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Apnea, early starts blamed in Hawaii pilots' nap

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Apnea, early starts blamed in Hawaii pilots' nap

Old 21st Feb 2008, 07:01
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Apnea, early starts blamed in Hawaii pilots' nap

FAA Is Checking Whether Flight Crew Fell Asleep
We've heard about airline pilots falling asleep in flight before, but this report is even stranger than usual -- it was 9 o'clock in the morning, and the flight was a 45-minute hop from Honolulu to Hilo. Local TV station KGMB9 said it obtained a radar track of the flight, which showed it stayed at 21,000 feet and flew past the Hilo airport about 15 miles out to sea before turning around and returning to descend. The FAA confirmed that it is checking into the incident. Air traffic controllers reportedly tried to contact the pilots for 25 minutes and got no response. The airplane, operated by Go! Airlines, landed without incident.

Pilot fatigue has been a growing concern among safety advocates. The NTSB said recently that it has found at least six flights where pilots fell asleep at the controls, including one in which both pilots nodded off on a Frontier Airlines flight from Washington to Denver in 2004. The safety board named pilot fatigue as one of its "most wanted" list of needed safety improvements.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 07:35
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this report is even stranger than usual -- it was 9 o'clock in the morning,
Not strange if they were on duty all night, or suffered a "reduced rest overnight" of eight hours block-in to block-out.....
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 08:54
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<<Not strange if they were on duty all night>>

If you fly your life might well be in the hands of air traffic controllers who have been up all night.. If you have to visit hospital with an emergency, you may be operated on by a doctor who has worked twice as hard as any pilot or controller..... There are plenty more people in the world who manage their working hours without being unduly fatigued - I did it for nigh on 40 years. It's just a matter of managing one's life appropriately.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 09:17
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Just remind us again how many breaks you get in your shift HD?
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 09:21
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If you fly your life might well be in the hands of air traffic controllers who have been up all night.. If you have to visit hospital with an emergency, you may be operated on by a doctor who has worked twice as hard as any pilot or controller..... There are plenty more people in the world who manage their working hours without being unduly fatigued - I did it for nigh on 40 years. It's just a matter of managing one's life appropriately.
Heathrow Director, I know what you mean but might I respectfully suggest that it's not always as simple as that. Legislation still allows flight crew to work long and fatiguing schedules. Let's not forget that it took a major accident to get any flight time limitations back in early days of commercial aviation.

It's one thing to be "legal" but quite another to be fit to fly with respect to fatigue.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 10:33
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Absolutely correct! Yes, there are regulations in place, but you could still face being sent to the other part of the globe without adequate rest before and after that flight, your circadian rhythm out of sync, the hotel noisy and check-in less than 10h away.

Long range flying is only one aspect. Fatigue happens to all of us and it is a potential killer. Nobody can tell me that you'll perform 100% at 5 am when something in your airplane unexpectedly (as always) goes south. I know that it is even harder to shoot a challenging approach after a long day and then facing bad WX, a relatively short runway etc. I'm thinking for example of the Iberia guys who 'scratched' their A340 the other day...

Being allowed to take so-called 'strategic naps' of 15-20 minutes really makes a difference and should be used, whenever necessary.

Authorities first become interested when something went wrong and the operators won't do a thing when it costs money - these are the facts.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 11:34
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heathrow director

you are in a relatively comfortable seat, breathing 8000 foot oxygen, and the sun is shining in your cockpit making it warm. you can't move, that breaks the regs.

you fall asleep if you haven't gotten a good nights sleep that's ap ilots lot


an emergency room doctor is moving between patients every few minutes, breathing the same oxygen as where he lives. he looks people in the eye and doesn't focus at infinity.

they are very different animals.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 11:45
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lol!! PPRuNe all over..

Post 1 - reports an incident.

Post 2 - supposition as to cause

Post 3 - has a pop at Poster of Post 2

Posts thereafter all are written as if the supposition in Post 2 is hard fact along with pops at poster 3.

Classic!
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 12:04
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Talking Extended holding pattern?

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...925Z/PHNL/PHTO

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Old 21st Feb 2008, 12:10
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"If you fly your life might well be in the hands of air traffic controllers who have been up all night.. If you have to visit hospital with an emergency, you may be operated on by a doctor who has worked twice as hard as any pilot or controller..... There are plenty more people in the world who manage their working hours without being unduly fatigued - I did it for nigh on 40 years. It's just a matter of managing one's life appropriately."

Years ago (early 80's) I flew PA 31's out of Kidlington. I recall a couple of controllers from LHR flew for an air charter company there too. In speaking to one he routinely used to say that after/before flying a full dat at Oxford, he had a full shift at LHR ATC. I was always impressed at how he managed to be up for 24 hours straight doing two jobs!
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 13:13
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IMHO fatigue is every bit as dangerous and far and away more prevelant on the flight-deck than alcohol... though being a less sexy subject fails to get the deserved attention...
Heathrow Directors comments about managing ones life-style are for the most part utter nonsence... our bodies cannot be ordered by the ops dept to sleep at pre-programmed hours... or to get the type of sleep needed to refresh our minds sufficiently. Without resorting to drugs many people (myself inc) find it difficult or impossible to sleep during the day and after a series of 4/5 or 6 sector days with 11 hr turnarounds in foreign hotels most of us are operating below par... Try telling a hotel that you don't need the raucous racket of 3 hotel maids laughing and vacuuming the other side of your door at 9am and they'll think you're mad.

