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Pilot fatigue...a victory, of sorts

Old 13th Dec 2016, 14:35
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Originally Posted by RAT 5
Let's get rid of the word Fatigue. It's too emotional, too scary
Not while the law says this:

Originally Posted by ANO 2016
176.—(1) A person must not act as a member of the crew of an aircraft to which this article
applies if they know or suspect that they are suffering from or, having regard to the circumstances
of the flight to be undertaken, are likely to suffer from, such fatigue as may endanger the safety of
the aircraft or of its occupants.
Shying away from the word fatigue is shying away from our individual obligations under UK law. There are 4 key words in there "suspect", "likely", "fatigue" and "may".

No officer, you may say I was speeding, but I would like to talk velocity.
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 16:14
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Flt Det: My comment about the duty was based on the rostering phase. It was rostered at 12.30, the max. No room for hiccups. On the day, actual conditions caused to go over. My comment is: common sense says that rostering should always include a 45-60min buffer, especially on a 3 sector trip, to allow for hiccups. It became illegal at the last minute.

100%: It may be, I do not know, that fatigue is used as it was advised by the medical people. Perhaps it has a technical definition that fits in with legalese. Tiredness, sleepiness, exhausted are subjective. The more knowledgeable will tell us.
I still have a layman's interpretation that fatigued involves an element of muscle weakness. After intense exercise your body is too fatigued to give any more. To rostering, how can you be fatigued when you've been sitting down all day? Hence my wonder at a technical definition.
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 16:37
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RAT 5 The only "actual conditions" on the day that could cause a flight plan to be over the maximum FDP before it started, would , I think we can agree, is very strong headwinds. I have it on very good authority that the plans on the day were for a round robin flight. Furthermore, again, on very good authority, the overall average wind component was a tailwind. The judgment makes it clear that the Captain asked, several times, if flying at maximum speed on a 767 could not get the duty within max FDP, what speeds were used at the planning/ roster stage. It is apparent, despite repeated requests his company never replied. I think we can all come to our own conclusions on why. Also in answer to the comments "what is fatigue", the ICAO definition is very clear

"Fatigue is defined as a physiological state of reduced mental or physical performance capability resulting from sleep loss or extended wakefulness, circadian phase, or workload (mental and/or physical activity) that can impair a crew member’s alertness and ability to safely operate an aircraft or perform safety-related duties."

Therefore it's immaterial if your "sleepy" or "feeling drained" or "knackered"...If you are so sleepy or drained or knackered that it impairs your alertness and ability ....AT ANY POINT IN A FLIGHT, to safely operate an aircraft that is "defined" as Fatigue. Cant really see where the confusion is to be honest.
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 16:43
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It wasn't just about the rostering, which was questionable at 12.30 .... look at this just up: https://www.balpa.org/Media-Centre/P...ory-on-fatigue
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 17:02
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Tiredness, sleepiness, exhausted are subjective.
Exactly the same problem applies to fatigue. That's why it's difficult to pin down and the reason that companies prefer to keep it that way.

Tricky stuff!
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 17:32
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Stan: I agree that companies prefer lots of grey areas; but, as it is written in law who was it who chose that word? I doubt it was the companies. Scary if it was: i.e. the airlines could write their own laws. We've suspected that FTL's had much backroom lobbying in dark corridors, but how far & deep could that tactic burrow?
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 18:31
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Being a sportsman and a pilot, and having experienced what I would term fatigue & tiredness/sleepiness, I offer the following difference. To me, when I was sleepy it was difficult to think & concentrate and make clear decisions. When I was fatigued the same was true, but I include muscle tiredness and lethargy of movement.
I sure as hell knew I was tired, many times, in the seat. Adrenalin rose on the approach and then dissipated in the car park.
Thanks for helping me out RAT 5 I know we've had our differences but I appreciate it.
I can only apologise for taking the subject slightly off piste..
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 18:43
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His roster of 3 earlies including an extended 3rd day followed by a transition to a late would suggest a fatiguing roster.
So the good news under EASA FTL the flight (with dubious schedule and block times) is no longer possible. And EASA allows crews to work more than 3 consecutive early duties so maybe there are some good points to it?? (no need to feed back!)
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 19:21
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My comment about the duty was based on the rostering phase. It was rostered at 12.30, the max. No room for hiccups. On the day, actual conditions caused to go over. My comment is: common sense says that rostering should always include a 45-60min buffer, especially on a 3 sector trip, to allow for hiccups. It became illegal at the last minute.
Spoken like a company man for the second time? Man up. The last sentece is just BS.

