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Long single crew operations

Old 14th Nov 2019, 10:26
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Long single crew operations

Not sure this is the "right" section to post.

I was wondering about the legalities/regulations applicable to "long" single crew operations in Europe. For instance, I see that the same crew would operate GVA-FUE-GVA or GVA-TLV-GVA in one "batch". What are the limits ? I guess they are cutting it close if they have any delay during the turnover...
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 18:31
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Yes, there are limitations on the working hours for pilots and cabin crew. The exact regulations depend on the flag country of the airline.
A description of the EU (EASA) rules: https://www.flightdeckfriend.com/how-many-hours-can-pilots-work-in-one-day/
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 20:24
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Thanks

Those are fairly long days ...
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Old 15th Nov 2019, 10:02
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UK charter airlines many years ago tried to Op LGW-BJL-LGW in one day but that was soon scuppered -

Today Scandinavia - Canary Islands is usually a one-crew round trip
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 08:06
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Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
Not sure this is the "right" section to post.

I was wondering about the legalities/regulations applicable to "long" single crew operations in Europe. For instance, I see that the same crew would operate GVA-FUE-GVA or GVA-TLV-GVA in one "batch". What are the limits ? I guess they are cutting it close if they have any delay during the turnover...
Generally the Flight Duty Period limitations, which includes a pre-flight report period but no post-flight period, that at the optimum report time of day 0800-1300L on one sector 14 hours and then for each additional sector drops by 45 minutes, an afternoon report 13 hours for one sector etc., an early evening report 12 hours etc., a night report 10 hours etc and for a crack of sparrows report 11 hours etc.. ... But it's some 17 years since I've done this so my memoriies might have faded.

In the event of UNFORESEEN circumstances the crew can extend their FDP by, I think, up to 3 hours but if on any particular route there are too many such extensions then the regulatory authority should frown upon it and slap a wrist or few.

Last edited by Harry Wayfarers; 16th Nov 2019 at 08:24.
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 08:19
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Thanks

Found this comprehensive table in the article linked by @MathFox


Flight Duty Period limitations

For a Scandinavia <> Canary flight it might be pretty tight - doable if all goes well but not much buffer for any delay.
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 14:46
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Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
For a Scandinavia <> Canary flight it might be pretty tight - doable if all goes well but not much buffer for any delay.
Have a look at the same lnk and scroll down to Captainís discretion. Captainís discretion can be used to extend a duty if delays occur.

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Old 16th Nov 2019, 14:52
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Originally Posted by CEJM View Post


Have a look at the same lnk and scroll down to Captainís discretion. Captainís discretion can be used to extend a duty if delays occur.

But not able to use before the outbound departure
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Harry Wayfarers View Post
In my day I did crew scheduling under UK, Australian and The Netherlands regulations whilst writing our own FDP's for a Luxembourg registered operator, never have I seen anything like 13 start times of duty days, it would literally be impossible to memorise them and as soon as a problem may occur the reference manual would need to be referred to, in Luxembourg I attempted to introduce a 6th duty start time of day and I was given a slap.
Who would memorise them anyway? Use a computerised scheduling system like everybody else, which will warn crewing well in advance of any problem coming their way.

Now, the table posted here can be extended by up to one hour twice within 7 rolling days with certain conditions attached (longer rest times). And then of course companies can still write their own flight duty time (FDT) regulations, those have to be more stringent than those put into the EASA regulations as those are the minimum standard which cannot be extended. To write your own FDT regs you have to introduce a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) into the companies operation that always tracks both the planned and actual (calculated) fatigue scores of the crew, as well as the possibility for crew to call in fatigued at any given time. Usually a FRMS leads to lower possible duty times than the law allows, but is better tailored to the operation of the airline or AOC in question. An approved FRMS however is the law within that operation and the times in the FRMS manual for that operation cannot be exceeded except for the usual discretion that will be still possible.

Working in an airline with a FRMS, the table i have to follow for our FDT limits looks very different to the one posted here, although we do fly under EASA rules. And OPS actually tracks it, i've gotten several ACARS messages during duties that were running long, warning us we would probably go into discretion and asking for our plan of action, no pressure applied to go into discretion. That said, the company in question actually has several tables, depending on where the crews are based, which might be confusing at first.
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 18:57
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The difficulty comes when the limit of duty time seems like it is the target and getting as close to it as possible on a regular basis is a measure of crew planning effectiveness. I vividly remember an overnight to the middle east and back to Scandinavia followed by minimum rest during the day in an airport hotel and another overnight to the middle east arriving back at home base at six in the morning. I had a frustrating chat with management who just kept repeating that it was legal. A couple of months later sanity prevailed and it got changed to a 46 hour very pleasant stopover.
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 21:12
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Originally Posted by Denti View Post
Who would memorise them anyway? Use a computerised scheduling system like everybody else, which will warn crewing well in advance of any problem coming their way.

