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Pilots admit they took a nap on air

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Pilots admit they took a nap on air

Old 21st Apr 2007, 00:45
  #41 (permalink)  

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How come the -400 seats don't recline as far back as the A320's?
Can't get decent kip in the seat in the -400! Although, blanket, eye jobby and floor and window heaters to max helps, as does winding the rudder pedals forrard.

In my company we encourage it and SOP it, so we all know what's going on.

There are some who stil don't "embrace" this concept, yet they still 'nod off' until one 'formalises' it by suggestion!
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Old 1st May 2007, 16:56
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as a non pilot I but having been sat in the back of the aircraft I would rather have you guys alert for descent and landing. If that means that you need a 20 minute shuteye during the cruise then so be it.

As an LGV driver I frequently take power naps as starting at stupid o'clock in the morning plays havoc with my body clock.

For the record we have to have 45 minutes break after 4.5 hours of driving. We are also supposed to have 45 minutes break after 6 hours work if our working day will be scheduled at greater than 9 hours. This applies to multi-drop work rather than trunking.

We are not allowed to drive for more than 9 hours but this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week. The extra hour must be "paid back" the following week.

Our working day must be no more than 15 hours from start to finish. If you are away from base on night out then a bunk must be provided in the cab, if there is no bunk then suitable provision for rest must be given e.g. a hotel.

We must have a break of 11 hours between shifts but this may be reduced to 9 hours 3 times a week and there is no requirement to "repay" this time" and we must have a 35 hour break between working weeks.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 01:19
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I think the "technical term" used for this in our company is "controlled rest". It is approved as an SOP. Personally, I've found some situations lately where the pattern of work has left me no option other to ask the other pilot if they mind if I shut my eyes for 20-30 mins/take "controlled rest". Very few object, some may say they need a physiological break first(take a piss/wazz/dump/coffee etc ( )), though never refuse. I've flown with chaps who through no fault of their own have not had as good quality rest as me and vica versa. This situation hit me when following a SYD trip I flew to BOS. The trip downunder was long enough to move my body clock forward so far as to be a real problem recovering in 2 days off before going west. Thus I hit a brick wall of tiredness about 2 hours into the pond crossing. Had to ask for a couple of periods of controlled rest.

The roster was legal. Without this nap/controlled rest/zizz (call it what you like) I don't think I could have performed safely during descent, approach and landing. Some cabin crew seemed concerned that I couldn't hold a conversation with them of any depth without yawning or appearing to switch off at one stage (Well hey what's new!!!??). As such I think a napping policy is highly valuable when coincident with modern airline rostering systems.

In other words we are flying "single pilot" for periods of flight. I wonder what the travelling public would think? Though I'm sure if the need arose the napping pilot could be woken and back in the loop within a minute of all hell breaking loose.... Given 12 seconds of useful consciousness at FL400 this is clearly not a problem. Though I sespect the erotic nature of his/her dreams may cause him/her to suspect something was up and wake in a cold sweat!

I hope you can see where I'm coming from on this. Shorthaul pilots (I was one), there is nothing macho about staying awake when you're tired, it's dangerous, so don't keep posting that crap!! Same goes for any part-timers or pilots acclimatised or flying low hours a year. I would love to be able to complete a trip on my line without feeling tired to the point where I have to ask the other pilot if they mind me taking controlled rest. Sadly that seldom happens unless I have lots of time off or leave. Ho hum...
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Old 2nd May 2007, 09:20
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As SLF I am pleased to think that the guys and girls up front on a long haul are taking turns for a nap during the cruise so they are better able to handle anything thrown at them during the decent. Don't see why people should find this worrying! If I am driving a long trip I pull over and have a twenty minute snooze if I feel tiredness is an issue. Think Gorilla has the right attitude!
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:08
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Does anyone else feel like taking a nap as soon as you put your uniform on getting ready for work?? My company has "controlled rest" on the flight deck. Needs to be written up and the hostie needs to call every so often. Probably the only time you hear from them
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:21
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Does anyone else feel like taking a nap as soon as you put your uniform on getting ready for work??
Absolutely! Put the uniform on = tired. The problem is when I take it off to go to the bunk I can't sleep
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:58
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Uniforms?!?!?!!? Who wears uniforms? I wear my jammies and bring my teddy bear to work so I can cut to the chase and rest up for my layovers. Saves on the dry cleaning bills.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 11:57
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Some see how many times they can get the caution to sound on a sector - you can just about manage 2 per 10 degree of longitude across the pond. If you have CPDLC can you get more?
Love it TB....
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Old 5th May 2007, 13:12
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Dream buster. I always fail to understand why "men of steel" can't understand that all jobs are not created equal. You didn't sleep because it didn't feel right????? That simply meant that you're either somewhat off your rockers, or you weren't tired enough. I'd much rather sleep on purpose while in cruise, than accidentally on approach.

