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The fatigued machine

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

The fatigued machine

Old 19th Sep 2017, 21:42
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: a very sandy place
Posts: 65
The fatigued machine

With all that is being discussed on numerous threads here and via numerous emails flying around, its not a secret that scary times are upon us now. However, company culture aside, I think we can put all of these happenings into 1 word, FATIGUE. In my honest opinion, this is not a training problem, this is not experience problem, and this is not even a fear of punishment problem. I say this, because every pilot I know, and that goes for all that I know here as well, are very resilient individuals. It actually comes with the territory of being a pilot itself. However, when you set the absolute operational limits as the targets, even the strongest get worn down over time. This is the case with any machine, and make no mistake about, we and the system we operate in, are a machine.

Why do I say this a FATIGUE problem and isn't a training problem, an experience problem, or even a fear of punishment problem? Its because if for the last 5 years we would have not worked the trainers to the point where they just gave up and quit, we would still have a huge amount of experience in the training department and not be out begging for guys to join this department with a carrot of a star and a few extra dirhams a month. Similarly, if we didn't have FATIGUE our experienced pilots would not have all left for other places, we would not have a majority of the pilot force counting the days till they can get the hell out of here. Furthermore, we would not have a massive turn over unparalleled to any other airline in our class. Finally, I don't even think its a fear of punishment problem because without FATIGUE, many of these minor and sadly now, major incidents would simply not be occurring at the number in which they are and thus the system of fear would have never have had a chance to develop.

Unfortunately, the entire system is FATIGUED. Why do I capitalize this word every time? Its simple, most of the time, an individual does not realize he/she is FATIGUED until it hits them like a ton of bricks and something major happens, or he/she takes an extended bit of time off and realizes later how tired they previously were. Now, you can consider the entire system here is FATIGUED from running at max for many years, and now, since the system can take no time off, you are seeing the ton of bricks hit and major events starting to happen more and more often. The pilots are FATIGUED, the training department is FATIGUED, the recruiting department is FATIGUED, even our illustrious leaders are FATIGUED trying to fix all their screw ups while admitting to none, and now even our financials are FATIGUED as a result of all the previous. Unfortunately, they don't realize it, and even though we the system are crying foul, they aren't willing to listen.

I wish I could say I feel that things are recoverable, but I am afraid, we are a very long way from that, even if the right change was immediately started. With that said, the so called leaders will not be the ones to start this "right" change. Its now up to us, the inner workings of the FATIGUED machine to start it. Manage your schedules and do not worry about the reprisals that may come from it. Take care of your colleagues and point out if you see them going down the incorrect path in any part of the their lives, work or personal, as they may not be able to see it themselves. Welcome our new joiners regardless of their experience as they are the new parts of this machine that are not FATIGUED yet and may end of saving our old tired butts when we aren't expecting it.

Guys/Gals, we are the FATIGUED system. How we got here doesn't matter, only that we are here. We are the parts of the FATIGUED machine known as EK and unless we start regulating ourselves before the brick hits us personally, we are only contributing to a system that is rapidly failing. THIS IS LIFE AND DEATH NOW. Look no further than our colleagues that have come dangerously close in several severe incidences in recent times. They aren't bad pilots, incompetent, or poorly trained. Even though I ask the question "How in the world could they do that?" I know the answer is not so simple. The safety systems of our FATIGUED machine are starting to fail, and unless we the parts of this machine do something to rebuild them to the best we can, the inevitable will happen. Fly safe, be safe, and don't let FATIGUE catch you out. Your family is counting on you and so are the families of all the people we move from point A to point B on a given day.The above is only my opinion, but to keep that opinion to myself now just doesn't seem like the right thing to do anymore.
a747jb is offline  
Old 19th Sep 2017, 22:54
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: nowhere
Posts: 468
Great post!!!!!
But, safly, it will be completely disregarded........
flareflyer is offline  
Old 20th Sep 2017, 04:21
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sandpit.
Posts: 242
Spot on. I agree completely.
nakbin330 is offline  
Old 20th Sep 2017, 04:25
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: earth
Posts: 1,072
They aren't bad pilots, incompetent, or poorly trained
I beg to differ.

The pilots are not bad, agreed.
But too many are incompetent and poorly trained. Definitely.

Don't get me wrong. I am not accusing anyone to be like that. I have stated before, that if there's an opportunity to jump some steps, many of us when young would have taken it, overestimating our experience and skill level at the time. Unfortunately, it's in the nature of the actual game that they are propelled to positions they are not ready for. It's the responsibility of the assessment and recruitment teams, as well as management who set up the minimum requirements to have them wait until ready and choose the ready-ones, even if this might cost a little more. Too many pilots are not qualified enough for their job at this time, especially trainers.

To embellish the pilot group does not help our cause at the moment. Each and every pilot here can eventually be a competent and well trained colleague. Give him time and training but don't scratch his belly by only telling him that he's good and management bad. This does not reduce incidents.
glofish is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 10:57
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 40
Totally agree, but we are fighting a management structure who have no comprehension of the subject.