It was fradulently rostered with make believe times to add up towards 12:30 which was never achievable, on any given day. For sure it did not become illegal at the moment the skip added the minutes and said hey, these do not align.

The PIC eventually agreed to start based on a promise to get out of the situation. Later, when the chicken did not come in order, he got sweetalked into the last sector and then excercised discretion (which he complained so much against) thus saving company a tremendous headache and heap of money.

On the next day, perhaps with a "I told you so" tone, he called unfit but the Co. tried to shoot him off the emplyee list for that.

By today's standards, the duty should had never commenced and whether or not it was legal to do so on the given day ... ... ... the silence here is deafening. (half-size exclamation here)
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 19:45
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I've lost count of the number of times ops present an unrealistic schedule. They live in some form of utopia where everything runs on rails, reflecting on a wonderful example that was set some 7 years ago by Capt Bloggs who 'always got the job done'. Tell them it is unachievable and the initial response is "See what you can do", followed by silence and then, ultimately, "There are no options, if you choose to divert that's your decision but just let us know so we can try to arrange coaches/accom/refunds".

Ops are useful, most of the time. However, my experience is that when pushed they slope away from tricky decisions, the phones aren't answer and they start shuffling paper in order to look busy. IMHO that the captain concerned in this case was tired of being faced wth the same-old-same-old and decided to play by the rules but, rather perversely, by pre-warning them out of some remaining sense of loyalty he was Royally Rogered.

I can see exactly the predicament he was faced with.
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Old 13th Dec 2016, 23:07
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https://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetal...irline-pilots/

Interesting its getting coverage in Aus, not seen anything in UK...very odd.
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 00:08
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What a mess.

Reading the findings, it seems to me that Cpt Simkins probably won his case more because of TC's vindictive actions and useless arse covering amongst themselves rather than by reason of roster induced fatigue.

Which, I suppose, would say far, far more about TC than it does about current EASA regulations.

Have the CAA got themselves involved yet ? They should be crawling over TC if there's even the slightest suspicion that they were knowingly and regularly producing two crew PLOGs above 12.30 hours....Rarely smoke without fire.

And does anyone know if this poor guy is still flying ?

If not, then his compensation needs to be upwards of millions for having what appears to have been an umblemished career ruined by a bunch of chancers in TC Management.
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 06:09
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Echoed by a comment on Aussie blog "Crikey Plane Talking" - just Google.

"If it is true that Thos Cook’s own fatigue management software showed that the pilot would have been unfit to fly, then Thos Cook, by pursuing the case, went far beyond a mere mistake for which an apology and reinstatement would suffice.

Pusuit of punishment of the pilot in this case, when their own software told them it was wrong, is clearly an indicator of a culture that aggressively seeks to endanger its passengers. Regulators should suspend Cook’s operating licences pending an investigation. This is no different from the aggressive cowboy truckie management that pushes its drivers, and is often accompanied by similar disregard of essential maintenance."
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 11:57
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Spoken like a company man for the second time? Man up. The last sentece is just BS.

