View Full Version : Pilot 'Fatigue' - Research

4th Jun 2004, 13:45
To all Pilots,

I have been an Airline Pilot for many years and I am endeavoring to research and try and establish the extent of 'fatigue' amongst Commercial Pilots, I am sure you would all agree that 'Fatigue' in aviation is an important safety issue that needs to be seriously addressed.

There have been various 'studies' into Pilot Fatigue', conducted over the years, but none, as far as I am aware, have actually asked a large consensus of Pilots as to their opinions and thoughts on dealing with the problem.

Airlines, Government Agencies (and Pilots), need to be made aware of the dangers of 'fatigue' and it's negative effect on performance,

Many airlines often work pilots to the 'legal maximum' resulting in 'fatigue' and with European airspace becoming increasingly congested, compounded with a shortage of qualified Air Traffic Control Officers - ATCOs (currently running at 12 % within the euro zone), pilots need to be more vigilant than ever before.

If the 'European Parliament' has its way, with proposed new legislation, UK pilots will be made (rostered) to work even longer hours.

The net result of all this, is 'Pilot Fatigue', with the inevitable consequences.

Airlines can often take simple steps to reduce 'fatigue' amongst it's pilot workforce, by such things as sensible work rosters, improving working conditions, to name but a few, however, as is often the case, commercial considerations take precedence before safety.

The aim of this 'research' is to simply highlight the problem and then perhaps forward the findings/results to BALPA, MPs or an appropriate Government Agency, so that pressure can be brought to bear on employers to recognize their 'duty of care' to it's pilot workforce and indeed the wider public.

If there are any Pilots that have experienced 'Fatigue' which compromised or could have compromised the safety of a flight or which directly or indirectly resulted in an incident, then I would be very interested in hearing from you, either on the forum or to my 'private email address'

Presumably, any individual responding to my posting, will elect to be anonymous, but the collective results will be used as a general indication as to the extent of the problem.

It is my opinion that highlighting this problem can only benefit Pilots and indeed commercial aviation, in the long term.


4th Jun 2004, 14:09
Will there not be a meeting in Luxemburg on the 10th and 11th of june where the transport ministers of the EU are going to implement these potential dangerous EU work and Rest regulations....

What will the pilot unions of Europe do about this???QTA

4th Jun 2004, 16:27
MB, you might try NASA, ALPA, and various airlines ACRM depts. From my experience, fatigue is not on the top of the list when it comes to safety. Reputable airlines have many other issues that need to be resolved before having to increase the pilot roster to cover the same amount of flying. For example, ramp issues, security issues, maintenance issues. Most reputable airlines will not force a pilot to fly if he says he is fatigued. On the other hand, a pilot should be able to make a convincing case as to why he is too fatigued to fly. (Weather delays causing you to be on reduced rest, Hotel putting rock band next to your room) Pilots that are able to get hired by reputable companies are quite resillient. Even when they are tired, they have an amazing ability to focus on the task at hand. That being said, there does seem to be a corelation between fatigue and complacency. Most fatigue related errors seem to fall into the complacency category. When pilots are asked to exceed 14 hours of duty, it is important to slow down (not get rushed), not let complacency set in (what am i doing now, what's next), and brief the crew to watch eachother for mistakes and be assertive.


Max Angle
5th Jun 2004, 01:19
Airlines can often take simple steps to reduce 'fatigue' amongst it's pilot workforce, The trouble is they don't, they don't give a t**s as long as it's legal and they have the regulations to hide behind.

5th Jun 2004, 08:43
No question about it, fatigue is a huge, yet understated problem for airline pilots today, myself included. A good place to start a serious review of the problem would be to review exactly when the existing FTL rules were written. Also who wrote them, and were they ever agreed with a professional body? When was the last review and comprehensive overhaul of the original rules?

I do not know any of the answers, but rumour has it that they were in part prepared originally by one Douglas Bader, which raises any number of questions. Rumours notwithstanding, let's raise this key issue and discuss it wisely, before the disgraceful British press get hold of the wrong end of the stick and start creating their typical media scares.

Right, gotta try and grab some rest before my next bullet.

