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Pilot fatigue...a victory, of sorts

Old 28th Jun 2017, 22:21
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Rat there was another story with a two crew aircraft towards the end of a very tiring block in atrocious weather where the captain discussed with my mate and they went crew fatigue, got the pax put up in a hotel and operated back after minimum rest the following day.
The manager called my mate into the office and pressurised him to sign an alleged fictious report which he refused.
Subsequently the manager slagged off the captain in front of several union members with the result that he was taken to court for slander where he lost.
He stayed in management further destroying the already poor industrial relations.
We also had a night flight which contravened our duty regulations but management didn't roster it, instead they rostered an extra crew on airport standby and when the crew checked in they were handed the flight. Standby crews had longer duty times.
This flight was only crewed a couple of times as the word got around and several captains went sick at short notice.
This was in the days when Douglas Bader produced new flight time regulations which weren't accepted due to airline pressure.
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Old 29th Jun 2017, 10:14
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FTL's have for too long been treated like a game, like tax loopholes. The game is to find the loop holes and them exploit them. Why? Profit. Either it is to avoid employing enough crews or to avoid what are seen as non revenue generating night stops. It's a game, but the referee is often awol or turns up late, and instigator of the game owns the ball. What to do? Crews need to apply the rules in the spirit in which they were written. We all know there is no chance of writing a set of FTL's to cover all scenarios. There are many Ops manuals that contain the tongue in cheek phrase, "Airmanship is an SOP". Roster instructions should contain the phrase, "rostering practices are to employ humane common sense". It should not be tongue in cheek, but actual SOP.
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Old 29th Jun 2017, 18:23
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Not sure if this is true but rumours within the company says that the Group DFO seems to be causing upset among the board and this may have been his last life chance.
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 10:18
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What happens to a lorry driver if he exceeds the law?

They have a tacho and it has to be adhered to: he/she has to pull over and stop, by law.

Airline pilots, at the same point, are allowed to do another three hours.

We can argue the toss, but what does this say about our industry?
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 11:28
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The body that regulates truck driver duty limits is not funded by the haulage industry. The UK CAA collects millions in dues from the airline industry it regulates.
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 14:07
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And employs retired airline management to oversee the operations...needless to say these managers didn't work as normal crews had to and therefore weren't exposed to the fatigue that most of us were plagued with.
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 14:44
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Loop holes

How about crossing the Atlantic two sectors then going down the back in 29inch Economy seats for 2 more sectors before taking crew bus back to where you started. 36 hours door to door
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 16:40
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When did you last see a management pilot turn up for a Friday night IBZ?
In fact I see the occasional FO or Capt get into the office/auditing side of things pretty damned quick, and what a surprise, they seem to dictate their roster to the company!

Although I have to say, my old Chief Pilot did do his share of the less pleasant night flights, and he was very well respected for doing them too…. A rare breed.
PS. Sorry for thread creep!
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 19:13
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Since the EASA FTLs were introduced there have been no serious incidents in which fatigue was determined to be a causal factor and so there has been no need . . . yet . . . for the standard politicians' response - 'our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we will set up a full and frank inquiry so that lessons can be learned to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again'.

