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bh4007
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BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:31 am

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6236810.stm

"Balpa chairman Mervyn Granshaw described fatigue is "the single biggest issue facing aviation"."

bh4007
 
ikramerica
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:39 am

Quoting Bh4007 (Thread starter):
"Balpa chairman Mervyn Granshaw described fatigue is "the single biggest issue facing aviation"."

Always believe what union leaders say. After all, while the answer to this "problem" is hiring more pilots, giving everyone shorter hours (but the same pay), this has no bearing on why union leaders ALWAYS say this about their workers, no matter what profession...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Ken777
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:12 am

I wouldn't be surprised if the continual changing of time zones has more of an impact on genuine fatigue than the actual hours flown.
 
flyorski
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:21 am

Actually I think that Jetblue did some pilot fatigue tests, they have not yet publicly released the findings, but I have heard that after a few more than the normal (eight hour) shift the pilots flew as if they where drunk (don't take this too seriously as it is just a rumor I heard-thought I would share it with you anyways). Anyways it caused some controversy.

Here is a link:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article...3E7z0O7juc_20061030.html?mod=blogs
"None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsly believe they are free" -Goethe
 
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SEPilot
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:36 am

I can't speak to flying, as I have not been a professional pilot, but I did work as a long haul truck driver recently. Fatigue used to be a severe problem among truckers, and the rules were not very well enforced. I cannot say for sure how well they are enforced now, but they have been tightened considerably in recent years, and the company I worked for played by the rules and did not encourage or tolerate cheating on them. I talked to the personnel director about this, and he told me that he had been hired specifically to bring the company into compliance, and when he started he observed that many drivers at the end of the week would appear to be exhausted. After implementing procedures to bring them into compliance with the rules he didn't see it any more. My own experience was that I followed the rules and did not find myself incapacitated in any way at the end of the week, and I drove pretty much as much as the rules allowed. Bottom line is they worked. Rules for pilots are somewhat different, as they have more non-flying duties to take into account, and they also cross many more time zones much more frequently, but I do believe that if the rules are studied based on real people's performance that they can come up with rules that will enable most pilots to perform without excessive fatigue and have the productivity that the airlines need. The important part is that if the rules are enforced then everyone is on the same playing field and safety should not be compromised.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
zvezda
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:39 am

The next big improvement in safety will come when robots learn to fly airliners better than humans can. They will not suffer fatigue, suicidal tendencies, or distraction. However, a robot that is programmed how to fly an airliner will not be able to deal with the unexpected. What is required is robots that learn how to fly the same way that humans learn. We're just now on the first generation of robots that learn how to walk. We'll have to get to robot taxi drivers first, then robot pilots for cargo flights. Of course, there will be a long transition period with one human pilot (in command) and one robot pilot (at the controls).
 
maddog888
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:40 am

Quoting Flyorski (Reply 3):
Actually I think that Jetblue did some pilot fatigue tests, they have not yet publicly released the findings, but I have heard that after a few more than the normal (eight hour) shift the pilots flew as if they where drunk (don't take this too seriously as it is just a rumor I heard-thought I would share it with you anyways). Anyways it caused some controversy.

I wouldn't hold my breath for the results. Over the years I have taken part in many tests & pilot (in it's non-aviation sense) schemes in the (non aviation related) company I work for and unless the results are what the company wants they very quickly and quietly get buried very very deep.

Maddog
 
AA717driver
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:38 pm

Fatigue mirrors alcohol intoxication. The JB experiments confirmed that although they weren't the first.

But, what are the odds... If running your crews ragged allows for a $10 savings on each ticket, the flying public will shout--WHOO HOO!!!  Yeah sure TC
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ikramerica
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:21 pm

But are crews being run ragged, or is the union boss just SAYING they are because it would mean more pilots hired and more revenue for the union.

Truck drivers were driving 36 hours straight. Pilots don't do that.

Any profession can be dangerous if you are too tired.