5th Jun 2004, 11:00
i've said it before but I'll say it again....the unwillingness of various regulatory authorities to attribute accidents to pilot fatigue, even when clearly the root causal factor (i.e. Little Rock) is clearly indicative of the futility of such attempts. Anyone who works in an airline is well awar of the horror with which the 'F' word is treated by FOM's.

If you don't agree,just tell me of one accident report which has EVER attributed the MAIN cause of the accident to pilot fatigue.

5th Jun 2004, 12:42
What about that recent crash involving a swiss 146 /avro and over 16hrs duty?? in poor wx to boot?

ILS 119.5
5th Jun 2004, 15:46
I agree that companies should have a closer look at the hours that pilots and ATCO's are working. Commercial pressures make companies push to the limits. In our industry where SAFETY is at the top then to me this is not safe. Would you get on an aircraft if you knew the Captain or F/O was tired? Would you fly with a colleague who was tired? Would you trust the Air Traffic Controllers/Assistants if you knew they were tired? I know I wouldn't. If as professionals we are doubting the system then why don't the people running the system sort it out. We can all send these messages and pontificate about how professional we are but nothing ever gets done, until an accident happens. It's just like sickness policies which are being introduced. Companies have software to evaluate sickness. If you are outside the accepted criteria then you are interviewed or disciplined. This means that one day we will have a tired and slightly under the weather Captain with a tired and slightly under the weather First Officer, on the ground will be a tired and slightly under the weather Controller with a tired and slightly under the weather Assisstant. Next thing COLLISION, massive carnage, people dead. Who will be blamed then or will any of the above mentioned be murdered because of negligence. I really believe that it is up to us as professional aviators to ensure that this does not happen but I also believe that the companies that employ us also have a duty to ensure that the above scenario does not happen. If the industry keeps going the way it is then it will.
Got off my soap box now.
ILS 119.5
Sorry, forgot about the licenced engineers who are quite important. Imagine if they were tired and missed something.

Sir George Cayley
5th Jun 2004, 19:14
12 hour solo shifts are quite normal in the UK so after 4 days most Ops guys and gals are knackered and just waiting for their releif to arrive.

Sir George Cayley

6th Jun 2004, 09:07
Our work is governed by limitations. They usually have their own chapter in the OM. Imagine if we used some of these as 'commercial targets' the same way as FTLs are used. It would be bad airmanship and the aeroplane would break more often.
There should be a requirement for crewing officers to be trained on the effects of fatigue and at least be familiar with the Oxford and NASA studies on the subject.
What about driving home after flying? Employers have a duty of care that extends beyond insisting that you live near the airfield. Have a look at truck drivers regs. Interesting comparison.

Larry in TN
6th Jun 2004, 19:31
the unwillingness of various regulatory authorities to attribute accidents to pilot fatigue, even when clearly the root causal factor (i.e. Little Rock)

Fatigue was listed promenantly in the statement of probable cause for this accident:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were the flight crew’s failure to discontinue the approach when severe thunderstorms and their associated hazards to flight operations had moved into the airport area and the crew’s failure to ensure that the spoilers had extended after touchdown. Contributing to the accident were the flight crew’s (1) impaired performance resulting from fatigue and the situational stress associated with the intent to land under the circumstances, (2) continuation of the approach to a landing when the company’s maximum crosswind component was exceeded, and (3) use of reverse thrust greater than 1.3 engine pressure ratio after landing.

The Privateer
6th Jun 2004, 21:51
Governments are caving into commercial lobbying and Unions seem totally inept at stopping the downward slide towards reduced quality of life (expectancy) for pilots with all the attendant consequences

Negotiation at Management and Union level has not produced any results.

The only possible avenue that may be open is for newly retired pilots who have recent experience of 'compressed' working to form a body and voice and using anonymous donations from Pilots in the Industry to finance short media (1-2 minute) presentations on TV/radio in the form of 'Political Broadcasts' and single page tabloid adverts informing the public of the increasing dangers of crew duty -v- fatigue -v- busy airspace, possibly with (after legal advice) a name and shame strategy. This group or body would eventually be given free time when interviewed by News units after an accident or incident where they can stress their point of view.

