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Topic: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Boeingflying31
Posted 2004-03-24 06:21:21 and read 6290 times.

Hey everyone...I know this is a weird topic but I was just thinking...what would happen if on a International flight(8 hours+) the co pilot falls asleep and the pilot sees that? What would the pilot do? Would he just wake him up and give him a warning or report it to the airline that he falls asleep on the job?
-BF31

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Sccutler
Posted 2004-03-24 06:30:26 and read 6251 times.

A quick jab would more than do the trick. It is not unheard-of for both pilots to snooze (by accident) - maybe inevitable that it has happened a time or two - but for no great length of time.

Have read of night check pilots setting autopilot, tuning the COM radio to the ATIS frequency for their destination, and kicking back for a quick nap. When they get close to the destination, the ATIS wakes 'em up. Have no idea if it is true or not (who'd claim it?!).

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Jhooper
Posted 2004-03-24 06:46:43 and read 6237 times.

I've heard of pilots taking turns at napping.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: DeltaGuy
Posted 2004-03-24 06:57:53 and read 6241 times.

Pilots do take turns napping sometimes....kind of like a long car ride really  Big grin I once saw a DL 76ER crew take like 5 of the nice big fluffy Business pillows up to the cockpit with them..noone's gonna know anyways!

Just as long as they BOTH don't sleep. Sccutler, I have heard the same thing...rather ingenious really lol. I have also heard of crews taping their Jepp en-route charts over the windows...they filter out pleanty of light, but aren't thick enough to make it dark in there  Smile

DeltaGuy

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Cancidas
Posted 2004-03-24 07:34:37 and read 6216 times.

we become good at the art of napping between radio communications. i did once on a long cross country which i flew with a freind. we took turns flying with the autopilot on. i found that every time instructions for us were given by ATC i would wake up to catch most of the trasnmission.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Scootertrash
Posted 2004-03-24 11:28:58 and read 6149 times.

I have never fallen asleep... Nope, not me! I have never fallen asleep about two in the afternoon, right after lunch, nice warm sunshine streaming through my window and just a little light bumpiness that is sorta like rocking in a cradle...

I have dozed off and I have seen lots of other pilots do the same. Many times the other guy will say something like "hey, I'm beat. I'm gonna check out for 10 minutes, you got the coms?" It is much better that happen at cruise on a nice day than during approach.

We aren't machines. Now if we could only convince management.

Scooter

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B747skipper
Posted 2004-03-24 12:48:05 and read 6121 times.

Taking a snooze is presently condoned by most aviation authorities.
Airline managements understand and have policies.
xxx
Crews of two (i.e. 737, A340, 747-400) are limited to 8 hours flying/12 hours duty time. If they operate longer flights or longer duty periods, a third flight crewmember is required. That would bring their limit to 12 hours flying/16 hours of duty time.
xxx
The policy for a crew of two as above, a "snooze" is NOT PERMITTED. However if a third crewmember is available, the pilot wishing to close his eyes for a while, must vacate his seat and be replaced by the third crewmember. The rule for us is: two flight crewmembers "awake" in the cockpit at all times.
xxx
Crews of three (i.e. 747-200) are limited to 12 hours flying/16 hours duty time.
If one crewmember wishes to "rest", as long as the two other crewmembers are awake, it is permissible. Again same rule: two flight crewmembers "awake" in the cockpit at all times.
xxx
I know very well that on some flights operated by 2 pilots only (i.e. 737), one of the pilots has sometimes to rest. That happens... but... - Last week, I went to Ushuaia as passenger, on the way back I sat on the jump seat, the captain asked me to keep the first officer awake, and he closed his eyes some 20 minutes. I plugged earphones, and I did radio communications to help.
xxx
Our company policy also - flight attendants are to check the cockpit every once in a while to see if "the idiots are awake"... We love "espresso" here in Argentina. Sales are pretty good, believe me. I go through 6 cups of that brew on my way from EZE to MAD...
xxx
Anecdote - Long time ago, a DC8-63, Flying Tigers, Westbound from JFK to LAX, the 3 crewmembers fell asleep. Kept on going at FL 350, overflew the LAX area, went over the ocean... they woke the crew with the SELCAL chime. Yes, there are horror stories.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: AirKas1
Posted 2004-03-24 12:51:31 and read 6111 times.

What is SELCAL chime??

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B747skipper
Posted 2004-03-24 13:08:39 and read 6101 times.