Absolutely not the case; very far from it. I accept my meaning did not come across correctly. I have operated for airlines where rosters were at max, but the Plogs were surprisingly I'm agreement. I have no knowledge of what the sector times were in the roster. Were they realistic or BS. Your comments are made with some inside knowledge, perhaps; mine are not. I am fully in support of this captain, and have done the same thing myself a few times; thankfully with no come-back. My strong comment is that even if the Plogs allow a duty to be completed just on the number it is daft to do so as there is squiggle room.
I once had a early morning 3 sector day that was rostered on the limit. We all thought, ugh, but from experience we expected to shave 10-15mins of the total. However, on checking in me found they had reduced the normal turn-round from 45mins to 30mins at both airfields. This started the blood to boil, but at that time of the morning the only guy on duty was the solo Ops guy. So we went into discretion and the CP got an ear full on return. The thing is he agreed at the BS. Trouble was it was an end of season 1 off trip, but we stamped on it so hard to would never happen again.
What happened to Capt. Simkins is an absolute disgrace. The internal workings of his company were also piss poor. The one common denominator I found in many airlines was the
lack of quality man management and the attitude that crews are ambassadors of the company and need treating with more respect & honesty, and given more support from on high. It was early in my career that I learnt the sad tale that The Chief Pilot is not Chief of the Pilots and someone who will fight your corner. More often they were Headmasters with a big stick. That's the problem; there is no-one to say to rostering; "they are my boys and you look after them. Use them but do not abuse them. If you do then I'll be down here with fire & brimstone."
I only had one CP like that and we all loved him, respected him and trusted him. As a result we did go the extra bit when he asked. Only one, in 35 years and 9 different outfits.

So guys, we are all on the same side.

On a lighter note I'm reminded of an old Chinese gem.

"dog runs in front of car gets tyred: dog runs behind car get exhausted: pilots works to EASA max gets fatigued."

Last edited by RAT 5; 14th Dec 2016 at 13:07.
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 13:07
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A succinct definition of fatigue is 'debilitating tiredness'.
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Old 15th Dec 2016, 10:02
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http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articl...yment-tribunal
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Old 15th Dec 2016, 10:51
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“We have robust processes to ensure all the legal limits on flying time are met and we’d like to be clear that at no point was Captain Simkins expected to fly while fatigued.

Thomas Cook’s own fatigue monitoring software showed that because of the run of duties he had done, if he had flown his rostered flight he would have landed at the end of his duty with a predicted performance loss that would have been similar to being four times over the legal alcohol limit for flying,

I find these 2 statements are contradictory. Note the use of 'legal limits'. It has been said by CAA's, but not enforced, that FTL limits are not expected to be used as the norm on a regular basis. Duh! Nieve.

In mitigation, would crewing put these rosters through the FRMS program on the relevant day, or do they rely that rostering has done that?
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Old 15th Dec 2016, 12:51
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I would like to voice my full unequivocal support for TCX in demanding honesty and integrity in its managers and staff.

Having read the reserved judgement and paraphrasing Mr Scadeng, this judgement must surely raise very serious concerns regarding honesty, integrity, and competence of TCX's Managers.

Apart from anything else they seemed so outraged that someone might be seeking to avoid one duty, and that was so totally unacceptable, that they suspended Captain Simkins from all duties for what appears to be a period of several (6?) months. No company can afford to employ managers who seek to waste valuable resources in this way:

With this in mind would the appropriate sanction be dismal (exceptionally reduced to a final written warning) for the following?:

Mr Lamb who took the view that the flight duty had been planned legally, although at the planning stage all the PLOG times i.e the flight PLANS, the PLANNED report time and the PLANNED turnaround times together exceeded the legal FDP. In short he planned a flight outside of the legal FDP. He needs to be educated in the meaning of the words, plan, planning, planned, actual and maximum.

Mr Thorington appears incapable of logical thought and appears to have a mindset that crews are trying to avoid work, not ensure the safety of themselves and the passengers, His actions in accusing Captain Simkins of lying started the process that brought Thomas Cook to court and exposed Thomas Cook as having acted illegally, compromised the safety of their passengers and
possibly acting vindictively to a loyal employee who acted himself within the law to ensure as far as possible the safety of the passengers and crew of Thomas Cook Airlines. By his actions ne has brought TCX into disrepute and no doubt cost the company a considerable sum of money. (Mr Thorington appears to have a lot of influence over the Flight Ops Management).

