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View Full Version : Pilot nodds off!! Danger in the skies!!


screwballburling
1st Mar 2013, 16:27
BBC News - Air New Zealand pilot 'fell asleep' during flight (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21628746)

This is so stupid I have had to put this on JB.

FFS!! He nodded off for a minute, twice!!

What is more disturbing, is who dropped him in?? Or did he report himself.

Any pilot with say over 10,000 hours and tries to tell me they haven't nodded off, in the seat, I say BS!!

I would prefer a pilot to take a "rest" and wake up fresh than a person who has spent 10 hours battling to stay awake, when faced with an emergency.

con-pilot
1st Mar 2013, 16:51
In the 21,000 hours that I flew in my career I can positively and without fear of contradiction, firmly state that I have never fallen asleep in the cockpit of an aircraft.

However, I did have some periods of serious eyelid leak checks that last for some time. :\

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :E

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:00
I guess that's all and good as long as you don't do what the PF did a couple of years ago and fly right on past your destination.
I believe he was flying to some destination in the Midwest if memory serves me correctly and it took one of the cabin crew members to, um, wake him up.

I guess the other question is: was the PNF also asleep? :eek:

galaxy flyer
1st Mar 2013, 17:08
At a famous and now sadly defunct airline, sleeping was punished by the crews, sometimes with humor.

Scene: B727 northbound from PR on the WATRS, sun streaming in CA's side, who naps.

Crew slews the compasses to E, runs down the fuel gages to near the bottom, sets clocks ahead several hours and pretends to nod off.

Captain awakes, starts screaming at crew and into the HF. Crew thought it through pretty well--they pulled his mic cord.

GF

con-pilot
1st Mar 2013, 17:13
I guess the other question is: was the PNF also asleep?

"PNF"? Who would that be? :E

Actually there was a study about long haul flights done by a lot of folks, with a lot of initials, unfortunately none of which was the FAA, that discovered that a 45 minute nap while enroute, one pilot at a time, was both beneficial and completely safe.

I do believe some countries allow the naps, but of course not the FAA. The FAA is still trying to fine the Wright Brothers for flying without a license, medical and in an unregistered aircraft. Change comes very, very slowly to the FAA.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:16
con wrote:

"PNF"? Who would that be?

Pilot Napping Freely. Jeez con, do I have to spell out everything?!!! :}:}

hellsbrink
1st Mar 2013, 17:17
I guess that's all and good as long as you don't do what the PF did a couple of years ago and fly right on past your destination.
I believe he was flying to some destination in the Midwest if memory serves me correctly and it took one of the cabin crew members to, um, wake him up.

I guess the other question is: was the PNF also asleep?

The article has your answer in it, rgb,

"The other operating pilot on the flight deck was aware of this and safety was not compromised at any point."

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:23
No, no hellsbrink. I'm not talking about that particular flight.
The one a couple of years ago where the airliner was flying to, I believe, Milwaukee but they overshot the destination and had to turn around. They claimed at the time both pilots were involved in some sort of company business and were discussing the same at length. Later came out that both were, er, nodding off at the steering wheel. (Was it a Delta flight perhaps? I don't remember.)

hellsbrink
1st Mar 2013, 17:28
Ahh, Northwest 188 to Minneapolis, flew 150 miles past destination before pilots woke up after flight attendant asked if everything was ok. 78 mins out of radio communication with controllers.

Sorry, my confusion.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:30
That's the one hellsbrink. Thanks for refreshing my feeble mind.
If I remember correctly (probably not) they were out of comms because not only did they take a bit of a siesta but they turned off the comms equipment before doing so. :ok:

con-pilot
1st Mar 2013, 17:47
Captain awakes, starts screaming at crew and into the HF. Crew thought it through pretty well--they pulled his mic cord.


Reminds me of a story from my Marshal days.

The chief pilot flew very seldom and only on trips that he figured that he would have a good time on the RON. We had one standard RON every week, in Phoenix. This was a standard week schedule, we'd leave Monday and return home that night, same thing every day until Thursday when we would spend the night in Phoenix.

This week I was scheduled as the PIC, until we landed Wednesday night, the next morning I would switch seats to the right and be the co-pilot, the co-pilot would move back to the FE position and the FE was taken off the trip. The chief pilot had decided that he wanted to go Phoenix.

The chief pilot was also infamous for two things when he flew, flying all the legs and falling asleep about the same time the flaps were retracted. This Thursday was no exception, until our last stop before Phoenix. He told me that he needed to 'rest up' for the night ahead and we switched seats.