Dear AirKas1 -
xxx
Selcal is a means to "call an aircraft" - compare that to a "beeper" when somebody wants you to call them. It is done with aircraft, a ground radio station on HF (and also VHF in USA) can call an airplane, this triggers a flashing light on the Selcal panel, and an audio signal, like a chime or a bell.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Starlionblue
Posted 2004-03-24 13:50:28 and read 6073 times.

Anyone remember that documentary about the drinking BA pilots last year? Some nice snoozes there.

I am (as you know) not a pilot, and I do realize that the hours and time zone shifts are sometimes tiring, but I must agree with the Skipper. Sleeping on the job does not seem like a good idea. Come to think of it, I don't sleep on the job, even if I have not slept the night before. And I only fly a desk.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Flyingbronco05
Posted 2004-03-24 15:28:25 and read 6026 times.

You have to push something in the 747 and 777 cockpit every 20 mins (i think) or else the plane will sound an alarm.

At least is what I was told.

FB05

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: EconoBoy
Posted 2004-03-24 16:47:19 and read 5987 times.

Hey Starlionblue, do you mean documentary or horror story!? Not just snoozes, but hung-over, bleary eyed ones at that (like the Captain who slept for the entire return flight because he was too soused).

On with the thread: when, if at all, are flights 'double crewed'? I have seen some pics of the flight crew rest areas and wondered if the resting crew gets any worthwhile rest.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Startvalve
Posted 2004-03-24 16:56:00 and read 5978 times.

The railroads do something like that with locomotives Flyingbronco, it's called an alerter. They either have to make a control input or slap a button every minute or so or else an alarm goes off. No response to the alarm and the brakes apply.

I have no idea if the put something like that in an airliner.. but it is not all that bad of an idea... the main reason it was put in trains was to keep the crews from sleeping.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-25 03:54:15 and read 5778 times.

If the other pilot falls asleep I like to test the engine fire bell. It seems to wake a person up for quite a while.

I have never fallen asleep as part of a two-pilot crew. I almost did once. It was about 0100 and the temperature in the cockpit was just right and the ride was smooth and the sheepskin seat cover was so comfy . . . I just thought I'd roll the eyelids down for just a second, it would feel so good.

I jolted wide awake with the thought . . . I don't think Larry is awake over there! He was, but it occurred to me that the autopilot did not care. The airplane did not care. It would do whatever we'd last told it to do until the fuel ran out. What a rude awakening that would be.

So if I never sleep in a pilot seat, what does happen?

I get really groggy. I get dull. I realize from time to time that I'd had a loss of a second or two of time. Microsleeps I think they are called.

I hope the FAA is giving more study to this problem. A pilot can get quite fatigued and their performance can fall way off during a perfectly legal duty period with adequate rest before.




Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: FrequentFlyKid
Posted 2004-03-25 05:21:00 and read 5744 times.

This may just be me, but when I am not doing anything, regardless of how rested I am, I get tired. I have to imagine that during long flights the pilots get pretty damn bored up there. To me, that would be disaster, I would get so tired and inevitably fall asleep.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Starlionblue
Posted 2004-03-25 10:17:59 and read 5693 times.

So long as you don't drool on the instruments  Big grin

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Kellmark
Posted 2004-03-25 17:21:20 and read 5594 times.

As I recall, back in the seventies, there was a crew on a major airline flying a night 727QC cargo flight to LAX. All three of them fell asleep and the airplane went past the airport and some 200 miles over the Pacific before ATC was able to wake them up.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B747skipper
Posted 2004-03-25 17:56:13 and read 5582 times.

Pssssst... Kellmark...
xxx
The story is right, but it was a DC8-63F from FT... see reply 6 above  Big grin
xxx
Happy contrails (snorrrrrring) -
(s) Skipper

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Kellmark
Posted 2004-03-25 18:30:54 and read 5537 times.

Thanks Skipper. I must have been snoozing again myself.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: EconoBoy
Posted 2004-03-25 18:49:43 and read 5521 times.

I'd hate to see you pilots out of a job, but do you think the day would ever come when there are pilotless planes? I find driverless light trains unnerving as it is.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Starlionblue
Posted 2004-03-25 18:55:51 and read 5510 times.

Not a pilot, but I think yes. However we're not quite there yet. See you next century.

Notice how in military planes this keeps coming up, but they never quite manage to get the pilot off the plane. This doesn't mean they're not trying hard enough. Global Hawk is a step in that direction. However, "pilotless" planes still have a pilot or two on the ground, and they normally require just as much, if not more, flight/ground crew than a piloted aircraft.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Msllsmith
Posted 2004-03-25 19:19:14 and read 5499 times.

Hey,Boeingflying31,

I'm referring back to 'Skipper's first response........ (I'm trying to be taken seriously on this site, and try to only post responses = the same....)However,...

