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interrupting rest periods

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Well-known member
Jan 22, 2002
I am a part 121 pilot on reserve. The other day I finished a trip at 2300. I was scheduled to be on airport reserve from 0800 to 1530 the following day. No problem with that. At 0530 scheduling called me to inform me they had a trip for me starting at 0755. Does that interrupt my rest period?? (yeah I know i am a dumba$$ for answering the phone!) Could I have told them that because they called me they would have to give me another 8 hours of rest before I would be legal to do anything?
You don't get any help from the regs. FAR 121.471 is the closest thing you will get to help in your scenario and that's only because I assume you went into a reduced rest action.

As to the telephone call, the FAA thinks you are still resting (because you are home or at a hotel). Your contract may help you more. According to our contract, the schedulers can only attempt to contact you ONCE (one-time) during scheduled rest. However, scheduling is very good at their job and I have answered hotel phones thinking it was my wake up call (won't do that any more). When they call my cell, they block their caller ID. Those guys are a barrel of fun to deal with!

In your scenario, you started rest at 2300 (assuming this is an accurate and exact time). However, the call was for a 0755 report. This is 8 hours and 55 minutes of rest. If you were awake at 0530, you could have challenged the scheduler or waited till the end of the day to drop the hammer. If you were to fly less than 8 hours in the next flight day, you are required by 121.471 to get 9 hours of rest reducable to 8.

So you could have done one of three choices:

a.) Said nothing to the scheduler. At 2300 on the next day, you must begin 10 hours of mandatory rest to compensate for the reduced rest from the day before.

b.) Told the scheduler that you want your normal rest and won't be available till 0800. (Pain in the butt for 5 minutes)

c.) Told the scheduler that this would be reduced rest and let them decide what to do with you (i.e. report late or get compensatory rest at the end of the day.)

Fly safe -- only you are responsible for your rest and heaven knows that the company will work you like a dog if they can.
The regs state you cannot be ASSIGNED flight duty while on a required rest period so techincally the airline was in violation. If they had called to wish him happy birthday instead it would have been legal
According to our union, and I believe the FAA (no reference) you are on rest unless you are REQUIRED to do something. So, you were not required to answer the phone and therefore were "resting." You chose to answer the phone, but that's another story. Our contract is similar in that they can only attempt contact once, and I believe they are not allowed to block their caller ID for us, because they are required to identify themselves. I always let the voice mail get it, unless I want to talk to them. Then, if it suits me, I'll call them back. If I get a non-caller ID number, I don't answer it, just in case. (They used to try this.) Now, by our contract (and not the regs) once they contact you, you are then obligated to do as told, provided it's legal. Then you get into the other problems talked about by the other poster.

This is why our schedling must assign us a rest period each day of reserve during which they can only attempt contact once. If we are on a duty period, then we are required to answer the phone, or call them back within ten minutes. When I was on reserve, my phone was always broken during that time.
As a former crew scheduler, before the reserve rest rules went into effect, rest-time interruptions were a too-bad scenario.

Now, most contracts have free-from-phone provisions that limit or prohibit rest-time interruptions.

Assigned under flydog's posts doesnt mean the act of assigning an ID/pairing/sequence (or being notified of the assignment), but actually being on-duty (checked in) during the rest time. The act of assigning an ID/pairing/sequence can be done at any time during rest - subject to contractual contact prohibitions during a rest period. It's a poor word choice by the feds, but thats how they interpret it.

Keep in mind also is that all rest is prospective - i.e., you must be informed about it BEFORE your rest period is to start. The crew desk cant tell you that they have considered you on rest for a previous period of time, but that you werent told. (Some contracts do provide that when you come off of sicklist, the last 9 hours prior to your coming off was considered to be rest, and you're totally good to go when you call in coming off of sicklist.)

There is an interpretation somewhere that the FAA General Counsel wrote many years ago about rest interruptions and their legality. You might want to have your union legal department check - I'm sure they have a copy somewhere. I had a copy of it when I was a crew desk scheduler.
Phone call does not disturb rest

A phone call does not disturb your rest..........legally anyway. Call some of the crewschedulers a few times at home during their sleep and ask them if you are disturbing their rest. If they say NO then maybe you should call them on a regular basis.

The legal interpretation is from 1992, David Byrne (FAA). A phone call does NOT interrupt your rest.

I have copyied some info from the ALPA website www.alpa.org.

Note item # 3.

There is a lot more info on the ALPA site.

Good Luck,

Corp Pilot

(Updated 12-16-99)

These questions and answers are based upon the Federal Aviation Regulations. Collective Bargaining Agreements may be more restrictive than the Regulations.

1. Is a pilot who is assigned reserve status required to be given rest?

Yes. If a pilot on reserve status is to be given a flight assignment, he/she must be able to look back 24 hours at the completion of each segment of the flight assignment and have had, at a minimum, 9 hours of continuous rest in the 24-hour period. The rest period must be pre-assigned; it is not possible to retroactively designate a rest period. Alternatively, a carrier may keep a pilot on call for the entire 24-hour period providing that if the pilot is given a flight assignment, he must be given the required rest (9 hours reducible to 8 hours) prior to reporting for the assignment.

2. Can the 9 hours of required rest be reduced?

Yes. The 9 hours can be reduced to 8 hours providing a compensatory rest is given. The compensatory rest is 10 hours if the flight time is less than 8 hours; 11 hours if the flight time is less than 9 hours; and 12 hours if the flight time is more than 9 hours. The compensatory rest must begin no later than 24 hours from the beginning of the reduced rest.

3. How does the FAA define rest?

The FAA has consistently interpreted "rest" to mean a continuous period of time during which the flight crewmember is free from all restraint by a certificate holder. This includes freedom from work and freedom from responsibility for work should the occasion arise. Thus, a crewmember who was required to be near a phone, carry a beeper, or maintain contact by computer so that he would be available should the carrier need to notify him/her of a reassignment would not be on rest. However, there would be no rest violation where an air carrier does not impose any requirements on the crewmember during the rest period, and the crewmember just happens to answer the phone (or otherwise contact the employer) when the air carrier calls to notify him/her of a reassignment that will begin after the completion of his/her rest.

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