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Wizz Air Crew Forced to Resign

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Wizz Air Crew Forced to Resign

Old 16th Aug 2022, 06:06
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Originally Posted by Cak
It is their decision, as the commander needs to consult every crew member (at least under EASA). Not to mention that it should be a proper 'airmanship'.
I respectfully beg to differ. It is called 'Commander's Discretion' for a very good reason.

To protect individual crew members most OMA's have a phrase such as this inserted. 'No crew member shall fly if they feel that they are not fit to fly or are likely to become unfit to fly during the rostered duty period - including any possible use of discretion.'

If you feel unfit on the ground during a (delayed?) turnaround flight then inform the captain (who will arrange appropriate medical assistance) and be properly stood down with all supporting documentation available. This is nothing whatsoever to do with discretion. It is to do with fitness to fly. If you feel fatigued/unfit halfway around a duty then you should inform the captain who will arrange appropriate medical assistance and may then be able to manage the situation depending on crew numbers.

But it is 'Commander's Discretion.' That said, it is a very brave (or cavalier) Commander who ignores a crew member saying they are unfit to fly. In flight, stand crew member down immediately, PA for a doctor etc. On the ground, immediate medical assistance. Whether to utilise full or part crew discretion or not is the sole decision of the Commander after he has performed HIS assessment of the crew's fitness for discretionary duty. I have seen it applied both ways. On one occasion the entire crew were totally fatigued but the cabin crew wanted to get back to main base (for personal reasons) and it was the Commander (who also wanted to get back for the same personal reasons) who quite rightly said 'No, it's not safe.' Gave his reasons in a report and the company supported him.

One other tragic occasion occurred when cabin crew operated when probably they shouldn't have on a night turn from UK to a holiday destination in the Azores. Flight operated without incident but cabin crew member fell asleep at the wheel while driving home and was killed. If you feel you are not fit to fly, then don't. Please, don't! But back it up with a medical report and don't confuse it with discretion. Any reputable employer will support you. Sadly, there are less and less reputable employers around nowadays.

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Old 16th Aug 2022, 06:46
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Bananas-no doubt you think CRM means Captain's right mate! The last thing we need is tired people who are there for safety reasons, of course, only a court could actually rule on this matter (if sacked) and equally the crew
member might find the industry hostile when looking for another job. As for the last episode you mention, all very sad , that is why at least one airline I know has a policy of giving people the option of a hotel on landing in such circumstances.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 10:15
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Originally Posted by vascodegama
The last thing we need is tired people who are there for safety reasons, of course, only a court could actually rule on this matter (if sacked) .
Not true.
As my case revealed, you do not have to be 'sacked' before you can haul your employer over the coals in front of a Judge. If, due raising any safety issue (known as 'raising protected disclosures'), the airline takes ANY action against you, including suspension; this is known as a "detriment to your employment". You can go for them i.e. you do not need to be sacked to commence legal action.

Since my case hit the headlines and after the release of my book, I have been inundated with pilots (and crew) wanting advice on dealing with similar issues that I had to face. It shows my case is not an isolated incident.

But is that not the point of BALPA, to support and advise? Surely it is the role of the CAA to stamp down on rogue operators? If you believe that, you are in for a rude awakening!

I was threatened with dismissal for refusing to offer Captain's discretion to cover an illegally planned (falsified) FDP. It breached the max FDP, before report, by nearly one hour. The airline claimed my refusal was gross misconduct for 'refusing a reasonable management instruction' to use MY discretion!

The Chief Pilot and DFO then proclaimed I was dishonest in claiming my refusal to fly a subsequent duty was due to fatigue.
Again they claimed this was 'gross misconduct'.

So, how fatiguing was the run of duties?
The duty required I land a Boeing 767 at night into one of the UK's busiest airports after being awake for nineteen hours. Is that not ridiculous enough for you?

This was the day after a duty that required me to wake at 04:30 and walk back through my front door at 22:30, i.e. an 18-hour day. Still not barmy enough?

This was following on from two sim days requiring I wake at 02:30.

At the subsequent trial, using the airline's own fatigue prediction software (FAST) it showed I would've at least been operating at the equivalent effectiveness of someone at the drink-drive limit or four times over the flying limit.

I was suspended and threatened with dismissal and eventually given a two-year final written warning.

If you think that BALPA would be all over this like a rash? Think again.

I was informed that they would NOT provide legal support at trial if I did not accept a £2,500 settlement, with no apology and the final written warning. They claimed I did not have a chance against a major airline and, if I lost, it would mean no other crew would ever report fatigued again.

With ZERO legal training, I was reduced to representing myself against one of the UK's leading barristers, appointed by the airlines and its entire legal and HR team.