.... as far as my experience, though, it has always been co. policy for FAs to check the f/d every 20 to 30 mins. to see if the crew were 'incapacitated'.... ie) asleep. I've been out of the loop since just before 9/11, so haven't a clue about recent f/d entry procedures..... however, I think sometimes the folks in front needed the interference of the FA to break the tedium, particularly of long cross ocean flights. For those of you who are not crew, (and the rest of you who are, please bear with me), the difference between the front of the a/c and the back are quite marked.... in the back, even in the dark of night on a long flight, the cabincrew can walk around to stay awake, as the back is always in a state of somewhat controlled chaos ("How come you're out of Brand A [favorite soft drink]", or "What do you mean I slept through dinner and you're out of Chicken?", or "Is that the sun coming up or are we on fire?").... but in the front, its quiet....comfy.....dim light.......starry skies (or blue and relaxing and warm ...) perfect for a snooze. That old expression about aviation being hours of tedium interrupted only occasionally by moments of sheer terror, certainly applies here. Could they fall asleep? Sure. Do they?.... Pilots are a pretty responsible bunch. As illustrated by the above responses.... they certainly try not to fall asleep.... for a number of reasons....(It has been a topic of consideration for both the f/d and cabin crew by the FAA for a while).... one of them being they truly ARE the first ones at the scene of the crash.... not only do they have a desire to keep their pax alive, they are not immune to self preservation either.

I was once on a two (or four) week long pattern with a Cpt. who drank an enormous amount of coffee.... every 20 mins when I came into the f/d he would hold his right hand over his shoulder without even looking up to get his most recent cup of java, prepared just the way he liked it.... after several days of complying, I just put my hand in his, leaned over and whispered I thought he was drinking too much coffee.... he bought me breakfast the next morning in Paris. It was all very proper, because I was married and that's the definition of a "SlamClick" girl.

WBRs

LLSmith

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Jetguy
Posted 2004-03-25 19:36:59 and read 5489 times.

Sleeping on the "job" is an area that is receiving a lot of attention from agencies like the FAA and NASA. A few months ago, our company hired one of the world's foremost experts in the field of sleep study to come and speak to us. (We manage a couple of Global Expresses and when you're crossing multiple time zones per day crew rest becomes a BIG "issue".) This guy advises NASA on crew rest issues. It is an issue that operators are just now getting involved with as well.

Up until now, the "official" policy for most private and commercial operators was simple, either don't do it or two crewmembers must be awake at all times. It was pretty easy if you've got a 3-pilot crew or multiple pilots and a crew rest area. In the real world, the policy is more like "don't ask, don't tell."

I think that in the near future you will be seeing some changes in the official policies, there's a lot of research getting ready to come out. The bottom line is that scheduled crew naps can be very worthwhile and valuable from a pilot performance point of view. There are some very important caveats, the big one is that you don't want to allow yourself to slip into REM sleep. 15 to 20 minutes will get you about all of the benefit that you're going to get. With naps longer than say 30 to 45 minutes you run the risk of entering the REM stage of sleep. If you do that you need to allow the sleep "cycle" to run its course or you will have to deal with grogginess - not a good thing.

The have been some pretty well known incidents in the past where sleeping in the front office was involved in one form or another. Skipper mentioned one, the other that comes readily to mind was that 727 incident over Indiana a few years ago where they lost control of a 727 at altitude and by the time they recovered it the plane had evidently put on quite an aerobatic display. Although the crew did a fine job of CYA (That's our story and we're sticking with it..."), it was pretty well understood that there had been a major screwup involved. Basically, we'll never know what really happened, but it was pretty much assumed that 727 crew was using the unapproved technique of pulling the leading edge device CBs and extending the trailing edge flaps a few degrees to aid the high altitude performance of the 727. It was assumed that the FE pulled the breakers on instructions from the captain. After doing that, he hunkered down for the flight and took a "power nap". It was when he woke up, still somewhat groggy, that he looked up and saw the breakers and reset them - without thinking. Voila, you end up with an aerobatic 727. As far as what happened after that, it was simply a matter of CYA.

Jetguy

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-26 00:46:41 and read 5387 times.

Okay this one is strictly secondhand.

A flight attendant told me that the MD-80 crew she was working with was fairly new to longhaul. The "A" f/a informed her on boarding that she (A) was far too senior to actually work for a living and that "B" and "C" could handle it all by themselves.

Later in the flight "B" got sick. She tried to help but was really and truly ill. Finally she had to sit down. "C" tried to carry on, but that is a very long aisle on the MD-80 and even though it was a redeye, many people were not sleeping and wanted things.