Sure enough, about 10,000 feet he was sound asleep. The guy at the FE panel started handing the radio and after we leveled out at cruise, he tapped my on my shoulder, pointed up to where the chief pilot's headset was plugged in and made a motion as if to unplug the head set. I nodded hell yes and he unplugged the chief pilot's headset.

For the next hour and a half as we are going to Phoenix he remains asleep. Through the descent he stays asleep. For anyone here that flew 727s, as noisy as the cockpit is on a barber pole descent, this in itself is an amazing feat.

When we are on an about a five mile final I tell the guy in the FE seat to plug the headset back in and I put the gear down. The noise of the gear going down, coupled with his headset coming alive woke him.

His reaction was priceless, he actually tried to jump up and yelled out in surprise.

Course my buddy who had been sitting side saddle and I were placed on the east coast run for the next month, but it was worth it. :E

racedo
1st Mar 2013, 18:35
OMG ...................how could he and did he miss the school / hospital / orphanage.

Oh wait he woke up.........

screwballburling
1st Mar 2013, 19:31
The work culture and atmosphere at ANZ must be toxic to say the least. Who would report a fellow crew member, for a bit of kip?? CRM at it's best?

I read somewhere the authorities there were in agreement for "putting your head back" if you were feeling sleepy. The union over ruled it apparently. If thats true then they are a bunch of w:mad:s. Maybe the person who reported him was a union man.

500N
1st Mar 2013, 19:37
screwball

I read that he "self reported" and as such no actions was taken
against him as the airline wanted this "self reporting" to continue.

BenThere
1st Mar 2013, 20:10
The pilots who overflew Minneapolis weren't sleeping but were engaged on their computers trying to figure out their new scheduling and bidding system. The copilot had inadvertently tuned the wrong frequency while the captain took a bathroom break, returning to think nothing was amiss as there was voice traffic on the wrongly tuned frequency.

I believe both pilots were terminated after the incident.

As for sleeping, I believe it is better to coordinate sleeping with the other pilot and recline than sit in the seat nodding off anyway, missing radio calls, and otherwise not doing the job, and not notifying the other pilot of your condition. The insidious things that can happen outweigh checking out for a nap after assuring the other pilot is suitably awake. Safety is often enhanced by a tactical nap, I'm convinced.

con-pilot
1st Mar 2013, 20:42
Safety is often enhanced by a tactical nap, I'm convinced.

And I'm convinced that your are 100% correct.

G-CPTN
1st Mar 2013, 21:11
I've never been able to take a short nap.
If I fall asleep I usually sleep for some time.
If I'm woken shortly after falling asleep I feel dreadful - not refreshed (as I know some people are after a few minutes 'rest').

con-pilot
1st Mar 2013, 21:25
All I can say is that those short naps worked for me and the other pilots I have flown with.

Just as long as we all didn't take a nap at the same time that is. :p

There is just something about sitting in a warm cockpit, in smooth air, late in the afternoon, after you've been flying all day that brings on a sudden need for an eyelid leak test. :\

Now if you're fighting lines of thunderstorms in the American mid-west, eyelid leak checks is the last thing on your mind.

JWP1938
1st Mar 2013, 21:54
I haven't bothered to check back but, some months ago, I posted a thread about the possibility of some pilots "napping" under certain circumstances and that I didn't think it would pose a problem if done properly. I was absolutely shot down in flames for it. Going by some of the responses in this thread it seems to me it depends on who is posting as to what is "acceptable."

7x7
1st Mar 2013, 23:43
The work culture and atmosphere at ANZ must be toxic to say the least.In two words, it is. Someone who is actually there can give the details, but to give a very broad brush of the situation, there is the ALPA camp and then there are those who signed up to individual contracts, which allowed them to jump a very long way up the seniority list and onto higher types way out of what the ALPA pilots considered 'sequence'. I'm led to believe that this leads to some not nice crew interaction. The pilot concerned quite probably self-reported to beat someone from the other camp reporting him.

Dushan
1st Mar 2013, 23:58
No, no hellsbrink. I'm not talking about that particular flight.
The one a couple of years ago where the airliner was flying to, I believe, Milwaukee but they overshot the destination and had to turn around. They claimed at the time both pilots were involved in some sort of company business and were discussing the same at length. Later came out that both were, er, nodding off at the steering wheel. (Was it a Delta flight perhaps? I don't remember.)

