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Henry Harteveldt, Vice President & Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, Inc. makes a return guest appearance to talk industry news and travel technology. Follow Henry on Twitter.
- United Airlines To Seek More New Aircraft In ’10
- United to consider Bombardier Cseries
- United Applauds Open Skies Accord with Japan
- Airlines Disagree Over Business Travel Recovery
- More Flap About NWA 188
- Asking For Orange Juice On American Airlines May Violate Federal Law
- TSA Deals With Their Security Blooper By Treating Americans Like Morons
- SpaceShipTwo Christened – VSS Enterprise
David Vanderhoof has another This Week in Aviation, Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast have their Australia Desk report, and Dan sneaks in at the end.
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This episode’s opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. Visit his site at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.
[This in from Kim…]
Ms. Gilligan of the FAA, “We do believe the crew has come to work prepared for the schedule they are undertaking.”
Without regard the the “nap or not” question, there could not be a statement on the subject of pilot fatigue that shows a greater lack of understanding and/or common sense on the part of the FAA.
If a crew is signing in to work at 8 AM and releases 12 – 14 hours later, then of course they are expected to be prepared for their schedule. But what about the east coast based crew that arrives to layover in LAX at 2 PM. Eight hours later, they are back on the crew bus headed down the Pacific highway to sign in for a 10 PM departure for ATL …. a 5:00 flight that will put them on approach at 6 AM at the worlds busiest airport.
This crew has had no opportunity to adjust their diurnal cycles …. if that is even possible in the short term. They were expected to get their 8 hours sleep immediately upon arrival at the hotel in mid afternoon …. leaving no time for meals, showers, etc. (many may not realize that the FAA minimum 8 hours rest in 24 hours begins and ends at the airport …. and, allowing for transportation, meals, etc, often leaves only 5-6 for actual sleep …. assuming one can just drop off to sleep on command). If this were the LAX-EWR flight, then they could be faced with a possible 2 hour drive in morning rush hour traffic over to the JFK Holiday Inn for layover …. and the time on the highway would come out of their 8 hour legal rest break. Only in contract negotiations in 2001 did the Delta pilots, for example, achieve the right to insist upon 8 hours “behind the hotel door”.
So, when this crew signs in, are they “prepared for the schedule they are undertaking”? How could they be? They are completely reversing their diurnal cycle with no lead time. For the next 5 hours, they will drone along in a mostly dark, quiet cockpit …. fighting to stay alert and hoping an F/A will come up to break the monotony. Radio calls that time of night are few and far between ….. and, as everyone knows, “the computer is flying the airplane”. I can tell you from personal experience that the grind can be difficult and fighting drowsiness a real battle …. not worthy of the jokes that were made on the lines of “I don’t get to nap on my job”.
As for international crews, Dan had it partially correct. The test for relief pilot or not is not simply whether the flight is trans-oceanic. The only thing that matters is whether or not the scheduled flight time exceeds 8 hours. Therefore, certain European cities on the western edge of the continent can be served by 2-pilot crews out of JFK or BOS. That means 8 hours in the dark, with very little relief from the tedium of an Atlantic crossing. Body time is approximately 11 PM to 7 AM, with arrival at the Euro destination during the morning rush. These crews do typically, as Dan suggested, get 24 hours for layover. That is dictated by the frequency of service, however …. not by the benevolence of the airline. That 24 hours also satisfies the legal requirement for 24 off every 7 days, and allows the airline to schedule pilots for these trips back to back.
Just wondering who was making all those noises in this episode? If it was Rob, he needs to learn to a little more descreet about doing things on the side while the podcast is recording. Otherwise, it was another good episode.
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But seriously, Great post, I will return for more!!