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WSJ article on looming flight/duty time changes

BoilerUP

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125254175933897517.html

Representatives of the airline industry and pilots unions agreed to an overhaul of rules aimed at combating cockpit fatigue, according to people familiar with the situation, a move that could bring sweeping changes to the way airlines run their operations.

The group urged Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt on Wednesday to jettison decades-old regulations that set uniform limits on how many hours pilots can fly and replace them with more flexible rules based on scientific studies about what causes fatigue. The recommendations call for drafting rules that would limit each pilot's flight hours based on the time of day, the number of takeoffs, or segments, during a trip, and the internal body clocks of pilots.

The proposal envisions a sliding scale of between seven and 11 scheduled flight hours for pilots per day, compared with the current maximum of eight hours, these people said. Rules on total hours spent on duty, which aren't regulated as strictly as flight time, also would be adjusted.

If the FAA moves to implement such far-reaching changes -- which could come at the earliest by the end of next year -- it would substantially alter the workdays of many pilots. It would also likely increase personnel costs for many regional carriers, which fly shorter routes. Many commuter pilots -- who work grueling schedules that include multiple takeoffs and landings a day -- likely would have less time behind the controls than they do now.

But major carriers could save, for example, because they could schedule the same cockpit crew for a morning trip from the West Coast to the East Coast and then a return flight the same day, according to people familiar with the proposal. Rules now require a new crew on the second flight.

Mr. Babbitt has championed efforts for change in the wake of recent airliner incidents and accidents, including February's crash of a Colgan Air turboprop near Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people. That accident highlighted widespread fatigue faced by commuter crews stemming from reduced rest periods and workdays lasting up to 16 hours.

Although the U.K. and other countries pioneered scientifically based pilot scheduling years ago, the U.S. has largely stuck with a one-size-fits-all rule because regulators, airlines and pilots couldn't agree on changes. But in recent years, lawmakers, federal air-accident investigators and outside safety experts have intensified their calls for a sweeping rewrite of fatigue regulations.

In spite of broad agreement on much of the package, some portions remain controversial, and the FAA ultimately will have to sort out disagreements. Some of the thorniest disputes involve cargo airlines, which contend they would be economically devastated by portions of the proposal. Some charter carriers that routinely fly at odd hours complain they would also be handicapped. These groups are pushing for a separate set of rules, according to people familiar with the talks.

Spokeswomen for the FAA and the Air Line Pilots Association declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents mainline carriers. Without discussing specifics, Roger Cohen, head of the country's largest regional airline association, said his group has "total and complete commitment" to the process, and a number of regional airline chiefs participated actively in the deliberations.

Commuter pilots are bound to feel more tired than long-haul crews, according to Mr. Babbitt. "There's weight given to [the number of] takeoffs and landings," Mr. Babbitt said in an interview earlier this year, but scheduling issues "are so intertwined" that "we're obliged to address them all at once."

The same day, the FAA chief told a pilot safety conference in Washington that existing regulations "don't reflect the difference" between commuter and long-haul operations. "Not only does one size not fit all" carriers, he said, "it's absolutely unsafe to think that it can."

Even before discussion of revamped rules, large and smaller airlines stepped up efforts to develop their own fatigue-mitigation techniques and train pilots how to recognize the danger signs of sleeplessness.

Regional carriers have assumed a larger role in domestic aviation by offering their big-airline partners less costly flight crews and high productivity. New fatigue rules could erode some of those advantages because they would be required to use more pilots to cover the same flight hours. As it is, the major airlines, themselves financially strapped, are attempting to cut the rates they pay their regional partners and reduce the number of regional planes under their contracts. So tougher fatigue-mitigation regulations could end up hurting the bottom lines of regional carriers.

One highly-charged area the group of fatigue experts stayed away from involves personal commuting by airline pilots to get to work. FAA and pilot union officials have said individual aviators ought to be held accountable for reporting rested and in condition to start flying. The FAA-chartered group of experts didn't end up making any formal recommendations on this topic, according to people close to the discussions

As federal officials struggle to draft new scheduling principles -- a process a former FAA administrator once called "the third rail of aviation safety regulation" --- European regulators also are working on comprehensive revisions to fatigue-prevention measures. At the same time, international aviation safety groups are prodding other countries and carriers to update workday limits based on the latest scientific data.

Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com
 

Skippy

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as i posted in earlier types of threads-- decreased duty times, but increase flight times why to counter act the necessity for crews due to the duty time changes. quid pro quo--- something for something.

imagine doing 6 or 7 roundtrips per month seems as if your days off just doubled.

rules havent changed for 60 years, now all of a sudden they are tweaking rules that we didnt want tweaked to maintain company advantage--- unreal


SKIPPY
 

pilotyip

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What about the common unofficial practice of sleeping in the cockpit, this has been proven to be an effective way to counter short-term fatigue and is practiced by a number of foreign carriers.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Looks like Jet Blue will get their day turns to the west coast. Looks like all us are going to be doing that.
 

michael707767

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Looks like Jet Blue will get their day turns to the west coast. Looks like all us are going to be doing that.