Jo Smith who accused of Captain Simkins of lying about being fatigued on 7 May even though there was absolutely no way she could have knowledge of his physiological or mental condition on the day. Was she employed as a mind reader, clairvoyant or a Flight Crew Manager?

Jo Burke who allegedly tried to mislead the tribunal by giving the impression that Mr Scadeng was interviewed, rather than responding by e-mail to emailed questions.

Helen or (Karen) Harrigan, HR Consultant who appears to be possibly less than competent in matters of HR,and appears to have tried to conceal Mr Scadeng's involvement in the investigation. If this is true the she would be guilty of dishonesty (or contempt of court?) would she not?

Mr Scadeng who seems a little confused at times e.g. "In relation to the use of discretion, Mr Scadeng clarified that was the claimant's decision, "the company can't force you but equally it's not solely your decision."There are legal reasons". What the heck....it's your decision but not solely your decision?? Then who's decision is it? ''Mr Scadeng wrote in his witness statement that "1extracted a concession from lan White during the disciplinary hearing that the planned duty was legal". We( the tribunal) do not consider that this accurately reflects what Mr White said. We also note the choice of words by Mr Scadeng, which we do not consider reflects the approach of an independent disciplinary officer, approaching the matter without preconceptions." There seems a serious lack of integrity here.

Mr Hutchings who is clearly not competent to perform his duty in hearing a final appeal as he spent a substantial part of the appeal hearing trying to explore relationship issues between the claimant and the others involved in the disciplinary process. Little time was spent on exploring the substance of the allegations themselves. The tribunal found that the appeal hearing could not properly be described as a rehearing. What is TCX paying him a considerable sum of money for if not to carry out his duties correctly.

It also seems to me that should you wish to decline a duty there should be a carefully worded statement along the lines of "I am making a protected disclosure as defined by section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1998 insofar as I have a reasonable belief that if I operate the duty I will be in breach of the Requirements of the Air Navigation Order and in doing so seek the protections of section 44 of the ERA 1996". Get the spotty youth in crewing to right it down and read it back to you.
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Old 16th Dec 2016, 00:16
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Having read the Judgement i'm a little confused (yes i know easily done)

EU Ops 2.2 states "An operator shall ensure that for all its flights:
Flights are planned to be completed within the allowable flight duty period taking into account the time necessary for pre-flight duties, the flight and turn-around times."


So if this indeed the case, the "roster" is not the legal document, any old tom dick or harry could make up any times they wanted, it would not be "illegal" as its only the roster i.e. it is not the "plan"
When issued with the "Flight Plan" it says "ATC Plan" so therefore that is, by definition "the plan".

Therefore if "the plan" issued to the crew could not be completed within the maximum FDP then TC could not, as is required by legalisation "ensure" at the planning stage it could be completed. Therefore, correct me if I am wrong (and I have been known to be from time to time), that makes it illegal.

So, what exactly is the TC's managers argument here?
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Old 16th Dec 2016, 09:08
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Onlythetruth there is no rational argument. The published schedule is a schedule for passengers and take no account of how the flight is to be crewed, the roster is a document that allocates duties and does not know anymore than is fed into it, the only real plan for a duty day is the report time plus the estimated (realistic) turnaround times plus the computed flight times. Unless these TCX managers are seriously short of brain cells they know/knew this but chose to use to ignore facts and use facetious arguments for punishing someone for not agreeing to their wishes.

As the tribunal said "The limits and flight time and not flying when fatigued are clearly matters related to safety which if breached are potentially harmful to the health and safety of crew". Unfortunately every airline I have worked for looks upon FTLs as an unnecessary inconvenience that is intended, in their minds, to give Airline Pilots an unnecessarily easy lifestyle at the expense of the airline.

Every airline will say 'Safety is our number priority" In my experience this is complete B.S. every airline I have ever come into contact with has staying in business as it number 1 priority. Hull losses are looked upon as a potential commercial disaster not a human tragedy.
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