FAA Addresses Pilot Fatigue

New rules aimed at preventing dangerous fatigue among pilots were announced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to an article published by the United Transportation Union (UTU), the new rules are in response to a 2009 Colgan Air crash that killed 50 people.The rules, which do not affect all-cargo aircraft pilots, include:

  • Flight duty times range from 9 to 14 hours and include deadheading (the time the pilot spends flying to the job).
  • Depending upon the start time of the pilot’s flight duty, flight time limits will be 8 or 9 hours.
  • Resting periods between shifts will be 10 hours; pilots must be able to obtain 8 hours of uninterrupted rest.
  • Under the new rules, pilots must have 30 consecutive hours of rest each week (a 25 percent increase).
  • Pilots that are flying at night, across multiple time zones, or on schedules with several landings and takeoffs will be given shorter shifts.

Pilots will now be required to sign paperwork before each flight, stating that they are rested. According to the article in the UTU, the new rules are scheduled to take effect in 2 years and will cost passenger airlines nearly $300 million over a 10 year period. Airlines are expected to save between $247 and $470 million in reduced accidents and decreased health-care expenses for pilots.Source: UTU – http://utu.org/2011/12/21/faa-announces-new-rules-aimed-at-cutting-pilot-fatigue/

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