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Old 5th Feb 2011, 18:01   #41 (permalink)

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Well no doubt this is a slippery slope for sure.

At one operation I flew for, government, when I started the rule was eight (8) hours off every twenty four (24) hour period.

What the hell was that supposed to mean?

The senile chief pilot at the time told me 'exactly that' when I inquired.

So, I inquired again, so counting crew duty time plus flying we are working sixteen hours a day, with only eight hours off for eating, sleeping and travel time, yes?

He replied, "Oh no, were only allowed to work eight hours a day, 08:00 to 17:00 with an hour off for lunch. If we go over that, I have to authorize overtime and Washington doesn't like that."

Well as it turned out, at times we didn't even get the eight hours off. They had this nifty little regulation called 'operational necessity' when all duty rules were overridden.

My longest crew duty day was thirty six (36) hours, in a 727 with the standard three crew members.

I finally, after that trip, working with the Department's safety Division Chief and OSHA, was able to change the crew duty regulations to something we could live with.

But sadly there were still abuses, all in the name of 'for the best interest of the country' of course.

Oh, the senile chief pilot, one day he bragged to the wrong person*, laughing, about a crew that had only been able to spend ten hours in a hotel on a three day mission, on his orders. After that he was ordered to transfer to Fairbanks, Alaska and he retired instead, after 42 years of government service.

Bottom line, we need more effective time off. I've been there and done it, I know what I'm talking about. No one can help about the conditions in hotels. I've checked into a hotel at 09:00 in the morning after a long international crew day, crossing multiple time zones and under the best conditions it is hard to go right to sleep. However, I can't see the airlines, from what I know, ever giving adequate crew rest to crew, both cockpit and cabin crews.

* That person was the Attorney General of the United States.
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 18:38   #42 (permalink)
 
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Honest

Hi all.

In my world it doesn't matter what FTL we have. It is all down to how we plan our time at home. And please don't come and say that you all do that and never ever are tired even if you had 15 hrs or more off

Controlled napping is for sure better then uncontrolled napping at work
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 19:25   #43 (permalink)
 
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From my logbook 12th September, 1960........

Report for Duty @ 20.40. GMT
Flight - London/Shannon/Keflavik/Detroit
Landed 14.40 GMT

That's 3 sectors, 18 hours, on my calculator.
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 20:20   #44 (permalink)
 
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you're ALL missing the point. Think of the money that is being made.........
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 20:31   #45 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
From my logbook 12th September, 1960........

Report for Duty @ 20.40. GMT
Flight - London/Shannon/Keflavik/Detroit
Landed 14.40 GMT

That's 3 sectors, 18 hours, on my calculator.
Just curious--how many times a month did you do that? How much time in Detroit was given to recover? Were you allowed to doze on the flight deck? How much vacation did you receive a year? How many months of the 12 months were over 90 hours hard time? Was your carrier at the time engaged in any action to force concessions to your pilot group? What was the planned retirement age for you when you did this? Were you constantly stressed by the uncertainties of the "career" choice or did the public and press stil think that you were better than a felon? As one of the other posters asked what was the accident rate then?

Not to be provocative but at my age it boils down to the rather wistful obligation to be somewhat alert on the flight deck--that should after all not be a high hurdle for a company to arrange but it is.

I would imagine that every poster on this forum who has been flying for any amount of time has experienced breathtaking stretches of time without sleep. In the military our "augmented" (could be a co-pilot day 1 out of the schoolhouse) duty day was 24 hours. If that started at 10 p.m. so be it. I do not think this kind of thing is safe in the slightest and although that type of day is not allowed for most airline operations the scheduling can be just as brutal and not surprisngly, in my experience, often so.

I really dig the ideas of self-actualization that are extant in the world as people post their thoughts Guys and gals summit Everest without gas, Lord Coe ran a sub 1:42 800 meters, I knew a trucker that drove from St Louis to L.A only stopping for gas and food. These men and women have every right to savor their "toughness" and prowess compared to mere mortals--Ah, those 10,000 men abed in England whilst I was out fighting the good fight. Others relish the idea of working in an office 17 hours a day.

Note to such individuals: Leave me out of your self-actualization schemes. When I am transporting your family across the world I should be rested and fit. If that is "soft" to you tough--go buy an airplane and self-actualize to your hearts content--just not with my relatives on board. This is the transportation industry--not a springboard to collect experiences that one can yield into bragging rights.

Last edited by Uncle Fred; 5th Feb 2011 at 20:54.
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 22:06   #46 (permalink)
 
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Duty days of 18 hours are still allowed and very frequently done under EU-OPS rules, without augmented crew, just two guys and their cabin crew do their usual pattern of work. Of course nowadays you need 18 hours of rest afterwards, but thats all you get, not a minute more.
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 23:26   #47 (permalink)
 
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I seem to remember an amusing point in the book 'Bluff your way on theflightdeck'.

