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Airline Pilots Limited To 8 Hours?  
User currently offlineHighflyer16 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 117 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1858 times:

I just read a news article from airliners.net news today about where an American Airlines Pilot filed a complaint with the FAA about having to fly a 767 for eight hours with no relief.

The article states that the plane requires two pilots to fly, they fly to Honolulu and then get a 26-hour layover while a rested crew flies back to Dallas.

The article goes on to say that some AA pilots are demanding a third pilot for "relief" on the basis of the fact that the flight sometimes takes more than eight hours.

I am not understanding the issue here. If a 767 requires two pilots and can actually be flown with only one in an emergency, why then would a "relief" pilot be needed? If they occasionally have to work more than eight hours in a day, that's pretty common in almost every profession, including mine.

Thanks for any light you all can shed on why this is an issue.


23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1813 times:

The FAA limits the amount of flight time that a pilot can fly daily in commercial operations. The standard limit is 8 hours, and this applies to everyone from flight instructors to 777 captains. However, due to the long lengths of many flights today, the FAA has made allowances for crews to work longer hours, but the crew must be augmented to do so. On flights of under 8 hours, a single crew of 2 is all that is required for a 2-pilot aircraft. If the flight time extends over 8 hours, however, the crew must be augmented with a relief pilot, for a total crew of three. While the relief pilot is not required to be a captain, at least one of the 2 first officers must be type-rated in the aircraft so that the flight has a pilot who is legal to act as pilot-in-command when the captain takes his breaks. On longer flights, stretching over 12 hours, the FAA requires a fully augmented crew of 4 pilots.

The issue with this particular AA flight is that, in order to get the westbound leg under 8 hours, American has begun to plan the flight at lower altitudes and higher airspeeds than normal. The planned conditions allow for flights of under 8 hours, and therefor legal for a 2-man crew. However, conditions along the route, especially turbulence, have often caused the flight to climb above the planned altitude for passenger comfort, making the flight go over the 8 hour limit. This is still legal because the flight was scheduled and planned to be under 8 hours, but the pilots are trying to get the FAA to require a 3rd pilot on the route anyway, due to the fact that the flight often takes longer than planned.


User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 2, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1800 times:

The pilots dream job:

5 hours flight time, during daylight hours only.
72 hours minimum "rest time" between flights.
maximum 4 days per 30 day month


$12,862,204 monthly salary.



User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1789 times:

Of course a pilot would love that, Matt - it would give us plenty of time to use our travel benefits... what's the fun of making good money if you don't have time to enjoy it?

I will say this, though - daytime only isn't all it's cracked up to be. As bland and barren as it looks in the daytime, Indiana is just as scenic as the rest of the country in the dark.


User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 4, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1786 times:

Well, as evidenced by Comairs pilots holding that airline hostage, they not are only dreaming about that job, they are actually trying to extort it from their employer.

Who's next?


User currently offlineSpitfire From France, joined Feb 2001, 801 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1780 times:

Yes Matt D,
So jump to the nearest pilot school and try to got your commercial pilot license ...  Wink/being sarcastic
regards



Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 6, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1773 times:

I would if I didn't have some ethics in me.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29805 posts, RR: 58
Reply 7, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1767 times:

I believe the 8 hour rule is a part 121 rule only.

Under part 135 a pilot can work up to a 14 hour duty day with a maximum of 10 hours of flying.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSpitfire From France, joined Feb 2001, 801 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1765 times:

Ok, God bless you Matt D...

Hey fellow pilots : we have no ethics...what do you think about that??????????



Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )
User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1760 times:

Looking at FAR 135.267, it would appear that the standard flight time limitations for Part 135 pilots is 8 hours if it is a single pilot operation, and 10 hours is it is a 2 pilot operation. Of course, there are exceptions allowed for extra flying beyond the scheduled time.

User currently offlineATA L1011 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1385 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1752 times:

When AA flew the DC-10 and even Dl when they operated the L1011 on that rte a few months ago they covered it in slightly less than 8 so no problem. The 767 flies slower so it takes slightly over 8 and could even take close to 9 with a strong head wind. Like the guys said it is a FAA rule about the 8 hours without relief.