After giving the airline enough rope to swing by I approached the CAA. According to the CAA, I should have 'got over it'. They would not answer questions of 'only academic interest' and would not get involved anyway because it was an 'employment matter'

Is this not the real issue? The CAA and BALPA are not fit for purpose. This is exposed in the second book and, as with the first, names will be named.
Currently, the CID are investigating the claims made in the books and will be approaching the CPS for charging authority very shortly.

As for me, well, if you are a 'Stranglers' fan and going to see them on their European tour this Sept-Oct, come and say hi. I'll be the bald bloke sweating like an ex-airline manager, drumming for the support band.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 11:03
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You don't need a doctor or medical assistance if you are fatigued, you need sleep, and then possibly a few days off.

Discretion should take into account all crew members' fitness to fly. A sector that a tired flight deck might be able to safely do - sitting down pressing buttons and drinking coffee, might be very difficult for a cabin crew member who has to be on their feet for the whole sector continually speaking and serving hundreds of passengers. Given an edict that discretion will be used, it takes a very brave cabin crew member to break ranks and refuse to work - especially since by not working they know they will cause their colleagues even harder work. So they work fatigued. Given a flight emergency, such as a decompression, emergency evacuation, or flight crew incapacitation; are those cabin crew going to be able to perform to the highest level of safety?

"Safety is our highest priority" the airlines say...............

Discretion is used by the airlines to save money, we need to remember that.
.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 11:05
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Originally Posted by vascodegama
Bananas-no doubt you think CRM means Captain's right mate! The last thing we need is tired people who are there for safety reasons, of course, only a court could actually rule on this matter (if sacked) and equally the crew
member might find the industry hostile when looking for another job. As for the last episode you mention, all very sad , that is why at least one airline I know has a policy of giving people the option of a hotel on landing in such circumstances.
Not at all. The Captain has overall responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the flight.

I don't think you have properly read my very even handed post. If you are not fit to fly, don't. I entirely agree. But don't confuse fitness to fly with discretion. It is the Commander's discretion. It is also the Commander's legal responsibility to ensure that, in a situation that may require the use of discretion, he has satisfied himself that the crew are fit for discretion (a decision he may subsequently have to justify) before utilising it. It is also one of several reasons why most FTL schemes specify a shorter allowable FDP for the tech crew than the cabin crew.

Last edited by BANANASBANANAS; 16th Aug 2022 at 11:18.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 11:14
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
You don't need a doctor or medical assistance if you are fatigued, you need sleep, and then possibly a few days off.


.
Agreed, but the crew member would be well advised to first have a brief medical examination to confirm fatigue/not fit to fly. To do otherwise leaves the crew member open to various arguments from the airline to justify disciplinary action:

'No other crew members declared themselves unfit"
'Your roster is legal and in accordance with all regulations'
'How did you manage pre flight rest?

etc, etc, etc.

Get a quick report from a medic which says 'unfit to fly' and you should be covered.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 11:45
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
Agreed, but the crew member would be well advised to first have a brief medical examination to confirm fatigue/not fit to fly. To do otherwise leaves the crew member open to various arguments from the airline to justify disciplinary action:

'No other crew members declared themselves unfit"
'Your roster is legal and in accordance with all regulations'
'How did you manage pre flight rest?

etc, etc, etc.

Get a quick report from a medic which says 'unfit to fly' and you should be covered.
Only ONE person knows if they are fatigued or not. Thats the individual. If you are ever in that position and being pressured, tell the airline you require the FAST printout. Watch how quick they back off.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 11:54
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Originally Posted by Youmightsaythat
Only ONE person knows if they are fatigued or not. Thats the individual. If you are ever in that position and being pressured, tell the airline you require the FAST printout. Watch how quick they back off.
However you might feel or know your fitness to fly, it is only one small part of the equation. By far the most important part (sadly) is having to get documentary proof to support your decision to declare yourself unfit. I am not here trying to justify any airline's OMA but they are the rules we operate to and its best to know them as well as the company and to take appropriate precautions - ie, medical exam or similar.

If you get called in to the office to justify your decision not to fly, what 'defence' are you happier with to support your position?

a) Only one person (me) knows if I am fatigued or not,

or,

b) I felt incredibly tired and unfit to fly so I immediately saw a doctor and here is his professional report confirming me as unfit to fly.

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Old 16th Aug 2022, 12:13
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@ Bananasbananas, We essentially agree with each other. But of your three hypothetical questions, the first and second are irrelevant - if a person is fatigued, they are fatigued - no matter what the reason. Of the third; if your sleeping preparations were diligently applied - black-out blinds in the bedroom etc, there should be no come-back - from a decent airline. If your neighbours were having a barbecue or a barking dog or neighbour's music kept you awake, that is perfectly legitimate reason for reporting unfit in the first place.