It said words to the effect, 'years ago there were no flight time limitations so a crew would sometimes fly until they were totally exhausted and then take a break until they were fit to fly again.
Nowadays, flight time regulations ensure they are exhausted ALL of the time!'
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Old 6th Feb 2011, 01:24   #48 (permalink)
 
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and it will get worse as competition increase with the world economy predicted to take another downturn.

many years ago, when many of the pruners wasn't born, SAS used to fly CPH-KHI-BKK DC-8-62. 12 days...... what a holiday but time has changed
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Old 6th Feb 2011, 02:33   #49 (permalink)
 
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Uncle Fred ...

I'm not going to answer all your points in detail, even if memory allowed, water under the bridge now and we didn't actually pay too much attention to the long Atlantic night sectors anyway, it was par for the course.

What's your point of asking how much time I got in Detroit AFTER the event !! It doesn't matter if we got 1 day or 1 year, the crew were knackered as they landed. I notice you didn't ask how much rest we'd achieved BEFORE the flight, which is all that matters, nor has the retirement age, or annual leave any bearing on the issue, unless of course you are just jealous of crew working patterns, as so many are ? If so, and I were still flying, I'd wake you up at 0200 as I drove off to work for a long night freighter flight - I might call you from some Hell Hole of the Empire on Christmas Day, too, and ask if you were enjoying YOUR Christmas with YOUR family ? All too often I only knew for certain that I would be home for Christmas, or school fetes etc. AFTER the event.

Until a Constellation crashed into the seawall landing at Kallang, Singapore, some 60+ years ago, when the crew had been on duty for over 24 hrs, there were no flight time limitations, or if there were, they had no teeth.

For those who are moaning about long duty days, you have my sympathy, but it was always thus. Nothing new under the sun.

As a Captain I only once had to apply any 'pressure' to a crew to extend their duty, to a daytime limit of 14 hrs., because the tech crew were happy to do it and I felt that the cabin crew could at least accompany us, and the time wasn't the big issue, after all they would get extra pay - a big incentive - but they were misinterpreting their own union rules, which was what finally p***ed me off.

Much more recently, the owner,CEO, of a longhaul freight outfit I was working for asked me to organise a crew pattern which included a long duty day, and when I pointed out that it was just outside the legal limit and we couldn't do it without an extra 'slip' crew somewhere en route, he then suggested that we get one crew to do the flight planning, aircraft checks, start the engines etc. at which point a second crew would turn up and slip into the seats, having only been on duty for about 5 minutes , and immediately take off and so complete the flight within the limit !!! They all try it on. I left that lot shortly afterwards.

I still had The Best Job In The World, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, all that I'd do differently would be to start sooner, and have a better seniority position on the Bidline !

Enjoy.

Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 6th Feb 2011 at 10:13.
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Old 6th Feb 2011, 03:33   #50 (permalink)
 
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"NEVER EVER EVER leave one person behind a locked cockpit door."

So true, true. As a PAX, this worries the hell out of me to this day.

Just some PAX nostalgia here if I may ----- In the late 1960's I flew Canada-UK frequently in my job. I would often skulk up to the Purser on the 707, and ask him if I could visit the cockpit. I was never refused by the Captain, and as an engineer myself , I received some of the most interesting education of my life. AND the flight crew, all four of them actually used to enjoy explaining things to me - for a while anyway.

I know it's a bygone era but........... the cockpit door was frequently opened; the CC would offer coffee or whatever to the flight crew. The navigator would receive a fax about traffic conditions on the M4, which he would pass back to the Purser for general consumption. There was no chance whatsoever that the aircraft would be left without a competent person awake, up there at the controls. None.

AND the Captain would be asleep for short periods, - with everyone's consent - not that this mattered to him of course! He had a schedule, and everyone knew it.

Then, as we approached the west of Ireland, the Captain would suddenly wake up without any prompting and say to me, - OK, off yer go, we have to start working now.

Some years later I used to frequently ride the Air Canada DC8 overnight east bound flight from Vancouver to Toronto, with stops in between - known affectionately as the "red-eye." There were two drivers - new avionics. But the cockpit door was almost always open, and the contact between the flight deck and cabin crew almost continuous. I was told that AC flight crew had minimum 12 hr. stopovers.

I felt truly safe in those days.

Last edited by Roger Dixon; 8th Feb 2011 at 05:24.
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 07:28   #51 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JW411 View Post
Well, I can think of dozens of reasons why he might have got just 4 hours sleep in his hotel room so let us start with just a few:

1. Children running up and down the corridor.
2. The staff emptying bottles into the skip just outside his room.
3. The maid calling on the telephone to see if she can come and clean his room.
4. The air-conditioning has failed and the room is stiflingly hot.
5. The heating has failed and he is freezing his b*lls off.
6. The front desk has just called to see what time he is going to check out.
7. The company has called to change his roster.

And so it goes on and on. How many of you genuine pilots out there can put your hands on your hearts and tell me that you have always enjoyed 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a hotel room somewhere down route?