Eventually, after a while (it will not happen overnight) public awareness will increase and we may see a boycotting of certain airlines as we did with Oil companies at the pumps. "I will not fly with an airline whose crew has done a 16 hour multi-sector duty"

This may jolt the erring carriers into making sure the public do fly with them by reducing their crews' duty times especially if their competitors are doing the same.

There are risks. Some pilots may prefer 16 hour days 5 days a week to just stay in a job with a marginally profitable airline or legal action being levied against the retired 'Whistleblowers'. This could be overcome by using 'Nicknames' for airlines such as "Nigel", "Whitehat" etc. but something that the public easily recognises.

Failing that, grin and bear it and be thankful you are in a job.

The Privateer

ILS 119.5
6th Jun 2004, 22:17
"Grin and bear it"
You must be joking. Our profession is supposed to be the safest in the world. Imagine telling a passenger that there may be a problem with the a/c or the pilots and controllers may be fatigued, but to "grin and bear it". I'm sure if that was the case then passenger loads would go down and airlines would have any profits reduced. It is not a case of "grin and bear it" but a case of "lets do something about it" to ensure that safety is not comprimised and we keep our jobs because the loads remain high.
ILS 119.5

6th Jun 2004, 22:29
Majorbyte et al

Re your fatigue thread. I am attending an Aircrew Fatigue Workshop at the CAA on 30th Jun. Agenda includes FTL (history and future), Napping, Use of Melatonin, Impact of Light/Noise on Sleep, ULR Ops and In Flight Rest. Also a demo of "SAFE" computer model for fatigue evaluation. I will post something giving you a run down as soon as the workshop is over and can call you if you give me a PM. Bof

6th Jun 2004, 22:59
Agenda includes FTL (history and future), Napping, Use of Melatonin,
Please post the conclusions here, I would really like to hear about it. Unfortuanely the 30th of June will be my 5th day of work out of 7 so i won't be able to attend but could you tell me how you heard about this workshop and at what level you are involved (PM is fine).


Ignition Override
7th Jun 2004, 05:00
Maxalt: the accident at Little Rock, which was connected to a long duty day, resulted in the very first required, scheduled rest periods (8-hours/24) for flightcrew who are on multiple standby/reserve days in a row. Before that-you could never really predict when Crew Scheds could call us out!

"Crew Fatigue" finally was the primary cause of a US accident, as I stated recently somewhere on Pprune. The (US) NTSB showed considerable courage, finally having the b---s to stand up to the FAA on the fatigue issue. Don't know how the British or other Accident Boards stand on safety recommendations versus cost/benefit analysis and national politics (the classic NTSB vs FAA dispute). Of course these people are all career bureaucrats, some are political appointees, chosen by the highest levels...

This watershed event involved a Connie Kalitta charter (cargo) crew. It was my impression that the Captain had slept a few hours the previous afternoon-they were up all night, and the DC-8 cartwheeled at Guantanamo Bay NAS, Cuba. Don't know if the sun was already shining into squinting, very dry, red eyes. The approach supposedly requires a very close turn from base to final approach, with very little time to set up a stable approach, because of Cuban airspace limitations. Another crew with a major US airline barely kept a DC-10 on the runway there-it might have been their first time there. For me to land from a single-engine approach in the simulator might look almost like that. :eek: :)

capt. skidmark
8th Jun 2004, 14:47
i scared myself to death one night when i was flying as a freightdog in the usa. i woke up after hearing my callsign by atc saying: it looks like you are 7nm off course. there was no (working) autopilot on that plane and i was flying in mountainous area. i knew the dangers about fatigue and i had slept well before my flight, but once the body decided to go to sleep, there isnt much you can do about it.

are there more pilots on this forum who have experienced this and want to talk about it?


tubby one
9th Jun 2004, 07:43
check the website <www.casa.gov.au> there will be a Discussion Paper there shortly addressing Fatigue Risk Management. The DP will lead into legislation within the next 12-18 months requiring operators in Oz to take fatigue seriously. CASA has been working closely with a Uni in Sth Oz to get a definitive on the effects of fatigue on pilots. Some leading edge stuff from downunder.:O :O :O :ok: :ok:

12th Jun 2004, 22:52
To all,

I would just like to say thanks to the pilots who replied to this posting, via PMs and on the forum.

