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New US Rest and Duty Regulations

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New US Rest and Duty Regulations

Old 5th Jan 2014, 17:16
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New US Rest and Duty Regulations

New regulations have taken effect in the US which are the biggest rewrite of the rest and duty regs for decades. The airlines have had two years to prepare for them. Key elements: maximum duty period from 9 to 14 hours down from previous max of 16 hours, nine hours max at the controls per duty day, only eight hours at the controls for pilots working night or before 5AM;

Also, 30 consecutive ours of scheduled rest in 7 days, including 10 hours immediately prior to flight without disruptions like travel to the airport. Previous rule was 8 hours off duty in a 24 hour period.

Before flight, new rule states that pilots have to sign an attestation that they are fit for duty.

BTW, cargo pilots are exempt!

In the US, there are many pilots that commute long distances to their pilot bases by air. One has to wonder how this will affect their lives.
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 19:28
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Great job, exempting the cargo pilots

At least our salaries are greater than avarage in pax business.
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 22:15
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Also, 30 consecutive ours of scheduled rest in 7 days, including 10 hours immediately prior to flight without disruptions like travel to the airport. Previous rule was 8 hours off duty in a 24 hour period.
The 10 hours of rest can include airport to hotel and back to the airport travel, just has to provide 8 hours for sleep.

In the US, there are many pilots that commute long distances to their pilot bases by air. One has to wonder how this will affect their lives.
Part 117 does not directly address commuting. The AC explaining the reg says commuting pilot would be "irresponsible" to commute directly into an operating FDP that sets them up for sleep deficit. But as long as pilots sign in "fit for duty" nothing will change.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 01:05
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Has anyone calculated the effects this will have on staffing? I've heard it can cause a 15% increase in an average airlines requirements for pilot staffing.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 17:31
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It will also lead to an increase in preemptive cancellations for both winter storms and summer convective activity, I suspect. The carriers will be much less likely to take a chance on summer diversions whilst waiting out a CBs at the destination. And in the winter, the delays associated with runway closures/plowing and deicing queues might also lead to more outright cancellations.

Most feel these new rules trace back to the Colgan stall/crash in upstate New York several years ago. Don't want to really debate that, but I feel that the rulemakers have shaken things up more than needed.

As for long duration commutes, I know pilots in MA that leave BOS for JFK or LGA at noon or earlier depending on weather in order to crew a TATL flight leaving JFK between 4-6PM. I think this sort of thing is rather common actually.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 17:56
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To call this an enhancement is a lie of the largest magnitude. On duty longer for more days in a row with virtually no limits on hours flown.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 18:55
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Originally Posted by RobertS975
Also, 30 consecutive ours of scheduled rest in 7 days, including 10 hours immediately prior to flight without disruptions like travel to the airport. Previous rule was 8 hours off duty in a 24 hour period.
Just curious … is the above a direct quote from the rule? … as it appears to be self-contradictory … particularly the phrase “…including 10 hours immediately prior to flight without disruptions like travel to the airport…” Unless there are definitions included with this information – like a definition of “travel to the airport” – specifically because there certainly is a difference in understanding (at least on the part of most folks) between the terms “travel to the airport” and “off duty” ... reading the above as printed, without any interpretation, would mean that pilots would have to spend the night, or at least the 10 hours immediately preceding their flight, AT the airport. I have a bit of a problem understanding this to be what was intended … eh?
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 20:54
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We are all waiting for the first test case. Should an accident, incident or even an irregularity occur, and one of the crewmembers is subsequently found to have commuted into the trip, or otherwise not properly 'rested', the lawyers will have a field day. The 'Fit for Duty' check box on the flight release paperwork is causing much angst, lots of latitude for interpretation there. Suddenly, the scope of our responsibilities has increased enormously.

Many of my colleagues are now purchasing private legal insurance, as will I shortly, it would appear we are being hung out to dry.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 21:07
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Specific to an aviation lawyer/firm dealing in air carrier issues?

If so, share the name of the plan if you would.

Thanks
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 23:11
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Will do Westie, several of our guys are getting together an info packet, not really sure if the lawyers in question know what they're getting into here, potential squillion dollar ramifications being what they are, but I will PM you with details when I get them.

A short message to all the SLF out there though, this travesty has been generated by the collective you, the near unanimous bleat of misunderstanding, and the highly empowered politicos who slaver to represent you.

