FAA Issues New Pilot Fatigue Rules
Follow @smoughtsDecember 21, 2011, 5:46 pm ET
The rules include:
+ Limiting the maximum amount of time pilots can be on duty to between nine and 14 hours; previously the FAA allowed pilots to be on duty for up to 16 hours per day. The new rules also limit the pilots’ flight time to eight or nine hours.
+ Implementing a minimum of 10 hours of rest — up from a previous minimum of eight hours — before a duty day.
+ Requiring pilots to state their “fitness for duty” before each flight segment.
+ Requiring airlines to develop a pilot fatigue plan.
These rules have been delayed twice, in part due to lobbying from the cargo industry; as expected, the new rules will not include cargo carriers. According to the FAA’s press release about the new rules, covering cargo carriers:
“Today marks a very important day in pilot safety,” said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Buffalo and who has been pushing the FAA to implement the new rules. “Finally, guidance has been provided by the FAA that will help assure the American public that when they step into a plane, their pilot is well-rested. … While I’m pleased we have a final rule on pilot fatigue, we know from the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board, that it was not the only factor contributing to the tragic crash in Clarence two years ago. There must be more done to address pilot training, especially on techniques as basic as how to fly in ice when landing in Buffalo.”
For more of FRONTLINE’s reporting on the crash of Continental Flight 3407 — including the controversy over recently released emails suggesting executives at Colgan Air, which operated the flight, had concerns about the abilities of pilot Marvin Renslow — visit our website for Flying Cheap.
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