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new crew rest rules

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Would you be so kind as to post the article as I don't have a subscription to WSJ



Reducing pilot fatigue is a top priority for U.S. airline regulators. But new rules are being delayed by disagreements within the Obama administration over whether the anticipated safety improvements would justify the cost to airlines.

When U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt last summer launched a drive to update decades-old rules covering how many hours a day U.S. airline pilots can fly or remain on duty, the agency hoped to release draft regulations by early 2010.

That date later slipped by several months, but Mr. Babbitt and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood continued to say that keeping sleepy pilots away from the controls was essential. With Congress also prodding the FAA to move quickly, they talked about expedited White House review of regulatory changes.

Now, according to industry and government officials, the proposed changes are snagged by a dispute between the FAA and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Budget officials have informally told the FAA that the proposal's projected cost to airlines wasn't justified by the anticipated safety benefits, according to people familiar with the details. As a result, there could be further delays in agreeing on a package.

The FAA's proposals could cost carriers billions of extra dollars through the next decade. But if the agency scales back the proposal to reduce likely costs, FAA and outside experts fear it would undercut basic safety goals. If that happens, some pilots' unions have threatened to oppose the entire package.

The tussle already has added to the friction between aviation regulators and officials at the budget office. Unless high-level administration officials break the logjam, people familiar with the details said, public release of the proposed rules could be delayed for months.

The FAA continues to push for speedy action. But according to the latest projected timetable released by the Department of Transportation, it could take until fall to issue a draft rule. Fielding public comments could take months longer.

An FAA spokeswoman said Wednesday that the proposed rules "are in administration coordination," but she declined to elaborate. "This is a complex issue and we want this done right," she said.

Department of Transportation officials also have declined to provide details about the timetable. A spokesman for the budget office said it hadn't yet received a formal request for review and "we don't have a specific time frame." The spokesman declined to comment on discussions that have taken place with regulators.

The FAA wants to jettison outdated rules that set uniform limits on pilot work schedules, replacing them with more flexible rules based on scientific studies about what causes fatigue.

Labor and management representatives agreed on the broad outlines of such an approach last September, giving the FAA more confidence that it could come up with a package that had a good chance of gaining final approval.

The proposals seek to limit flight hours and the length of duty days based on the time of day, internal body clocks of pilots and how many takeoffs and landings they are scheduled to perform in a 24-hour period.

Such changes, intended to bring U.S. requirements more in line with European cockpit-fatigue rules, would be particularly costly for commuter airlines. Those carriers fly shorter routes and tend to give pilots more grueling schedules, with multiple takeoffs and landings each day.

The dispute over cockpit-fatigue rules is part of a broader debate over how to measure prospective safety improvements when U.S. commercial aviation already is so safe that there aren't any fatal accidents in some years.

FAA regulators consider cockpit fatigue one of the most pressing safety hazards and point to a long list of harrowing incidents and accidents in which fatigue was a significant factor. In recent years, lawmakers, federal investigators and outside safety experts have intensified their calls for new fatigue regulations.
Just curious...what do you guys think would be a safe, fair duty day to come up with? I've been talking about this a lot recently with guys at work. I recently came over from 135 to 121 Supplemental and I was kind of shocked at some of the rules(or lack-there-of), especially in the International areas. There just seem to be too many gray areas.

They all have their good and bads but I think all commercial flying should follow 1 set of rules.

I know I might get some flak from some people and praise from others, but in my 10 years so far in the on-demand game, I still don't understand how being on-call 24/7 really gives you a definitive rest period.
I don't understand how 24 hr duty with 17 hrs of flying can be legal just because you fly international and carry a flight engineer (last 8 hrs are a "tail-end ferry").

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