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This is your Captain Sleeping....

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This is your Captain Sleeping....

Old 19th Jul 2003, 01:54
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The CNN version of this 'story' makes it sound even less of an event but there's an interesting quote from the FAA.
"[Under FAA regulations] when two pilots are necessary for a flight, then they are both required to remain awake, alert and performing their flight-related duties."

-- Kathleen Bergen, FAA spokeswoman
Is this true? I thought pilot naps were the norm. Maybe less advisable on a 55min sector but is it actually a regulation? Oh and according to CNN he was not sacked, he resigned. Poor bloke.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 04:29
  #22 (permalink)  
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The danger of one napping is that there's no guarantee that the other isn't going to nod off too! I'm still wondering if that is what may have happened when an xxxxxistan Boeing crossed several UIRs/FIRs, including ours, in radio silence a few weeks ago; this at a very busy period. The FMS kept the a/c exactly on it's FPL track. We'll never know of course.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 04:55
  #23 (permalink)  
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Even after several thousand hrs in a twotter, I never could nap without headsets on and the window cracked open a couple of inches. Worst thing is when the gel pad on your DCs springs a leak, You wake up with that sticky goo in your hair and ear. I guess that our pax always figured it was SOP for the capt to nap, never heard a thing.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 04:57
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I can remember, during longish trips from UK to the Med. and back, we used to arrange between us to have a short kip, separately, an hour or so before landing. A kitchen timer was fitted in the overhead panel and was appropriately set.

After a long drag back into the Continental jetstream on one occasion,we were forced to tech.stop, just as the sun was coming up.

Our diversion was 9kms. or so vis. as we approached. By the time we got onto finals, we were down to Cat lll (totally unforecast.)

Thank God for two good autopilots, a good F/O and a 10 minute zizz each.

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Old 19th Jul 2003, 05:12
  #25 (permalink)  
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Read the news report so let me see if Ive got this right.
The captain decided to take a nap even though he knew perfectly well he had a bunch of strangers in the back with cameras who could see him on the flight deck.
The person taking the video was concerned that the captain was asleep but not concerned enough to actually wake him.
The F/O was aware of the video taping but thought it was a great joke and let the captain slowly cook in his own juices to be served later on prime time.
Do they have some sort of facility on Walkers that investigates Darwins Theory of Evolution, because these people sound like they were voted off.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 05:44
  #26 (permalink)  
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I understand that the Captain in question resigned today.

I think it is quite appalling that the F/O would have let the situation continue - his / her inaction in my mind shows poor judgement. Not least as two crew equipment should have two functioning crew members - regardless of the conditions prevailing.

However, I believe it has been said here already: unknown duty time etc.? Not everything may be known about this, and maybe he was better off left sleeping than to take "command"??

Interesting topic.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 07:06
  #27 (permalink)  
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I really don't mind that he was taking a short nap, I remember that Einstein did his sleeps with a spoon in his hands. Every time he was in a deep sleep (15 to 25 mins) the spoon would fall out of his hands on a metal plate and woke up. After that he had enough energy again to start thinking and working again....

The take-offs and landings are for me the most important things from the flight and I really don't care that the copilot (or the captain) does the cruise-job. You have cabin attendants who come and check every 30 mins (Aviation authorities rules)... And if you don't respond to ATC a few jets will fly next to you and I think a few passengers will ask the cabin attendants anyway which problem is happening. I'm talking about the European way of not responding to ATC ;-)

Anyway too bad for the captain... I hope he will find another aviation-job in this difficult period for aviation....


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Old 19th Jul 2003, 07:36
  #28 (permalink)  
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I had got the impression that the FAA still did not allow napping, while the CAA had seen sense and said it was okay.

The benefits are obvious, but the comment that the other guy may also fall asleep is valid.

I have mentioned before, in the U.K. we have 3 ? People in jail now cos of driving while tired. There were fatalities, but the charge was "wile tired" How many pilots in the world have never staggered to their car, with the sun just coming up, and still driven home. This is okay though, we're pilots, we don't get tired do we?.

I know of no other solution after a long flight to being safe on the approach, and the drive home, than to cat-nap at some appropriate time.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 08:05
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On the news here they said that this was only a 55 min trip, a little short trip for a nap ?

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Old 19th Jul 2003, 08:05
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“I understand that the Captain in question resigned today.

I think it is quite appalling that the F/O would have let the situation continue - his / her inaction in my mind shows poor judgement. Not least as two crew equipment should have two functioning crew members - regardless of the conditions prevailing.”

Right on!!!!

There is absolutely no excuse for this skipper.
Many wish they could take a nap during their 8 hours a day 5 times a week “land” jobs (Driving to and back to work often times adds another 2 hours to one’s day). Yet doing so they know they would jeopardize their employment.
Sleeping, napping pilots at the controls puts them in the same category of misfits as those who are drunk.
Considering it was the right seat “employee” and supposedly in command, what kind of message is he sending to his “on the right co-worker”? Not only that but to all air travelers.
While a lot of pilots might feel it is safe to catch a quickie snooze while driving the iron, there is a reason why we have 2 at times 3 crew on flightdecks. Otherwise Airlines could save themselves some money and chop the “extra” Sky-Gods.
I will not even go into the possibility that FO might become incapacitated while the Cappy is snoring his life away.