Just look at Ryanair's boss and his take on it.😔

I don't leave it to them though, I sit in the car for 5 mins before every duty and instead of rushing in, I ask myself the million dollar question. Am I safe to go flying?
ONEWORLD_86 is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 12:28
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dubai
Age: 42
Posts: 38
Slight correction

[QUOTE][I don't leave it to them though, I sit in the car for 5 mins before every duty and instead of rushing in, I ask myself the million dollar question. Am I safe to go flying?/QUOTE]

Great point, slight correction......You ask yourself the $400 million dollar question plus whatever value you put on up to 600+ peoples lives.
Modesh is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 14:34
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dubye
Posts: 96
Great point, slight correction......You ask yourself the $400 million dollar question plus whatever value you put on up to 600+ peoples lives.[/QUOTE]

And that is the reason we get paid the salaries! Flying from A to B is one of the perks not the main reason we get paid.
Oldaircrew is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 17:22
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DXB
Posts: 38
Incident: Emirates A388 at Moscow on Sep 10th 2017, go around from about 400 feet AGL 8nm before runway
R6DXB is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 18:59
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Hazelmere
Posts: 51

This should be the de facto motto of the EK pilot. Personally I'm fed up of this BS from the company as I'm sure many are. Couple of close calls on the line recently and management responds just not in the manner you'd expect from a self professed legacy outfit!

God forbid something serious happens soon...

Journo's monitor this site and our forum, let this serve as a forewarning if/when something serious happens.

What ever happened to "root cause analysis" as our trainers/checkers love to spout - is the root cause ability, or fatigue and screwed up rostering patterns?

How many times have you flown that approach or departure and questioned your ability to manage a non normal situation due to fatigue. I have many times and thankfully I've never had to deal with an emergency...and before the complicit amongst you say I shouldn't be there and to call sick fatigued I question your reality!

Cause I can guarantee you've had the same situation...

SilverSeated is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 19:27
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Permanent JET LAGGG
Posts: 206

Totally agree and great post. With an expat airline you will always have more variables in habits and experience.

I've called fatigue numerous times (both as an FO and as a Captain) at EK. I was only partially questioned one time by a rather famous German on the third floor, and believe it or not, after looking at my roster and my simple explanation he told me that I did the right thing! I've only backed up EK management on one thing, and its this issue from my personal experience.

the OMA states that you are to remove yourself from duty if you are unfit. it also says that you will get a roster that will allow you to rest adequately. Bottom line, if they don't do their job, you can't do yours. "I was too tired or fatigued" isn't an excuse. Period.

I'm lucky enough to be from a part of the world that I could pack up and go home, and I don't have children in the school systems, so EK didn't have their claws too deep into me.

IMO, the bottom line is that the culture at EK must be changed within the FD to not be afraid to drop the "F" bomb. Easier said than done though.

Safe flying out there,

CaptainChipotle is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 19:47
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DXB
Posts: 38
CC, as you said....when you don't have children. If you got a family to feed and are caught in the / their system and as you are the expad it becomes another story I guess.
R6DXB is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2017, 21:56
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: >FL310
Posts: 429
Originally Posted by TBL Warrior View Post

"Welcome my son, welcome to the machine"
"Machine", close. Welcome to the Borg.
TangoUniform is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2017, 15:54
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SA
Posts: 130
I agree with the post but would change fatigue to stressful.
I consider stress to be more long term and is magnified by EKs management style.
As someone who has left the sandbox in the last year I can tell you of the weight which has been lifted off my shoulders by the removal of grinding schedules and management who try to grind their pilots down through overwork and a punitive style (yes egt.....you are the tip of the spear on this).

Be careful out there my friends, take care of yourself and your family......EK will not be loyal to you or your kin.
Desdihold is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 02:40
  #14 (permalink)  
short flights long nights
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 3,112
Well said Desdi. It is not until you leave you realise what ' background radiation' you put up with and start to accept as normal. ( and I am a firm believer in Karma..EGT will one day recieve what he has sown )
SOPS is online now  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 05:23
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sandpit.
Posts: 242
Background radiation. Nail. Head.
nakbin330 is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 09:36
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: spain
Posts: 46
"I agree with the post but would change fatigue to stressful.
I consider stress to be more long term and is magnified by EKs management style.""

AS Desdi says,
I think this is really relevant , and for sure has a detrimental effect on crews's thinking / decision making,out on the line.
White none please is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 12:23
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 654
You know, I'd be the last person to ask how happy or otherwise this place makes me feel, stressed or fatigued or whatever.
The fact is for me, the moment I stopped giving two hoots what the company in terms of fleet, training dept or the various minions with their faces in the trough thought or said..95% of my stress evaporated.
Extra fuel? I take it and can ALWAYS justify it, less experienced colleagues? they get advice that they heed and take onboard or they get the sector taken off them, threatening emails? Delete etc etc.
Look out for yourself, treat colleagues with respect..but expect it in return....ignore everything else until one of your buckets are full. It's a funny thing, when you do all that you tend to not make as many mistakes, nor does the issue of no notice checks or guys like EGT do anything other than look pathetic.
Monarch Man is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 12:52
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The Sharp End.
Posts: 435
Agreed. The only reason people are fearful is because they let themselves. I've given up (as best I can) giving a sh*t. Once you accept this, they hold no power over you. It's quite liberating!
sluggums is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2017, 13:05
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: KGRB, but on the road about 1/2 the time.
Age: 58
Posts: 610
I work at a non-major US carrier, which many pilots feel is definitely inferior to the Big 6: (Delta, UAL, AA, FedEx, UPS, SWA). When we called fatigued, our schedulers tell us that we will have 12 hours of crew rest minimum, and to call when we get to the hotel and tell them how many hours of rest we want. Period.

We normally fly 1 leg per day, sometimes two. We have a very few circumstances of 3 leg days. We had a relatively long 3 leg trip in Asia, that occurred frequently. We had a number of fatigue calls, so that trip is now done by two crews: The first crew flies two legs, and the second crew the third leg. The schedule was changed because of the fatigue calls.

I hope working conditions will improve for you.

God Bless, and Namaste...
atpcliff is offline  

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