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Tired budget jet pilots 'endanger passengers' - The Times

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Tired budget jet pilots 'endanger passengers' - The Times

Old 25th Dec 2003, 13:41
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Danger

Although I have no knowledge of duty period and rest rules "over there", is it possible that conditions are similar to what thousands of crews have often experienced in the US (even more so at the non-union carriers) since deregulation's effects became widespread around 1983? The few pilots I've met who were with charter freight carriers (flying Lears on duty for 2) hours without rest, DC-8s both Part 121 and 91: allowed on a 'double' max duty period [no limits on Part 91]......never mind VFR at 500' to avoid SAMS between Ethiopia and South Yemen) such as Evergreen, Connie Kallita etc have true stories which laymen would find totally unbelieveable.

The public here might have the perception that the FAA's "legalities" were all created out of a concern for safety, whereas the FAA's previous dual mandates of safety and regulation were in total conflict with each other. Crews on multiple days and nights of (standby) reserve were finally allowed to have a period of 8 hours rest in each 24, because of the accident at Little Rock-because of the embarrasing fact that passengers died. If cargo had been onboard this major airline MD-83 instead of people, there would have been no repercussions in the US Congress. The FAA might have felt guilty like a criminal caught in the act, but ONLY because their callous indifference to safety-in the name of legalities which were finally both discovered and described by our brilliant mainstream media-was exposed to the harsh light of "day".

Last edited by Ignition Override; 25th Dec 2003 at 13:54.
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Old 25th Dec 2003, 18:54
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Anyone checked on italian/Volare FTLs?????
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Old 26th Dec 2003, 00:15
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GEENY,

they'd better check the checkers at this stage, don't you think?
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Old 26th Dec 2003, 01:41
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Whippersnapper

Are you talking about the same company that I work for?

The CC are not in a constant state of flux due to resignations.

There has ben ONE this year.......advertised well in advance of the event. The only other changes this year were due to scheduled elections - it happens every year!

The vote outcome was 100% accurate. If you are a member you may go to New Road and check.

Sadly, BALPA, the only massed opposition to bad management, is castrated by it's own managers disinterest in doing any real work
Give us the proof of that statement and we will act on it - immediately.

All that they seem interested in is recruitment drives, NEC meetings, elections and claiming credit for other peoples efforts.
Again, show me the proof, and I'll deal with it. Before you do put finger to keyboard, make sure you have read all the newsletters and reports.

Of course, if you're not a member, you probably aren't interested anyway, so you'll continue to put out ill-informed missives.

Please contact the CC, by any means you like, and tell us how we should tackle all the things you have so obviously failed to tackle but no doubt have all the anwsers to.

Tell us why a large percentage of the pilots are wrong, and you are right.
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Old 26th Dec 2003, 02:32
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Can we get away from the Easy / Balpa bashing and back on to the real FATIGUE problem being induced within the crews of most carriers, with poor rostering practices and lack of policing with teeth by the relevent authorties across the EU.

It is cumulative and at some point soon the chain will break with a Fatigue enduced accident. If you are a manager reading this check your terms under JAR for liability as you are now accountable for the coal face workers errors.

If your a journo start researching real hours and patterns, try doing a normal, not life critical, run in your office for a month with a couple of co-workers of early/late/night random hours with min rest, even getting back to your own bed every night. Report back on that to the public. That way changes may be put in place in all work areas when political points are seen to be scored.

I still do the job because I love flying one of the best buzzes around.

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Old 26th Dec 2003, 06:32
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hapzim,

"It is cumulative and at some point soon the chain will break with a Fatigue enduced accident. If you are a manager reading this check your terms under JAR for liability as you are now accountable for the coal face workers errors."

Well said.
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Old 26th Dec 2003, 18:28
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hapzim -

"It is cumulative and at some point soon the chain will break with a Fatigue enduced accident. If you are a manager reading this check your terms under JAR for liability as you are now accountable for the coal face workers errors."