Treat others as you expect to be treated!
User currently offlineMikeymike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 406 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1736 times:

A DC-10 already has a 3-man flight crew to begin with, so its not techinally augmented with a relief pilot.

User currently offlineCannedSpam From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1718 times:

I'd like to point out one correction. Purdue was slightly mistaken when he stated:

"The issue with this particular AA flight is that, in order to get the westbound leg under 8 hours, American has begun to plan the flight at lower altitudes and higher airspeeds than normal. The planned conditions allow for flights of under 8 hours, and therefore legal for a 2-man crew."

AA has not begun to schedule this flight any different than they had done so previously. The above statement indicates that AA has changed they way they schedule this flight in order to get by with only putting two men in the cockpit, but this is not true. The change in block time is due to a seasonal reduction that is quite normal this time of year. The winds don't blow as hard from the west, there is less resistance and therefore a shorter block time. Even though AA used a different aircraft last year, I feel comfortable in saying that if one looked at the change of block times between winter, spring and summer of last year, they would see a similar reduction of block when compared to this year's block times. In fact, I would go as far to say that if AA had operated the 767 last summer, one would see an increase in this summers block time versus last summers.

When AA creates their schedule, they do so several months in advance to the actual operating date. For example, AA is just now putting the finishing touches on the August 1 - September 4 date range. Because of this, the scheduled block times have to be created in advance to the scheduling process. As a result, the schedule is dictated by the block times that have been developed and not the other way around. In fact, AA's scheduling department (Capacity Planning) has nothing to do with the development of these block times and is just as bound to them as anyone else.

Operations Analysis is the department that creates and adjusts seasonal block times based on a multitude of variables such as a 90% / 90% winds. These block times are calculated using mathematical equations and then adjusted up or down based on historical data and actual performance numbers. These block times are based only on this and not on external factors such as wanting to keep a flight under 8 hours in order to save a man in the cockpit. Frankly, the scheduling department and Operations Analysis really doesn't have the time or the need to worry about petty things like that.

Therefore, it is incorrect to say that AA is planning their flights differently than normal. Instead, AA is planning the block times based on what is perceived as normal and nothing more. In fact, the scheduled block times often "fat" with extra "padding" based on an assumption of 90% strength winds occurring 90% of the time. That is why on a good operating day, flights arrive early more often then not.

I can guarantee that in the fall and winter months, the block times on this segment will once again climb above 8 hours and there will be no argument from the APA. I think that the argument here is AA's overall reduction from a three man cockpit DC-10 to a two man cockpit 767. IMHO, since the 767 does not fly as fast as the DC-10 and the block time is now close to 8 hrs (or over), the APA is now trying to get additional "job protection" when it is not needed.


User currently offlineBHopsde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1717 times:

I know very few nice pilots. Keyword is FEW!

User currently offlineAmbasaid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1713 times:

Easily solved, pay the 2 man crew $1000 each for flying into discretion!

User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1695 times:

Sorry, CannedSpam - I blindly went by what was stated in the APA press releases (or whoever actually put the releases out), which said that the flights were going lower and at a slightly higher mach (.02-.03 more or something) than they had been going. Admittedly, that information was undoubtly biased by those who put it out.

User currently offlineKUGN From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 615 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1686 times:

So how does this 8 hour limit work for flights from Midwest to Germany?

Lufthansa flight LH435 ORD-MUC on A340 is scheduled to last 8:45.

Do they have relief pilot on board? If not them, what about US airlines?


