Hi . I was watching a flight deck video of a United Airlines flight from Chigago to LHR. There were 2 First Officers on the flight.(as well as the Capt.) I thought the B777 was a 2 crew aircraft. Are there some rules about long haul flights that there must be an extra FO available? Thanks for your help
In the US there is an 8-hour flight time (or duty?) limitation with 2 crewmembers. To allow longer flights, a third crewmember is needed. The pilots alternate rest periods to allow a duty time extension.
In the UK this isn't really an issue I think the 2-crew duty limitation is 13 hours or so... only the longer LHR-SFO/LAX flights need a relief pilot. Certainly the jumbo's off to the far east would have 3, maybe even 4 pilots where 2 would serve as a complete "cruise relief" crew?
each states civil aviation authority will have their own rules but are generally similar. having said that, each company can have their own work-rules as stipulated in their contracts/collective agreements. on our b777, block time > 8hrs, 3 crew (2 capts, 1 F/O), block time > 11hrs, 4 crew (2 capts, 2 F/Os). i know of some company that have 1 capts, 2 F/Os or 1 capts, 3 F/Os combination but thats entirely between the union & company.
A lot of companies have different working agreements, the ultimate limiting factor being national legislation. The longest 777 sector which my company operates with two crew is just over nine hours. Beyond that, we operate with one captain and two FOs or two of each.
when we carry 3 pilots, the relieve capt does a 'musical-chair' ie. left-seat then right-seat so both the operating capt and FO gets their inflight rest in the bunk. by our rules, half of inflight rest will be credited to the total duty limit. however, from our experience, if the flight time is just a little over 8 hrs then not much rest can be obtained so it is then up to the company to negotiate with the union to make exception for that particular sector. in return we get compensated with $$$ or longer layover.
When I flew with Britannia to Cancun (767-300, 10.5 hours flight time) I'm sure there were only 2 pilots on that flight.
That must be pushing the duty time close to the limit?
Perhaps an even more tireing duty would be the UK-Cyprus-UK charter sorties, they must be pushing 11 hours total duty with a 1-hour check in before and 1 hour turnaround? I presume these flights are 2-crew as well?
Localiser green, Brittania are a Uk company and so are operating to uk regs, which are considerably differenent from the states.
The length of duty depends upon the time of day you report, and the number of sectors you do, for a 2 sector day is between 10.15 and 13.15 limit.
Of course there are ways to increase this (days off before and after to give specific route alleviations). One example is UK to BJL (the gambia), allows a 14.15 duty (rostered), to do there and back !!
in our case the local regulations are lot less restrictive but the 8hrs limit is our company/union limit. i think for charter ops they operate under different regulations and are generally less restrictive than regular airline ops. if i'm not mistaken, in the states, they come under a different FAR rule.