It is a sad, but true fact, that nearly 70% of all commercial jet aircraft accidents are caused by 'Pilot Error' and a large proportion of pilot error accidents are caused directly or indirectly by Fatigue.

Unfortunately, flight data recorders cannot measure pilot fatigue, only the effects and consequences of fatigue, many major accidents caused by pilot fatigue never get reported by the aircrew, for obvious reasons.

By keeping the issue of 'Pilot Fatigue' in the open, airlines will eventually be made to realise that the responsibility is on them to take to issue of 'Fatigue' amongst its aircrew seriously and not to put commercial considerations before air-safety.


13th Jun 2004, 19:56
There is a very direct relationship between the time you have spent on duty and the likelihood that you will have an accident.
If you plot the numbers from the little table in this article, you find that the curve increases rapidly once you get over 10 duty hours, so that by the time you get to 13 duty hours you are 3.81 times more likely to have an accident than at 8 duty hours.
Makes you think.


16th Jun 2004, 10:43
wonder how nmany accidents caused by pilots spending too much time on the internet!

16th Jun 2004, 21:10
I still can't get over this fixation with fatigue being the only target, or justification for the argument about the working conditions.

Will somebody please explain why, just because you are flight crew, you should be subjected to working hours that are unacceptable to ground based personnel?

We normally work over 11 hour days; random shift patterns, therefore also random sleep patterns; are locked in a box (2 crew) that is illegally too small for any office job; a low humidity enviroment and with reduced oxygen. We do not have time away from our work station for breaks, similar to shop workers etc; are denied any form of physical exercise for extended periods; work normally over 40 hours per week; are expected to perform these extended duty periods with less time to recuperate between duty periods than the average office job. (they have 15 hours off after 8 hours duty) etc. etc.

This campaign, in another thread, about not accepting an increase in duty hours. For gawd sakes, we should be campaigning for a decrease, not no increase.

Once again, will BALPA or any other representative body, contact Neil Kinnock and obtain his direction to the public transport industry, when he was the EU commisionaire for transport, where he said that the social charter which was being introduced for EU wokers could be deplayed for a few years ( a few mind you) and that the industries had to introduce a compensation package until such time as changes could be made in line with the charter. The document must be on file and when found, will someone please publish it.

I would try myself, but I'm sure BALPA, ECA or any other association has better access than I; and I pay my subs for such service.

16th Jun 2004, 22:02
What on earth are you trying to say RAT 5? Incomprehensible or what?

From what I am able to deduce from your garbled message, our jobs are similar in all respects. There are, in fact, some differences between the demands of work of Flight Crew and of those on the ground. Perhaps you are unable to imagine what these differences are, or their consequences. Wish I got paid the same salary to work on the ground.

16th Jun 2004, 22:04
Accumulated Fatigue is the biggest nemesis in East-West long haul operations. As a first step, the rulemakers should all be made to attend Midnight debating sessions to sort out the idiotic rest and duty rules, otherwise they won't come close to getting a grip on reality. :ooh:

17th Jun 2004, 00:12
Roy Hudd

It is perfectly clear what Rat 5 is trying to say - a point I made a while ago on an earlier thread about hours / fatigue.

But first let me declare immediately my status as an interloper (non-pilot although with family involvement) and that I am sure Rat 5 can stick up for himself......

The Social Charter (1965) laid out, amongst many other things, objectives for reasonable boundaries between work and life - that no one should be required (by an employer) to work such that proper rest, recuperation, family, etc (i.e. life) are excluded. The UK, along with other member states of the EU, signed up to it. It can be found via Google.