And there is this quick (55min) flight. How overtired can one get on it? Of course, some say do it 2-3 times a day.. Routine, boredom, comfy chair, humming engines.. Fine,
Then how come when the folks performing routine, boring jobs, in their lazy-boy chairs in their “on the ground” office have to function all day long since napping will get them a pink slip?

The dude knew better since he fired himself.


Bad rap for pilots, totally unsafe, against regulations to name a few.
What I find unprofessional is that most here on this thread find this “napping while flying a crowd” business acceptable and brag about doing the same. Oh btw, how many people read this forum? Just think about it.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 10:32
  #31 (permalink)  
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It looks to me as though the South Florida airspace is fairly busy. I'd want to be wide awake on the last part of the trip. Here is the URL of the view of the airspace http://www4.passur.com/bct.html

It's centered on Boca Raton, and you'll have to use the 40 or 80 mile ranges to see FLL. The main runway at FLL is esat-west.

Remember the 5-hour time difference from British time.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 13:39
  #32 (permalink)  
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Many wish they could take a nap during their 8 hours a day 5 times a week “land” jobs
8 hours a day 5 times a week. Regularity. Fixed sleep pattern. Regular meal times. Decent meals. No noisy hotels. No vibration, turbulence, noise, constant headset chatter, confinement, cramped conditions, danger. Predictable family and social lives. Ability to fit in with the activities of society. Weekends off. Public holidays off etc etc etc. Sheer bliss !

I've concluded that there are two categories of poster on this thread.

There are certainly two types of worker out there in the world, in my experience.

[1] -- Pilots, shift workers, nurses, policemen/women etc , who are only too well aware of the problems created by crazy sleep patterns. Falling asleep at random times is not lazyness, incompetence, disinterest, stupidity, or whatever else you wish to call it. It is a symptom of the nature of the job. It's a symptom of "bed-time" and "alarm goes off" occuring at wildly differring times in the same block of work ie. in the same week.

It plays havok with one's ability to actually sleep when one's body clock is in complete turmoil. Then, when sleep actually does descend, it is sporadic, poor quality napping in fits and starts.

IT IS HELL ! It leaves the sufferer permanently fatigued, despite best efforts to rest responsibly. The sufferer wakes up feeling tired !

[2] - The "nine-to-fivers". The very poster I quote above. People who go to bed at the same time every day and wake up after decent quality sleep of a duration decided by themselves and incorporated into their body clock by virtue of it's regularity.

People who have no concept whatsoever of the effects of regularly disrupted sleep patterns. I'm not talking about that night flight (as a passenger) to holiday in Majorca once a year ; I'm talking frequent sleep pattern disruption.

This attitude is perfectly understandable. It's called human nature. "I'm alright Jack !" "I don't feel tired so why should you ?"

The pilot in question should'nt have resigned ! His behaviour was representative of the majority of the pilot workforce, not to mention the human race ! Pilots are'nt machines !
Old 19th Jul 2003, 14:10
  #33 (permalink)  
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I hope You are a saint Jetnoseover.

Do not drive one mile to fast when You are on the way to work.
Do not cutoff a walkway or do anything against any existing
rules anywhere. You have not worked as a lot of shiftworkes do.
Pilots, Flight Attendants, ATC-Controllers and Dispatcher and
and and to make it short enough. You must have glases on Your
eyes what prevent You from seeing the reality.

As the last writer postet : I just add, humans are not maschines
and even they fail... why do we have emergency and contincency
procedures? because maschines fail, humans are weaker then
maschines .............

Wake up and face the reality !!!!!!!!!!
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 18:27
  #34 (permalink)  
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The CAA say that 'catnaps' are acceptable. On learning this I wondered about the definition of a 'catnap', so I observed my cat for a day to see what it meant. It appears that it involves sleeping on top of the central heating boiler for 23 hours, then waking up for a stretch, something to eat and then a pooh before resuming the punishing schedule.

My last employer wrote to us to explain that catnaps were allowed. We used to fly from London to Florida with 2 crew, abusing the 'Florida2 Variation' which was not really designed for us. My first experience of the catnap was on one of these Florida trips and it led to the inevitable.

After no sleep prior to the flight due to the fact we were trying to get some rest when out bodies told us it was late afternoon and not really time to sleep, and that we had both done 5 previous US Est Coast trips in the previous 30 days therefore losing 5 complete nights sleep (Jet Brown Noser take note) - and also that an enourmous and very noisy thunderstorm had sat over the top of the hotel for most of the day , we set of for our ten hour flight during the period of our circadian low. It wasn't long before the Captain decided he needed a 'catnap'. The result - we were both woken up by the 'Pilot initiated event' alarm some time later.

I'd like to say this was an isolated event - but it wasn't. And it doesn't take one pilot taking a 'catnap' for both to fall asleep.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 18:55
  #35 (permalink)  
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Flight deck rest

I have a hard time accepting the need to sleep on a 55 minute day time flight, but let's not kid ourselves here.