In a normal cruise situation on any sector over 1.5 hours there's basically nothing to do at all. The aircraft follows the green line, if there's a system failure you'll get a warning, and you've ealready checked the particulars of all the available enroute airports on your previous umpteen operations in the area. Based on the rostering at my airline, there's no way I could be safe on landing if I didn't use power naps, or full on 4 hour sleep session.

You claim that the passenger don't get what they pay for??!!??!?!?! I wonder what you're smoking!!! They get exactly what they pay for. If the airlines would actually hire enough pilots to create reasonable rosters, there wouldn't be any need for sleeping on the flight deck. Then again, that means the ticket prices would go up, and surprise-surprise, the audience isn't willing to pay for that level of quality.

The ones that are willing and able use corporate jets.
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Old 6th May 2007, 08:26
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Fix info,

OK, so I prefered to stay awake when I maybe should have been asleep.

Perhaps that's part of the reason why I burnt out and had to retire prematurely from a once decent job, which became a nightmare towards the end.

Just keep snoozing, but don't be surprised that by doing so you are contributing absolutely nothing to the long term future well being of the industry or your fellow aviators.

I'm sure there's a fairly appropriate descriptive name for people like you, but I can't quite think what it is at the moment without being too rude.

All I try to be is honest and if something is not right, I try and change it - otherwise you all continue on the path to a predictably sticky end, not me - i'm out.

I remain very concerned for those who are left; but for the likes of you -
I ain't really bovvered.
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Old 6th May 2007, 14:02
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Not sure you understand the nature of long haul flying. Would be great to stop every 4-5 hours somewhere for a couple of days. This would probably mean getting to Oz and back would take about a month!!
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Old 6th May 2007, 17:21
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Dreambuster wrote:
I'm sure there's a fairly appropriate descriptive name for people like you, but I can't quite think what it is at the moment without being too rude.
I'd like to find out what that word is. You can say it to my face. You can also say it to the other 1800 pilots at my particular place of employment. If you suggest that we can actually do something about the problem, you're smoking way heavier stuff than I thought. Unless the whole industry walks off their jobs, and set up the picket lines, I don't see much change in the near future.

Another problem is naturally that it takes 15 hours or so to get to Australia from where I'm sitting, and that ain't going to change in the near future. Even if you do a stopover in SIN or BKK on the way, it's still 8hr sectors, with back of the clock flying. I would like to see you do a 9 day trip with flying somewhere for 8 hours every 24 (all of it in the "wrong" circadian zone) and stay awake the whole time. If you want a word for those people staying awake I would actually call them irresponsible.

I think you should take your colloquial snottiness and actually be very "bovvered" by the whole phenomena. Why do you think there's a constant debate on the subject? Why do you think that every single one of my colleagues end their sentences with "keep recovering"?

If you had to leave your job prematurely because you burnt out due to not sleeping on board, I would suggest that you didn't do much about the long term industry conditions either. You should've instead called in sick with fatigue at regular intervals in order to keep a reasonable circadian rythm going. But, alas, then you would've been fired... Oooops!!!!
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Old 6th May 2007, 19:48
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There is nothing wrong with long haul flying. I had a good 4 hour nap in the OCR last night from SIN to Europe. And hey, guess what? I can even write every single minute that I was sleeping in my log book.
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Old 6th May 2007, 20:51
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Just think about the differences within that hour prior to a similar flight 10 years ago. Traffic is lighter and more enjoyable. Ground procedures are absolutely trouble free and last minute changes are a thing of the past.
The oxygen content of the air in the terminal is higher, and the numbers of nasty little bugs in that fresh air that your body has to fight have been reduced by two thirds. The friendly uniformed security staff don't want to accomplish anything other than to perform a cavity check in order to massage your prostate so that you feel better prior to boarding. Time just seems to fly by on those 8 hour legs and you feel ready for a good 2 hours on a raquet ball court after each one of those legs.
In case your brain misinterpreted the above because you are too stressed and tired, it was a dream.
The pace of life has changed and continues to become more stressful.
Stress tires you out. Take the naps. Admit it to yourself when you suddenly realise that you missed your exit on the highway, that you were asleep at the wheel and not "resting your eyes" or "distracted".
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:18
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Info fix.

