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Squawks & HeadlinesFAA’s new rules aim to prevent airline pilots from flying while dangerously fatigued

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preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, they did a rewrite of Hours of Service rules to the trucking industry several years ago and just got to really enforcing it a few years back. It was an adjustment but we got used to it.The 10 hr rest will be welcome but I doubt that 2 hrs will make that much difference. The 14 rather than 16 hour stand up will probably be appreciated and will mean more, but at the risk of pissing a few people off, somewhere in there, deadhead time is going to have to be factored in. They used the Buffalo crash as impetus here and as an example, the Co=Pilot dh across from Seattle
GateHold
Patrick Smith 0

 
Perhaps the most important and welcome change is the one stipulating that pilots must now receive a minimum 10-hour rest period between assignments (i.e. workdays), with an opportunity for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
 
Until now, not only have rest periods been reduceable to as little as eight hours, but the very definition of “rest” itself has failed to account for things like travel time to and from hotels, the need for meals, and so on.  A pilot is considered off-duty and resting shortly after his final flight of the day shuts down at the gate.  With paperwork and other duties to attend to, the rest clock is often ticking while he is still at the airport -- sometimes still on the plane.  And it stops ticking not when he checks out of the room, but when he arrives again at the airport.
 
For instance, if a crew signs off in Chicago at 9 p.m. and is scheduled to sign on again at 5 a.m., that constitutes an eight-hour rest period.  But then you start subtracting the time spent waiting for the hotel van, driving to and from the airport, scrounging for food and so on.  What existed on paper as an eight hour layover was in reality only six or seven hours at the hotel, and four or five hours of actual sleep.
 
Finally this will change.  Rest is actual rest, and not merely time away from the airplane.  

This provision was long overdue, but nonetheless is one of the smartest things the FAA has ever done.
 
This will be particularly beneficial for regional airline pilots.  Collective bargaining agreements at most of the majors already include such provisions.  But now it’s the law and * all * commercial passenger carriers must follow it.
 
flyingcookmosnter
Interesting the distinction between passenger pilots and freight pilots.

This could be a bad trend I believe; sepereate rules for cargo airlines and passenger airlines. Given that a flight carrying 300 passengers has much more lose than a flight full of flowers, does making the distrinction bode well for pilot fatigue? Are cargo pilots that much better at fighting fatigue? Are they use to flying at night without sleep? Are they any less human? (don't answer that)

Overall, I agree with the changes. I think the distinction is stupid however.
jst1592
jst1592 0
There should be no distinction between passenger ops. vs cargo ops. If the Buffalo accident had been a "feeder flight" for either FedEx or UPS, would that have mattered? It still went down in a neighborhood. The rule change is good, but doesn't go far enough. Part 135 crews, still get, a "reduceable rest period". If 121 all freight or 135 crews are so great at not ever being fatigued, then I guess they are the best, safest crews. Yet again, the FAA has shown, they don't care or protect the crews, just the pax's. Cope a clue, if you protect the crews, it protects the pax's/cargo. The crew is always the first one's to arrive at the scene of an accident. Instead of "different" levels of safety, why isn't there ONE level of safety? FAA...Fail.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, again I may piss some people off, BUT, maybe there should be some distinction between Cargo and PAX pilots. Probably the only mitigating factor here, if there is one, is that a majority, not all, are flying at night, not changing around shifts day & nite like say, a regional pilot. AND, while there are surely exceptions, most are flying one run or turn per day and not subject to the rigors of a 16 hour stand up in some crew hole. Now there will be plenty of exceptions, but it may be, for the benefit of both pilots and companies, that the cargo folks need to be looked at separately as this issue is not a one size fits all.Individuals are all different and 2 hrs in a crew hole somewhere does not give much rest between flights.
flyingcookmosnter
Good points, as always, Wayne. I guess we'll just have to see what happens with the UPS appeal.

http://flightaware.com/squawks/link/1/24_hours/popular/23803/UPS_Pilots_File_An_Appeals_Challenge_To_FAA_Final_Flight_Duty_Rule

As one who has worked swings and nights for coming on 10 years, I can say you learn to tolerate it but never conquer it. Life happens in the daytime and I often went several days on 3-4 hours a night. Id imagine this is a typical story. I'd like to believe the same isn't true for cargo pilots.
mocktfc
mocktfc 0
This is me not pissed off... just thinking out loud. I am all for the new rules on duty time and rest requirements between duty time. However, what pilots do on their own time is their own decision. The First Officer did not "dead head" all the way across the country. She commuted to work. While I don't agree that it was a smart thing to do on her part, the government cannot control every aspect of our lives so that we are their robots.

You are correct that deadheading time should be accounted for and it is accounted for in your normal duty day. We are all responsible adults and should make responsible decisions on how we will get to work and be properly rested when we get there. Putting a regulation on commuting will turn this industry upside down.

The reason the First Officer was commuting to work is because she made less that $20k per year and could not afford to live on her own. Maybe here lies the problem? There are many pilots out there in the same position. What should they do? Quit?
FedExCargoPilot
I agree, 10 hours includes getting out of the airport, checking into the hotel plus driving, subway or if its right on the field. And also getting back to the airport by 5am for example. With jet lag included, best case would be about 7-8 hours? I still think we can do better than that. Not to mention with the commuting factor, living near hubs as a regional pilot is expensive, cities like Chicago, Houston, LA, Newark, etc, so this extra time wont help those who have to fly to their hubs.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, I think TOLERATE is the key here. I know when they redid the HOS for truck drivers a few years ago, it was a heck of an adjustment, both for the companies and drivers, not to mention shippers. The Airlines have 2 years to get it implemented. Trucklines woke up one morning and "whoop, dere it was."(we had time to get ready for it but it was industry wide on the same day). You are correct in that life happens in the daytime, especially if you have kids involved. My son works in night and weekend dispatch, pulling a 12 on Saturday and Sunday nights, doing 8 on Thursday and Friday, and he is always up by at least noon on Saturday, then pretty much sleeping all day Sunday to catch up. One size in this thing will not fit all, but at least it's a start and brings some recognition to the problem.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Your last paragraph is especially truthful. Now as for the 2nd, I mispoke a little. You are correct in that company DH is part of the duty day, but I guess I must talk about the COMMUTE. Because Airlines have done so much changing in years past, hubs have moved around and not necessarily where pilots have homes. Look at Sully; one thing he never talked about much; he lived in California which was pretty close to where he started flying. As it wound up, he was out of CLT. How you think he got over there?
mocktfc
mocktfc 0
I'm sure he commuted across the country. Hopefully he showed up rested and fit to start his duty day. But again, that is the pilots responsibility not the governments to make sure of this. The government should stay out of my time off, yours, his and every other pilots. If I am too tired to perform my duties when I get to work then it is MY responsibility to call in sick or fatigued and not put MY life or the other crew/passengers lives at risk.

Btw, I live in base and do not commute. But if I have to someday, I don't want any more regulations telling me when to eat, when to sleep, and when to commute to work.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, I too was fortunate. Flew big iron 135 all my life out of KFSM, only living 70 miles away. I had a 4 hour call in my contract for non scheduled stuff, and 2 weeks notice on our regular trip schedule so it was just like going to work regular and knowing what you were doing and the 4 hr call gave me decent notice. You are correct about that commute and offtime though, it isn't anybody else's business what we do with. It's just that there have been plenty of horror stories in the past about a pilot NOT being rested and contributing to something on account of their commute or no rest.