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Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:45 am

Courtesy: WFAA-TV

Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:45 am

If the general public knew how little sleep regional airline pilots get on a daily basis, they'd be horrified.
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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:53 am

That's scary and I think that's the reality of things. A lot of people don't realise how draining flying is. I'm working on my IFR now and after 1.5 hours of IFR sim time, I was twice as tired as I was after working a full shift at my office job.
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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:01 am

"Both the captain and I kind of nodded off all the way to cruise altitude, so we actually fell asleep until we got to the top of the climb..."

 wideeyed  That is amazing, I bet those two had marks in their pants.

Maybe they should make new squawk code for taking a nap, wake me up in 10. This way ATC won't disturb them on the climb.
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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:04 am

While this is alarming, I don't blame them. Ask any high school/college student (we're probably the closest to being as sleep deprived as pilots  Smile ) it is tough to stay awake. The killer is, the harder you try, the quicker you seem to nod off.
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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:09 am

People always hear the 30 hours max in a week and think that pilots have it easy. Thats 30 hours with the door closed actually flying. That doesn't count preflights, postflights, flight planning/preparation, layovers, times between flights, etc. 30 hours in a week can equate very easy to five 12-14 hour days.

People also always hear that we're required, and given, at least 8-9 hours of rest a night, also totally wrong. This is 8-9 hours from checkout to checkin. Checkout is 15 minutes after the flight ends, often we're still deplaning passengers and we're officially on our "rest period". Checkin is 30 minutes before the flight leaves, often we're already out at the airplane preflighting when our rest period ends. In the middle, these 8 hours, is getting the airplane all buttoned up, walking to the hotel van, waiting on it, riding to the hotel, checking in, getting to the room, getting settled, getting to bed, unwinding/falling asleep, waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast, riding the hotel van, going through security, walking to the gate, and getting on the plane. Its especially worse when its an international turn and theres going through customs on each end too. Quite a bit to do in 8 hours... usually it leads to as little as 4 hours of sleep.

I've had days recently where I checked in at 6am after 5 hours of sleep and proceeded to be on duty for 15 1/2 hours, 9 of that being flying time. Rest for a few hours, then get up and do it again.

I swear, if a reporter had to ride along on a 4 or 5 day trip with a regional airline pilot, their report would get turned into that week's "heres how you're all going to die" story on 20/20.
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RE: Exhausted Pilots Reveal Nodding Off

Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:11 am

From the TV story...

" When an aircraft's parking brake is set and the cabin door opened, a signal is transmitted to the control tower. Fifteen minutes later, the rest clock starts. The pilot must be back at the airport 45 minutes early to prepare for the next flight."

Wow! The ACARS messages with times go to the "control tower"... I wonder if dispatch and crew scheduling know that the FAA guys/gals in the tower are handling all the crew scheduling problems in addition to separating traffic?  Yeah sure
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