But they've also found that you have the intoxicated effect if you just wake up. It takes a couple hours to become fully aware. So I don't know what the answer is. 4 hour shifts where you must wake up 3 hours beforehand?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
goboeing
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:15 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
But are crews being run ragged, or is the union boss just SAYING they are because it would mean more pilots hired and more revenue for the union.

Pilots are being run ragged.



Not every day, not every trip, but it happens and it doesn't take more than one fatigued crew on one flight to crash a plane and kill people.

The lack of suitable rest rules have already caused accidents and the accidents will continue until something is done to reduce fatigue.

Can't the FAA just pretend a few more accidents have happened and change the rules right now?

That's why ALPA and other unions have to get involved. If they didn't, nothing would change because the government or airline management cannot be trusted to do the safest thing.
 
goboeing
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:19 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
Truck drivers were driving 36 hours straight. Pilots don't do that.

Pilots don't take pills to stay awake while on duty either.

I am not accusing truck drivers of doing so, but rather I wonder what truck drivers driving 36 hours straight has to do with a discussion about flight crew rest rules.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
Any profession can be dangerous if you are too tired.

Not in the way this profession can be. And for most jobs, not even close.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
But they've also found that you have the intoxicated effect if you just wake up. It takes a couple hours to become fully aware. So I don't know what the answer is. 4 hour shifts where you must wake up 3 hours beforehand?

If a properly rested human being still feels drunk an hour after they have woken up then they probably have some kind of health problem that a pilot would not be able to keep a first or second class medical with.

Does anyone on this board truly, honestly feel drunk an hour after they've woken up after a good night's sleep?
 
zvezda
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:04 pm

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 10):
Pilots don't take pills to stay awake while on duty either.

Pilots do drink coffee on duty and there is absolutely no difference between drinking coffee with caffeine and taking caffeine tablets except the taste and the need to urinate.
 
Ward86IND
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:23 pm

Are pilots allowed to take prescription pills for A.D.D.? I have ADD, and the pills sure help me stay awake...and I will be flying pretty soon.
Live your dream.
 
zvezda
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:51 pm

Quoting Ward86IND (Reply 12):
Are pilots allowed to take prescription pills for A.D.D.? I have ADD, and the pills sure help me stay awake...and I will be flying pretty soon.

The pills prescribed for A.D.D. are amphetamines, so it's not surprising that they would help you stay awake.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:19 pm

Just to clarify from my earlier post, the rules for truckers are now no more than 11 hours driving out of 24, and that requires 10 continuous hours off duty. I won't give the complete rules, as they are complicated, but they also limit you to 60 hours in a 7 day period or 70 hours in an 8 day period. Truckers are tested frequently for drugs, and any amphetamines are prohibited.

Quoting Ward86IND (Reply 12):
Are pilots allowed to take prescription pills for A.D.D.? I have ADD, and the pills sure help me stay awake...and I will be flying pretty soon.

If your medication has amphetamines, you cannot take it and hold any job that requires drug testing, unfortunately. Talk to your doctor about alternatives. As for private flying, the FAA is very strict about what you can and cannot take. Any prescription medication has to be cleared with an AME, and my understanding is that the majority of drugs are not approved. Blood pressure meds are OK, but few others are.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Mir
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:56 pm

Quoting AA717driver (Reply 7):
But, what are the odds... If running your crews ragged allows for a $10 savings on each ticket, the flying public will shout--WHOO HOO!!!

 checkmark  With fewer crews flying the same number of routes, or the same number of crews flying more routes, it's not surprising that there would be more fatigue. But it's all about the cheap fares, right?

Quoting Ward86IND (Reply 12):
Are pilots allowed to take prescription pills for A.D.D.? I have ADD, and the pills sure help me stay awake...and I will be flying pretty soon.

No. As far as I know, if you have to take medicine for a mental issue, you can't get a medical. Talk to an AME and see what you can work out.