Finally, "C" went forward to beg the senior to help her. Senior was sound asleep. In desperation she went on up to the flight deck to ask the captain to tell "A" to give a hand.

The captain was not only asleep but had a bright red blanket over his head. The first officer could only shrug. She got no help.

The captain went on to head the ALPA safety or professional standards committee at that airline.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: DeltaGuy
Posted 2004-03-26 07:36:02 and read 5292 times.

The captain went on to head the ALPA safety or professional standards committee at that airline.

Ahhh, justice is served eh? Thanks for the anicdote SlamClick!

DeltaGuy  Smile

Topic: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Bellerophon
Posted 2004-03-26 15:27:55 and read 5268 times.

Where, because of the length of the flight there are extra flight crew on board, the problem is relatively straightforward, and is handled in broadly the same way by most aviation authorities.

Two pilots must remain on duty, awake, and seated at the controls, apart from work related duties or toilet breaks. The remaining crew rest/sleep/read/eat until it is their turn to go on duty. In my airline, on ultra-long range flights, bunks are available for the flight crew, and on a SIN-LHR sector it would be normal for me and the F/O to get around 6 hours sleep, in bunks, in flight, whilst the relief crew fly the aircraft.

It is when only the minimum crew is on board that matters appear to be handled in different ways by different aviation authorities.

In the UK, after much research over the years, the CAA now take a very realistic approach to the problems associated with long range night flights, across multiple time zones, with only a minimum crew on board.

Controlled rest is approved by the CAA, subject to certain conditions, some of which I list below:

• In cruise
• One pilot at a time
• In their normal crew seat
• Maximum rest period of 45 minutes
• 15 minutes changeover between rest periods
• Other pilot fully briefed by Captain
• Any ATC clearance monitored by both pilots
• Repeated rest periods are allowed if required

There are other conditions, some of which ensure that the other pilot remains awake, which I won’t list due to security implications.

A typical UK based crew, having arrived in Chicago the day before, will depart ORD at 21:00 Central Time for LHR. Their body clocks tell them this is really 03:00 UK time, and they now face an 8 hour flight through the night. They may have been in SYD (+11 hrs) or SEA (-8hrs) within the previous few days, to add to the problem of their jet lag and fatigue.

By using controlled rest, the crew are slightly fresher and more alert for the approach and landing into LHR than they would otherwise have been, and we have reduced the chance of the real danger, which is both pilots falling asleep together.

If you think this doesn’t happen, I doubt there are many pilots out there, with more than 1,000 hours long-haul flying, who can put their hand on their heart and say they have never dozed-off for a few seconds over an ocean at night, and there will be few Captains with more than 10,000 hours long-haul flying who haven’t seen all the crew nearly asleep in flight.

As Jetguy has said, this topic is receiving a lot of attention and research now, and my guess is that more aviation authorities will move the same way as the CAA in the future, and approve controlled rest with minimum crews.

Regards

Bellerophon

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Starlionblue
Posted 2004-03-26 15:44:28 and read 5248 times.

Thanks for the info Bellerophon (cool nick by the way). And I guess if the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller you will be loudly woken by warning sirens anyway right?

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B747skipper
Posted 2004-03-26 16:20:16 and read 5257 times.

Hello Bellerophon -
xxx
I follow up much on the US/FAA - ALPA efforts and UK/CAA - BALPA in this matter.
You gentlemen are definitely a little ahead. Keep the good work.
Aerolineas is surprisingly outstanding in staying ahead in matters of flight safety.
We do not hesitate in plagiarism of the best in UK or USA concepts.
Our friends from France's DGAC and Germany's LBA make good efforts too.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Chdmcmanus
Posted 2004-03-26 17:05:54 and read 5222 times.

As a FE, I try to operate on the principal of "If its yellow, look it up, If it's red, wake me up"  Big grin , Just Kidding.

A few years back, a USAF heavy on a reach mission was flying one of the NAT tracks and the entire flight deck crew fell asleep. The Acft had a FSAS system (a predecessor of FMS) which only held about 45 waypoints. The normal procedure was to add upcoming points as the ones behind you fell off, but as un-luck would have it, the FD crew was asleep, missing the position reports and not adding the points. When FMS ran out of points it had one of two settings, A) return to start point, B) Orbit. As you can guess, it was set to return Via direct route to the first point, and the autopilot commanded a 5* turn to the new heading and began the new track. When the HF's finally woke up one of the crew, the Acft was heading across the tracks direct to point #1. The crew immediately descended out of the tracks, and contacted Oceanic, reporting their error. Now being out of the tracks and at a lower altitude, they did not have the fuel to make the intended destination, and diverted to another field. When they landed, the AF grounded the crew pending an investigation and re-check, and a ferry crew was dispatched for the acft! But for the grace of God they didn't go beak to beak with another Acft!