Dream on!
Been there on all of those and yes, I have fallen asleep on the flight deck. Some of the schedules were crazy - especially as we were "military" and could do a 16 crew duty period with up to 5 sectors and then be required to do an extra hour of "captain's discretion" to get the job done. Think about it: 4 hours sleep, get up at 2am, airborne at 4am, fly until 6.30pm (possibly extend until 7.30pm) and do 5 sectors in the process.

Thank God that we had a 4 man flightdeck so that we could watch over each other.
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 10:35   #52 (permalink)
 
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Most EU countries have far stricter rest requirements for truck drivers than for pilots.
(Or physicians for that matter)
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 12:03   #53 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Fred
Leave me out of your self-actualization schemes. When I am transporting your family across the world I should be rested and fit. If that is "soft" to you tough--go buy an airplane and self-actualize to your hearts content--just not with my relatives on board. This is the transportation industry--not a springboard to collect experiences that one can yield into bragging rights.
I wholeheartedly agree with you, in principle, but sadly principle does not fill airplane seats and airlines are obligated to use their assets (which includes the good folk at the sharp end) to the limits of the law if they are not to go out of business due to high prices and lost passengers.

Of course I'm not condoning breaking or even bending the rules, just saying if anyone here feels the amount of rest or the shift pattern they are allowed by their employer is inadequate, and the employer is not breaking the law, their gripe lies with the rulemakers not the airline.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 07:19   #54 (permalink)
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EgyptAir

Skeletor. I agree fully. Never ever leave one single pilot in cockpit w closed door. But that has nothing to do with EgyptAir.

Quote:
The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded the Captain excusing himself to go to the lavatory, followed thirty seconds later by the first officer saying in Egyptian Arabic "Tawkalt ala Allah", which translates to "I rely on God." A minute later, the autopilot was disengaged, immediately followed by the First Officer again saying, "I rely on God." Three seconds later, the throttle for both engines was reduced to zero, and both elevators were moved three degrees, nose down. The First Officer repeated "I rely on God" seven more times before the Captain is suddenly heard to ask repeatedly, "What's happening, what's happening?" The flight data recorder reflected that the Captain then commanded the nose up while the First Officer commanded the nose down, at the same time as the engines were shut down. The Captain asked, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engines?" The First Officer did not respond. The captain repeatedly stated, "Pull with me" but the FDR data indicated that the elevator surfaces remained in a split condition (with the left surface commanding nose up and the right surface commanding nose down) until the FDR and CVR stopped recording.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 10:54   #55 (permalink)
 
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So what should the co-pilot do? Pee in a bottle?

Long hours and lack of sleep seem to be part of the deal with pilots and trainee doctors...two professions where you really need the people involved to have their wits about them and not falling over with tiredness.

And the sad thing is that they have so much responsibility - the lives of people are literally at their hands. There are so many unimportant positions out there. Who actually needs the fashion and shoes industry? Or, being very strict, the entertainment sector.

Obviously, you could be asking "Well, who really needs to fly around the world?" but then there is more to flying than it just being a means of public transport.

I really think that conditions for pilots and co-pilots need to improve and their work should be valued a lot more.

Last edited by somedaywill12; 31st Jan 2014 at 14:24.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 14:55   #56 (permalink)
 
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Somedaywill12
Continuing with what you have asked...considering the regulated airlines industry, ensuring safety is the onerous responsibility of the regulator and airlines, or else lost sleep compromises safety, with at times tragic end...remember Air India flight IX 812
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 22:17   #57 (permalink)
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Quote:
Never ever leave one single pilot in cockpit w closed door
Get real, with min cabin crew trying to sell as much as possible this isn't gonna happen.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 10:09   #58 (permalink)
 
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Danger

we wouldn't need additional watchdogs if we had enough SLEEP.

no pilot falls asleep on duty out of pure laziness. so obviously there is a problem and since not all of us are the 36-hrs-straight hero-type this problem needs to be solved, even if just for the 'weak' of us.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:22   #59 (permalink)
 
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JW411 hit the nail on the head from my experiences - on one of my very first operational missions covering Bosnia, I was so tired because of the hotel and a show time of 0100L that, I remember the CP calling 80Kts but could not manage to stay awake for V1 or VR...I will add at this juncture that I was mission crew NOT flt deck!

I was snoring so loudly that I failed to hear the CP release me for the "after takeoff and climb checks" (a walk around of the forward cabin once the airframe was 'clean'). My colleague picked up the duty and woke me up some 20 mins into the transit. Come to think of it I don't remember much of the 10 hrs that followed.

What I did learn from the experience was to be prepared and carry sufficient temazepam to see me through 3 weeks down route - a guaranteed 6-8 hours sleep! I still use it now as a PAX on long-haul flights - bed or no bed! This was also the detachment that I bust 120 hrs over a 21 day period.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 13:24   #60 (permalink)
 
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throwing uppers and downers is probably not the best solution if you gotta do the job from 25 till 65 (or later)....
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