I have no problem with that. I have always thought that fatigue is cumulative. I could easily power through an ATL-LAX round trip. I'll be very tired the next day, but I think overall I will be less tired two days later because I had another night in my own bed, got to be home to eat my normal food and have a chance for my normal workout.

I've always thought 30n7 is a good rule, but an 8 hour block day is subjective. A 9 hour block day doing a west coast round trip would be easy compared to a 7 hour block, 5 leg day in an MD-88.
 
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jtf

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The cruise snooze may work well on long flights, but I doubt it will have value to to the regionals until they have taken over all the narrow isle flying and have a lot of longer legs. I have flown with one guy who is the master of the flying power nap- 10 to 15 minutes on almost every leg once in cruise. Seemed to help him out.
 

ImbracableCrunk

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The cruise snooze may work well on long flights, but I doubt it will have value to to the regionals until they have taken over all the narrow isle flying and have a lot of longer legs. I have flown with one guy who is the master of the flying power nap- 10 to 15 minutes on almost every leg once in cruise. Seemed to help him out.

Very good point. When the only thing you hear is an occasional SEL-CALL chime, life is pretty slow. Slogging it out at 16,000' in a turboprop with 6+ legs is a whole nuther animal.
 

kf4amu

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Very good point. When the only thing you hear is an occasional SEL-CALL chime, life is pretty slow. Slogging it out at 16,000' in a turboprop with 6+ legs is a whole nuther animal.

I've been tired, but the cockpit environment is usually too uncomfortable, and the cruise portion is too short on a 6+leg day.
 

Paul R. Smith

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I dunno man.

Max 11 hours flight time....
Maybe double the needed reserves but cut the need for more than half of the lineholders. This could actually reduce staffing requirements. :eek: I hope they keep 30 in 7 as a limit. They will probably change that to 41 in 7.

Thoughts?
 
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Baze

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I agree. These new rules will benefit the ATA and screw pilots. There will be more furloughs. If not, you can bank on more stagnation, as airlines won't be hiring.

This looks like nothing more than window dressing by the FAA, while they help out the ATA. I wouldn't be surprised if they tweak the 30 in 7 rule like you mentioned.

If they are going to schedule me for 11 hours of flying, then they better give me a long layover at the hotel. Ten hours at the hotel won't cut it. Let's make it 14 hours at the hotel.

I dunno man.

Max 11 hours flight time....
Maybe double the needed reserves but cut the need for more than half of the lineholders. This could actually reduce staffing requirements. :eek: I hope they keep 30 in 7 as a limit. They will probably change that to 41 in 7.

Thoughts?
 

densoo

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If they are going to schedule me for 11 hours of flying, then they better give me a long layover at the hotel. Ten hours at the hotel won't cut it. Let's make it 14 hours at the hotel.
If they are patterning the new reg on the British reg CAP 371 (which it sounds more and more like they are), then min scheduled rest at all times is 12 hours, or length of previous duty day, whichever is greater. During the conduct of the pairing, this rest may be reduced, but never less than 10 hours behind the hotel door.
17.2 The minimum rest period which must be provided before undertaking a flying duty
period shall be:
a) at least as long as the preceding duty period, or
b) 12 hours
whichever is the greater.
17.2.1 When away from base, in the case when the rest period earned by a crew member is 12 hours, and suitable accommodation is provided by the operator, then that rest period may be reduced by one hour. In such circumstances, if the travelling time between the aerodrome and the accommodation is more than 30 minutes each way then the rest period must be increased by the amount the total time spent travelling exceeds one hour. The room allocated to the crew member must be available for occupation for a minimum of 10 hours. This sub-paragraph does not apply to rest periods that exceed 12 hours.

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP371.PDF
 

ACL65PILOT

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I have no problem with that. I have always thought that fatigue is cumulative. I could easily power through an ATL-LAX round trip. I'll be very tired the next day, but I think overall I will be less tired two days later because I had another night in my own bed, got to be home to eat my normal food and have a chance for my normal workout.

I've always thought 30n7 is a good rule, but an 8 hour block day is subjective. A 9 hour block day doing a west coast round trip would be easy compared to a 7 hour block, 5 leg day in an MD-88.


I agree with that. Here are a few things to ponder.

1) We have stricter limits in our PWA than what they are proposing except a few things like flight time. I am sure they will be coming to us for some relief. That is instant leverage for us. Keep that in mind. They will wants something from us.
2) This 11 hr cap a day could make a lot of those trips to Europe two man crews. I for one would fight a change to how we do it now.

