T54A
Topic Author
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:47 am

Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:16 am

I was wondering how various operators manage long narrow body flights that sit on the limit of a two crew operation. There is obviously no bunk to carry a third pilot for in flight relief.

I’m think of something like a two sector over night flight, with each sector been around 3hr45min which would obviously be very fatiguing and close to the legal limit.

What measures can be put in place to manage the fatigue? Third pilot in a business seat perhaps?
T6, Allouette 3, Oryx, King Air, B1900, B727, B744, A319, A342/3/6 A332/3
 
Woodreau
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:47 am

There is no mitigation.
The scenario you propose is within limits and two pilots can fly two flights of 3:45 duration without exceeding limits. However the airline does risk the pilots timing out if there are delays, as pilots cannot take off if they are planned to exceed flight time or duty time limits. You cannot add a third pilot after the fact to extend flight and duty time limits.

However there can be “tricks” in order to get more flight and duty time...
For example a BWI-DEN-BWI flight. If you use an east coast crew to fly these flights their limits will be a flight time limit of 8 hours and a duty time limit of 10 or 11 hours. But if you use a west coast based crew, then the limits on these same flights will be 9 hours of flight and 12 hours of duty. It is because the limits are based on their domicile time not the local time.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
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RetiredNWA
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:04 pm

Let’s try to actually answer your question and expand your knowledge. The basics:

The absolute limit of an aircraft is, in short, the calculated endurance of the airplane. Weights, winds, weather, alternates, routing, sector length, etc are all factored during the planning stages. Trips are then created with the required crew complement of either two or three pilots.

At US operators, ALPA/APA (the pilot unions) collective bargaining agreements (contracts) require that the operator (airline) block (make unavailable in inventory and not available for sale or passenger use)a business class (or better) seat for pilot rest purposes. There is a jumpseat in the cockpit for the third pilot (called the “relief” or “IRO”) and that is occupied by said pilot and not available for any other usage.

These collective bargaining agreements are available for you to read. Try a google search the current Delta, United or American contract and find the section regarding “Hours of Service” or “Scheduling” or “Duty Periods” and you will find a plethora of information regarding the scenario you describe.

Interestingly, not all two-pilot aircraft have bunks; many 767’s do not have pilot rest bunks; no 757 has bunks (that I know of) and I am unfamiliar with Airbus narrowbodies. In the cabin, you can typically spot the crew rest seat in First/Biz because it is typically curtained-off and has audio jacks for a pilot headset and microphone.

The scenario you present seems to describe a “Red Eye Turn” which is typically prohibited by the contracts I have referenced. I have no knowledge of how operators outside of the “Big Three” in the USA schedule their pilots.

The reply above mine does not make much sense; disregard it.
Last edited by RetiredNWA on Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:36 am

surprisingly, we had flights that didn't require an RFO but they would put one on board to stage them to Europe. In reality the rest time for each guy was so short in really wasn't worth it.
 
T54A
Topic Author
Posts: 221
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:02 am

RetiredNWA wrote:
Let’s try to actually answer your question and expand your knowledge. The basics:

The absolute limit of an aircraft is, in short, the calculated endurance of the airplane. Weights, winds, weather, alternates, routing, sector length, etc are all factored during the planning stages. Trips are then created with the required crew complement of either two or three pilots.

At US operators, ALPA/APA (the pilot unions) collective bargaining agreements (contracts) require that the operator (airline) block (make unavailable in inventory and not available for sale or passenger use)a business class (or better) seat for pilot rest purposes. There is a jumpseat in the cockpit for the third pilot (called the “relief” or “IRO”) and that is occupied by said pilot and not available for any other usage.

These collective bargaining agreements are available for you to read. Try a google search the current Delta, United or American contract and find the section regarding “Hours of Service” or “Scheduling” or “Duty Periods” and you will find a plethora of information regarding the scenario you describe.

Interestingly, not all two-pilot aircraft have bunks; many 767’s do not have pilot rest bunks; no 757 has bunks (that I know of) and I am unfamiliar with Airbus narrowbodies. In the cabin, you can typically spot the crew rest seat in First/Biz because it is typically curtained-off and has audio jacks for a pilot headset and microphone.

The scenario you present seems to describe a “Red Eye Turn” which is typically prohibited by the contracts I have referenced. I have no knowledge of how operators outside of the “Big Three” in the USA schedule their pilots.

The reply above mine does not make much sense; disregard it.


Yip does make sense. Although this example applies to a non US carrier, similar principals apply except for labor agreements. Yes it’s a ‘Red Eye Turn’ signing on at roughly 20h00 and ending at about 04h00 local. Whilst it does fall within FDP rules, fatigue reports have led to a RFO. I was just wondering how else it was done in other parts of the world.
T6, Allouette 3, Oryx, King Air, B1900, B727, B744, A319, A342/3/6 A332/3
 
VSMUT
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:26 am

Image

Under EASA rules, depending on when you start you can go for between 11 and 13 hours for a 1 or 2 leg flight. That is flight duty, in practice actual flight time will be at least 45 minutes less to accomodate for pre-flight and post-flight duties.
So far, excluding business jets, no narrowbody can go that far.

If you are close due to unexpected delays, the FDP can be extended. The company can extend it by up to 1 hour, but no more than twice a week. The commander can extend it for another 2 hours on the agreement of the entire crew. Extensions come with severe rest time penalties, so they typically screw up the schedule the following day.


T54A wrote:
I’m think of something like a two sector over night flight, with each sector been around 3hr45min which would obviously be very fatiguing and close to the legal limit.


They would have 11 hours to play with. 2x 3:45 isn't even close to the limits.


T54A wrote:
What measures can be put in place to manage the fatigue? Third pilot in a business seat perhaps?


Controlled rest in the pilots seat, coffee, entertainment and getting up to stretch your legs. If you are lucky enough to spend a few hours at a hub somewhere, an hour or two sleeping in a reclining chair, or if it is a really nice company, a bed.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:11 pm

Flight time and duty time limits depend on the number of pilots not the kind of airplane (wide-body or narrow-body)

The point I was trying to make is that the flight time and duty time limit depends on the crew, not the actual flight.

Image

The example was a BWI-DEN-BWI sequence. a "two-sector overnight flight" as stated by the OP, starting at 22:00 - it can be a two pilot 777/787/747 or a two pilot 737/757/321
departing BWI at 22:45, arriving DEN at 00:45 - (4:00 block) and departing DEN at 01:30, arriving BWI at 07:05 (3:35 block) - the sequence is 7:35 block and 9:05 duty

Under FAR 117, a JFK based flight crew is limited to 8 hours of flight time and 11 hours of duty - there is only 25 minutes of slack in flight time and 1:55 minutes in duty time, any delay longer than 1:55 will cause this crew to time out in DEN.
However for a LAX based flight crew, the flight time and duty time limit for the same trip sequence is 9 hours of flight time and 12 hours of duty.

Of course, the airline may be more restrictive under the collective bargaining agreement with their pilots, and usually most airlines won't schedule right up to the FTDT limit and build in a buffer to account for delays, but some airlines don't.

So at my airline, east-coast overnight flights, like the BWI-DEN-BWI sequence example are usually crewed by west coast flight crews to gain the extra hour of flight and duty time.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
JPhoto
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:43 pm

Why is the max flight and duty time for west coast crew longer than east coast crew?
PDX-AMS
 
Woodreau
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:59 pm

It is due to the three hour difference between New York and Los Angeles.

22:00 in New York is 19:00 in Los Angeles.

The FTDT limits are based on the acclimatized times for the crews, which for US domestic crews is the time zone they start their whole trip sequence. The BWI-DEN example would be a day 2 or day 3 of a multi day sequence, with the crew starting in LAX.

So for west coast based crews you would enter the table at 19:00 (time in the west coast) for a 22:00 east coast duty time start.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
eagles94
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:42 pm

Primera operated 321s over the Atlantic with 2 crew, I’d imagine the flights from IAD back to STN were less than pleasant through the night.

Charter airlines in the U.K. operate several long night flights, for example TUI and Thomas Cook both operate flights to Greece and Turkey (4 hours each way) departing around 10pm and getting back 7/8am.

Likewise with Hurghada (5/6 hours each way) which isn’t as common but is operated through the night by airlines like TUI TCX or EZY on occasions.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Long Flight & Duty Narrow Body Flights

Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:47 pm

Jurisdictions differ. We can extend duty limits by operating 3 crew with rest in a fully reclining business class seat. However, the biz seat does not give as much "rest credit" as a bunk.

As Woodreau says the aircraft type is not relevant.
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