AF Airlift crews have a 16 hr FDP/ 18hr CDT (one deep in each position) and a 24 hr FDP / 26 CDT Augmented day (3 Pilots, 2 FE, 2LM/BO). We are allowed to use the sleep part of the go/no go pills while we are in crew rest, but absolutely not within 12 hrs of or during your FDP. I have not nor do I know anyone who has used them. We usually just rotate around the Flight Deck for naps, but the 3rd leg into a 16hr basic day gets pretty exhausting. The NASA studies that have been mentioned previously have been and are still being integrated to our rest requirements, but they can only help so much. When the NCA says fly, you fly, NASA study or not.

Hope it helps
ChD

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B741
Posted 2004-03-27 09:11:22 and read 5118 times.

This post sounds very similar to long haul truckers. Fall asleep once and you are in BIG trouble. Especially if your co-pilot is in the sleeperbunk.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Bruce
Posted 2004-03-27 09:57:06 and read 5110 times.

It is worse when driving. Fall asleep even a short time and you crash and die or worse. In a plane, the AP will keep you going till there is no more fuel....

Well, then if Pilots need to always remain alert, then i have to ask what do PIlots do on a long haul leg to stay awake? When you've got 2 people in a cockpit alone there is only so much you can talk about.....

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Dufo
Posted 2004-03-27 11:24:36 and read 5102 times.

Or perhaps the ground crew waking you up on the runway after a perfect autoland.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Spotterboy
Posted 2004-03-27 16:36:07 and read 5073 times.

SlamClick


Would you tell me which airline / aircraft you're flying for / on?

Thanks, Florian

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: L-188
Posted 2004-03-27 16:53:05 and read 5065 times.

Of course crews are falling asleep.

US passengers have seen what you sit on. Those big Faux sheepskin covered seats. Your own armrests and a actual padding.

If they made you sit on the ones we get back in Coach, this wouldn't be a problem.


 Laugh out loud




My appologies to Jay Leno, who I stole that line from.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Wing
Posted 2004-03-27 18:14:52 and read 5035 times.

Once I flew with a captain with a good sense of humour(a captain and good sense of humour not an easy match I tell you  Smile ) We had this new promoted CCA complaining about how we two are making her more tired than the rest 189 in the back with our endless coffee consumption.The captain asked her if she had ever been to Paris(our destination that day) before.She answered "yes".Captain said "then wake us up when we are there" She smiled.In the mid flight the ChiefCA came to check on us.As she knock the door we both pretend to sleep with pillows and blankets over us.As she came in captain looked her with "just woke up eyes" said "Ha ..ugh have arrived yet?"You should see the horrific look in her eyes.The rest of the flight and on the return leg she kept coming in every 5 minutes(maybe) with coffee in her hand and never complained about it again.

You just can not imagine how boring it becomes after a while sitting without talking but only staring at the instruments all night long if you can't add little fun to life.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B747skipper
Posted 2004-03-27 20:12:27 and read 5015 times.

Falling asleep. Once, the "guys" played a bad joke on me.
xxx
PanAm days, a 707-321B, we were TDY at Andersen AFB in Guam, flying from SE Asia, stop in Guam, change crew, airplane continued to Travis AFB near Sacramento, California. Our passengers were Vietnam "Boat People" refugees.
xxx
Flight was 11 to 12 hours long. We took off from Guam, going to Travis. Sunset was behind us, a long night flight mostly. I was tired, and still a very junior snot-nozed captain. Great crew. Great passengers.
xxx
Getting tired, I asked the first officer and the flight engineer, to let me snooze for 30 minutes. Seat in recline position, my baseball cap on my face...
xxx
Do not know how long I slept. When I wake up, somewhat groggy, the SELCAL chime is on, the warning light flashing. First officer is asleep, and as I turn towards the flight engineer, I see is face is on a pillow, on his desk...
xxx
Panic... I look at the compass, something like 180 heading, dead South, we should be something like 060 or 070. Then I look at the fuel gages, all are darn low. The clocks are showing much time elapsed since I fell asleep. These idiots fell asleep as well... For one minute, I visualise us ditching in the middle of the Pacific, out of fuel, with 180 passengers and 8 crewmembers... I silence the SELCAL chime again... and wake up the first officer...
xxx
They get up and start laughing and laughing...
xxx
What they had done, after 30 minutes in my snooze, they had advanced the clocks, put the compass in DG, turn the compass cards to 180, the flight engineer "tested" the fuel gages (they go down) then pulled the circuit breakers, freezing the gages on low fuel. Then they called SFO radio on HF to get a SELCAL check, to get me awake, while they pretended to be asleep.
xxx
These bastards... bastards... bastards...
Thinking about it today... was an incredible joke, a bad one, on me...
xxx
Happy contrails  Big grin
(s) Skipper

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: B741
Posted 2004-03-27 21:38:36 and read 4985 times.