User currently offlineCannedSpam From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1676 times:

Here are the block times that I was able to dig up to illustrate my point above:

YEAR 2000 BLOCKS FOR FLIGHT #5

JAN 1 - JAN 30 DFW-HNL 8:41 DC-10
JAN31 - APR 1 DFW-HNL 8:27 DC-10
APR 2 - APR 30 DFW-HNL 8:09 DC-10
MAY 1 - JUN 14 DFW-HNL 8:10 DC-10
JUN 15 - SEP 5 DFW-HNL 7:43 DC-10
SEP 6 - OCT 31 DFW-HNL 7:53 DC-10
NOV 1 - DEC 14 DFW-HNL 8:22 763
DEC 15 - DEC31 DFW-HNL 8:37 763

YEAR 2001 BLOCKS FOR FLIGHT #5

JAN 1 - JAN 30 DFW-HNL 8:37 763
JAN 31 - MAR 31 DFW-HNL 8:36 763
APR 1 - JUNE 14 DFW-HNL 8:18 763
JUNE 15 - SEP 4 DFW-HNL 7:55 763
SEP 5 - OCT 31 DFW-HNL 8:01 763

From the numbers above, you can see that the block times reductions from spring to summer clearly follow the same pattern. Specifically, the block time drops from 8:10 to 7:43 (that’s 27 minutes shorter) in 2000 and it also drops from 8:18 to 7:55 (that’s 23 minutes) in 2001. To compare the two, you can see that the block time drop in 2001 is actually less than the block time drop in 2000. That means, irregardless of equipment changes, the block time in 2001 is actually “longer” than 2000.

This example should show that AA is not trying to shave off block time in order to save a cockpit crew member. The block reductions are absolutely normal and any suggestion to the contrary is ludicrous. In fact why hasn’t anyone mentioned anything about the block time increasing to 8:01 on September 5th? If AA actually had the intention of shaving block time to save crew members, they would have at least shaved a measly two minutes off to get below 8 hours…wouldn’t they?

This one should be added to the list of conspiracy theories…. Um, but does it go above Flight 800 and below the JFK assassination is the question in my book?


User currently offlineDE727UPS From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 814 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1669 times:

I don't think the point is whether the block times go up or down for different times of the year. It's more about how often do the actual schedules go over 8 hours when they were supposed to be under 8 hours. I don't know the answer to this....it would be an interesting statistic. Airline crew scheduling can become very creative in trying to maximize flight crew duty periods....that's a big part of what the Comair strike was about and now the pilots there have some protections in place.

Doing 8 hours, or more, in an aircraft cockpit, being responsible for many lives isn't easy....that's why the FAA has flight and duty time limits. Did you know that the duty time limits for truck drivers is lower than for pilots? Did you know pilots can be on duty for up to 16 hours?

Spitfire...don't worry about MattD....just say no to clicking on him...that's what I do......







User currently offlineSpitfire From France, joined Feb 2001, 801 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1657 times:

Hi DE727UPS,
Thanks for the trick.
Rgds



Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )
User currently offlineHmflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1644 times:

Bhopsde,

I am sure that the pilots you know just think you are the greatest person on earth!


User currently offlineBoeingfan4life From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1632 times:

i thought pilots flew a max of 15 hours?

User currently offlineBoeingfan4life From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1631 times:

thats per-day and in general, not just for the 767.

User currently offlineCannedSpam From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (13 years 3 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1619 times:

The illustration I made was to specifically point out that AA, contrary to Mr. Rubin's assertion, is not shaving block just to keep a 2 man operation. However, you do bring up a valid point.... Should an airline schedule their operation based on normal operations or based on off schedule days? If a flight has 65 operations during a specific operating period and has an operating performance of "A+5" (Arrival time plus 5 minute cushion) of 90% should the airline schedule their business based on the other 10% that arrive later due to a multitude of reasons? If you said yes, that is exactly what happens when the block times are created since they are based on historical performance.

So it seems to me that the point IS whether block times go up or down. Or, would you suggest that AA pay for a third crew member when it is not necessary by the rules set down by the FAA? That doesn't seem fiscally responsible does it?

Yes, 8 hours in a cockpit is a long time, however, I don't find it unreasonable, unbearable or unsafe. I can think of other professions that put in longer hours and for less pay that are every bit as responsible for peoples lives.


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