We strive to do what we do, in the best of possible ways, we continue to maintain a safety record second to none on the planet. Our chosen profession is a source of pride and accomplishment to all of us, carried out with precision, honesty, and dedication. That the price of failure is high, is not lost on any one of us.

Apparently, that's just not good enough. The coddled American public demands so much more.

Do us a favor, take a Greyhound bus.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 23:47
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I was curious how the new rules would affect those of us who commute. The picture becoming clearer.
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 01:27
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Can anyone define "Fit for duty" and what if any authority or training do you have to say you are?
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 02:47
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quidquid excusatio prandium pro... went to google it, bugg smasher, and lo and behold, your name came up #4 or #5 on the list! I am a non-professional commercial license pilot, flying amphibians in New England since 1975. I am also a physician, and throughout my medical career, I have preached that we in that profession should approach what we do the way that airline pilots approach their profession. Airline travel in the western world has indeed approached near perfection. It is a tribute to the pilots as well as many others, including the aircraft manufacturers and so forth.

I do not agree that the traveling public brought this on themselves. They had little to do with it. When something eggregious happens in my hospital, you can bet there will be another policy to deal with it even if the previous policies should have prevented the incident. That is what happened here.

I believe that many of the flight cancellations during this round of winter storms in the US have been prompted by these new regs. Not sure, but I think that in part B6 canceled everything for tonight into tomorrow into and out of BOS, LGA and JFK was in part to reset everyone's crew rest situation!

Edited to add from the Jet Blue website:

"Delays and cancelations during this week's winter storm placed planes and crews away from their previously scheduled routes. While our team has been working to repair schedules by bringing crews and planes back "into position" and resume normal operations, further cancellations are still occurring as crews exceed their allowed duty times." (my emphasis)

Last edited by RobertS975; 7th Jan 2014 at 03:31.
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 16:35
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The 10 hours of rest can include airport to hotel and back to the airport travel, just has to provide 8 hours for sleep.

So you are one of the lucky ones who can push the sleep button and hey presto the Z's are spewing out and you are in the land of nod until alarm time. Oh, and don't for get the time to change out of uniform, have a meal, relax and then go to bed, before waking up, showering, having a meal and then showing up for work. 10hrs at the place of rest does NOT = 8 hrs sleep. Dream on.
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 19:15
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Regarding the Colgan accident, as I understand it one of the crew, for local services from Newark, had just commuted from Florida, while the other had commuted overnight in a jumpseat from Seattle on a freighter.

What I can't get is how the carriers HR team/management could even take on people proposing to work like this in the first place.
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 19:46
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US Regionals

@WHBM
This is still a very raw wound, but for background into how the US regionals operate take a look at this PBS (The US non profit broadcaster) doc: Flying Cheap | FRONTLINE | PBS
As i recall, the young F/O lived in Seattle (with her parents perhaps?) -at least part of the reason being pay. It's not unheard of for an F/O in the US to earn <$20k a year which would present enormous hurdles for someone living in metro New York. Sadly historically some operators chose to disregard this inconvenient truth hence our Self Certification requirement now..
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 19:49
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What I can't get is how the carriers HR team/management could even take on people proposing to work like this in the first place.
This sort of thing has been pretty common in the U.S. for decades now. Bases like EWR, JFK and SFO will usually have over 50% of the crewmembers commuting from over 100 miles (often over 1000 miles) away from statistics provided by the union and the company.

Some folks become war brides and commute from other continents to start a trip in the U.S.

Commuting has gone from a privilege to an entitlement in some quarters with major contract concessions made to assuage the commuters.

FedEx seems to have been tracking this stuff for a while even though they are exempt from most of the new rest regulations. Didn't they require a phone check in from a Memphis area code years ago? Now they track commuting with CASS from what Huck and others have said.

I've often flown with folks who commuted all day to get to base and then try to fly all night long on a crossing. 'The company can't tell me where to live!' is the battle cry if I dare to question the wisdom of such a commute. I get a funny feeling that things are about to change...
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 21:56
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I'm well aware of the points that the last two posts describe.

I can only offer the suggestion that the Regulator has been massively Asleep At The Switch. Isn't this just the sort of thing that Regulators are meant to manage.

I also see it described as somehow competitively necessary to work like this. I have to say that, compared to Europe, I now find US airfares somewhat expensive on the world scale (didn't used to be, but are now), and on I think all of my recent flights on regionals there was no competition, and one carrier was the monopoly provider.