Now, the table posted here can be extended by up to one hour twice within 7 rolling days with certain conditions attached (longer rest times). And then of course companies can still write their own flight duty time (FDT) regulations, those have to be more stringent than those put into the EASA regulations as those are the minimum standard which cannot be extended. To write your own FDT regs you have to introduce a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) into the companies operation that always tracks both the planned and actual (calculated) fatigue scores of the crew, as well as the possibility for crew to call in fatigued at any given time. Usually a FRMS leads to lower possible duty times than the law allows, but is better tailored to the operation of the airline or AOC in question. An approved FRMS however is the law within that operation and the times in the FRMS manual for that operation cannot be exceeded except for the usual discretion that will be still possible.

Working in an airline with a FRMS, the table i have to follow for our FDT limits looks very different to the one posted here, although we do fly under EASA rules. And OPS actually tracks it, i've gotten several ACARS messages during duties that were running long, warning us we would probably go into discretion and asking for our plan of action, no pressure applied to go into discretion. That said, the company in question actually has several tables, depending on where the crews are based, which might be confusing at first.
But people, on a day to day operational basis, and when the excrement may be hitting the fan, communicate by word of mouth, when delaying or rescheduling "Can we do this, can we do that etc.", one needs to think on their feet and not put the phone on hold while perhaps constantly referring to a manual or computer, that might attract the remark "Don't you know what you're doing?",, 5 time bands to an expewrienced scheduler became easy to remember, 13 I think not!
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Old 16th Nov 2019, 21:18
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Originally Posted by lederhosen View Post
The difficulty comes when the limit of duty time seems like it is the target and getting as close to it as possible on a regular basis is a measure of crew planning effectiveness. I vividly remember an overnight to the middle east and back to Scandinavia followed by minimum rest during the day in an airport hotel and another overnight to the middle east arriving back at home base at six in the morning. I had a frustrating chat with management who just kept repeating that it was legal. A couple of months later sanity prevailed and it got changed to a 46 hour very pleasant stopover.
Yes, you are quite correct, it is commonplace to apply the letter of the law, when I was in charge of a scheduling department I would try to apply the reasoning "would I like to operate that duty pattern myself?" and if I wouldn't then I would endeavour to change it, alas the problem shaill often occur where costs may be increased and, certainly, if additional crews would need to be employed then the beancounters would argue for the cheaper, but legal, alternative.
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Old 17th Nov 2019, 02:39
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Do crew who expect to do their sectors and be home, make provision for an unplanned layover? If the a/c goes tech, or a crew member goes down with sudden illness, do you take a spare change of clothing on, what is planned, as a day trip?
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Old 17th Nov 2019, 04:09
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
Do crew who expect to do their sectors and be home, make provision for an unplanned layover? If the a/c goes tech, or a crew member goes down with sudden illness, do you take a spare change of clothing on, what is planned, as a day trip?
Some airlines have a policy that crews carry an overnight bag even if no overnight is planned but many a crew member, by far not all of them, will take an overnight bag even it it not a company policy.
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Old 17th Nov 2019, 04:27
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At my carrier we are expected to always carry a nightstop kit. Some carry a more comprehensive nightstop kit than others.

For cabin crew sickness certainly, there are provisions to get the flight back to base, even if that flight always had minimum crew. So crew sickness, unless flight crew, rarely causes an overnight. Going out of hours or tech are the usual reasons.
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Old 17th Nov 2019, 04:42
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Originally Posted by lederhosen View Post
The difficulty comes when the limit of duty time seems like it is the target and getting as close to it as possible on a regular basis is a measure of crew planning effectiveness. I vividly remember an overnight to the middle east and back to Scandinavia followed by minimum rest during the day in an airport hotel and another overnight to the middle east arriving back at home base at six in the morning. I had a frustrating chat with management who just kept repeating that it was legal. A couple of months later sanity prevailed and it got changed to a 46 hour very pleasant stopover.
In a previous life I did a number of weeks contracting for BAe Systems ATP, J31, 146 & 125 'club', to enable them to operate for third parties, Airbus for one, they had needed to acquire an AOC so needed to transition from a flying club mentality to an airline mentality, they had brought me in to manage the crewing.

For Airbus they operated a J31, 5 days a week, morning and evening service CEG/FZO/CEG, they were operating this with just one crew per day utilising the split-duty rule and, daily, if I recall, the crew would perform something like an 11hr 50min duty period followed by a 12 hr 10min rest period so anything more than a 10 minute delay on that evening service then the next morning's departure was going to be delayed with Airbus being a strict customer expecting their services to operate to schedule, with the crew unable to reduce that rest period having already extended their Flight Duty Period, even if by means of the split-duty, and by operating 12 hours per day they would need to be swapped over with another crew during the week to avoid busting the maximum number of duty hours in a seven day period.

Split-duties, on this type of scheduled basis, are a fool's economy, yes they might be saving 'pennies' on operating costs but a recipe for disaster, with no leeway to play with in the event of the most minor of unforeseen circumstances and building up accumulative duty hours for crews resting in hotel rooms.They had brought me in to manage the crewing, to set up a crewing department so to speak, and this was just one example of when I suggested change I found myself fighting with a flying club mentality, they didn't recognise that change was necessary because what they were doing was legal and suited their budget.