What a cruel joke to play. If it was me, I would be mad and trying to hold back from an outburst. I remember driving a transport truck for 16 hrs.(okay I broke the rules)then went back to the bunker to sleep. I dreamed the truck was still moving and woke up petrified!

Happy trails to The Skip!

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Bruce
Posted 2004-03-28 05:25:07 and read 4928 times.

skipper, that was pretty darn funny!!

bruce

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-28 05:41:56 and read 4931 times.

Spotterboy
No. I must respectfully decline to identify my current or recent employers. I feel much more free to tell the truth here if I have a small bit of anonymity. My opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect my company's position. They don't speak for me either.

I am presently flying an Airbus product. Over my career I have flown other Airbus and more than one Boeing and more than one Douglas product, as well as a couple of other non-US designs.

Skipper
That was incredible. You have to appreciate an elaborate trick like that. But they owe you a beer for certain!

And finally, true confession time. I once awoke at the wheel of a gas truck, carrying 2400 gallons of 115/145 octane avgas. The lugnuts of the front wheels were carving splinters off a redwood guardrail on a two-lane mountain road in Idaho. Eternity awaited just a few inches farther to the right.

I have never since (more than thirty years) gotten the slightest bit sleepy in a car.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Mr.BA
Posted 2004-03-28 06:00:17 and read 4920 times.

I must admit that I am very suprised... I mean amazement took to me that your crew actually went to the extent to pulling the circuit breakers to keep that low fuel reading there!

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: BR715-A1-30
Posted 2004-03-28 06:24:47 and read 4913 times.

You have to push something in the 747 and 777 cockpit every 20 mins (i think) or else the plane will sound an alarm.

I believe that would be the IDENT button. It flashes on the Ground Display each time you press it to let them know you are still there, and alive. Pretty cool.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Goboeing
Posted 2004-03-28 06:29:32 and read 4908 times.

BR715-A1-30,
I believe he is talking about something inside the cockpit that will let the dispatch center know, not ATC. Like, if nothing is pressed in 30 minutes, the datalink will automatically tell dispatch that.

Nick

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-28 06:35:04 and read 4919 times.

There is NO button that we must keep pushing on airliners. You guys should be more careful who you listen to.

The IDENT on the transponder does make our symbol flash on the radar, but we only press that when asked to by a controller. I was just asked to IDENT the other day and got thinking about it - I don't think I'd pressed IDENT for maybe a year! Since we are squawking a specific discrete code and by the time we've flown a few miles from liftoff, we have a data block attached to us it is just not a common occurrence.

There is no button we have to push to show that we are alive.

The food keeps disappearing, the flight attendants know we are alive. That is enough.

There is no "deadman switch" that will shut the plane down if we let go.
If I don't call my wife for three or four days she will call the company and that will start the search.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Mr.BA
Posted 2004-03-28 14:01:39 and read 4863 times.

I have come across a book about the B747-400 saying that there is an 'alarm' that would sound every 15 minutes if there is nothing pressed or "touched" in the cockpit. It does not relate to the ground or ATC, just preventing the pilots from dreaming to destination in case they fell asleep.

Any pilots can verify this?

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-28 17:52:37 and read 4843 times.

Meaning no offense here but . . .

Mr.BA I will bet that the book in question was published in the UK. I have found that aviation books and magazines published there make such wildly inaccurate statements and display such sloppy research that I no longer buy them.

One exception, a recent issue of a British aviation magazine had an article about a flight operation of which I was one-half of the pilot population. I will buy that for the pictures of my old airplane. But they never interviewed me to get it straight and I've already been warned that a lot of it is wrong.

I've never heard of such a button. I've flown longhaul (nearly ten hours) in other types and I can tell you two thing for sure.

One: There is no such thing in some other popular trans-oceanic types.
Two: We often go fifteen minutes, occasionally thirty minutes without having to touch any control. All the way across the Atlantic one normally only touches the radios to transmit a position report. The rest of it was set up long before coasting out.




Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: ThirtyEcho
Posted 2004-03-29 00:47:56 and read 4770 times.

I once dated someone who's fantasy about cockpit crews was that they spent the whole flight in a state of panic, saying "Oh my God!" and "What was that?" all the time. Since the airplane was always on the verge of spinning out of control or going into a screaming dive into the ground, the pilots had to be constantly yanking this way and that on the yokes, flipping switches and narrowly averting death every second. We all know it isn't that way; in fact, long hours can be spent droning through the night with little or no activity required of the pilots. Why not schedule catnaps for the crew (one at a time)? I'd much rather have both pilots 100% rested for that ILS to minimums at the destination than have both red-eyed from staring into the black windscreen all night.

Back when DC-7Cs and Connies made their way across oceans at 250kts, it was a common practice for pilots to take naps. Is everybody so panic stricken from watching Robert Hager or "Scary Mary" Schiavo spooking the public on TV that they can't see the sense of this?

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Bellerophon
Posted 2004-03-29 00:57:40 and read 4770 times.

SlamClick

The book concerned is an American publication and called the Boeing B747-400 Technical Manual. Big grin

The system concerned is called the CREW ALERTNESS MONITOR.

The FMC continuously monitors switch action on the MCP, EFIS, EICAS, CDU, VHF/HF control panels, and measures the elapsed time since any switch action on any of these panels was detected.

When a pre-determined time has elapsed since the FMC last detected any switch action on any of these panels, then the FMC will generate:

An EICAS ADVISORY message "PILOT RESPONSE".

If there is still no switch action detected after a further brief time:

An EICAS CAUTION message "PILOT RESPONSE" will be displayed, this time accompanied by one cycle of the Master Caution Beeper.

If there is still no switch action detected in response to the caution message:

An EICAS WARNING message "PILOT RESPONSE" will be displayed, accompanied by the Master Warning Siren sounding continuously.

The system exists, is fitted to all the B747-400s of at least one major airline and I can confirm it works exactly as designed!

Regards

Bellerophon

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Downingbarry
Posted 2004-03-29 01:08:15 and read 4762 times.

I find the evidence confusing and conflicting when it comes to this 'magic button' that must be pressed every fifteen minutes of so.

Some of the pilots say it doesn't exist, yet when watching a document on Discovery last night regarding the development of the 747 one of the chief designers from Boeing said that on the 747 there WAS such a button, that required human input every 15 minutes (otherwise sounding an alarm). If the designers say it exists, I would guess it does exist.

Perhaps this is a new development, only on some 747s? This programme was filmed back in the early 1990s.

What surprised me was that not only do the pilots have a rest area, but the flight attendants do to - right up in the rear of the aircraft, in a small upstairs bunk-bed style room (right up in the tail).

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Jetguy
Posted 2004-03-29 02:03:42 and read 4754 times.

EICAS Pilot Response, Master cautions??? Why use up all that technology? I just ask ATC for periodic wakeup calls.  Innocent

Actually, when it comes to late night coast-to-coast flights at our normal (FL390+) crusing altitudes and direct routings, I worry more about ATC forgetting about us and allowing us to fly out of their airspace without the appropriate handoff. It actually happens all of the time.

Jetguy

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: DL_Mech
Posted 2004-03-29 05:02:46 and read 4707 times.

The system exists, is fitted to all the B747-400s of at least one major airline and I can confirm it works exactly as designed!

It is also installed on the 777,764 and some 763's.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-29 05:25:58 and read 4706 times.

Skipper? You out there? You know anything about this "pilot alerter" these guys are talking about?

I never flew the 747 but know a number of 74 pilots and not one of them has ever mentioned it. I will be the most surprised guy on this forum if this proves to be true.

It just does not sound to me like the kind of thing anyone would ever actually allow to be installed. How incredibly annoying! Airbus are bad enough with the 200-decibel flight attendant call but this - every fifteen minutes?

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Sccutler
Posted 2004-03-29 07:43:28 and read 4670 times.

Have heard the story (perhaps someone here can either confirm it, or debunk it as airborne legend) that night freight dogs and check haulers, flying single-pilot VFR, would on occasion set course, engage autopilot (coupled), tune in the ATIS frequncy for destination, and (whether intentionally or not) snooze.

Idea being, when they fly into range of the destination's ATIS and it broke squelch, they'd awaken.

True or not, nice trick... makes "see and be seen" a bit dicey, though, eh?

Topic: SlamClick
Username: Klaus
Posted 2004-03-29 07:51:44 and read 4667 times.