Eventually I chucked airline work simply because I couldn't take any more crap schedules. Many do not have the luxury of choice.

I believe that the US FLTs are less generous than the Europeans' ... but the Airline lobby is hugely powerful in the land where the buck rules all.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 13:30
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I'm one of your SLF members and saw this news story earlier today on another (non-aviation) forum I visit.

The first thing that came to mind is a question:

I understand exactly what sevenstrokeroll is saying about the flight deck being a comfortable, warm place if you're tired. However, how realistic is it to get that drowsy on a route with a total flight time of 29 minutes. My (uninformed, amateur) impression is that this sort of route would be pretty busy from beginning to end and I'd have thought that drowsiness would be much more likely on much longer sectors. The analogy I gave my wife was that a driver is much more likely to get drowsy at the wheel on a long boring highway than on a short hop in town. Was I wrong?

Bobbsy
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 13:50
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Even a short flight can have pitfalls if it involves a task the pilot is very familiar with,or if hes just starting night shifts after a few days of early starts. No matter how good your management of your time is, if you've gotten used to waking up at 6 am, you wont wake up at 6 pm the next evening.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 13:50
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I have done both jobs, 6 years as a Controller, and I have been flying long haul for 5 years. Heathrow Director, honestly, you have no idea about the level of fatigue endured by long haul pilots. Can't speak for short haul, I suspect it is a different kind of tiredness.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 14:00
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8 hours block to block

Right on the money Huck!

8 hours has been the gold standard for years by management and the FAA for a restful overnight for crews. Considering it takes 30 minutes to get to the hotel bus after completing your postflight duties, 30 minutes transit time and check in, if your like me I need a few minutes to relax before falling fast asleep to only be awakened during your REM cycle. So now we are down to 7 hours of rest. Since most airlines require a 1 hour show time that means you have to be up minimum of one hour before your rest period ends, so now we are down to six hours of peaceful slumber. Then there is a little known requirement that most people need to eat something at least twice a day so do you go for the Kit Kat bar or the Milky Way, uhm.... Then throw in the unknown factors like waiting for another crew at the airport since the hotel is not going to send another van for them in twenty minutes, or after check in your find that some one is in your room or the key does not work.

I know I'm preaching to the choir it's just very frustrating to me as well as countless bleary eyed crew members out there. And what I find amazing this stuff like this does not happen more often.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 17:47
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No rules for private jets

One thing that you guys probably don't realise is that there are no duty time rules for a private jet crew. And some of them are big jets !

Back to back flights are common in this game and duty time of 26 hours or more are not uncommon, especialy out of the middle east. You may say that surely its up to the captain to tell the owner that enough is enough ! but there are not many guys who will risk unemployment by rocking the boat.
The amazing thing is that the owners are usually frightened fartless of turbulence but seem quite happy to have there crews flying ridiculous hours untill they are fit to drop !

So next time your in the hold around LHR and the TCAS looks like a swarm of flies, you can feel comforted in the knowledge that there's a chance that some exhausted private crew is sharing the same airspace.

Perhaps its time that legislation took everyone into account.

Sleep well.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 18:01
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Got to agree with Mirabeau, I had the situation after a 9 hour flight from the middle east, put the a/c to bed, catch a cab to the hotel, check in and order some food only to get a phone call 15 mins later from the boss that he needs to go back to the middle east and can we have the aircraft ready in 2 hours !!!!.

Happens all the time to us but we have not yet had the balls to try power napping in turn so when atc is looking at all the maggots on the screen, guess which one is well rested and safe to make that approach in bad weather with g/s out so loc only etc.
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 20:03
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Heathrow Director...

Always used to amuse me turning up at LATCC after the night shift had finished and seeing you guys walking out with duvets blankets and pillows, thats if you did not get the e.g. before your shift had finished....
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 20:19
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If you fly your life might well be in the hands of air traffic controllers who have been up all night.. If you have to visit hospital with an emergency, you may be operated on by a doctor who has worked twice as hard as any pilot or controller..... There are plenty more people in the world who manage their working hours without being unduly fatigued - I did it for nigh on 40 years. It's just a matter of managing one's life appropriately.
Thank goodness the author of these words is now apparently retired.

Such people who manage to run such perfect lives would never be able to understand how the imperfect rest of us make mistakes for reasons of fatigue or otherwise!
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Old 21st Feb 2008, 20:21
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It's just a matter of managing one's life appropriately.
Didn't I used to work for you? I recall a memo once about "compartmentalizing your fatigue"......

As for doctors, controllers, et al: slight difference in the magnitude of the downside risk.

(Have you ever heard the difference between ham and eggs? The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed....)

I'll compare the relative fatigue of doctors and pilots when doctors die if their patients die. Hell, I'd settle for them losing their licenses if they make a fatal mistake.
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