The Working Hours Regulations 1998 put into UK employment law most of the Working Time Directive that came from the Social Charter (Articles 2, 3, 4, etc). These limit the hours that can be worked (with some exceptions) mainly on the grounds of Health and Safety - the H&S of the workers concerned! Kinnock was commenting on the 'special case categories' which were not initially included, one of which was transport including aviation - they should, he said, be compensated until the protection can be extended to them as intended. Some categories of worker within these special cases have recently been included or are about to be included. Road Transport is one. It is clear that despite the operational difficulties, and hence the (temporary) exclusion, flight and cabin crew have the same, equal rights as any other EU citizens and the intention was/is to include them. All this is pararell but separate from the CAP/ JAR safety issue - it is about citizens' rights in European Law.

All these things - CAP /JAR rules, Work Life Balance, Working Time Directive, plain quality of life (i.e. family, relaxation, time for learning, culture, etc) are linked and seem to me to be important although not, I accept, directly relevant in a thread about reasearch into fatigue.

Good luck in your endeavours.


You splitter
17th Jun 2004, 10:07
No it is not perfectly clear what RAT 5 is trying to say.

He is forced to work in a small box? Its a cockpit for :mad: sake. What does he expect a 300 sq yard office with leather seats and a teasmaid!
He has to work in a low humidity enviroment?
Its an aircaft flying pressurised at 35,00 feet. What do you expect.
Its like a coal miner complaining he has to get dirty!
He has to work 11 hour days that we dont have to on the ground. (Try telling that to me after a 60 hour week with 12 hour days last week!)

Sounds to me like you picked the wrong job! If you hate it that much get out...not for my sake but your own.

I actually do agree with you guys that fatigue is a serious issue and that we all have a responsibility toward dealing with the issue.

But surely hi-jacking the issue to just complain about general
T & C's actually detracts from the matter at hand?

phoenix son
17th Jun 2004, 11:02
Maybe RAT 5 was tired when he posted???



Stan Woolley
17th Jun 2004, 11:42
Rat 5 is spot on !

First off the green eyed money monster has nothing to do with his argument.

Why should he and I as pilots not have the same rights as any other workers? The unhealthy environment we work in is a reality but that should enforce this argument not detract from it!

Tell me U Splitter how long can a coal miner stay down a pit without a break? I genuinely have no idea and would be interested in the answer.

It's not practical to have the same rights as office workers you say, well then let's compensate in different areas - isn't that what Kinnock was meant to be looking into donkeys years ago?

Personally I don't want money as compensation because it can't buy ones health.

If you want to work 12 hr days and 60 hr weeks CARRY ON, but it's YOUR CHOICE TO DO SO!!! Isn't it called OVERTIME?

I know first hand the consequences of our so called 'legal' working patterns and believe me it is a serious problem in some airlines.

Over dramatising I hear you say - the consequences are very real and extremely dramatic and my fears are genuine.

17th Jun 2004, 13:06
Unfortunately, flight data recorders cannot measure pilot fatigue,

As far as I can tell there is no accepted method of measuring tiredness (eg unlike a blood test for alcohol). Perhaps if there were things would be different.

Tell me U Splitter how long can a coal miner stay down a pit without a break? I genuinely have no idea and would be interested in the answer.

A bit dated (1999) but...

UK Mine workers win hours victory (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/289701.stm)

Mr Justice Gage ruled in their favour. He decided the 48-hour maximum laid down by the regulations was "a mandatory requirement which must apply to all contracts of employment" unless the employee agreed to an opt-out in writing.

\'Not obliged to work\'

The judge ruled that because they had already worked more than the maximum during a 17-week period, they could not be obliged to work at all until their weekly hours averaged out at 48.

You splitter
17th Jun 2004, 15:36
:cool: Hats of Cwatters to come up with that from 1999. To be honest I thought Thatcher had managed to get rid of all the miners anyway! :{

To clarify, and after having a bit of a think then yes I fully accept that certain conditions of work can lead to fatigue and/or contribute to its severity.

However I still think that if you want a serious discussion into fatigue as a safety related matter then anything that looks like its just trying to improve Terms & Conditions (which lets face it we all want and I don't blame anyone) then its counter productive.

RAT 5 made it sound like the job was unbearable. I mean complaining about having to sit in a small flight deck. I didn't want to stand on a ladder 50 foot of the ground so I didn't become a fireman. I don't enjoy being shot at so I decided to give the Army a miss. Cant stand driving so taxi/bus/coach driver wasn't on my list of career paths. Get the idea.

