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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 17th Apr 2007, 13:36
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Pilots admit they took a nap on air

In a subject rather similar to this one http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=272105 Anubha Bhonsle of CNN airs his concerns:

New Delhi: Details from voluntary information reports handed over by pilots to their flight safety departments cite extreme fatigue.

"I was tired. My mind had stopped functioning. I took a power nap, a
pilot said.

Another pilot added, "There was a point in my flight today when I could see
nothing. I lost focus. I had dozed off.

The reports shown exclusively to CNN-IBN are anonymously dropped by pilots and co-pilots in a Debrief Box, in which many of them admitted to taking a nap on air.

"Flying is a complex job. After all a pilots body is similar to any other
human body, says Former Indian Airlines Chief Operation, R S Anand.

The number of hours a pilot flies is governed by Flight and Duty Time
Limitation or FDTL. According to the DGCA rules no pilot can fly more
than 125 hours during a period of 30 consecutive days, and not more than 30 hours in week. However, within this any permutation or combination is

These regulations were made to make sure men flying these machines were never tired. But in times of crisis, these rules are often overlooked.

"We know of instances during fog days when pilots come in early but actually sign in only when the fog clears out. So they have been on duty for long, but the paper work shows something else, says Sudhakar Reddy of the Air Passengers Association.

Meanwhile, officials have admitted of instances when both the pilot and
co-pilot have left the cockpit while the plane was on air. It was later
opened with a secret code that the pilot has.

The incident is one of a kind but also reflects the flip side of the open
skies policy that aviation discipline is not what it used to be.

So the onus is on pilots, and the British Airways (BA) pilot who refused to
fly because he was sleepy after a disturbed night at the hotel may have
inconvenienced a lot of passengers, but was reinforcing high standards of
air safety.

May I ask, whose fault is it?
Flying now for my 4th company, ALL of 'em had what's called "controlled rest" permitting one pilot to take a short (up to 20 minutes) nap whilst the other manages the ship.

Far better land with a pilot that had the chance to take a nap during cruize than one that didn't

Does your company also allow controlled rest?
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 13:59
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Yes it does. It is advisable to rest while the workload is low, so when the approach comes , everybody will be wide awake.

There's a lot of studies that advise and regulate the way these "control naps" should be taken.

I see nothing wrong in aplly these naps. What the journos imply when this subject comes on the media is that everybody is asleep and the aircraft is on it's own.

Check Six krueger...
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 14:05
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I'm not yet flying commercially, but I have read a CAA article on this:


It seems the UK CAA are also of the opinion that, in the right circumstances, "power napping" is beneficial.

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Old 17th Apr 2007, 14:37
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I think it's a cultural thing. Airlines of western descent tend to have implemented it, while in the East it's absolutely forbidden (although everyone dozes off). It goes hand in hand with other elementary but rather new methods like CRM and new managements skills.

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Old 17th Apr 2007, 15:11
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someone once wrote something about stress that could easily apply to fatique.
he was talking about the wrong path people are taking as far as stress is concerned ....."modern" man/woman is looking for ways to increase its own capacity to handle stress instead of looking of ways to bring stress down to acceptable levels.
same ,i say,can apply for fatique,and i wonder why r we so blind to see it ...
instead of us pushing companies /regulators to reduce the hours we are flying ,the opposite happens ......
i do not want to take a power or any other kind of nap on the air .....
are we two crew ops or not ?
from personal experience ,i had two tcas alerts ,so far, during cruise ,one of which i had to initiate avoidance action because the other one was still trying to figure out what was going on .....
whats the point of two crew ops if one is taking a nap?
dont passively accept little "clever"sugestions("power nap") as part of a solution....the solution can be found elsewhere ....
and lets not forget the multi sector part of the aviation .....they dont have ,much time to take a nap .....but i guess they are always on alert ,so they dont have time to feel tired ,do they now?
we are on a spiral dive and things are only getting worse because we are not puting a stop to all this ....take your power nap now ,and whine about it in 10 years from now ,when the companies will accept it as part of our rest period in an efford to extend even more ,the allready saturated ftl.
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 15:37
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So Capt. iqit what happens to your two crew operation when you go back to the rest room? (or don't you do that either?)
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 15:45
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We have controlled rest during flight at the big airline in the sandpit - gotta say that it makes a HUGE difference to alertness at the end of a 9 hour night flight Bear in mind Iqit that most accidents/incidents are in the take-off or approach/land phase and NOT in the cruise.....
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 16:29
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Short haul sleeps

If one is being encouraged to sleep as a Captain or aircrew for example during 4 short sector flights it seems to me as though something is wrong and the passengers are simply not getting what they paid for or expect.

The thin end of the proverbial and unnecessary wedge?