They, not so long afterwards, lost the Airbus contract due to their poor timekeeping
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Old 18th Nov 2019, 02:26
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Do crew who expect to do their sectors and be home, make provision for an unplanned layover? If the a/c goes tech, or a crew member goes down with sudden illness, do you take a spare change of clothing on, what is planned, as a day trip?
After a while, you learn not to make plans for anything...........
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Old 18th Nov 2019, 07:13
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Originally Posted by Harry Wayfarers View Post
But people, on a day to day operational basis, and when the excrement may be hitting the fan, communicate by word of mouth, when delaying or rescheduling "Can we do this, can we do that etc.", one needs to think on their feet and not put the phone on hold while perhaps constantly referring to a manual or computer, that might attract the remark "Don't you know what you're doing?",, 5 time bands to an expewrienced scheduler became easy to remember, 13 I think not!
I appreciate those in the office may be expected to know the rules but it's a tough ask, especially under EASA ruleset where there are added such as whether all of the individuals on the crew are acclimatised by not..(perhaps not generally an issue in short haul)

Certainly there's a very useful app for those sort of situations..

Atlas

After a while, you learn not to make plans for anything...........
Very True.. I think the volcanic ash debacle a few years back pretty much put an end to "it's only a day trip, I only take my licence and passport" mentality where I work..
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Old 20th Nov 2019, 18:44
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Originally Posted by Harry Wayfarers View Post
But people, on a day to day operational basis, and when the excrement may be hitting the fan, communicate by word of mouth, when delaying or rescheduling "Can we do this, can we do that etc.", one needs to think on their feet and not put the phone on hold while perhaps constantly referring to a manual or computer, that might attract the remark "Don't you know what you're doing?",, 5 time bands to an expewrienced scheduler became easy to remember, 13 I think not!
Quite honestly, pilots are supposed to refer to a manual for pretty much everything they do anyway. Checking a ready available table is a simple task, simply check the check in time (always local), count on your fingers the number of sectors, and you know how long you can be on duty. It really is simple.

EASA rules can get complicated though if standby time has to be taken into account, when the captain has to go into discretion for a single crew member and stuff like that. Oh, and thank god we don't have to take care of acclimatisation on short haul. And yes, my current outfit does neither night flights nor split duties at the moment (it might change), which makes things even easier.

Do crew who expect to do their sectors and be home, make provision for an unplanned layover? If the a/c goes tech, or a crew member goes down with sudden illness, do you take a spare change of clothing on, what is planned, as a day trip?
That really depends. I believe my current company suggests for the flight crew that we take a minimal overnight kit (that can be a credit card) and requires that the cabin crew carries one. But quite honestly, on many duties it simply does not make sense. For example, tomorrow midday i will fly a short two sector duty from germany to austria and back. If we go tech, or someone goes sick, there will be other flights on the same route later during the day, there is maintenance at both ends, why would i carry anything? On a long 12 hour day i probably would carry at least a tiny kit, just in case something happens, especially if it is only a two sector duty and we are stuck somewhere without any other flights coming in.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 09:41
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Originally Posted by Denti View Post
Quite honestly, pilots are supposed to refer to a manual for pretty much everything they do anyway. Checking a ready available table is a simple task, simply check the check in time (always local), count on your fingers the number of sectors, and you know how long you can be on duty. It really is simple.

EASA rules can get complicated though if standby time has to be taken into account, when the captain has to go into discretion for a single crew member and stuff like that. Oh, and thank god we don't have to take care of acclimatisation on short haul. And yes, my current outfit does neither night flights nor split duties at the moment (it might change), which makes things even easier.



That really depends. I believe my current company suggests for the flight crew that we take a minimal overnight kit (that can be a credit card) and requires that the cabin crew carries one. But quite honestly, on many duties it simply does not make sense. For example, tomorrow midday i will fly a short two sector duty from germany to austria and back. If we go tech, or someone goes sick, there will be other flights on the same route later during the day, there is maintenance at both ends, why would i carry anything? On a long 12 hour day i probably would carry at least a tiny kit, just in case something happens, especially if it is only a two sector duty and we are stuck somewhere without any other flights coming in.
In my past experiences crews, with no disrespec intended, often misinterpreted flight and duty time limitations, just a couple of examples, they knew that a minimum rest period was 12 hours but hadn't read that if it was taken in a hotel it could be 11 hours, that on a creeping delay of up to 4 hours the allowable FDP would be based upon their scheduled report time rather than their actual report time.

I appreciate that the industry now operates with often less than sufficiently knowledgeable ground staff perhaps wearing tee shirts for uniform and it is the Captain who needs to make decisions and call the shots but in my day it was team,work between the Operations staff and the crew to achieve the best result for all concerned parties.
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