I put in a number of fatigue reports at a previous airline over the years, all of which were properly investigated, but medical intervention was never needed or requested. I reported fatigue and my level of fatigue, according to a comprehensive list of fatigue indications and descriptions, and the fatigue management team took it from there and looked at my rosters etc.

During a turn-around, a check from a doctor or medic would not be possible quickly, it would incur an even greater delay that would most probably stretch beyond the allowable discretion period for the rest of the aircrew. It is illegal to get airborne if you know beforehand that your flight will go beyond the allowable period of discretion.

Airlines know all this so they put pressure on the crew members to self declare, as per your three questions; (knowing that most won't bother), and also onto the Captain's shoulders, who is in a very difficult place, being responsible for the welfare of their crew but also the requirements of the airline and the potential financial consequences of a delayed flight.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 12:21
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
However you might feel or know your fitness to fly, it is only one small part of the equation. By far the most important part (sadly) is having to get documentary proof to support your decision to declare yourself unfit. I am not here trying to justify any airline's OMA but they are the rules we operate to and its best to know them as well as the company and to take appropriate precautions - ie, medical exam or similar.

If you get called in to the office to justify your decision not to fly, what 'defence' are you happier with to support your position?

a) Only one person (me) knows if I am fatigued or not,

or,

b) I felt incredibly tired and unfit to fly so I immediately saw a doctor and here is his professional report confirming me as unfit to fly.
Legally you only need (a)

If you are called into the office you state these words EXACTLY

:“I brought to (the airline and mangers concerned) attention, by reasonable means, the circumstances that I considered to be harmful or potentially harmful to the health and safety of myself, the crew and the passengers.”

To be clear YOU DO NOT need a medical opinion. The law is very clear.
Demand to see the FAST (Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool) and the company MUST produce one.

If the airline are still stupid enough to press ahead. Sit back and await for the court case.


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Old 16th Aug 2022, 12:38
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Originally Posted by Youmightsaythat
Legally you only need (a)

If you are called into the office you state these words EXACTLY

:“I brought to (the airline and mangers concerned) attention, by reasonable means, the circumstances that I considered to be harmful or potentially harmful to the health and safety of myself, the crew and the passengers.”

To be clear YOU DO NOT need a medical opinion. The law is very clear.
Demand to see the FAST (Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool) and the company MUST produce one.

If the airline are still stupid enough to press ahead. Sit back and await for the court case.
I'm not saying you legally require a medical report. Indeed, the company would probably be very happy that you hadn't got one. What I am saying is that it is not very clever not to get some form of independent official/professional corroborating evidence beforehand to take into any meeting with you. If you are happy to go with only you knowing if you have fatigue and with FAST then fine. I would prefer a written report by a qualified doctor who examined me at the time. FAST could then be used as well if necessary.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 12:45
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
I'm not saying you legally require a medical report. Indeed, the company would probably be very happy that you hadn't got one. What I am saying is that it is not very clever not to get some form of official/professional corroborating evidence beforehand to take into any meeting with you. If you are happy to go with FAST then fine. I would prefer a written report by a qualified doctor who examined me at the time.
There are no 'tests' the doctor can do. He asks...How do you feel, you answer 'fatigued' thats it. Seriously you ONLY need the FAST printout. + it puts the cowboy operators on warning. And stick to your guns, they back on you bottling it. If you are a professional do not be pressured. If you allow yourself to be then ergo you are not a 'professional'.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 12:56
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
@ Bananasbananas, We essentially agree with each other. But of your three hypothetical questions, the first and second are irrelevant - if a person is fatigued, they are fatigued - no matter what the reason. Of the third; if your sleeping preparations were diligently applied - black-out blinds in the bedroom etc, there should be no come-back - from a decent airline. If your neighbours were having a barbecue or a barking dog or neighbour's music kept you awake, that is perfectly legitimate reason for reporting unfit in the first place.

I put in a number of fatigue reports at a previous airline over the years, all of which were properly investigated, but medical intervention was never needed or requested. I reported fatigue and my level of fatigue, according to a comprehensive list of fatigue indications and descriptions, and the fatigue management team took it from there and looked at my rosters etc.

During a turn-around, a check from a doctor or medic would not be possible quickly, it would incur an even greater delay that would most probably stretch beyond the allowable discretion period for the rest of the aircrew. It is illegal to get airborne if you know beforehand that your flight will go beyond the allowable period of discretion.

