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Watch out for fatigue this summer

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Watch out for fatigue this summer

Old 18th Apr 2002, 00:05
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Exclamation Watch out for fatigue this summer

A lot of airlines finish the busy summer period, then in the autumn start recruiting, then train their new flock in the winter right? So, Sep 11 happens, training budgets get frozen, it's autumn, many companies are understandably fearful about recruiting, others make flight deck redundant. The commercial side get on to marketing, who want business to pick up ASAP. so advertising for cut price flights/holidays happens. Guess what? Business picks up real quick, no recruiting, maybe redundancies took place = very busy rosters.

So guys and girls, let's be careful out there this summer, cos it's gonna get real busy and fatigue can catch you out when you were too tired to anticipate it.

Fly safe!
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 03:31
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Exactly why CAP371 was written !!!!
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 06:48
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If CAP 371 is mis used it is not much protection.

I,v never worked outside the limits of CAP 371 but if rostered for an early followed by a late (all leagal under the rules ) how do you make a sleep patern work ?

The favorate trick of one employer was to roster two long night dutys followed by a very short duty that finnished before 2200L then one more long night with a four hour position back to base ,
in practical terms after the "short" night you would wake up at about 1000L and then be unable to get back to sleep before the duty started at 2200L the duty was rosterd for ten hours then with four hours positioning and an hours drive home it made for a very long time on your feet before you could get "real"sleep.

I think that Mowgli makes a very valid point and I to can see how this may well be a problem over the summer , but at least I have the consolation that I will only be exposed to the over work and resultant fatigue for three months and come the winter I will have time to recover.
The people I think are in the worst danger are the ones who work a little less than us in the peaks of the charter business but do it all year round.

I took a large pay drop when I left a command with a night cargo company to fly as FO with a "day time" airline as I could see the damage that disrupted rosters ,long times positioning after duty and trying to sleep in the day in hotels was having on me.

I dont think that I was about to have a flying accident but the rumble strips on the edge of the motorway saved me more than once and my heath was starting to suffer.
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 07:29
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Which brings me back to the thread I started in February.

A very necessary amendment to CAP 371 is on 'hold'. The problem of fatigue through repetative early starts won't go away through the goodwill of airlines and their roster planners.

It has been said many times and needs to be repeated. Fatigue through poor roster planning is a very serious flight safety issue.

I just hope that wisdom prevails and that issued of rostering are addressed without the imperative of a fatal accident.
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 08:07
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On the subject of CAP 371 can some kind soul please explain to me why if I have 3 local nights free of duty I am acclimatised, yet if one of those nights I am rostered for a standby duty between 10.00pm and 4.00am (when I am fast asleep anyway and my body knows no difference to being off duty) and dont get called out, then I am unacclimatised for my next night report on the 4th night.

Sorry if the english is a bit muddled but as you can probably guess I,m fatigued!
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 08:56
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I'm not suggesting a closure of this thread, far from it.

However, I've stated on here before my concerns that the media use this board as well as access it. When flyers start to flag "accidents waiting to happen" then the media will have a field day!!!

It is an important subject which needs to be aired. However, it doesn't need to pasted on the front of some crappy tabloid - like the Sunday Times!!!!!


.....If life were only bizjets........
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 10:04
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I wonder what responsibility an employer might find himself faced with if/when one of us dozes off at the wheel on the way home from a max duty shift & scribbles someone else?

Suely if it is not safe to fly after 12 hrs duty it is much less safe to drive a car as far more continuous concentration is required. The driver in the Selby rail crash (Sleepy driver left the road & caused a big rail accident) was jailed for dangerous driving.

If we are driving at the proven limits of safety, as many of us do on a weekly, if not daily basis then surely the company must be at least partly responsible for the ensuing accident?

Perhaps some press coverage over this might jolt the company lawyers awake and into some sort of protective action, like hotac or shorter shifts?

And ask the CAA ban overnight split duties as a means of circumventing the minimum rest requirements too, please!
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 10:24
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My sister Dolly tells me those awfully nice people at the IAA have again zeroed the cumulative hours for all the boys and girls at FR.

She's sure they'll feel much fresher to face a busy summer now!
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 11:07
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Godfrey if that is true I certainly hope the journos are reading this.

Like to back it up?
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 11:27
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LGW Vulture.

IMHO it is not a bad thing if the media to pick up on the dangers to the genaral public brought about by excessive duties.
You can rest assured that some managements will push you as far as they can get away with.
With the current climate alot of bulling is likely this year, resulting in a less safe environment.
My message to management 'if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident'.