The thought of waking up at the begining of one of those "react now incidents', which we all know sometimes happen, is one of those totally avoidable situations too far;the CVR mightalso make for some uncomfortable and inconvenient listening, at any subsequent inquest.

The Captain was... asleep. WHY?

Long haul maybe, short haul - are they serious?

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Old 17th Apr 2007, 17:00
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What is being said here, is that flight safety benefits by crew members annunciating their physical state. That raises awareness which is good.

Draw the analogy to your first sector after 3 weeks leave - you tell your colleague that you may be a little rusty - that is positive CRM, no?

Just the same scenario wrt state of alertness.

As in all things you then have to make a plan as to how to deal with it.

Scenario: Western Seaboard USA en route Europe at 0100Z.

Pilot A feeling tired. Pilot B OK at the moment, 5 hours to landing, all quiet on board.

What do you propose? Both stay awake for 4 hours until landing, or controlled rest.

Note: Power napping in seat up to 40 minutes is beneficial, getting into REM sleep is not.

IMHO and my company, controlled rest breaks are desirable to increase awareness at the 'business' end of the flight. It is not seen as a 'weakness', and nobody is suggesting that if you are both feeling fine that rest is necessary.

As to dealing with an immediate TCAS-type emergency single crew - what if it happens when the other person is in the loo? The tolerance allowed is significant for all but GPWS terrain events , and that is not being discussed here.

Maybe when you start flying worldwide, rather than on your one hour 146 sectors you will see the bigger picture?
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 17:09
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Few interesting replies, thanks guys!

Mike Jenvey thanks for the JAR-OPS extract. I didn't know it was anchored in those as well.
As for your point of view iqit, I have to agree that the problem (or the solution...) of having the possibility of taking controlled rest is, once again as often the case in aviation, a compromise
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 19:52
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dash6 ....another frastrated first officer that feels they should have offered him left hand seat ,because he so damn good! does your company ,if you work for an airline that is,includes arrogance in their crm courses or does it come out naturally?
i was a junior first officer then ,and the reason i havent mentioned that ,was ,THAT was not important ....the important thing was that one of the two was not acting and the other had to do something.....2 crew ops!
i do support taking a nap ......my point was that we ended up needing a nap during cruise .
a uk busdrive told me a few years ago that they are not allowed to drive for more than 9ish hours a day and that they have to take a rest after 4 hours of continues driving .
i do understand that they have no autopilots ,but still.....how do they manage to secure their working conditions ,and in extend provide a safer enviroment for the people that travel with them?
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 21:21
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I was trying to make the point that for short haul pilots it is virtually impossible to get that 40 minute sleep which I am sure that everybody agrees is so desirable, yet totally unattainable.

Short haul pilots often feel knackered too and would welcome a nap.

Dream on.

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Old 17th Apr 2007, 22:30
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This has been discussed earlier in these posts.
A NASA study some years ago of short haul pilots on the US East Coast involved pilots being "wired" with sensors, and accompanied by technicians on flights. There is a film somewhere in which a technician is standing behind the two pilots in the cockpit, and exclaiming with some amazement that "These two guys both know I'm here. This one fell asleep for 10 minutes, and that one for 5 minutes," or words to that effect.
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 22:34
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Dear iqit. such vitriol! Love to hear how much you you value other folks comments though. I agree;power naps are,and have always been a good idea.Not all us normal humans can sleep to order prior to a trip. Better a short zizz before top of descent,than microsleeps during a manually flown approach.I hope my fellow aviator will be more up to speed than yours obviously was,if there is a problem,especially if I allow him a "shuteye" (Long haul skipper;only 35years experience,still learning.Thanks for the input)
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 22:36
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Dash 6...

I knew of a guy who purposely wore Depends (adult diapers), so he didn't have to leave the flight deck during flight.

Now, I call that dedication.

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Old 17th Apr 2007, 22:42
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iquit, get your shift key fixed; must be very frastrating for you to have to type everything lower case
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 22:47
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Power naps? Come on guys, who's kidding who? I've taken 6 hours on an 8 eight sector. Power nap? Not that one. FOs have been asleep all the way to London whilst I've been awake. Power Nap? No, there's some serious heads in sand where I work and nothings gonna change until....

Night, I'm off to bed. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Old 17th Apr 2007, 23:29
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(6hrs rest on a 8hr flt) is'nt that what a co-pilot is for?
Youngsters these days think they can have it all....me I know what I can have.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 01:01
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DC-8 frieghter years ago flying middle of the night east to west coast overflew destination not responding to radio calls. Selcal finally woke them up. Mate on C130 on a long day relates waking up to find the other three crew members fast asleep. One skipper used to carry a 30 minute egg/cooking timer which he used to clip to the glareshield so if everyone dropped off the most they would get was 30 minutes.
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Old 18th Apr 2007, 01:46
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Proper airline pilots do NOT take naps, they just ah...rest their eyes.
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