Airlines know all this so they put pressure on the crew members to self declare, as per your three questions; (knowing that most won't bother), and also onto the Captain's shoulders, who is in a very difficult place, being responsible for the welfare of their crew but also the requirements of the airline and the potential financial consequences of a delayed flight.
The only thing you write that I might disagree relates to getting a medical check on the ground during a turnaround. A cabin crew member should be afforded the same priority as a passenger if they are not feeling well and a doctor can be summoned quite quickly at most airports I have operated into. If getting a doctor might incur further delay, that is another thing for the Commander to consider. Do crew numbers allow for the crew member to be stood down and positioned back (without medical exam) or would it be better to offload and leave him in the care of the Station Manager/Medics or wait. That is what we get paid the extra $50k per day for isn't it - to make decisions like that? Most airlines also provide a company 'phone so it would only take 5 minutes to get on the 'phone to Ops, explain the situation and spread the responsibility around a bit. 'Hello Ops, Bloggs has reported fatigued. We have called for a doc to examine him but not sure how long the doc will take to arrive/make a decision. We are ok on numbers to offload him but tight on FDP if we wait more than x minutes. Can you state your preference before I make my decision please?'

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Old 16th Aug 2022, 13:02
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Originally Posted by Youmightsaythat
There are no 'tests' the doctor can do. He asks...How do you feel, you answer 'fatigued' thats it. Seriously you ONLY need the FAST printout. + it puts the cowboy operators on warning. And stick to your guns, they back on you bottling it. If you are a professional do not be pressured. If you allow yourself to be then ergo you are not a 'professional'.
We are largely on the same side here but why would you risk having to go into bat against the company without an important weapon - namely a medical report? It doesn't matter what the doctor asks you. That's confidential. What matters is that you have a letterhead piece of paper from a qualified doctor stating that you are unfit to fly. Why would you choose not to get that? Talk about FAST in the meeting as well if it helps but why not also have the medical report?

It's got absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with bottling any decision as any meeting would only happen long after the decision not to fly had been made and actioned. Ergo, 'bottle' already demonstrated.

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Old 16th Aug 2022, 13:14
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
We are largely on the same side here but why would you risk having to go into bat against the company without an important weapon - namely a medical report? It doesn't matter what the doctor asks you. That's confidential. What matters is that you have a letterhead piece of paper from a qualified doctor stating that you are unfit to fly. Why would you choose not to get that? Talk about FAST in the meeting as well if it helps but why not also have the medical report?
Absolutely we are on the only side any reasonably intelligent person would be on. The trouble is, if you get a 'doctor' I can guarantee they will get a doctor to say the opposite. As soon as you even suspect you will not be fit for a duty demand the FAST. Cuts their portion off at the knee.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 13:21
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Originally Posted by Youmightsaythat
Absolutely we are on the only side any reasonably intelligent person would be on. The trouble is, if you get a 'doctor' I can guarantee they will get a doctor to say the opposite. As soon as you even suspect you will not be fit for a duty demand the FAST. Cuts their portion off at the knee.

You would have a report from a doctor who examined you at the time. The company could not match that. And even if you didn't get a medical report, there is nothing to stop the company from getting a company doctor to write something on the company side anyway.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 14:27
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Originally Posted by Youmightsaythat
Well thats what BALPA,CAA, Directors and Chief pilot thought. The Judge at trial thought otherwise, but according to the airline the Judge 'didn't understand'. The whole point is, the law WILL protect you. You just have to have the balls to use it.
Don't forget the money.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 15:00
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Originally Posted by RickNRoll
Don't forget the money.
Legal fees you mean?...cost me zero...I represented my self with no lawyer to advise or present my case.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 15:19
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Say it’s very dark o’clock at an airport with no medical services available except for emergency purposes. Will you, literally, call 911 (or the equivalent thereof) to be taken to an ER, where you can get a doctor to sign a piece of paper confirming you said you feel too tired to work? Is that even a thing? I mean, can you even get a doctor to produce such a piece of paper?

I would imagine most cases of fatigue to happen outside the opening hours of a GP doctor.
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Old 16th Aug 2022, 15:52
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Originally Posted by SMT Member
Say it’s very dark o’clock at an airport with no medical services available except for emergency purposes. Will you, literally, call 911 (or the equivalent thereof) to be taken to an ER, where you can get a doctor to sign a piece of paper confirming you said you feel too tired to work? Is that even a thing? I mean, can you even get a doctor to produce such a piece of paper?

I would imagine most cases of fatigue to happen outside the opening hours of a GP doctor.
Any airport which has arriving and departing passengers will (or most certainly, should) have the required medical capability.
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