Ok maybe I over reacted a little but us guys on the ground get a little crotchy now and then when aircrew insinuate that we all sit around doing 8 hour days drinking tea having a jolly old time whilst they are working the cobblers off!

Yes the environment is not the best environment in the world to work in and yes that deserves to be taken into consideration when looking at compensating for it.

Oh and the overtime issue. I wish! I would be a millionaire. I take a good wage and have other benifits of being a Manager so that means sometimes I have to work for them Cest la vie. :{
I will be leaving early today. In about 5 mins for the footy!

Was there any news from the FTL workshop out of interest?

Also with the EU FTL's surely it will work the same as JAR-OPS. i.e theres nothing stopping one state being MORE restrictive. If not then there is nothing stopping an airline writing there FTL scheme as more restrictive and then maybe thats where the pressure will eventually have to be focused at.

The Human Factor
17th Jun 2004, 16:50
To Majorbyte

BALPA conducted a Fatigue Survey in 1994 and had over 1000 replies. The results were professionally analysed by a team from Leicester University.

If you are a BALPA member, you should be able to obtain a copy.

When the 48 hour working week was introduced, one of the reasons was to ensure that workers had some home life. Try working out the number of 'awake' hours that you get at home compared to a 'normal' worker. The last time I did the exercise, it worked out that the amount of time I had at home equated to someone working a 60 hour week!

17th Jun 2004, 16:52
Reminds of the scariest plane story I've experienced.

Day after a short night (6 hours). On descent in Paris Terminal Area, felt fine one second and fell deeply asleep the next. Sounds messy in one of the busiest areas in the world ? Well, that's only the beginning. I woke up only thanks to the repetition of my call sign and I realised my captain was sleeping too !!!

OOOHHHH Bad boys !!! We are such bad boys ! What should I complain about ? IT'S LEGAL ! 6 hours from arrival block time to departure block time is legal in France (I used to work for a French airline).

Well, office workers can have tough days and tend to fall asleep on their desk. Impact will never be so hard as a piece of metal weighing 60 tons rushing into the ground at 500 km/h with 150 people in it.

My colleague and I discussed that story after and we realised we had crossed a line without even knowing. I was on a temporary contract and I simply had no way of adressing that issue to management as I would have been the naughty noise-maker they should have never hired.

How hypocritical to say IT'S LEGAL. In fact, I think the mere fact of saying that is one step towards guilt in a tribunal.

Maybe journalists are reading these lines. Fair enough. And I can add that if this has happened to me, it's happened to a large number of pilots on this forum.

YouSplitter, I find your analysis unfair.

Why shouldn\'t pilots use their tough working conditions as a lever to improve their T&Cs ? Why shouldn\'t we try to get compensation for our 75% oxygen pressure ratio, our dry atmosphere, our demanding and stressful environment ?

I agree T&Cs and safety should be considered as two different issues. And I part of me doesn\'t agree simply because the are very much entangled. T&Cs factors are the very same as factors leading to crashing an aircraft through pilots\' fatigue :

- one very short night sleep
- repetitive short night sleeps
- short rest periods i.e. periods that will only leave time to (in order of priority) 1/ sleep to recover and preparing for another tough roster 2/ getting ready for the next flights (washing clothes, keeping paperwork/records on file, working harder for sim/line checks...) 3/ family 4/ leisure such as sports, outings, etc (but that luxury)
- one consequence of it all and which people don\'t talk about too much but I find is quite recurrent : broken private lives (divorces, scattered families, etc...) due to this mad and irregular pace. This argument will surely be dispised as pilots are not the only population going through this type of troubles but I\'m sure they\'re over exposed.
- Jet lags with only little time to recover.

Finally, why shouldn\'t pilots have the right to live an acceptable private life ? Why should we be ashamed to adress this in addition to requesting SAFE working conditions ?

17th Jun 2004, 21:53
Bravo bijave! What you write is true and indeed worrying. And the personal example you gave represents the tip of the iceberg...inappropriate sleep at work...often happened, never reported. It may be worth asking why...