Regarding the "self certification" of fitness, which is effectively "sign here to keep your job", words fail us in the rest of the world. What know-nothing group of lawyers (certainly paid more than USD 20k per year) thought this one up ?
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 22:37
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I do not agree that the traveling public brought this on themselves. They had little to do with it. When something eggregious happens in my hospital, you can bet there will be another policy to deal with it even if the previous policies should have prevented the incident. That is what happened here.
Robert,

Let me preface my remarks by saying I have enormous respect for those in your profession, the things you must endure are no doubt very difficult. That many of us now feel it necessary to purchase what is essentially a form of malpractice insurance should give you an indication of which other profession now exerts its ever-growing, treacly web of influence over the private and public affairs of this country.

Regarding B6, perhaps you'll remember the Valentine's Day massacre several years ago. That single event, and the ensuing public outcry resulted in the Tarmac Delay Rule. At two hours after pushback, if takeoff is not imminent, we are obliged to return to the gate. We let the folks off so they can legally pee and stroll, they come back on again, and the whole process starts over. I have personally experienced four gate returns, at which point we were out of legal duty. The passengers walked off the aircraft, one particularly disgruntled chappie felt it necessary to extend his middle finger directly into my face, accompanied by some very choice words, here not repeatable, something up with which I do not otherwise put. As I was there at the entry door in defense of our flight attendants and the very insulting remarks directed their way, I felt restraint to be the better part of valor, the wisest course of action. Plus, yer not allowed to punch serious assholes in the kisser, it's in the duty regs, page 746, paragraph three, I think.

The astonishing sense of entitlement that many feel, particularly here in New York, compounded by ill-considered rules ostensibly crafted to placate an ever-angrier public, devised in haste and ignorance, have left many of us reeling from the impact.

On to the subject at hand. An ill-trained and under-experienced pilot plants his airplane into the ground, with heart-felt condolences to those whose loved ones perished, the resulting public reaction tarred us all with the same brush, enter FAR 117. These pilot check and training issues are well under control at the Flag Carrier level, and have been so for quite some time.

Which brings me to yet another subject. Entry level pilots are now required to have 1500 hrs/FAA ATP quals to sit in an airliner seat, yet all of the Asian carriers plop 250-hour Cessna cadets into their widebody right seats, they fly into this country many hundreds of times a day. Who exactly is in charge here, why is Asiana still allowed here, and why are they not subject to the same rules when operating in US airspace?

Where B6 is concerned, they they appear to have dropped the ball once again, the run-up to 117 was long enough to prep, I expect severed heads to be rolling out of their crew planning and management offices in Long Island City shortly, very likely in substantial numbers.

That being said, I do not want to confuse training issues with crew rest issues, although at this point they seem to be inextricably linked. I maintain my stance, all of this is being driven by an ever more vocal flying public, and their expectations of perfect performance, every time, in every way.

Else, enter the omnipresent lawsuit.

In closing Robert, those of your profession have extended their selfless generosity in flight more times than I am able to count; heart attacks, seizures, live births, other high dramas too numerous to elaborate here, without any expectation of return or recompense in any way, handled in a manner that bespeaks the accomplished professional. For that, you have my undying respect, the compassion and high intelligence in your remarks are clearly in evidence.

I have maneuvered myself onto quite a high soapbox here, if I injure myself stepping down from that great height, I may need to call on you shortly.
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 22:42
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The commute issue is magnified by the various mergers that have taken place through the years. I will present one such case scenario which is no longer much of an issue due to retirements etc: Delta buys and absorbs Northeast Airlines back in 1972, a Boston based carrier that in its final days flew primarily from New England to Florida. For many years, Delta operated a BOS pilot base, but that has long since been shut down. So those ex-Northeast pilots tended to commute to JFK/LGA, ATL or CVG in its heyday. As the years went by, pilots who had been flying FH-227s into Lebanon, NH or Portland, ME climbed the seniority ladder and found themselves in the left seat on TATL flights ex-JFK. As I pointed out, those pilots commuted from BOS, leaving their suburban BOS homes by 10AM for a noonish flight to JFK or LGA from BOS. If LGA, then a taxi to JFK. They would crew a flight to Europe. The plus is that they only had to do this four or five times a month. This group of pilots has dramatically decreased in numbers in recent years due to retirements.

I do not know what other mergers have led to pilot base closures over the years due to merger and base consolidation. But it has to be a factor in the need for pilot commuting.
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