Calm down - what are you on?

1. If you read my earlier posts on napping it was all to do with the only sector of aviation that I have been concerned with, SHORT HAUL, please understand that I bow to your superior status as a long haul pilot and I would appreciate some recognition of my sector and the difficulty of taking a nap on short sectors!

2. The fact that you believe that the present situation is set in stone is also deeply worrying for the future.

3. Again, I AM bovvered for the present victims but not for those who rant and then do precisely nothing. Hit me harder! Speak up man.

4. Not sleeping whilst Captain of a short haul aircraft was probably one of the factors which burnt me out. The other one which you may gather from earlier posts was contaminated air from BAe 146 aircraft, but I don't suppose you recognise that either. Kind of makes you feel sleepy.

5. I did elect not to fly on three different occasions due to fatigue. The last time was the final time and I now know that they were the best and hardest decisions I ever had to make. Why don't you try the same one day?

6. I fired myself I suppose - which was a unbelievably difficult decison at the time and I have reason to believe that I am not the only one to have done so.

7. For the record, I never failed a sim check (thanks mate) and I am actually 'doing something about it', which again is fairly rare, in this quite selfish industry.

We may have been poisoned, but we aren't stupid.

I respect everybodys point of view on this forum but some pilots understanding of other peoples issues and working conditions can be somewhat blinkered. I understand completely your fortunate position Info Fix but please try and open your eyes occasionally and understand what is going on under your nose reference to other pilots positions less fortunate than yours and your 1800 colleagues.

DB.
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Old 10th May 2007, 11:52
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Controlled Rest in Flight...

... or sleeping/napping at the controls, as critics would put it.
The research I'm doing for BBC News continues, and something which I've heard varying opinions about is the issue of sleeping/napping/controlled rest during less intensive phases of flight eg during the cruise, as opposed to approach.
Obviously, I'd imagine there's far more scope for this for longhaul pilots, than for shorthaul flight crews?
Is controlled rest etc etc becoming more widely used in shorthaul operations? Is this a problem? Do you feel fully alert as soon as you wake up, or do you need a few moments to regain full faculties?
I'm asking these questions because I genuinely don't know - I'm a journalist, not a pilot.
Very keen to hear your thoughts on this.
Best wishes
Ian Shoesmith
BBC News
+44 (0) 7769 977665
[email protected]
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Old 10th May 2007, 12:48
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Sleep Walking is definitely frowned upon ...
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Old 10th May 2007, 13:03
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cheers!
ian
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Old 10th May 2007, 22:17
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Ian,

I talked to a train driver today and mentioned that (short haul) pilots aren't entitled to any sort of a break during a 4 sector day - he could not believe it.



DB
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Old 11th May 2007, 05:55
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The NASA study that was referenced earlier was done with Northwest Airlines crews flying trans Pacific routes. The difference in alertness between the crews taking 20 to 40 minute naps and those not taking naps was phenominal. The crews not taking naps would go into microsleeps, dozing off for up to a minute at a time, even during high workload, high stress events like, say, an approach into Narita during WX.

Dr. Mark Rosekind was the author of the study, he has since left NASA and does consulting. He did a seminar for our airline years ago on behalf of our ALPA safety committee. Management was impressed but the beancounters said it costs too much to implement all the fatigue fighting countermeasures he proposes. We did get the company to agree to no "sunrise service", i.e., if you have flown all night and you land after 4 am home domicile time then you cannot be scheduled for another sector. We also have limitations on the number of days (nights) you can fly through your circadian low (3 to 5 am HDT). If you fly one all -nighter then the next night you must be done by 3 am HDT. Naps definitely help but not more than 40 minutes - you do not want to get into deep REM sleep and try to be alert right away.
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