Bit disappointed with the replies to my post. In the first place SetStandard obviously completely misunderstood me. In the case of other responses, yes, I'm old and did work for a bank for a short while (amongst other things) but that doesn't make me totally stupid or unwilling to learn. I explained that I was a fairly ignorant MOP rather than a fully trained pilot and was asking why, during a long period of auto pilot ...IF.... there was nothing to do for a long time, it would be a problem for a pilot to take a short nap given the many audible warnings available (and could be made more available) should there be a problem. We are told how modern airliners have every safety feature available and it would be worrying if we thought that, despite these features, it needs a pilot to monitor every single second of a flight. It would be nice to be given a reasonable answer rather than insults.
We are told how modern airliners have every safety feature available and it would be worrying if we thought that, despite these features, it needs a pilot to monitor every single second of a flight
Well I know what some manufacturers claim and some journalists think but yes, somebody does need to be on watch, all the time. Here's one easy example of why: an autopilot won't ring bells to warn you about is a thunderstorm and it certainly won't avoid it.
In addition there's are a whole host of smaller problems that could develop very quickly into big problems if prompt action isn't taken by a pilot, from conflict/potential collision with another aircraft, engine failure, turbulence...........
In short you do need at least one pilot on watch every second maybe not staring steely eyed at the instruments and grasping the controls, but he/she certainly needs to be awake and aware - the days of HAL doing the driving whilst all the crew can legally doze off are still a long way off. I don't find that worrying at all.
There are so many variables that are not apparent to anyone not involved in Commercial Aviation.
There are significant differences between Long, Medium & short haul. As there are between single & multi sector duties.
While it may be difficult to obtain the necessary permissions for a MoP to occupy a flightdeck jumpseat it is the best possible way for you to gain a realistic perspective of the issues involved. Ideally you'd follow a crew through a typical week. But I doubt such a time consuming commitment is possible.
So without witnessing the problems for yourself who can you trust to inform you without prejudice?
For all EU AOC holders and their pilots ,EU Ops is the law .
So on a Fitness To Fly ,EU OPs 1.085 (d) makes good reading both on the issue of alcohol,meds (OTC & Prescription) but most important Fatigue .
1.085 (d) crew member shall not perform duties on an aeroplane: while under the influence of any drug that may affect his/her faculties in a manner contrary to safety; following deep sea diving except when a reasonable time period has elapsed; following blood donation except when a reasonable time period has elapsed; if applicable medical requirements are not fulfilled, or if he/she is in any doubt of being able to accomplish his/her assigned duties; or if he/she knows or suspects that he/she is suffering from fatigue, or feels unfit to the extent that the flight may be endangered.
1.420 Occurence Reporting Incident reporting. An operator shall establish procedures for reporting incidents taking into account responsibilities described below and circumstances described in subparagraph (d) below. 1. OPS 1.085(b) specifies the responsibilities of crew members for reporting incidents that endangers, or could endanger, the safety of operation.
So under both the SMS and EU OPs both the Operator and Individual pilot are mutually responsible ,so tinkering with your tachograph or improving your handicap be it at the planning or operational stage will be patently obvious when the NAA or AAIU come a calling .
"MUM/DAD why are we not able to go on holiday any more! "
"Because HE/SHE lost their Job/licence !"
Personally ,I believe that being forwarned should be sufficient ,although if you work with a LCC or non -unionised operational environment ,my best wished are with you .
The problem is the Flight Duty Regulations and amendments to increase them are made by mindless twits who work sit in offices between 9am and 5pm, dont work nights or weekends and spend a lot of time walking from their desk to the coffee room, to their mates desk.
They have never flown countless longhaul flights throughout the night, sleeping in the lowering standard, noisy, cold (aircon cant be controlled) hotel rooms or 5-6 sector days as mentioned.
Yet these twits who have barely done a days work in their life, tell us we are protected from the over rostering of the present lower standard, Maximum productivity/ maximum yearly hours, average airline of today.