Could you or anyone explain a little about this?
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Old 26th Dec 2003, 19:48
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Colonel Klink you say "We are pushing Balpa to work hard for us". Why do they need to be pushed?
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 15:48
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This is a forum about fatigue, not the merits of Balpa so I will keep this short. Balpa have only finite rescources, but one day easyJet will be the biggest airline in the country. It already is the biggest profitable airline in the country, but it is young and there is much to do. Apart from the rostering issues, there are crew food issues, the 2004 pay deal, recruiting/membership and quite a lot else going on, some of which you may not know about. It is a push to get all these done at once, and I am a very impatient person! Our Principal negotiator also handles BA who also have a pay deal going on early next year. My fight is to get one PN just for easyJet, but that has not happenend yet. Most PN's handle up to three airlines, but we are rescource hungry and lifestyle at easyJet is a major and urgent issue which must be resolved soon or there may not be quite the expansion easyJet has planned!.
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 17:46
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Cool

Fatigue has been a contributing factor to many accidents in my opinion but of course it is not always stated as such in accident reports. I suspect the reason is crews have been operating within the rules but as we all know airlines see the rules as a target not a limit. No AIB investigator is going to put the accident down to fatigue unless the rules have been broken and there is clear proof the pilot was suffering from fatigue. If the airline was operating within the rules then of course any good lawyer would have a field day with any report that claimed fatigue was a contributing factor to any accident.

We have seen in the press recently several cases of pilots being arrested for drinking and flying, the effects of alchohol are simular to tirdness or fatigue. Yet I do not see the police or authorities doing anything about operators who put crew in this position. How many of us, if honest, have found ourselves very tired at the controls even though we have been rested and worked within the rules. The rules do not work!

Attacking an individual company is only part of the answer, we need to get the rules changed so that everyone operates on a level playing field. The harsh reality of life is companies are motivated by comercial pressures and will only do what they are forced to do by the law or industrial action.

What we need is the press for once to report on this in detail. Singaling out individual companies is not the answer the whole industry needs sorting out.
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 18:00
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Spy

I agree with you.

The problem is the "Pilot tired at the controls" is a headline that will never sell newspapers. "Pilot crashes due to faigue" WOULD sell newspapers if it were ever proven.

The problem is, that as soon as that becacame a 'potential' headline, the airline propoganda machine would start a rigorous defence and blame everything else in sight. An airline's bottom line defence will always be 'no rest/duty' rule were broken so we're fireproof!

As many have said before, it's those rest/duty' rules that are at fault and must be changed BEFORE the headline becomes a reality.

The rule makers at the CAA/FAA/JAA are spineless. Always have been. Those guys are no longer in full time flying and therefore the rules they endorse do not affect them personally.

Until that situation changes, the rules won't either!
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 18:07
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I work for a low cost airline, and last summer I was in a constant state of tiredness. I did OVER a hundred hours in August (there being 31 days and the limit being 100 in 28). However I nearly had a level bust one day because I was fatigued and I vowed never to go to work if I felt like that again, and I won't.

Lets face it, as someone said, the CAA BY LAW, require YOU to be fit to fly at the beginning and during your FTP. It is YOUR responsibilty, NOT crewings (unfortunately). If you have an accident / incident do you really think its any good turning round and saying 'sorry I was fatigued or tired'. The company (and CAA) will say you should have gotton off or not gone to work, and they would be right.

I spoke to the CAA a while ago as I was breaking my rolling 14 day duty limit, but my fixed week limit was legal. Whilst it is still legal, my body does not have a 'reset' button that I press on a Saturday night. It is a good barometer as to whether you are likely to be fatigued or not. The CAA are very concerned about it and are aware that certain airlines are taking liberties with the rules. CAP 371 is NOT a target! He said that if I was concerned I must not fly and he was very sympathetic.

I did phone in fatigued last summer, but the company was too scared to put it down as such and put me sick. The CAA are watching, and the companies do not want there pilots going fatigued or into discretion. This is why you are safe is you call in fatigued. The company know that legally they do not have a leg to stand on, especially if you have plenty of evidence of bad rostering, and fatigue inducing incidents.

Someone made an interesting point about the TYPE of duty being important. I have often found that when I have been most tired has not necessarily been when my monthly hours are highest. Other factors are more important, such as the amount of stress per day and disrupted sleep patterns (earlies to lates).

All I'll say is that the CAA will do nothing until a crash happens. However, there seems to be some twisted belief at the moment that we need a crash to 'sort it all out'. Don't think like that. It's YOUR responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen to you. DON'T fly fatigued or tired to an extent where you start making mistakes. If you don't feel comfortable calling in fatigued, just call in sick.