I thought that they were posting on PPRuNe using the newly installed WiFi.

ei-flyer
2nd Mar 2013, 00:11
Crazy... at my airline it's not uncommon or frowned upon to grab some sleep when needs must. Late night ADB-DUB, 3 hrs spent at CRZ, why not?

Slasher
2nd Mar 2013, 03:45
Them power naps help a lot - so long as the guy in the other seat doesn't nod off.

Three crew were the days...the FE would make sure at least one chariot driver was awake.
If he perceived both were nodding off, some of the more sneaky ones would gently nudge
'em out of their slumber - by reaching over and activating an engine fire test switch! :E

N56G6hYkxrI

hellsbrink
2nd Mar 2013, 05:23
The pilots who overflew Minneapolis weren't sleeping but were engaged on their computers trying to figure out their new scheduling and bidding system. The copilot had inadvertently tuned the wrong frequency while the captain took a bathroom break, returning to think nothing was amiss as there was voice traffic on the wrongly tuned frequency.


Unlike the ones in Hawaii on a Go! flight from Honolulu to Hali in 2008, who did both fall soundly asleep and went 30 miles past Hilo before turning back. No question about the sleep part, they admitted it.

Good job they ended up over the Pacific, all schools/hospitals/orphanages were saved from danger.

Fareastdriver
2nd Mar 2013, 08:31
The pilot concerned quite probably self-reported to beat someone from the other camp reporting him.

Another possibility is the hotel. The person involvd stated that he had to change rooms three times because of the aircon and as a result had a poor night's sleep. Maye they have had problems with this hotel before and the report was a lever to get ANZ to change the hotel.

Fly3
3rd Mar 2013, 03:24
Some years ago I self reported that I fell asleep on the descent into NRT after operating NRT-SFO-NRT with minimum rest in SFO in a hotel which was under renovation. For this I received a letter from my company "to be mindful to organise my rest better"! I am all in favour of catnapping one at a time on the flight deck.

Slasher
3rd Mar 2013, 03:37
I self reported...

Why go and dob yourself in when you know full well the
Company aint gonna switch hotels during the renos? :confused:

hellsbrink
3rd Mar 2013, 05:51
Well, slash, one reason could be so that you have something on record. If there's been a history of "Meh" when you and others complained of some sort of issues with hotels, like lack of sleep, then by self-reporting you are saying that there is a real problem and you are willing to take a rap on the knuckles to make sure that is recorded. Let's just say that sort of thing could come in handy, and that's before we think of medical reasons being an issue too.

So by dobbing yourself in, especially if others have said something too, you could actually force the airline to change hotels as it's clear that there could be a potential safety issue due to insufficient sleep. That ball lands firmly in the hands of the bosses and beancounters, and it's something they would have to react to as they, themselves, know the potential fallout if repeated complaints are ignored.

screwballburling
6th Mar 2013, 19:09
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s34/rikeskie/RIKESKIE-PC/Africanpoliticianshardatwork_zps5a04b9c5.jpg

Looks like Bob and his crew are having a long flight.

CRM. You will notice the steep command gradient in full view. I am sure
they would most certainly agree to anything Captain Bob, did or said. :}

Cacophonix
6th Mar 2013, 20:49
Tired pilot follows SOPS. Yawns and centre line is established...

Caco

Turbine D
6th Mar 2013, 22:06
http://i1166.photobucket.com/albums/q609/DaveK72/20130304_zps44f69f27.jpg

TD

ArthurR
7th Mar 2013, 09:17
I think I would be more worried about the A/P falling asleep. :E

flynverted
7th Mar 2013, 10:11
The FAA is still trying to fine the Wright Brothers for flying without a license, medical and in an unregistered aircraft.

Damn it, Con, you owe me a glass of 16 year old Glen Moray and a keyboard. :ouch: :ok:

Mike6567
7th Mar 2013, 12:58
Back in 1983 I was on a crew bus with a concorde captain moaning about the (recently moved to) hotel in New York.
Someone else on the bus pointed out the crew on the Eastern 855 Tristar that had ended up a few days before with all three engines failed had more to worry about than a noisy hotel room.
The concorde captain responded "at least the Eastern crew had to cope after a decent night's sleep". I think he was quite correct.

screwballburling
7th Mar 2013, 13:13
Over the years I have conditioned myself to sleep with the TV on, audio included. I get a good nights sleep whereever I am put, within reason. So much so I would elect to swap a room with another crew member should they deem it too noisy.

However I am the first to knock back a hotel, if it is dirty or noisy, on behalf of the crew.