LOL, what a theme. for the very few here who earn their money sitting in the cockpit its abvious and not a discussion worth that a short nap is a nice thing on longer flights ,especially at night- surely not on short final, but at cruise when the other guy is awake .
the gents in this thread who are disgusted make clear that they never had to live from earning money by commercial flying and so never had an inside view how pilots life really looks like. you will not find this in regulations, you will not find this in simulation flying or just being an aviation fan.
Location: In some hotel downroute or in some hotel doing union negotiations.
Quite different topic though. JWP1938 was obviously of the opinion since the autopilot does it all both pilots could sleep all through cruise to be refreshed for landing. A real sleep is something different to napping. Napping was originally developed for a three man flight deck and is nowadays used as a bandaid on two man flight decks. There is a procedure to be followed and there are time limits for the rest, recovery period and distance to TOC as well as required calls from behind every couple minutes.
And then there is uncontrolled rest or sleep during flight which is a reality, doesn't care about any procedures, time limits or anything else. Usually caused by cumulative fatigue which is the real topic here. However sleeping isn't the only thing that can happen if you're fatigued. Fatigue impairs the immune system, leads to breakdown of any normal sleeping patterns and causes a breakdown in airmanship and decision making. It is something one can experience very easily if rostered to the limits of EU-OPS. We had that the last two summers and as a result at the end of the summer period sickness levels rose to 25% of the pilot force (the company doesn't accept fatigue, it is sickness in their eyes), crews were falling asleep randomly and there were some very close brushes with serious incidents, thank god nothing big ever happened, but a lot almost did.
Get up at 3am, go and get a dining room chair and sit in it for 12 hours.
better still, have the chair placed in the cupboard under the stairs, with no light other than maybe a 15 watt bulb, have the kids beat on the door every now and again, and run up and down the stairs, and the wife throw in a couple of meals on trays ( preferably chicken ).
Then get out and drive around the M-25 for awhile before going to bed, get up at dusk and do it all again - as was suggested - for a few days.
I was driving home from such a real life - not simulated - flying duty when I heard the BBC announce the sad news of the Vanguard crash in Basle, and the M.D. ( CEO's hadn't been invented then ) of the airline was asked if fatigue could have been a problem ? Not at all, was the reply (and of course it might not have been) because the aircraft didn't take off from Bristol until 08.30.
WTF had that got to do with it ? I was so incensed I drove straight around to my local M.P.'s home - he lived near me - and expressed my discontent, and explained that ... the aircraft had departed from Manston, and stopped at Hurn before arriving at Bristol to embark the members of the Womens' Institute on their chartered day out.
Do your own maths. What time did the a/c arr. at Bristol ? What time did it depart Hurn ? What time did it arr. Hurn ? what time did it depart Manston ? What time did the crew report for duty at Manston ? What time did the crew get out of bed ? What time did they go to bed ? What had they done the day before by way of flying duties ?
WTF did a departure from Bristol have to do with no fatigue involved just because it was at 08.30 ? Totally irrelevant, and yet it gave the impression to the Great Unwashed that the managements' scheduling and rest policies had nothing to do with the accident. I accept that it might not, and yes, I have read the accident report, I'm making a point that non-pilots have absolutely no idea of how accumulative fatigue can affect flight safety.
M.P.s need to understand what real people do - I made sure mine did.
Not my problem anymore ( I wish I had a job, at least I'd get one day off a week !! ) - except that I might now be your passenger !
Best of luck chaps.
Your faith in autopilots whilst pilots sleep is staggering, ( and ignorant ) you must have heard the old story of the first fully automatic pilotless flight, where just before take off the passenger address system announces .... Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard this fully automatic flight, where nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go... ?
Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 24th Feb 2012 at 09:04.
OK I give up. That's at least 3 or 4 of you who has completely misunderstood my post and I will bow out leaving you to think that I am suggesting pilots could sleep through cruise with no problems. I have already received an informative post via PM which has given me the answer I was seeking. My belief in the in the high intelligence and understanding of the flying community has gone down a couple of points. (I already know that a great number of you can't spell - particularly the pilots ). I will have no more to say in this thread.