Re: Ryanair; I have it first hand from a reliable source that Ryanair pilots have had their hours totals zeroed, most likely resulting in some having flown more than the maximums allowed on a rolling total.
High time this nonsence stopped or will it take an accident?

If you are in an unfit state to work it is against the law to do so, it is also against the law to drive home if you are too tired to safely do so. Don't do it.
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 13:59
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LGW Vulture,

Is it not in the public interest to air these views? As far as I am concerned, the public have a right to know. They are either in the air with you or on the ground below you - vested interest either way.
This always assumes some journo does not twist it around.
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 00:50
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Mowgli - i do agree that many Pilots will probably end up flying harder this summer because of loss of scheduling agreements post 11/9. That said many
Pilots are pi**ed off with this so they will probably play up and not answer the phone etc when Crewing calls.
I personally don't agree with wig wags consecutive early story as there are very contrasting views. Many crews like the overnight
stopovers and if you took them away then they would only moan. Its funny that when rules force the loss of social benefits then crews seem to have no problem with "fatigue". Anyone remember the days when Brit Captains never used discretion at all, except for one foggy Xmas eve when it was "no problem"...
CAP371 remains the most restrictive FTL scheme in Europe so if UK Crews are going to suffer from fatigue i feel pity for the Belgians (that are left with jobs) / Spanish / Germans / Scandics blah blah blah
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 01:54
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Hmmmm, if everyone is "fatigued", then it's more business for AirAtlanta (and others) ...and "foreign" pilots.
I can hear the howls of protest now...
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 07:50
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I am one of those poor chaps working on a European FTL scheme that Banzai Chap feels sorry for. I have to say that he has not got the slightest idea what he is talking about.

I never ever want to work under CAP371 limits again. It is such a restrictive document and so out of date in concept that the airlines are constantly trying to get the "legal" maximum out of crews with little regard for quality of life.

My average work pattern is now 8 days on and 6 days off. This might not suit a lot of you but I have never felt so well rested nor have I ever painted so much of the house! Most of the time I am even ready and willing to go back to work! I shudder every time I think back to the single days off/2 days off regime allowed under CAP371. What the hell can you do with a single day off? The absolute minimum that I can be given now is 3 days off and that happens very rarely.

I now fly more (which I like) and in a much more efficient fashion and get really good quality time off at home into the bargain. In my opinion, CAP371 is long overdue for a seriuos revision for the way it is being interpreted and implemented is seriously bad for
one's health.
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 11:03
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Aviation is a big industry and there are not just pilots here. The point about driving home from work is a valid one, but applies even more so to us humble ground workers.
Pilots are limited in what they can work, so although with positioning you will sometimes work over 12 hours, I dont know how many times I have done a night shift that has gone on past 9, and I know more harder working people than me. We have no limits on what we work, and 14 / 16 / 18 hour shifts happen. We work to get the flights away and to cover shifts where our laid off colleagues once were. And while our actions may not endanger the lives of hundreds (although my engineering friends may argue this quite strongly), the point of this thread is about driving home after work. Ground staff, being a lot lower paid, tend to live nearer the airport and have much shorter drives. We are never provided hotels and never with taxis home. Maybe if pilots lived in Crawley / Hounslow etc they wouldnt have as far to drive and their rest periods (which are their responsibilty) would be better managed. If we mere ground mortals work an extra few hours, we dont get a day off (rest day to you) the next day. We still get up at 6 to drive in.
But these are just a few humble thoughts. I think it is wrong to blame CAP371 for late night drive homes, we in rostering try to treat you as mere humans - when you let us - but sometimes its just not possible to produce a kind roster. As someone said, the real blame should go to commercial departments who plan to the very maximum allowed, rather than using the scheme as a guideline. We in rostering have to keep things legal, we dont sell the flights. Ever tried saying to a commercial director you cant do the flight because it's only in by 20 minutes, and the pilot flew yesterday?
So lay off us poor rosterers, lets have a go at commercial
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 11:49
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>>So lay off us poor rosterers, lets have a go at commercial<<

I quite agree! I would never personally criticise a roster planner. We all work in jobs designed by others. The problem in an airline is that it can be very difficult to get information about crewing and rostering difficulties from the coalface to the boardroom. My experience is that, without a BALPA cc, it is nigh on impossible without sticking your head so far above the parapet that it is blown off completely.

