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Study: Long commutes could fatigue airline pilots

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WASHINGTON (AP) — One in five airline pilots lives at least 750 miles from work, according to a study by scientific advisers to the government, raising concerns that long commutes to airports could lea . . . (flightaware.com) More...

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zcolescott
Can you say..."Duh!"??
preacher1
preacher1 0
Current thinking and requirement is for the pilot to show up rested, and if the commute goes OK that is generally not a problem but most will wait til the last minute and sometimes it's hard to beg a jumpseat, and as capacity tightens up nowadays and empty seats are not there, it may get even harder. What has been relatively easy to do is going to become more of a problem as time goes on. Re the commuter crash in Buffalo: for somebody to commute from Seattle to Newark for $16m per year, there has to be something else there not being told. Hell, you could about make that at McDonalds dishing up fries.
dmanuel
dmanuel 0
Couldn't this apply to many other important occupations (i.e. surgeons, law enforcement, bus drivers, etc) when you calculate time, rather than distance? Here in the Washington D.C. housing prices and/or quality of life drive folks to live well outside of a local commute (without the advantage of someone else doing the flying, while they dozed). Additionally, many of these folks do multi-hour commutes 5 days a week, not a couple of times a month
preacher1
preacher1 0
It already does, or least in theory, applies to commercial drivers, such as bus and truck. They are supposed to log their off duty time at home but it does not ever get looked at unless there is an accident on the very front end of returning to work so, in effect, none of it is monitored and it's really nothing more than a waste of paper in a log book because the onus is still on the individual. The companies are covered in that respect, regardless of what the person does. Besides the commute, nobody really knows what has been done during the offtime. I have seen professional drivers come back to work, have to take a hot dispatch after 7 days off,(thinking they might get a slow roller so they could get a nap)but having just got in from a 1000 mile road trip with the family from which they drove straight through and stepped out of the car into the truck, yet as far as their log book went, they had 7 days off and were rested. Company can't really do anything but assume they are good to go.
HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 0
DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
preacher1
preacher1 0
Toby, unfortunately, you and Zachary are both right. Wrong or right, paper trail or not, it all goes back to the common sense of the individual. If somebody has the seniority for a bid run, at least they'll know what they have to do ahead of time and can sort of prep for it, but if that same person is low on the pole and comes in for a 12 hour standup and sits around half the day and gets shoved out on minimum time, they are wasted for the rest of the day, and with only 8 hrs on the other end, taking
1 1/2 off that for the call and getting ready, they are short there and never catch up for the week; just a vicious circle.
qxgolfer
nick bissen 0
American and American Eagle charge their own employees to non-rev/commute on their airline. I worked out of LAX. They pulled $20 each way from my paycheck each time I went to work. I only made 20k.
canuck44
canuck44 0
Practicing in Coastal Florida I have many airline families in my practice that commute to work to virtually every hub east of the Mississippi plus MSP and YYZ. They don't have much problem in the summer but when tourist season hits many are faced with a drive to TPA, MCO or MIA to get a seat and this drags it out. I will point out that surgical residencies no longer permit more than 80 hours per week which essentially requires an extra year of fellowship to gain the needed skills.
Taxes are important...who wants to pay NY or NJ taxes when there are none in Florida.
ALStevens
Allen Stevens 0
More regulations are not needed. What is needed is for the airlines to stop giving away seats to employees for routine commuting. This issue would go away quickly if they had to pay for commuting like the rest of us.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Allen, that is probably the most practical thing that could be done, but it is such an imbedded thing now and has been going on for so many years that it is highly doubtful it will ever change
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 0
What a terrible way to live. I thought a weekly 600km / 375m commute by plane was bad. Believe me, that back and forth eats at you over time.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Dan: In most cases it's not everyday. They'll commute to a base and pull their duty time out from there, commuting back home after their weekly time but it does vary, depending on the airline scheduling and seniority. It's not a good life but not totally bad, BUT, kinda necessary if you are with one of the legacy carriers with multiple bases/opportunities and you don't want to have to move to take one. There are a lot of companies that offer advancement within but you have to move to take them. The airlines are unique there in that you can live out in the back country of Tennesee and work out of just about any major hub in the US and not live there, plus if you are working out of LAX and a better berth comes open in MEM you can not only advance without having to move, but shorten your commute as well.
dennisbier
dennis levens 0
rest well with a nice girl,take your time,forget the cock pit and u will do wonder when in duty
canuck44
canuck44 0
@Dennis...LOL, but while most of us agree, the demographics for both gender and orientation are changing and the first part of your solution is not quite as universal as in years past in any occupation with minor exceptions.
pamenglish
Pamela English 0
Reading these comments makes it seem dangerous to fly in any commercial aircraft at any time. Are my fears exaggerated?
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 0
@ Pamela, yes I believe you are overly concerned for no reason. Air travel is statistically safer than driving a car.

@ Wayne, evenly a weekly commute is tough on family, especially if kids are involved. Been there done that. :-0
preacher1
preacher1 0
Pamela: it's not as bad as it sounds because most folks will use a little common sense and get the needed rest. It is a very common practice. If your flight originates at O'Hare, you just can't assume that the crew is from there. They may have commuted in OR, they just may be dispatched out of another terminal. A perfect example would be Ft Smith AR. The crew that comes in on the last night flight on DAL lays over and spends the night at the Holiday Inn on the company tab, then gets called for the early AM flight out, but they may be based elsewhere and just working their time wherever a hub OPS send them, then routed back into their base. They may be based out of Memphis, but they may live elsewhere, say Birmingham.They would then grab a flight out of Memphis home. Living in Bham, same is true coming to work; grab a flight in and start their week.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 0
@Dennis levens , , , , , , of what do you speak ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
watacat
watacat 0
Dmanual & Wayne are both right in regard to their comments about bus drivers. I have been long retired from over the road driving, with my home terminal being over 400 miles from where my relief driver picked up my coach and took it on. We had several senior drivers who picked these well paying runs that took approximately 9-10 hours, (since at that time we were paid by the mile) yet they lived in excess of one hundred miles from their terminals, necessitating at least a two hour commute by scheduled bus to either pick up their bus or face the two hour ride home. NTSB regulations state no driver shall be on duty driving in excess of 10 hours except in case of unforseen emergencey yet the scheduled time between the two terminals was, as I said before, 9-10 hours so these drivers were in violation of hours of service constantly since they often just sat in the drivers room waiting for their trip for a few hours, or just arrived from home in time to pull their trip, This went on for some time as the drivers involved had good seniority and the company turned a blind eye on what they were doing. Fortunately, in the 25 years I worked for said company, there were no fatigue related accidents on those trips but I did know of some close calls during inclement weather, when evryone should have their proper rest before starting out.
watacat
watacat 0
Dmanual and Wayne, you are both correct about long distance busdrivers. I worked for one company for over 25 years, where my next depot for driver change was located more than 400 miles from my home terminal. We had several senior drivers who lived in excess of 100 miles from that far terminal and regularly commutted on their own company buses to their pickup points which added another two hours to their trip. But, because of a technicality in that they were not actually driving (and the fact that they were senior operators_ the company turned a blind eye on this practice. Fortunatley, in the time I was there, there were no fatigue related accidents but they were there in the wings, waiting to happen! NTSB regulations have since changed but at that time, a driver was not allowed to be driving for more than ten hours no be on duty for more tham 14 hours.

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