As far as I know, Bellerophon doesn´t just "happen" to have that TM lying around...  Wink/being sarcastic

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Philsquares
Posted 2004-03-29 18:15:59 and read 4571 times.

Just commenting on the Crew Alertness Monitor.

Quoting out of Warning Systems-System Descriptions Vol-2. "The FMC continuously monitors switch position on the MCP, EFIS control panel, EICAS control panel, CDUs and VHF/HF PTT switches. When a predefined time elapses after the last switch action was detected, the EICAS advisory message PILOT RESPONSE is displayed.

No response, elevated to EICAS caution message,
No response, elevated to EICAS warning message.

The message is inhibited below 20,000.

On the topic of falling asleep, my hat goes off to slamclick. I have over 6000 hours on two man aircraft. I have fallen asleep. However, it's been coordinated with the F/O. Our Co. policy is very progressive, very similar to what Bellerophon has described. It's not ideal, but atleast when you want two pilots awake, descent, approach and landing, there is a good chance they will be awake.

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Bellerophon
Posted 2004-03-29 18:26:07 and read 4564 times.

SlamClick

Modern glass cockpit Boeings, and ultra long haul flying, may not be areas you are particularly familiar with, but, just because you haven't heard about a particular system does not mean that it doesn't exist.

...There is NO button that we must keep pushing on airliners...

No dedicated button, any switch on EIFIS, EICAS, CDU, MCP or VHF/HF will do.

...There is no such thing in some other popular trans-oceanic types...

Just a few unpopular ones, like the B747-400, B777 and some B767s.

...It just does not sound to me like the kind of thing anyone would ever actually allow to be installed...

Boeing don't appear to agree.

These warnings rarely occur, however, during periods of low workload in cruise, a first stage, silent, ADVISORY message can sometimes appear. This is easily cancelled with a quick blip of the R/T switch.

If the message is not noticed and cancelled however, then something is amiss, and the system now proves its worth, by generating a single audible warning, and ultimately a continuous audible warning, to wake up any sleeping pilots.

I believe Boeing see it as a useful device against the problem of the crew falling asleep on ultra long haul flights, and, for what it's worth, I happen to agree with them, for reasons I've given earlier in this debate.

...I will be the most surprised guy on this forum if this proves to be true...

I hope the shock isn't too great, but, as a precaution, perhaps you should be sitting down when you ask your friends about the B747-400. Big grin Big grin

Best regards

Bellerophon

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2004-03-31 15:29:57 and read 4250 times.

Okay I am outside my area of expertise again - I may not actually be THE most surprised . . .

Regarding the pilot alerter.

It appears that I was wrong.

Just maybe there IS such a thing.

But then I'd never seen the "wings stay on - wings fall off" switch until Gary Larson showed it to me.

Guess I've been doing long-haul and redeyes the hard way.

Slam
blew it
Click

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Mandala499
Posted 2004-03-31 20:09:24 and read 4197 times.

Slamclick,
Well, some airlines have this policy. SQ has a 10 minute crew alertness monitor, MH has a 10 minute one too. I only know this for the 747 777, not sure if other types has this in built...

The one in MH, is 5-5-5. If nothing is pressed for the past 5minutes, an advisory alert will come on the EICAS. 5 minutes after the advisory, an EICAS caution. 5 minutes after that, it will be an EICAS warning with the Master Warning Siren.

BUT, this program is an option for the airline I THINK... so, it depends on which airline pilot your talking to...

One 777 jock I know keeps it to the second warning before responding to see if his F/O is awake... One thing he hates is taking a power nap... coz his F/O is probably too busy reading something that in 15 minutes the alarm will go on.

However, the "press it and the wing stays on" button is a fickle of the imagination of the uninformed, as we know. To be honest, I only know about the Crew Alertness Program when my 777 capt friend stayed in town for a few days at my house... otherwise, it would have been a secret for me too!

Jetguy, I think night shift ATC will need a "Controller Alertness Monitor" for those quiet periods in their shifts! hehehehe!

Mandala499

Topic: RE: Pilots Falling Asleep On The Job
Username: Wing
Posted 2004-04-01 00:46:28 and read 4147 times.

I just can't understand the usufulness of such a "crew alerting" system.Why is it only installed on 747,777 but not the other types.We fly more than 5 hour legs and return back very frequently with 737(most of them departs in the late afternoon and ends the next morning).I would find it very annoying if I was forced to press a button to silence an alarm.

By the way -although I personally find it very restless-to sleep during the flight but most captains allows to take short naps one at a time during the long all night flights.A 10 min sleep will help you stay awake for at least 2 hours with full capacity.


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