sudden
Posts: 3934
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 5:20 pm

"Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 21, 2002 11:19 pm

I read in the Swedish newspaper today, about a proposal to allow one of the pilots to take a nap during cruise (catnapping).

This have, so far, been banned among all Scandinavian airlines, but is allowed on many European airlines.

The proposal have raised protests at the Swedish flight safety committee.
They claim that both pilots must be awake and alert. Incase one of them makes a mistake, for ex, the other pilot must be ready to clear up the situation.
The C/A's must be informed, so they can check in now and then to see if the PIC is fine when it comes to his/her health, when the other pilot is taking a nap.

What is your own thoughts about this?
Maybe you work for an airline that already allows it?

I don't know what to think, to be honest.
Might be good for the pilots, but for me as a pax, I think I would feel better if both were awake.
If the PIC gets a stroke, and the other is sleeping, well.....!

Best regards.
Sudden
When in doubt, flat out!
 
saintsman
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 21, 2002 11:28 pm

You really need to worry when both are asleep!

Personally, I think these pilots are paid enough to stay awake during their flight.
 
Jeff G
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2002 9:56 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 12:15 am

It's a good idea. Flying schedules are built with little regard to physiological needs. They are sometimes such that your body is at a serious ebb during cruise (redeye flights, etc.). There's no harm in a coordinated 15 minute nap to take the edge off. There's usually nothing happening except frequency changes anyway. What would you rather have: a 15 minute nap during cruise or a pilot fighting to stay awake during the approach? I've done it both ways, and believe me, the nap is the lesser evil.

Saintsman, counting money doesn't help stay awake. Try it sometime.
 
sudden
Posts: 3934
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 5:20 pm

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 12:33 am

Hi Jeff G,

You have a good point there.
Why I wrote as I did was mostly cause it doesn't sound very reliable if one of the pilots are asleep, but, as you wrote, not much happens during cruise.
Just trying to bring out the safety aspects.

Have a good day.
Sudden  Smile
When in doubt, flat out!
 
saintsman
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 3:41 am

Jeff G,

"Saintsman, counting money doesn't help stay awake. Try it sometime."

Actually I know how hard it is to stay awake when your tired. I've done all sorts of different shifts in my time so I will concede slightly. I see no harm in occasionally catching up on your sleep, but making it 'legal' can make it a right and some people will expect to have a nap as part of their flight time.

By the way if a pilot does have 15 minutes, does he deduct it from his log book time?
 
Jeff G
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2002 9:56 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 3:59 am

I see no harm in occasionally catching up on your sleep, but making it 'legal' can make it a right and some people will expect to have a nap as part of their flight time.

I don't care if it's expected by the crew as long as the schedule doesn't depend on it. It's bad enough to assume that 8 hrs of "reduced rest" is adequate.

By the way if a pilot does have 15 minutes, does he deduct it from his log book time?

Of course not. On long haul flights, the captain and FO are relieved in turn to go back to sleep. They log all of that time (at least I'm sure the captain does), even while asleep, and are paid for it also. They are required crew members even when they aren't at the controls. Do you quit logging time if you go to the restroom? How about parked on a taxiway with the engines shut down?

Somehow I don't think that 15 minutes here or there would make any difference at all to affected pilots. Many don't even log time anymore. All that really matters at that point is how much is going to be paid, not logging multi time to the nearest tenth.
 
Guest

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 4:20 am

Various aviation authorities, including the FAA somehow "admit" catnapping for flight crews... I am fortunate to fly an aircraft requiring 3 flight crewmembers, and our rule is that only one of us can be "napping" at any given time, so we take turns during the quiet time of the oceanic crossing for closing our eyes, and we coordinate with the others informally...
xxx
Our flight attendants visit the flight deck very frequently in cruise, bring us coffee say 3 of 4 times per hour, often to puff a cigarette if they work in the no smoking areas, or the flight is no smoking... "What's up guys..." conversations help to keep us awake...
xxx
Oftentimes we have other pilots riding with us as passengers, as a courtesy, they visit us, and always offer to "sit and help" in cruise if we want to stretch our legs or nap for awhile... I like personally to walk once or twice to visit the cabin in cruise to stretch my legs, maybe have a chat with passengers or with the flight attendants working stations L-5 or R-5...
xxx
With a cockpit crew of 3, we are limited to 12 hours scheduled flights...
In practice however, I have had sometimes work days from wakeup, until I go back to bed of some 32 hours... Thank you Saintsman, I am with sufficient pay to stay awake... as much as you too, I assume will stay sometimes some 30 hours awake in your career because of your job...
(s) Skipper
 
calpilot
Posts: 881
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 1999 5:16 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 9:21 am

Saintsman,

Your pilot wakes up at 8am, goes on reserve call at 12pm, then gets called out for a 10pm flight from NYC to Rio, an 11 hour flight. That means he has been up for about 25 hours. But oh no, you say stay awake for the whole flight while on A/P over nothing but cruise flight. I hear you saying that you would rather have this person awake all night getting tired (which is a biological fact), and NOT be alert for approach and landing. When it is commonly know something on the order of a 20-30min power nap can help alertness.

This is the problem when people who have no knowledge of how long-haul flying operation work, make the rules. Just to satisfy the lay public.
 
Guest

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 10:13 am

Our operation encourages catnaps, but we limit them to 15 minutes maximum. Sleeps specialists will tell you that 15 to 20 minute naps are the most effective. The last thing you want to do is go into REM sleep.
 
saintsman
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 3:51 pm

Calpilot,

I did not say I would rather have a pilot NOT alert for the landing. However I will concede to the experts who would rather have a nap. In the example you give, surely being awake for 25 hours is not really in the interest of flight safety.

If catnapping helps avoid accidents then I can have no complaints.
 
sudden
Posts: 3934
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 5:20 pm

RE: "Catnapping", Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 22, 2002 7:30 pm

Skipper,

what if a off duty pilot "sits and help", and a situation would occur, and that pilot takes over the controls cause the situation, whatever it is, needs 2 pilots to work the A/C?
Is that pilot allowed to do this? I know he/you would not say no to his/her help, but is it "by the book".
Sioux City (UA DC-10) comes to mind, and Mr. Finch didn't get "hanged" for it.

Best regards.
Sudden  Smile
When in doubt, flat out!

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