-Mir
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longhauler
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:55 pm

Trying to keep emotion aside, just look at statistics.

Since the 1940's the ratio of mechanically caused crashes vice pilot error caused crashes has changed dramatically. With the ratio of pilot error crashes now higher, than earlier.

This is a function of many causes. Firstly aircraft are more reliable now than in earlier days, also with cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders, it is now shown without a doubt that a questionable crash of earlier days would now be shown as pilot error today.

Not to be an alarmist, as beyond a doubt, there are simply far fewer crashes per mile flown than earlier days.

However, realizing that pilot error crashes are now the greatest cause .... one has to go beyond that, and find out what causes pilot error. And yes, almost 80% of pilot error crashes can be attributed to fatigue.

It is not epidemic, not really all that pressing ... but, as things are trending that way, airline safety departments, and yes ... unions, are taking notice!
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:17 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 5):
The next big improvement in safety will come when robots learn to fly airliners better than humans can

Great, a whole airliner to act like my computer - "a critical error has occured and you need to shut down"

Is trucking self regulated in the US? Don't you have tacographs?
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:35 pm

Quoting BHXFAOTIPYYC (Reply 17):
Is trucking self regulated in the US? Don't you have tacographs?

It is by no means self regulated. The driver must maintain log sheets that account for all of his time, even when off duty, and keep track of every mile driven. Copies of these are sent to the authorities, and violations will be cited. They will even cite you for speeding if the miles driven exceed the speed limit for the time you list as driving. I have heard stories of drivers keeping double logs, but I don't see how you could get away with it for long, as the odometer reading of the truck is included. If the authorities suspect shenanigans it would be very easy to prove, unless you tamper with the odometer. Even then, a fuel or toll receipt (or a witness) from some place where you hadn't reported being would sink you.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
zvezda
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:14 pm

Quoting BHXFAOTIPYYC (Reply 17):
Great, a whole airliner to act like my computer - "a critical error has occured and you need to shut down"

Did you not read my post or did you not understand it?
 
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zeke
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:02 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 1):
Always believe what union leaders say. After all, while the answer to this "problem" is hiring more pilots, giving everyone shorter hours (but the same pay), this has no bearing on why union leaders ALWAYS say this about their workers, no matter what profession...

It is a real problem that has resulted in numerous real crashes, and serious critical errors.

It is not only a problem for pilots, we have seen incidents where ATC have similar issues and cause mid air incidents due to their fatigue, we also see ramp workers unknowingly damage aircraft due to fatigue and the aircraft getting airborne after said damage. The MK airlines 747 crash at Halifax is an example of pilot fatigue, the Comair incident an example of ATC fatigue, we also see errors like this with maintenance staff incorrectly fitting parts etc due to fatigue...it is a problem with any shift worker, the difference with pilots is that we cannot pull up on the side of the road and have a power nap during an instrument approach.

Can I ask why you think it is not an issue.....what job do you do...do you have fatigue at the workplace ?

Quoting Flyorski (Reply 3):
Actually I think that Jetblue did some pilot fatigue tests, they have not yet publicly released the findings, but I have heard that after a few more than the normal (eight hour) shift the pilots flew as if they where drunk (don't take this too seriously as it is just a rumor I heard-thought I would share it with you anyways). Anyways it caused some controversy.

Similar work was done several years ago by the University of South Australia, http://www.unisa.edu.au/sleep

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 4):
I can't speak to flying, as I have not been a professional pilot, but I did work as a long haul truck driver recently. Fatigue used to be a severe problem among truckers, and the rules were not very well enforced.

The Uni of SA work I just gave a link to studied all transport shift workers, including truck drivers, the problems faced both road, rail, and air transport people are similar.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 4):
Rules for pilots are somewhat different, as they have more non-flying duties to take into account, and they also cross many more time zones much more frequently, but I do believe that if the rules are studied based on real people's performance that they can come up with rules that will enable most pilots to perform without excessive fatigue and have the productivity that the airlines need. The important part is that if the rules are enforced then everyone is on the same playing field and safety should not be compromised.