But even if safety has not yet been compromised, there is another factor that should be considered - the long term detrimental effect on pilots' health of the merciless current FTLs. Perhaps pilot unions can fight the airline accountants on these - valid - grounds.
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Old 30th Jun 2017, 22:01
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Can't see it happening to be honest. There's no incentive for airlines to avoid burning out disposables such as flight crew. Plenty more where they came from. Pilots have also traditionally acted like the proverbial turkeys at Christmas, so I suspect the time when joining the airlines as a full career is over.
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Old 1st Jul 2017, 16:47
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J M, you're quite right. The younger pilots I regularly fly with say these FTLs are crippling! and can't be sustained for decade after decade without a change of career.
Think it might be better to take that 120K and study the stock markets, then get a Citation rating for fun after you've made some dosh.
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Old 1st Jul 2017, 19:13
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Discorde
Since the EASA FTLs were introduced there have been no serious incidents in which fatigue was determined to be a causal factor and so there has been no need . . . yet . . . for the standard politicians' response - 'our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we will set up a full and frank inquiry so that lessons can be learned to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again'.
But even if safety has not yet been compromised, there is another factor that should be considered - the long term detrimental effect on pilots' health of the merciless current FTLs. Perhaps pilot unions can fight the airline accountants on these - valid - grounds.
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The problem is most of Europe were operating closely to EASA FTL with Sub Part Q so it was only the moaning Brits that made the "big" leap into the unknown. And many of the UK airlines have industrial agreements that protect aircrew and now also many moving into FRMS much more as it was mandated with EASA (some do it well some are trying and some don't). But then you come up and look at those with sister airlines in Europe and the view from UK AOC is hold on these guys are paying scant attention to FRMS so why.....
Second para - is it merciless or perceived? Cough up some examples please
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 07:00
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This thread has gone significantly quiet, are there any updates, lessons learnt within the company, anybody been held accountable?
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 10:31
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Originally Posted by Club World
This thread has gone significantly quiet, are there any updates, lessons learnt within the company, anybody been held accountable?
Sorry to say, it would be incorrect to assume that this problem has or wil go away. No doubts that it will continue to be with us forever, whilst many may think this is a pessimistic view in truth it can never be eliminated. Fatigue is a fact of life, all we can do it to try and mitigate it. Yes safety is compromised to an extent but we do live in the real world. To all fellow responsible crew members please take whatever action one can manage to remove the element of fatigue from their time in the cockpit.
I for one do all in my power to ensure that safety is not compromised, but is it enough to put this on pilots individual responsibility, of course not. Management should be held accountable if a fatigue situation is created due to their actions.

Is this likely, not at the moment, just the way things are and will take major events for better recognition of fatigue of aircrew.
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 16:48
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Recently attended an annual recurrent safety course at my operator.

The training staff raised the subject of 'Commanders' Discretion, which makes a change.

Did any of the pilots think it was being abused within that operator?

Every single pilot had a story about being coerced into discretion by the crewing department ........

MO:-

1) Pilot contacts crewing with concern about FTL.

2) Crewing argue that limits will not be exceeded.

3) Flight departs, then pilots almost immediately receive an ACARS from crewing telling them they will be in discretion, and are they happy to continue (aircraft already in the air).

Been going on for years.

Only option is to get into conflict with the operator, as management ALWAYS take the side of the crewing officer, never the pilot.

Conflict = sanction / threats / loss of job.

CAA simply do not care, which is odd for a safety regulator.



P.S. Only solution is to remove discretion from the rules. While it is available TO CREWING, it will always be liable to this unsafe abuse.

P.P.S. Other solution would be for the crewing officer to be onboard the aircraft, after 13 hours duty. Would they behave in the same way if they had to be in the aircraft with the crew??

P.P.P.S. Contracted taxi drivers now HAVE to stop every two hours for a mandatory rest break with this operator. I assume this is on the grounds of safety. There is no discretion about this - they have to stop. Well overdue IMO.

Last edited by Fire and brimstone; 20th Dec 2017 at 09:58.
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Old 25th Mar 2018, 20:22
  #236 (permalink)  
 
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An item of SLF asks:

QF9 has been in the news lately. How many flight crew were involved?

Captain, FO, two 2nd Officers, I gather.

For 17 hours in the air.

Last edited by SStreeter; 25th Mar 2018 at 20:39.
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Old 25th Jun 2021, 10:21
  #237 (permalink)  
 
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I know this is an old thread, but the Captain who won his case has released a book about the case. It's called Pulling Wings from Butterflies. It reads like a Grisham novel and is a very entertaining read.
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Old 6th Oct 2021, 10:18
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Book 2 coming (after Police CID investigation)
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