such as flight tests.
    How did you plot the appropriate heart rate to your location while tracking on the gps?

  2. Blake says:

    Ramiel,

    I used an application called Sports Track Live (http://www.sportstracklive.com/) for my phone. Combined with a blue tooth heart rate monitor from Polar.

    You just turn it on and it logs everything for you. You can then export it as a csv, gpx, or kml. It’s a pretty cool tool.

  3. DustUp TV says:

    Hi Blake,

    Cool experiment! I wonder if the results would be different for passengers’ heart rates compared to pilots’, and how they would be different for someone with a fear of flying. It would be pretty interesting to test.

    Since flying is your thing, you might want to check out our new reality-documentary-style TV series called Dust Up. It’s about crop dusters in Nipawin, Saskatchewan and it premieres tomorrow night at 9 pm ET/PT on History Television. You can also check out some trailers on our YouTube Channel if you like.

    Thanks for your blog – it is a pleasure to read.

    Best Wishes,

    Dust Up on History Television June 2011

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