Don't worry JWP, your question wasn't that daft. In fact, when I worked for a well know long haul airline in the UK, the management said it was OK for one of the pilots to "cat nap" when our schedules changed for the worst and we started to work longer hours. The theory was that with one pilot asleep and the other "on watch" safety wouldn't be compromised. The reality was that at 3am in the dark while suffering from acute and cumulative fatigue and now not having the stimulus of the other pilot,the watch keeper was also very likely to have fallen asleep. The aircraft would require a pilot input every 20 minutes otherwise alarms would go off. I was woken by this on several occasions! Although many systems failures have alarms, some situations such as a storm cloud have none. (I often wonder if this was a factor in the Air France Atlantic A330 crash).
My reply to the management regardin "catnapping" was that I had been observing my cat and have come to the conclusion that it meant sleeping for 20 hours out of 24 on top of the central heating boiler, waking up occasionally for a stretch, some food and a pooh! I could cope with that.
As for the use of drugs, again there are serious limitations. Military pilots will use there very infrequently on operations and not continuously for regular schedules. I had used them when I was military pilot and I found I was rapidly becoming addicted to the drug we were issued. I stopped and refused to take it once I realised this was happening.
JWPs was a reasonable question but perhaps AF447 will put into context the practicality of "switching off" for a rest during the "quiet" cruise phase. Their problem started at 02:10'05 when the autopilot disengaged and less than 5 mins later at approx 02:14'28 the aircraft crashed.
I will only nap if the alternative is I will fall asleep anyway. This method should not be used procedurally.
Dan Winterland, my compliments for the best humor I've seen on this forum (re cat-napping).
Re addiction, the one I mentioned up-thread almost certainly has no such issue, fwiw. The biggest danger will be counting on them and further depriving yourself of sleep to get the car fixed or play that round of golf. Ideally you'd have one on hand for a time of need. Same wish for my young-20's son - have one in the glovebox, "break glass in case of emergency". His flying adventures are just beginning, and no doubt he frightens himself and his instructor enough such that nodding off isn't an issue.
(Lest anyone worry that I'm plumping for the company that makes the stuff, rest assured. I abhor their anti-competitive business practices and do suggest that you seek out generics (after accepting their free samples, of course.)
I have used such techniques on both domestic and long-haul operations when needed by a crew member for whatever reason. About twenty minutes sleep is about all that is required. Anything longer than around 45 minutes is to be avoided because it takes one into REM sleep, (so our training stated), and sleep inertia then becomes a problem.
Any resting crew member (whether in the bunk, the cabin or doing controlled rest on the flight deck), should be wakened at least 30 minutes before top-of-descent.
The key understanding regarding fatigue is that when the brain/body needs sleep it will take it regardless of circumstances or the "requirement" to remain alert. Machinbird describes such phenomenon quite well in the Air India Express accident thread.
The Canadian Air Regs permit a crew member to be on duty for 20 hours providing there is an Augment Pilot, and a SAE-standard bunk available for prone rest. The duty day may be extended to 23 hours in "unforeseen circumstances".
Such duty days as permitted are unsafe in two-pilot transport flying. Both the ATA and the airlines themselves consistently resist recognition of fatigue. One CEO called crew augmentation, "union feather-bedding".
Pilot associations have long been spending their (increasingly-limited) negotiating dollars on realistic and safe duty day contractual (meaning without legal force) limitations. Bus and truck drivers receive greater support from the regulator than airline pilots.
Trouble with flying is also the fact that the environment is not like sitting in an office chair on the ground for 12+ hrs. The cabin height is circa 7000 ft. The humidity is only about 20% and the continuouse noise even with noise cxd headsets is always there. The human body is working hard to cope with the environment. Now do that for a few days with reduced rest times & finally on the final day do one of those stand by flight scenarios of 22 hrs. Do you really want your wife & kids lives in the hands of that pilot doing 160 miles per hour judging the aircraft touch down to within a few ft some 30 ft away in limited visibility or gusty wind. Think not! Am amazed anyone thinks it is safe.