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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 24th May 2007, 09:11
  #81 (permalink)  
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Some guys don't like to admit they've fallen asleep on the job. I've flown with a captain who said to me he's never fallen asleep in 20+ years of mixed long haul and short haul flying. I reckon that he was probably asleep when he was telling me this.

However, I must say that fitness levels do have a big part to play in all this. Some guys who are fitter tend to stay alert for longer periods of time. I find myself getting better also after hitting the gym in recent times, that it has helped my regular sleep, thus helping me stay awake on the job.

But on long haul sectors, where the outport rest is less than 24 hours, doing the return flight at exactly the opposite timing of the original flight (i.e. leaving base at 12Z for 8h flight, going back to base at 22Z for 9h flight), it's impossible not to be tired on the flightdeck, especially if your 'rest period' means sitting in a pax seat with a snorer beside you.

As they say, lack of sleep accumulates, better to knock off some of the 'missing' time before you go fishing during a LVP approach...
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Old 25th May 2007, 13:36
  #82 (permalink)  
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Dream Buster,

You continue to amaze me. If you actually had long haul experience you wouldn't continue to make some of your comments. NO Captain of a 21th century airline on a long haul flight would leave the cockpit and take controlled rest in the cabin. However, on EVERY long haul flight above a certain duty time threshold there is a legal requirement for additional crew, and consequently a legal requirement for rest outside of the flight deck (unless you're flying a C-141 Starlifter, and have bunk beds on the flight deck...). The time it takes for that Captain resting in a seat, or in a crew bunk, is completely inconsequential since the crew manning the flight deck are fully qualified and competent to handle any abnormal situation that arises.

There's a difference between controlled rest on the flight deck, which is a legal term, and sleeping on board as part of your in-flight rest period. The discussion on this board is chiefly about controlled rest on the flight deck. However, my previous post simply touched the subject of sleep intertia, and the highly personal nature of ramp-up time after sleep, regardless of place of sleep being cockpit/bunk/your own bed. Some people are fully alert on contact, and others need half an hour to get with the program.

If you're concerned with passengering on my airline I think you should stop flying as a passenger altogether since the practice of napping onboard is omnipresent in the flying world.

Sadly enough for you, you flew ultras-hort haul, didn't have the ability to rest properly, and unfortunately paid a big price for it. (Possibly also suffering from the infamous 146 fumes). For that I'm sorry for you having to leave flying, except that maybe now you get proper night time sleep, which is a huge bonus in life.

During my 20 year career I've spent the last 10 in long haul widebody operations, and sleeping onboard is a whole world in itself. However, even during short haul European and US operations napping was, and always will be, a must if you want to maintain a reasonable level of safety during the critical phases of flight. Unfortunately, coffee can only get you so far...

Once more, if passengers are concerned with tired pilots, they need to pay for the hike in ticket price from airlines hiring more crew. In the end, almost all people are only willing to pay bottom price, and then sit around and complain about the dangers. Money talks as usual, and unfortunately for us tube drivers, the bean counters know this all too well.
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Old 25th May 2007, 16:39
  #83 (permalink)  
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Fix Info.

No long haul; you are extremely fortunate and I am very envious of your ability to take 'controlled rest'. Good luck.


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Old 26th May 2007, 08:46
  #84 (permalink)  
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Controlled rest in the flight deck is vital to us maintaining alerness. On longer sectors, I try to plan a 10 or 20 minutes 'eye rest' an hour or so before TOD. Just shutting the eyes and having a short break increases my alertness greatly. As far as short sectors, I use to fly in the canadian arctic, 10 sectors in a 13:50 minute duty day... helping with all aspects of paperwork, loading and unloading. Half way through the day, we would be sure to tilt the head back (longer sector... 1.5 hours) for a bit and take a good look at the inside of our eyelids... for 5 to 30 minutes... sometimes 45. Made for a much more productive and safe second half of the day.

To say that this practice is unsafe is crazy. As a pax, I would feel much safer and secure knowing that the guys in the pointy end were fresh and well rested as they drove it down to the sometimes hostile airport environment.

my 2 cents worth
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Old 28th May 2007, 15:58
  #85 (permalink)  
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Well, made use of the possibility this morning... flying into GMMX, 3:27 flight time each way, ending a serie of earlies.

Those 20 minutes of were a fantastic boost to my energy level and sure helped me fight the onset of tiredness that still set in, although much later in the flight.

Thanks to airlines that permit controlled rest
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Old 30th May 2007, 09:43
  #86 (permalink)  

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Controlled always better than uncontrolled rest! Airlines cannot forbid the latter, but should encourage the former. Even relaxation is of value, sleep does not always come easy. My issue is that Cabin Crew interruptions need to be avoided. (Obviously emergencies take priority, but many contacts are disturbing and un-necessary). A plan whereby the fully-awake PF contacts the CC every 20 mins works very well.
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