We will see what the end result is, but it these turn out to be a half step, and are blanket rest rules for domestic and international long haul we may see some issues pop up!
 

ACL65PILOT

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I agree. These new rules will benefit the ATA and screw pilots. There will be more furloughs. If not, you can bank on more stagnation, as airlines won't be hiring.

This looks like nothing more than window dressing by the FAA, while they help out the ATA. I wouldn't be surprised if they tweak the 30 in 7 rule like you mentioned.

If they are going to schedule me for 11 hours of flying, then they better give me a long layover at the hotel. Ten hours at the hotel won't cut it. Let's make it 14 hours at the hotel.


They may change the 30-7 but what you need to look out for is 100-30 or 300 in 3 or the 1000 per year. Those caps will get them more than 30-7. If they change one of the bigger ones you may see a need for less pilots. What changing 30-7 along with this will allow more efficient use of time at work, and the ability to still have a home life.
 

densoo

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They may change the 30-7 but what you need to look out for is 100-30 or 300 in 3 or the 1000 per year. Those caps will get them more than 30-7. If they change one of the bigger ones you may see a need for less pilots. What changing 30-7 along with this will allow more efficient use of time at work, and the ability to still have a home life.
This, too, is likely to be based primarily on duty day rather than as it is now, primairly on block to block times.
22.1 The maximum duty hours [not flight hours] for flight crew, excepting helicopters, shall not exceed:
- 55 hours in any 7 consecutive days, but may be increased to 60 hours, when a rostered duty covering a series of duty periods, once commenced, is subject to unforeseen delays;
- 95 hours in any 14 consecutive days;
- and 190 hours in any 28 consecutive days.

23.4 Absolute Limits on Flying Hours
The maximum flying hours for flight crew will be 90 in any 28 consecutive days, and 800 in any period of 12 months.

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP371.PDF
Rounded, this is about
8 hours of duty (not flight time) per day in 7 days,
7 hours of duty per day in 14 days
7 hours of duty per day in 28 days.

This is what may drive greater numbers on the pilot rolls. Right now, you put a reserve out on the neverending gobstopper trip, you will likely run up against this stop, vice a 30 in 7 stop. Six days of flying, allowing for only 55 hours of duty time, gives you about 9 hours per day of duty. Add show times, sit times, on call times (which count in this reg as duty) and probably will hit 55 hours of duty before you hit 30 hours of flying. That reserve has to go home and rest. And this rest isn't 24 hours from from duty anywhere in the world, anywhere on your circadium clock. It is:
20.2 A single day off shall include 2 local nights, and shall be of at least 34 hours duration.
There may be some efficiencies gained by being able to fly 9 hours, but many of the other restrictions I think will more than offset this.

And the above is basically for daytime trips. Once you get into night stuff it gets even more restrictive.
 

Paul R. Smith

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This, too, is likely to be based primarily on duty day rather than as it is now, primairly on block to block times.Rounded, this is about
8 hours of duty (not flight time) per day in 7 days,
7 hours of duty per day in 14 days
7 hours of duty per day in 28 days.

This is what may drive greater numbers on the pilot rolls. Right now, you put a reserve out on the neverending gobstopper trip, you will likely run up against this stop, vice a 30 in 7 stop. Six days of flying, allowing for only 55 hours of duty time, gives you about 9 hours per day of duty. Add show times, sit times, on call times (which count in this reg as duty) and probably will hit 55 hours of duty before you hit 30 hours of flying. That reserve has to go home and rest. And this rest isn't 24 hours from from duty anywhere in the world, anywhere on your circadium clock. It is:There may be some efficiencies gained by being able to fly 9 hours, but many of the other restrictions I think will more than offset this.

And the above is basically for daytime trips. Once you get into night stuff it gets even more restrictive.

I dunno, I appreciate your logical and pragmatic assumptions but with airline stocks up today, I think the CEOs at the airlines are salivating about the future of pilot staffing as it is impacted by the FAA's NPRM.
They know something.
 

Empennage

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It's a good thing age 65 passed. Whew, that pilot shortage was right around the corner.
 

densoo

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I dunno, I appreciate your logical and pragmatic assumptions but with airline stocks up today, I think the CEOs at the airlines are salivating about the future of pilot staffing as it is impacted by the FAA's NPRM.
They know something.
Gotta agree on that. They're only happy if we're not.
 

igneousy2

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"The proposal envisions a sliding scale of between seven and 11 scheduled"

Why do we get 1 (8-7=1) hour and they get 3 (11-8=3)hours? When I flew inter-island in Hawaii we did 8-10 legs a day and STILL didn't get close to 7 hours. I think each landing you make should be counted as some amount of hours say 1.0 and then count the flight time and then let them go to 11.
 
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