ILS 119.5
18th Jun 2004, 06:59
A small article in the Times yesterday said that the increased hours which is being proposed has been put on hold for further investigation. It did say that the increase in daily flying time could cause crashes. This is great news, either someone has been reading pprune or someone is using common sense and thinking of safety first.

sorry, maybe this should have gone under "pilots hours increase" which I\'m just going to read.

18th Jun 2004, 07:30
Bijave has highlighted the 'rest paradox' between what we know to be safe and what we actually have to cope with.

Imposing a generic FTL policy for individual pilots and their particular type of operation is not an effective way of preventing pilot fatigue.

On a recent medical I noticed a general fatigue wall chart which basically outlined all the possible factors which could cause fatigue. I scored very well as it effectively read like a check list for all the factors current in our industry.

I too have fallen asleep during critical phases of flight despite battling against the temptation to lose consciousness. My particular company uses Flight Time Limitations as targets and not as a means of reducing pilot fatigue. Cynically they use the FTL document to validate rosters as 'legal'.

East then West bound patterns are common with as little as two days rest in between, and 'ER' aircraft with crew rest facilities ommited from the final specification as a waste of space. Many of us resort to Tomazipan to try and get rest when our bodies are telling us to get up or use copious amounts of caffine to cope when it's screaming at us to sleep.

Apart from the obvious safety issues, my other main concern is the long term medical effects all of this will have on us...60 seems far too optimistic an age to retire from my standpoint and am convinced I won't be given the choice anyway if the work patterns we have go on unabated. Money, at least enough of it, used to offer the chance of early retirement on our terms but that seems a distant dream in the world of higher productivity and lower wage bills...

Anyway, of to bed to sleep...perhaps.

18th Jun 2004, 10:53
Oxygen Deprivation and Sleep Apnoea

Incredible how little research has been conducted into the extended periods of low blood oxygen levels in aircrews resulting from long flights at regulated max cabin altitudes of 8,000 ft and then with a proportion of such crews again being short shrifted on oxygen as a result of their undiagnosed sleep apnoea.

We lose consciousness at about 65% to 70% blood oxygen and the relative air pressure is 0.74 at 8,000 ft.

Have any of you had an opportunity to measure your blood oxygen level at 8,000 ft? Simple devices available for this now.

20th Jun 2004, 12:59
The comments about not wanting to stand on ladders and wanting a ballroom cockpit etc. were facetious and didn't add to anything.

All I am asking is why, especially considering the anti social enviroment, should we as flight crew, and I include cabin staff, be expected to work..(without a form of compensation)..

1. an average of 11 hour day/night random shift, and in some airlines I've worked in, upto 17hours?

2. upto a 55 hour week and 190 hour month?

3. in a random work/sleep shift pattern that can be changed at whim and only 12 hours notice?

Over 25 years, 10 airlines and 4 different EU countries the T's & C's have deteriorated drastically. Meanwhile the EU work force in general has enjoyed an improvement in T's & C's.

Simple question; why should we allow ourselves to be abused thus? And now the management want to make matters worse. There has been a massive increase in pilot productivity over the past decade and more, for very little real increase in reward. It is a vocational profession and for too long pilots have put up with this decline and in many cases prostituted themsleves, much to the glee of management. That attitude has come home to roost many times.
Now, there is a new generation of crews that are saying enough is enough. They see the gulf in the enviroment in the majors and the lower level airlines. They see the gulf in the enviroremnt of ours and other professions, and rightly want to try and correct it.

Please don't start to make comments relating to salary, and comparing ours with other sections of the industry. We are all part of the same team, and there is a rate for the job. Even so, the spectrum of pilot salaries is huge. What is a nonsense is that a high salary means you have to put up with c@%p. I would have thought quite the opposite.

And to one or two of you who asked/suggested; yes I did quit. I did vote with my feet. I discovered there is more to life than strapping an aluminium tube to my bum for 15 hours.

Understanding the difference between 'working to live' & living to work' might help many people.

Good luck to those trying to reverse the sad decline in the profession.