The other problem I find is that we do not make good decisions when we are fatigued (both on and off the flight deck). We often feel gulity about calling in sick or fatigued as another tired collegue will be called from satndby. However, if everyone who is fatigued doesn't fly, flights will be cancelled and the airlines will then be forced to do something. We often handle crewing badly when we are tired, and I think they can take advantage of that. Be firm, be positive in the knowledge that you are right and even if the duty is legal, it is NOT legal for you to report for work if you are unfit to fly.

I think this has to be the way that we can do something, as a collective, unofficially, and without BALPA. If flights are cancelled because they cannot crew them then they will have to employ more pilots and give us more time off. I am not advocating going sick if you are not, but I do think that too many pilots are flying when they know they are not fit too, out of some false pride 'I never go sick' etc. No, you didn't when you worked for a decent airline with decent crewing practices, union agreements etc. Now you don't, you're not a robot, so accept it.

I also don't think that pilots falling asleep is the great danger (unless both do)! It is not necessarily a bad thing so long as one stays awake and you get the cabin crew to ding you in say 15 minutes. The real danger is say a CFIT accident on the approach to somewhere on your 6th day, when you have other problems going on etc. If an emergency happens and both pilots are fatigued they may not deal with it correctly, and that combined with other unfortunate events is what will cause an accident.

Lets make sure this doesn't happen, please.
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 18:28
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In reply to one four sick and anyone who has not read the ANO for a while


Fatigue of crew - operator's responsibilities
72 - (1) The operator of an aircraft to which this article applies shall not cause or permit that aircraft to make a flight unless:



(a) he has established a scheme for the regulation of flight times for every person flying in that aircraft as a member of its crew;

(b) the scheme is approved by the CAA subject to such conditions as it thinks fit;

(c) either:


(i) the scheme is incorporated in the operations manual required by article 31 of this Order; or

(ii) in any case where an operations manual is not required by that article, the scheme is incorporated in a document, a copy of which has been made available to every person flying in that aircraft as a member of its crew; and


(d) he has taken all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that the provisions of the scheme will be complied with in relation to every person flying in that aircraft as a member of its crew.



(2) The operator of an aircraft to which this article applies shall not cause or permit any person to fly therein as a member of its crew if he knows or has reason to believe that the person is suffering from, or, having regard to the circumstances of the flight to be undertaken, is likely to suffer from, such fatigue while he is so flying as may endanger the safety of the aircraft or of its occupants.

(3) The operator of an aircraft to which this article applies shall not cause or permit any person to fly therein as a member of its flight crew unless the operator has in his possession an accurate and up-to-date record in respect of that person and in respect of the 28 days immediately preceding the flight showing:



(a) all his flight times; and

(b) brief particulars of the nature of the functions performed by him in the course of his flight times.


(4) The record referred to in paragraph (3) shall, subject to article 80, be preserved by the operator of the aircraft until a date 12 months after the flight referred to in that paragraph.

Fatigue of crew - responsibilities of crew
73 - (1) A person shall not act as a member of the crew of an aircraft to which this article applies if he knows or suspects that he is suffering from, or, having regard to the circumstances of the flight to be undertaken, is likely to suffer from, such fatigue as may endanger the safety of the aircraft or of its occupants.

(2) A person shall not act as a member of the flight crew of an aircraft to which this article applies unless he has ensured that the operator of the aircraft is aware of his flight times during the period of 28 days preceding the flight.

A useful link is http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/20001562.htm#22

the full ANO

And under JAR management are accountable through to the MD

Hope this helps
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 19:41
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Fatigue

Propellerhead and Spy

Excellent posts you both tell it like it is.

The truth will always be denied by the CAA and the management.
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Old 27th Dec 2003, 22:12
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It's quite right; the only way a Financial Director will take notice is when a/c eat concrete.

This might be another way to help. The CAA, via the medical department, has a fatigue model. You feed your roster into it and it calculates a fatigue factor. (I found this out when working to Italian FTL's. It went off the scale, but the CAA, had no jurisdiction even though I was operating on a UK licence with UK medical and Italian validation.)
It would be very interesting, if, after every period you felt knackered, every such pilot bombarded the CAA medical group with their roster and perceived effect, and asked for a fatigue factor report. I'm sure that after a period of sustained enquiry the medical group would be forced/obliged to pass this matter onto SRG and action would have to be taken.

