DAN Advice has typically stated that flying or otherwise ascending (e.g. driving over mountains) to a higher altitude after having dived can predispose a diver to decompression illness, unless there has been sufficient surface interval to allow excess gas to diffuse from the body. If insufficient time has been allowed and the ambient pressure is reduced, gas bubbles may form, or existing asymptomatic bubbles may increase in size and cause symptoms of decompression illness.
As a general rule, DAN recommended that a diver should wait at least 24 hours before flying after an air dive. Sometimes, this may be overly conservative, while on other occasions, it may not prove to be conservative enough.
Is this still the case?
The study of data collected in the first research campaign of DAN Europe’s Diving Safety Laboratory (DSL) “Flying bubbles” project has been finalised. The results are somewhat surprising, to such extent as to merit publication in Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, a revered scientific magazine.
You can also go to the Dive Training & Safety section for more advice from DAN AP, or check out some of their articles below: