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readytotaxi
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Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:00 pm

After a flight from MCO to LGW we were diverted to MAN and sat on the tarmac for two hours due to bad weather.
The captain informed us that he could extend his duty time at his discretion, and a little later we returned to LGW.
Question, how are the guide lines drawn up for this? Is the extended time based on the original flight hours, is there "unseen pressure" on the captain to get the plane back to destination airport if at all possible, how does it work pls?
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
pilotboi
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:15 pm

Never heard of this before. Perhaps he meant that this scheduled time was shorter then his allowed duty time and that he had 'buffer' time that he could use up. Why he even told the cabin this - odd.
 
kstatepilot
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:28 pm

If it was weather related, they can fly over scheduled flight time, as long as they have a min. 8 hours rest in the previous 24 hours. This is called "beyond control of the certificate holder"
 
Bellerophon
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:38 pm

...The captain informed us that he could extend his duty time at his discretion...

That is, exactly, what a commander is entitled to do, under UK CAA/JAA rules.

Use his discretion to extend a flying duty period beyond that normally permitted by the regulations.

That decision is at his sole discretion, and before making any decision, he should take note of all the circumstances affecting his crew.

In general terms, an extension of 3 hours would be the maximum permitted, except in cases of emergency, and there is also a corresponding discretion to reduce a rest period, down to an absolute minimum of 10 hours at accomodation.

Such discretion is intended to be used sparingly and wisely, and any use is reportable to the CAA.

It is a very useful discretion, and I have done exactly what your Captain did, in fairly similar circumstances.

Whether any such power exists under FAA regulations, I have no idea.

Best regards

Bellerophon
 
AAR90
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:10 am

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 3):
Whether any such power exists under FAA regulations, I have no idea.

NO! And I don't want to find out how fast the FAA would take my license either. Common sense is not permitted to be applied on this side of the pond.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2419
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:03 am

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 4):
Common sense is not permitted to be applied on this side of the pond.

Would you like to elaborate on this statement or shall I pick it apart now. I have gone to the FAR 16 hr max after discussing it with the crew and I can't imagine a crew nor a co. that would want or let me go longer. Is that what you were referring to?
 
Bellerophon
Posts: 529
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:45 am

CosmicCruiser

Again, let me stress I'm not familiar with the FAA regulations in this area, but when you say:

...I have gone to the FAR 16 hr max after discussing it with the crew and I can't imagine a crew nor a co. that would want or let me go longer....

could I just ask, under the right circumstances, why not?

My last flight (single sector) had a scheduled duty day of 15h 25m, maximum duty 16h 00m. Had we ended up in MAN instead of LHR, I might well have used my discretion to extend the duty day, to allow a recovery into LHR. We had a double crew (4 pilots) and we had all had 5h+ bunk rest.

A previous single sector flight I did last month was a standard 2 pilot crew, overnight, USA-LHR, scheduled duty 9h 50m, maximum duty 10h 45m, with no in-flight rest. Under those circumstances, following an unforeseen diversion, I'm fairly sure that I would not have thought it appropriate to extend the maximum duty day.

Last year, at XXX in Africa, the airport refuellers walked out on a three day strike, just before we were due to be refuelled. There was just enough fuel remaining from the inbound flight to enable us to make a twenty minute hop to an adjacent country and refuel at YYY. For various reasons (!) this refuelling took around three hours longer than we had planned, and meant we couldn’t complete the return to LHR within our two crew, two sector, night, duty limit.

Without the ability legally to extend our duty limit, 400 people would have been night stopping in a country I had never been to before, where I don’t speak the language, and where we have no company staff. We had been on duty for only around five hours, were fully rested prior to the flight, and there were no further problems forecast for the leg into LHR, so I had little hesitation in making the decision to extend our duty day.

The point I'm trying to make is that having the discretion to make such a decision - and it is at the commander’s sole discretion - is a useful power. If on the day, you don't think it appropriate, then so be it, don’t do it, nobody can make you. I'm glad we have it, and, provided it's not abused, I believe we'll keep it.


Best Regards

Bellerophon

[Edited 2007-11-07 03:51:10]
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:11 pm

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 6):
could I just ask, under the right circumstances, why not?

Just off the top of my head this is why it's not a good idea.

The FAA has a rule that says a 16 hr. duty day is as long as the avg crew should be on duty and perform safely.
Having said that does that mean that there might be a situation that I feel I could continue if need be, sure.
However that opens up a big can of worms that you should want to avoid. Why? well again off the top of my head and having seen the airline, charter and corp world for the last 40 yrs I can certainly see situations where:
1. the co. "encourages" a crew to continue "Capt. Jones did it last week on this trip..."
2. a crew would have "get home or complete the mission-itis" that would have them flying fatigued but saying they're fine
3. a crewmember may not be a good judge of his actual physical condition or maybe a little macho and ALWAYS want to press on.

I don't think these are good prescedents that I want my co. and fellow crewmembers to be wrestling with .

I've done the 16 hr limit in the last couple of yrs. and it was a looong night and was an intl n. atlantic trip. These kind of days can wreak havoc with your rest and affect the rest of the trip for days after.
 
AAR90
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:30 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 5):
Would you like to elaborate on this statement or shall I pick it apart now. I have gone to the FAR 16 hr max after discussing it with the crew and I can't imagine a crew nor a co. that would want or let me go longer. Is that what you were referring to?

Nope. Just the arbitrary nature of FAA rules and enforcement action. Pilots are NOT permitted to think (per FARs).  Wink
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
CosmicCruiser
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:26 pm

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 8):
Pilots are NOT permitted to think (per FARs

That's just a little exaggerated don't you. There are a set of rules (thank goodness) that are rigid in areas and rather loose in others. Thank goodness my co. has more restrictive duty rules than the FARs or I would be hammered in more so on every flight. As far as being permitted to think I find most flights demand enough of my limited brain power as it is without having to adjust or manipulate the FARs..
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:23 pm

Thank you people for the "inside" information, I get the idea now, keep talking to each other please, very interesting.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
Bellerophon
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:02 pm

CosmicCruiser

Thanks for your reply, which did surprise me a little.

Perhaps there is a bit of a philosophical difference in the way we view aviation regulation?

You appear content that the FAA lays down a rule you must follow, whilst I am content that the CAA - whilst laying down broadly similar rules - allows me the discretion occasionally to extend the duty limit, in appropriate circumstances.

I stress the two words allows and me, No one else can do it, and no one can require me to do it.

Encouragement by my company doesn't come into it. I make (what I hope is) a rational decision, in accordance with the CAA rules and based on the circumstances pertaining on the day, and stand by it.

I am required to answer to the CAA when I make a decision to extend; I'm not required to answer to my company when I don't. The CAA vested the authority to extend a duty period in the Commander, not the Company. They expect Commanders to exercise that authority appropriately, and to stand up to any inappropriate company pressure!

If, as you suggest, it is thought that Captains would succumb to company pressures to make inappropriate decisions in this area, I would say the remedy lies in better Captains, not more regulations!

Likewise, whilst there is a slight risk that one doesn't recognise fatigue in oneself, nevertheless, I'm confident that I will make a better decision on the day, about my level of fatigue and therefore my fitness to operate, than any regulator or bureaucrat, sitting in an office years before, ever could!

I'm not suggesting that extending a flying duty limit is, or should be, a routine occurrence, but, on rare occasions, I have found the ability to do so invaluable.

So far, always with the subsequent approval of the CAA !


Best regards

Bellerophon
 
bond007
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:42 pm

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 11):
Encouragement by my company doesn't come into it.



Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 11):
I'm not required to answer to my company when I don't. The CAA vested the authority to extend a duty period in the Commander, not the Company. They expect Commanders to exercise that authority appropriately, and to stand up to any inappropriate company pressure!

It's very easy to write that sitting down at you computer, and perhaps that's true in your case. But unfortunately human nature has proven time and time again that people DO succumb to company pressures ... especially in the airline world. I'm afraid the reality isn't exactly how you behave, or think you'd behave.

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 11):
it is thought that Captains would succumb to company pressures to make inappropriate decisions in this area, I would say the remedy lies in better Captains, not more regulations!

Well, it's not reality. That argument can be used in place of ANY regulation. Unfortunately, it can be too late to fire your Captain and get a better one, after he decides to fall asleep on his last flight.

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 11):
Likewise, whilst there is a slight risk that one doesn't recognise fatigue in oneself, nevertheless, I'm confident that I will make a better decision on the day, about my level of fatigue and therefore my fitness to operate, than any regulator or bureaucrat, sitting in an office years before, ever could!

Actually you'll probably find numerous studies to the contrary. Thinking you are not fatigued, when you are, is an extremely common problem ... in fact, in some of the fatigue studies, I believe they liken it to feeling that "you're fine and not affected at all" after having a glass or two of wine.

Hey, I'm not necessarily against the CAA regulations as such. It may well work fine and be very safe. I just have some disagreements with the way you think humans make decisions.


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:57 pm

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 11):
whilst I am content that the CAA - whilst laying down broadly similar rules - allows me the discretion occasionally to extend the duty limit, in appropriate circumstances.

First let me say I appreciate your honest view and in a perfect world I agree. Unfortunately there's a saying here that a rule unenforced is merely a suggestion.
In my example of my last 16 hr duty day my f/o wanted to stay and the rfo wanted to go. This was the only and final leg so fatigue wasn't a factor but the reasons for going and staying were totally irrelevant from each crew. But to emphasize my position, the crewmember that wanted to go (besides me) had plans for the next day that he didn't want to miss! Get-home-itis.

If you are north of LHR by 50 mi I'll treat you to a pint...CC
 
Bellerophon
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RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:33 am

Jimbo


...It's very easy to write that sitting down at you computer, and perhaps that's true in your case....

I'm not sure I follow you?

...I'm not required to answer to my company (and) I don't...

Fact.

...The CAA vested the authority to extend a duty period in the Commander, not the Company...

Fact.

...They expect Commanders to exercise that authority appropriately...

Fact.

...and to stand up to any inappropriate company pressure!...

Fact.

...Actually you'll probably find numerous studies to the contrary...

I doubt it. Perhaps you misunderstood the point I was making?

My specific point was that a regulator, sitting in an office years earlier, will not, and can not, make a better decision about my level of fatigue than I can, on the day.

Which study can you cite that contradicts this specific point?

The UK CAA / European JAA certainly both accept that, it forms the basis of their reasoning for allowing me the discretion, within guidelines, to extend the duty limits, if I think it appropriate.

I’m also somewhat unclear about other points you make, which, if I understand them correctly, appear to argue against points I haven’t made.

I'm not saying that humans are perfect decision makers, just that experienced airline pilots are better decision makers, about their actual level of fatigue, on the day, than regulators in offices, years before.

I’m not saying that company pressures don't exist, just that good Captains learn to withstand them, in exactly the same way as good dispatchers and good ground engineers do. We are all expected to withstand company pressure, commercial pressure, passenger pressure and peer group pressure, and make appropriate decisions.

I’m not saying that some Captains don’t succumb to company pressure, but that the answer to this problem is better Captains, achieved through better training and selection, not more regulation.

What I am saying is that you can’t regulate your way out of poor decision making, and you can’t regulate against people being vulnerable to external pressure, but you can, to a very large extent, train your way out of those problems.

The CAA / JAA, under which I operate, allows me some latitude, to use my discretion to extend a flying duty, whilst expecting me to report my reasons for doing so, and to be able to justify every minute of it. I believe that is the correct approach, and I’m very comfortable with it.

If the FAA don’t allow such discretion, fine, I wouldn’t criticise them, although perhaps AAR90 wasn’t joking after all, but I do think the CAA / JAA approach is the better one.



CosmicCruiser

Sadly, nowhere near LHR at the moment, but thanks for the kind offer!

Have you got used to our quaint British habit of drinking warm beer yet!


Best regards to both

Bellerophon
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2419
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Captain Extending His Flying Time.

Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:17 am

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 14):
Have you got used to our quaint British habit of drinking warm beer yet!


Best regards to both

Bellerophon

I'm fond of an Old Speckled Hen or a Spirfire Ale.

send me an instant message. I'll be in the area a couple of times this month.

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