Not unusual for me to fly 50-60 hours in a week, and to cross 32 times zones in the process.

I dont agree that safety is not compromised at the moment, and the very reason why the FAA for example has tried to bring in new rules since the report of a 1993 crash of a DC8 where the captain basically fell asleep on finals and crashed...but the airlines say that the new rules will cost the industry financially too much. Who said safety does not have a dollar factor....

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 5):
The next big improvement in safety will come when robots learn to fly airliners better than humans can.

Its called an autopilot.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
Truck drivers were driving 36 hours straight. Pilots don't do that.

You will need to go back and check your facts, some of the incidents in the past have had some very long duties, from memory the Halifax crew were on duty for a very very long time.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):
But they've also found that you have the intoxicated effect if you just wake up. It takes a couple hours to become fully aware. So I don't know what the answer is. 4 hour shifts where you must wake up 3 hours beforehand?

Its called sleep inertia, and its effects is directly related to which mode of sleep you wake up from, body sleep or brain sleep, they generally say waking from a sleep of more than 40 minutes will result in some sleep inertia.

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 10):
Does anyone on this board truly, honestly feel drunk an hour after they've woken up after a good night's sleep?

No, but sleep inertia is a real physiological issue.

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
With fewer crews flying the same number of routes, or the same number of crews flying more routes, it's not surprising that there would be more fatigue. But it's all about the cheap fares, right?

Also add in the tendency for longer routes crossing more time zone, and the trend in the industry to fly pilot to the legal maximum, and if that is not enough then get an exemption to fly even more.

An example would be say Ryanair where pilot will often do 3x3am starts in a row, followed by 3x late finishes each week, as the pilots are never asleep for the same time of day every day of the week the will accumulate fatigue, which as we have seen has resulted in a number of unstable approaches.

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 19):
Did you not read my post or did you not understand it?

What I dont understand is that you dont seem to work in a transport related industry, or do shift work, but feel free to chime in and try and tell us what we are feeling.......
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
zvezda
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:58 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 20):

Its called an autopilot.

No, I'm not talking about the autopilot systems. An autopilot could not have landed UA232. A humanoid robot that has learned (not been programmed to, but has learned in the same way that humans do) to fly an airliner and would sit in the right seat is quite different from what is called an autopilot.
 
Analog
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:27 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 8):

Any profession can be dangerous if you are too tired.

Except medicine. Doctors can operate after being awake and working for 24 hours.  crazy 

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 14):

If your medication has amphetamines, you cannot take it and hold any job that requires drug testing, unfortunately.

Not true. You may not be able to fly (no medical), but you're fine pretty much everywhere else. This is assuming that you can justify your positive test for amphetamines with a current prescription.
 
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zeke
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:33 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 21):
No, I'm not talking about the autopilot systems. An autopilot could not have landed UA232. A humanoid robot that has learned (not been programmed to, but has learned in the same way that humans do) to fly an airliner and would sit in the right seat is quite different from what is called an autopilot.

Of course an autopilot could have, all your advocating is one feedback response system over another, your robot is just another form of autopilot.

Your "learning" robot is exactly how autopilots are programmed theses days, using fuzzy logic and neural networks. FBW has automatic reconfiguration of the flight control systems to achieve the desired outcome which is a far cry from the single channel linear designs of 40-50 years ago.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
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SEPilot
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:51 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 20):
I dont agree that safety is not compromised at the moment, and the very reason why the FAA for example has tried to bring in new rules since the report of a 1993 crash of a DC8 where the captain basically fell asleep on finals and crashed...but the airlines say that the new rules will cost the industry financially too much. Who said safety does not have a dollar factor....

I did not mean to imply that present rules are adequate to provide safety; I was saying that I believe that they could be developed, and if enforced across the board would not lead to any competitive disadvantage since everyone would have to meet them. My analogy to the trucking industry is that I believe the situation today with the rules that have been in place since 2003 is much improved, and I believe the same can be done in the airline industry.

Quoting Analog (Reply 22):

Not true. You may not be able to fly (no medical), but you're fine pretty much everywhere else. This is assuming that you can justify your positive test for amphetamines with a current prescription.

I doubt this; I strongly suspect that if you show up with amphetamines in a drug test and you are a truck driver you will not be allowed to drive, prescription or no prescription. The danger is that you can take more than your prescription and it would be very difficult to tell the difference. After all, amphetamines is the drug most likely to be abused by truckers.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Analog
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:39 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 24):

I doubt this; I strongly suspect that if you show up with amphetamines in a drug test and you are a truck driver you will not be allowed to drive, prescription or no prescription. The danger is that you can take more than your prescription and it would be very difficult to tell the difference. After all, amphetamines is the drug most likely to be abused by truckers.

I don't know about truck drivers. I was thinking about most jobs; jobs like paper pushing (drone to executive), retail sales, etc. etc.

I would imagine that a sensitive drug test would be able to detect recent (a few days) amphetamine abuse of the "getting high" type, as the doses are much higher than those prescribed or those used to stay awake an extra day. Of course you could be able to detect the difference by looking at the face of the person in question.

In theory truck drivers who follow the rules about driving within the legal number of hours (which must be logged) won't need amphetamines to stay awake.
 
flyf15
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:56 am

It is not uncommon for me to do days of over 15 hours of duty and over 9 hours of flying time with 6+ legs... all after less than 5 hours of sleep (and thats crappy sleep in an unfamiliar hotel room). We constantly go back and forth between day schedules, night schedules, early wakes, late wakes, etc. At my airline, 78.9% of overnights next month are "reduced rest"... ie: they have been reduced, using special rules, to even lower than normal rest and are now the absolute minimum.

I agree that fatigue is one of the greatest issues in professional aviation... and it has nothing to do with the union's opinion. It is downright scary what is legal. The rules we have were constructed in the 1800s for railroads as bare minimum guidelines. Flying a jet is a little different. When they were applied to aviation it was when things were a lot different than now, decades and decades ago. Not only that, but they were introduced as minimum guidelines, not to be used as the "standard norm" that they're being used at today with airline's failing business models. We've made huge advances and knowledge in the safety of many other areas of aviation, why not with rest?

Some might say its all union talk, but its hard to just blame the "union" when you know that pilots at airlines across the country are living on caffeine, destroying their body/long term health, only able to act in a mere small percentage of their normal mental capability, and falling asleep at the controls every single day. Guaranteed its happened on a flight you've been on. Its a good thing there are two of us up there. Pilots are insane impaired due to fatigue and something needs to be done... write your congressman, I have.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:58 am

Quoting Analog (Reply 25):
In theory truck drivers who follow the rules about driving within the legal number of hours (which must be logged) won't need amphetamines to stay awake.

This is true; however there are always those that try and figure out how to get around the rules, and the drug tests are one of the means to make it harder to do so. Also, just because a trucker is off duty doesn't mean he is sleeping, and he still could be using amphetamines to try and make up for it.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Analog
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RE: BBC:Tired Pilots 'compromise Safety'

Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:51 am

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 26):

I agree that fatigue is one of the greatest issues in professional aviation... and it has nothing to do with the union's opinion. It is downright scary what is legal.

If you're scared of that, just wait until you get to an operating room. The person slicing you open may have been on awake and duty for 24 hours. That's totally legal, and the medical profession defends it, all while ignoring peer-reviewed articles showing that someone working for 24 hours is about as competent as someone who's legally drunk. Consider yourself lucky in comparison. At least there are rules for pilots.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 27):
Also, just because a trucker is off duty doesn't mean he is sleeping, and he still could be using amphetamines to try and make up for it.

Caffeine can also be used to make up for not getting enough sleep, but that's legal (even encouraged in some states).

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