It is amazing that swift, and draconian, action is taken in when technical/maintenance matters are circumvented or abused, but not personnel ones. Yet, it is a CAA trumpeted fact that the greatest cause of accidents is human failing, not incorrect paperwork. They seem to think that greater training is the answer. Rubbish. I still say a fit alert crew can save a broken a/c, but a tired unalert crew can prang a perfectly servicable one. And think of the engineers doing critical maintenance in the early morning hours. A forgotten bolt etc. They have the same problems.

A few years ago I hit an unexpected brick wall with the CAA. CAP 371, to my interpretation, says max 100hrs in 28 days. I was regularly rostered to takeoff on day 28 at 97 hours and land over the pond, still on calendar day 28 at 105. Have 24 hours off, and with the rolling 28 days calculation, reduce once more to less than 100, but land back in Europe on a new 28th day above 100. I even phoned BALPA and they said it was not ideal but the CAA allowed it. I was gob smacked but powerless. To my mind 100 in 28 is what is says. Even the CAA was allowing 2 + 2 = 5. Amazinbgly BALPA chose not to fight the case but aquiessed.
However, I did find sympathy from the medical guys over the truely farcical/dangerous/unhealthy/mind-boggling Italian rosters. (What was also distrubing is that an Italian a/c could be chartered in by a UK airline to fly UK passengers under conditions that the UK CAA had deemed unsafe. The art of turning a blind eye taken to new highs. But that's another story

So, why not approach this via the medical group, rather than flight ops. Afterall, fatigue is a medical area.

The more public this can become the better. What is clear is that the quiet professional diplomatic route has achieved square root of fanny adams for 25 years.

Good Luck.
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Old 28th Dec 2003, 08:00
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Propellerhead

Good post but the fatigue problem continues. In certain airlines the managed sickness systems that they have put in place ensure that individuals will not report sick - otherwise they are put on a watch list which can affect everything from their promotion to their continued employment.

Crews fly sick and fatigued to ensure that they do not trigger a call to the office to explain why they did not report for duty. At one interview for instance the individual was informed that if he had a problem with fatigue he probably was not the sort of person the company wished to employ, and they would lose confidence in his ability to fly as a pilot. He went back to work.

Management keep their heads in the sand on the issue in the hope that the smoking hole will not be on their watch, and rely on the subtle support of the investigators who would have great difficulty distinguishing fatigue from incompetence. You cannot measure 20 milligrams of fatigue.

Yes, it is illegal to fly when you are fatigued but until we can measure it management with their commercial pressures will ensure that we shall fly when unfit
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Old 28th Dec 2003, 19:57
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Is there any way of posting this thread to the other forums ie Australia(virgin blue) and Hong Kong(dragonair). As has been said, the UK is not the only sufferer of this kind of abuse!!
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Old 28th Dec 2003, 21:57
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It's quite right; the only way a Financial Director will take notice is when a/c eat concrete.
Do you mean the Finance whizzkid who came to an orange crew CRM discussion this year and said words to the effect: "There's absolutely no problem with fatigue, you're more likely to die when a baggage handler or ATC person makes a mistake...."
 
Old 29th Dec 2003, 03:17
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The move to a rolling week rather than fixed week for duty hours should see a reduction in working hours for the average LCC Pilot. The fixed week was always seen as a benefit in kind to the previous rogue's (Charter carriers) with the default being the 14 day restriction would stop someone working that hard in 2 weeks. The charter carriers at the time threw in the "level playing field" card with their European Counter parts.
You Pilots should note that the biggest complainant to the rolling limits was BA, mainly because their computerised records system could not cope with it. Is this why then the CAA have put a 2006 compliance date on the Fodcom 28/2003, should be earlier than that because most systems take 30 seconds to alter. That said i understand EZY may have already altered to "rolling".
One of the things i find strangest about this topic is why do EZY Pilots moan more than RYR Pilots, you would think it would be the other way around?. Is there an agenda to this, or is it just pure FTL , and if so is CAP371 the offender?
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 04:04
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Devil

Mr A of P,

Maybe it's because the more hours that RyanAir pilots work the more they get paid - remembering that their basic pay is sh!te, but this handsomely made up for in flight pay - so perhaps very much filthy lucre and all that.

Either that or perhaps it's because they are too knackered to be bothered to make a post on PPRuNe ?
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