The Vomit Comet

Tom Wolfe, in The Right Stuff, disclosed the astronaut nickname for the converted cargo plane the Air Forces uses to induce temporary weightlessness for the training of astronauts.

I rode in one last night courtesy of JetBlue.

On the approach into Boston, into 40 mph howling arctic winds, the Embrauer was … very interesting. So interesting that I started to wonder how many times you can flex the wings of a plane before they tear off. I tightened down my belt, noted the reassuring presence of the barf bag in the seat pocket, closed my eyes and went into full Swami mode, meditating through the weightlessness and re-swallowing my stomach contents about ten times. Yummy.

Those who have fished with me know that I am usually the first to get seasick, but that I instantly recover, rally, and am fine for the rest of the trip. The art of seasickness is getting it over with quick, staying above decks with an eye on the horizon, and swigging ginger ale. Airplane rides are not so easy. Open up the air jet full blast, try to find the horizon out the window, and practice deep breathing

I have yet to use the doggy bag and am determined not to.

When I finally got off the plane and staggered through the terminal, I thought of getting it over with, but no, hung on.

This morning I still feel nauseous. Maybe it’s a flu. I dunno.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “The Vomit Comet”

  1. I have been on the approach to Logan…seems it is always when they send you out over the bay and then bring you back in for a bumpy jostling ride to Logan…NO FUN,,,makes you really respect your pilots…I have tried those setting on my flight sim and I inevitably land in either the harbor or East Boston…rarely anywhere on Logan’s property

    The you have the drive down 93 to calm the stomach 😉 always a good time

  2. Many (many) years ago on a package deal ski trip, I flew from London to Sophia courtesy of Bulgarian airlines. The food was not great during the flight and the air hostess not very sympathetic. During the descent things got decidedly bumpy. I began to feel nausea, and unfortunately had to reach for the baggie seconds before we hit the runway. We decided a more appropriate name for the airline would be Bul-Air. It felt like we were riding one. Thankfully, I’ve never had to use it since.

  3. i have yet to have a ride match the one i got on a puddle jumper out of south carolina. we dropped so far so fast that the woman sitting next to me’s cupcake stuck to the ceiling, from the tray table. not terribly enjoyable.

  4. Projectile vomiting on a plane is a lost art. With very little practice you can hit three or four people in the back of the head, two rows in front of you.

    For even more fun in turbulence, grab the barf bag from the seast back in front of you, make as much noise as you can rattling it around. Start making barfing noises as you rattle the bag around. Secretly fil it up with air then add something weighty like a bloody Mary with bits of crackers uin it. Then “accidentally” drop it on the lap of the nearest borg butthead traveling in a seat near you. Then sit back and howl like a frigtard lunatic.

    Snother reoprter and I did this on a flight home to LAX from Chicago once. It was the most fun I had that year.


  5. I’m generally solid as a rock when it comes to any kind of motion sickness. I got sick on a boat once, but considering I ate two bagels loaded with cream cheese…well duh. My worst airplane sickness experience was not motion-induced…we were flying out the first of the year and my first time really drinking (yes, at the age of 21) was the night before. I thought I was going to die on take-off.

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