On any given flight conducted through the night, I'd expect that someone in the cockpit sleeps for a short period of time on the majority of these flights. Who are we serving if we struggle to stay awake for 9 hours of cruise, only to be totally exhausted for the approach and landing? A 30 minute kip during an appropriate time of low workload probably enhances safety more than anything else.

We are all grown-ups here. We’ve all done it. But if there are any pictures of it – I’m awake, just resting my eyes.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 20:48
  #36 (permalink)  
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It is quite amusing reading through all the speculation in this thread from people who either haven't seen the story or got some edited version of it through their local news outlet.

There were 2 pilots (this thread started out saying there was one). And as for all you people admonishing the co-pilot, he is claiming that the captain wasn't asleep. Who knows the truth?

Also the passengers said the copilot asked them to stop filming the cockpit but they wouldn't listen. He did try to do something. What else could he do... go back there and take their cameras?

I'm not defending this guy if he was asleep but just noting amusement at a bad case of Chinese Whispers. Just because it's on TV doesn't necessarily make it true.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 21:42
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Also the passengers said the copilot asked them to stop filming the cockpit but they wouldn't listen. He did try to do something. What else could he do... go back there and take their cameras?
Well, he could have - if the skipper was awake and would have been able to take over......
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 22:03
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Has anyone looked at his past crew rest?
Maybe he was called out on his day off to do this and did not have the proper rest.
Give the guy a break.
Until all the facts are know we cannot judge this guy.
Or is this just the news media or TSA wanna bees promoting this story.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 22:08
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I am quite sorry BUT,

The amount of rampant ignorance in this world is astonishing.

Armed with incomplete facts and little idea about how the world of aviation works, we have individuals armed with a computer blasting out their ill-conceived opinions about how things should work in this world.

Wake up call: A scandanavian airline installed timers in the overhead panel years ago so the crew would not nap past a predetermined time. It was not because they were all asleep but that IN THE EVENT the one or two that were supposed to be awake dozed off, they'd be awakened within a few minutes. As I understood the AW&ST article, the timers only run for 15 minutes and then go off -they must be CONTINUOUSLY reset. Gee? I wonder why a company would go to the expense of installing those?

That they did speaks to the physiological stress that the human body undergoes when busting time zones. It is hell enough to take years off your lifespan. A study in the 80's showed that night freght dogs died about ten years earlier than their daytime compatriots.

This napping captain may have not been flying from NYC to Paris but early show time -long sit times- a toasty cabin- a bad nights sleep the night before, whatever, contributed to his fatigue. The general public treats copilots in this world like another passenger. Surely THEY couldn't LAND THE PLANE!

You can't tell me the people vidoetaping the captain as he dozed off didn't have a little business proposition in mind when the landed with that tape. Did the people videotaping make any attempt to wake the captain? If they felt they were in any peril you'd think they might want to try to wake the guy up. What if it were a heart attack? Since I started in commercial aviation 20 years ago TWO American airlines captains died IN THE FLARE (DC-10's I believe both) due to massive heart attacks. The FO's literally saved the lives of everyone on board (including theirs) JUST LIKE THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO DO!

Flying is 22 time safer than driving in a car. We take great efforts to diminish the potential for some future malady by taking a vitamin or supplement. How about reducing your chances of dying by 2200 percent? Simply fly on holiday rather than drive, if possible.

I just pubished a book for the commercial passenger with questions or concerns about commercial aviation and I was not too gentle on the press. They have consistently and historically fanned tha flames of mistrust and misunderstanding regarding aviation in an attempt to snag viewers or sell newspapers. As the public becomes more informed on aviation matters, their limit for sensational BS has diminished. I see flyers on my airline look at aviation headlines and then ask me really insightful questions that get to the heart of the issue: Aviation accidents are newsworthy simply because THEY ARE SO RARE. 2003: NO fatalities in the USA. None.

Sorry to flame and I didn't mean to do that but I truly am weary of the incessant whining by the uninformed and the ignorant. Ignorance is simply defined as the lack of knowledge, not some reflection of a persons DNA. In this world of increasing complexity we individually must accede the fact that in some areas of technology and complexity, we are ignorant. I know flying. I don't know in detail the law, real estate, finance, politics, particle physics, mathematics or any of the complex disciplines we now accept as essential parts of our society. In many of those areas I am ignorant. I'll try to diminsh that ignorance, but I fully expect to die without knowing everything about everything.

In the past 50 years of avaition, the media has lied to us repeatedly. They continue to stack the deck and flavor the news to favor their viewpoint or their agenda. Some outlets are getting better, notably since 9-11. But, if you continue to eat their pablum without applying common sense, you will be just another member of our society who is informationally malnourished: You are bloated full of information but your mind is starving for facts.


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Old 20th Jul 2003, 01:05
  #40 (permalink)  
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The question has to be asked when the F/O realized that a passenger was filming the Captain with his eyes closed, why did he not advise the Captain what was going on. IMHO they should fire the F/O...
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