If a really bad pattern of flights is assigned then it can take an age to get it changed. In that period a crew may really suffer and the general public are put at risk of a fatigues crew perfoming below par.

I don't know what the answer is; its just part of the industry malaise.
Old 19th Apr 2002, 19:55
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Crundale's posting raises some interesting points. I have not had a lot to do with CAP371 for some years now but I seem to remember that the CAA would only accept a 90-minute drive to the airport before a flying duty commenced. Therefore, anyone who lives more than 90 minutes from the airport must surely have arranged suitable sleeping accommodation closer to the airport before reporting otherwise they were operating illegally? In which case, why don't they use the same system on the way home? Being illegal is one thing but being dead is terminal!

He also raises the important issue of the impossibilities of trying to produce a sympathetic roster within the constraints of CAP371 and keeping the chaps in the commercial division happy. I will raise just one issue as an example; the infamous "3-night rule".

In my day, the CAP371 would only allow us to work for 3 nights on the trot. A "variation" was possible for 5 nights. However, in order to get that dispensation, exactly the same schedule had to be flown to the same destinations every night. This was a daft rule for most of us don't give a toss whether we go to Oslo and back or Bergen and back just for example.

This meant that the 5-night variation was so restrictive that it was unacceptable to just about everyone. Therefore, in order to get the job done as given by the commercial chaps to the rostering staff and also to stay within the remit of CAP371, the pattern of 3 nights on - 2 days off - 3 nights on inevitably emerged.

The first day off is spent trying to sleep into days and the second day off is spent trying to sleep into nights! The result is that nothing in the house gets painted and the kids get pissed off creeping around the house in "silent" mode. Having a single day off in between (although it was legal) was a horror story. I don't think I ever went to work fully rested.

Nobody that I have ever met has ever solved the problem of having a really good sleep before the "first night" but don't you think that it is much kinder on your body to do 5 or 6 night duties on the trot and then have 4 or 5 days off?

Changing the subject slightly I have to say that without doubt the most "creative" FTL scheme that I ever worked under was the FAA system in the good old US of A. Once again, I freely admit that I am probably out of date.

First of all some basics; the FDP (flying duty period) was based on "scheduled hours aloft" - in other words, from first take-off to last landing (not chock to chock).

Part 121 Domestic flying was most restrictive for no senator in Washington wanted a disaster on his patch. In my days it was 8 hours aloft and then 2 hours rest for every hour spent aloft. (A variation was allowed for "transcon" non-stop flights of 10 hours).

However, when it came to International flights (no senators involved) the deal was 12 hours aloft in any 24. Therefore, it was theoretically possible to do 24 hours back to back in 48! I was never invited to do this!!!

But here comes the fun; we used to have a summer holiday flight that started in BOS picked up in BWI turned round in ACA (Mexico) and came back the same way. This was rostered for 11 hours 58 minutes aloft. Now that is truly creative!

It was only possible because the final destination was just over the border in Mexico and therefore made it an international flight. To add a bit of spice to the day, we were often invited to ferry the aircraft back to JFK under Part 91.

One of the other rules was that you could not do more than 100 hours in 30 days Domestic flying (the senators/NIMBY factor again) but 120 hours International was allowed.

Thus it was that on a Friday afternoon in JFK I was invited to do a quick JFK-MIA and back. This I had to decline for I had already done 98 hours in the previous 30 days and this easy flight would have put me over the top on the domestic front.

Another crew took the trip and I ended up with a 4-sector from JFK to ORY and back. Is it not ridiculous that you cannot do an easy trip to Miami and back but a four-sector New York to Paris is OK!

The only good part of the deal was that we were paid by the block hour so that was of some compensation. Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see how some of colleagues on this side of the Pond would change their priorities if they got paid by the block hour. Now that could be an interesting thread!

I am grateful to you Banzai Chap for feeling sorry for me in my present circumstances and I await with great interest your reply as to how I can make my life better.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 04:32
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Try fatigue combined with over 90 degrees F. in the cockpit during a ground delay by the runway, while the APU 'air' and both engines and their packs are operating. And in a 100-seat jet, not a Bandeirante. I suspect that the mid-60s design was for very short turnaround times, instead of alternating hub connections with time-consuming crew changes. "You mean they don't have time to service our stinking lavs by departure time? Uh, no-you are the first call we got, and let's see, you are due out in ten minutes"

I wish our CEO would volunteer to fly around at random this summer on our smaller mainline jets.

Hey Richard, are you out there????
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