The Air Line Pilots Association has created a commission to document incidents of fatigue reported by pilots; the commission will also report on fatigue-related concerns, an article in the January 15 edition of The Christian Science Monitor reports. Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will receive a report of the commission’s findings. The association’s goal is to get the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to change its parameters that outline if and when a pilot is in an acceptable condition to fly.
In a series of safety memos obtained by the Monitor, pilots listed many fatigue-related issues, including using the incorrect taxiways and flying at the wrong altitude.
The current regulations in place were established in the 1940s, before valid scientific studies documented the importance of healthy sleep patterns, or the potentially dangerous effects of fatigue.
Currently, the FAA forbids pilots from being at the controls of an airplane for more than 30 hours every seven days, 100 hours a month, and a total of 1,000 hours a year. A pilot must be able to “look back” every 24 hours and see at least eight consecutive hours when he or she was not in the cockpit, according to the Monitor. However, even the FAA admits that pilots may only get about four or five hours of sleep during that eight-hour period to get ready for a potential 16-hour day of flying.