Sleeping in the cockpit?

Snow

'Not a new member'
I recently watched a segment on the long hours pilots are required to remain on duty and stories of pilots falling asleep at the controls, one of which led to a crash on final approach, the pilot had been on duty for 19 hours! They even mentioned how a American pilot when told the airline he couldn't fly because he was too tired, he was supended for 3 months and later signed an agreement basicly saying that if he did that again, no more job.

But aparently there's no FAA regulations limiting on duty time, do the unions or airlines have any policy on this?

And any of you out there who deal with long duty hours, how do you cope with it?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
We're limited to 12 hour duty day/10 hours duty day for any night flying. Waiverable, of course, by higher authority, but generally not done as it is a safety issue.

Then there's the issued amphetimine "go pills", but that's a whole 'nother subject entirely......

In the transport world, I believe they can have crewmembers in "crew rest", heck, the C-130 has 2 bunks on the back wall of the cockpit.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
For domestic operations there is now a hard duty limit of 14 hrs. Flag operations are not so restricted. Basically once you go on duty you can stay on until you are done with your shift.
 

CAVOK

New Member
There are crew duty limits. They can range anywhere from 12 to ? hours. When we are chartered by the DOD, all those limits go out the window. Just got back from a couple observation rides on our red eye flights between LAS and HNL, and the crews definitaly take their turns sleeping.
 

250blue

New Member
Are there no restrictions on flight time for the day? I believe monthly for the regionals is 120/month. And for flight instructing it is 8 hours in a 24 hour period. It seems odd there would not be a limit in passenger carrying operations, or is there for flight hours (but not duty time)?
 

little_cricket

Well-Known Member
There is a FAA 16 hour max duty day limit. This can not be exceeded, result of the American crash. There is also an 8 hour schedule flight time limit. But that is good to start, good to finish rule.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
16 hrs part 121

It had nothing to do with the American crash. This rule has been around forever. Our contract restricts more than a 14.5 hour day in the worst circumstances, however, the RLA act says "you fly now and grieve later" so, if one were to refuse a non-contractual but FAA legal trip, one could get fired.

Funny how the government mandates truck drivers to a higher rest requirement that pilots.....but it's true.

The unions have been putting pressure on the FAA and management for years for better rest rules. Unfortunately, the economic repercussions are high and safety always takes a back seat to economics.....
 

little_cricket

Well-Known Member
Re: 16 hrs part 121

True the rule was there prior, but it was bendable for unforecasted delays. Now it is supposed to be hard and fast rule. At my company, it requires flight crew consent to go beyond 14 hours.
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
Gentlemen
This is a subject that will be a part of your professioanal life so remember this ...

The real problem I see is pilots not presenting themselves fit for duty ... physically or mentally / emotionally. We all like to remember the limit of Duty times but we forget to be disciplined when it comes to how we are suppose to show up for work, rested and fit. If you work withing the guidlines of Rest and Work you should be fine.
A little pet peave of mine ...
 

seagull

Well-Known Member
C650

That might be fine to say in an ideal world, but it is not realistic. You can't force yourself to sleep. Fly across an ocean and depart 24 hours later, when do you sleep? When you first get in? In the middle? Are you supposed to be perfectly awake when you report for work at the same time you went to bed the day before? We try our best, but it sometimes just is not possible.

What about personal issues, if you have to deal with things at home before departure? Can you really just put all that out of your mind and sleep? I think not. We're human, not machines.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Personally, I carry a sleep deficit during a trip. Usually it depends on the weather, the work day, the length of the layover and nutrition.

Like if the average American sees a 9 hour layover in a city, they'd think it was sufficient for a good night's sleep.

Not necessarily so.

A 9 hour layover is realistically about 6 hours of sleep, if you're lucky. Now if you've got to add a meal in there, it could be even less. Then over a four day trip, the sleep deficit starts to add up fairly quickly.
 

chperplt

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
For domestic operations there is now a hard duty limit of 14 hrs

[/ QUOTE ]

This is incorrect information. Some union contracts have this restriction, but the FAA has no set duty day limit. What they do however, is have a max flight time between rest period restriction and a minimum look back rest restriction.

The end result is no more than 8 hours of scheduled flight time between rest periods as well as a minimum of 8 hours lookback rest at all times. This limits you to no more than 16 hours of duty, but there is no 16 hour max duty limit.

This is all for scheduled domestic carriers. The rules for supplemental carriers are different.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
C650

That might be fine to say in an ideal world, but it is not realistic. You can't force yourself to sleep. Fly across an ocean and depart 24 hours later, when do you sleep? When you first get in? In the middle? Are you supposed to be perfectly awake when you report for work at the same time you went to bed the day before? We try our best, but it sometimes just is not possible.

What about personal issues, if you have to deal with things at home before departure? Can you really just put all that out of your mind and sleep? I think not. We're human, not machines.

[/ QUOTE ]

Are sleep times allowed during flight when there is three crewmembers onboard, ie Pilot/Co/Engineer? Can one of three can sleep at a time on internationals? I know the AF heavies do it all the time.
 

little_cricket

Well-Known Member
Don't forget to mention not so comfortable bed, lumpy pillows, crazy heater or A/C that will cook you or freeze you in the middle of the night, the wake up call 2 hours early, next door neighbor "proving their love" (70 show), ice machine, elevator, parties, not so quiet guests in the hall (includeing the other crew at 0'dark thrity), and time zone changes. For me, it is hard to go sleep at 9 but I still try so I can get up at 4 usually end up with 5 or 6 hours of actual sleep. In addtion, as Doug said you have to fit food, shower, and van rides into those 9 hours rest days. It's not like vacation.

In addition while I agree, you should come to work well rested that is sometimes easier said than done. It takes me a day just to get back to a normal sleep pattern. Some guys have families with small kids that don't sleep and other try to actually do something on their 2 or 3 days off. Rest is a balancing act just like the rest of life, the key is to know when to throw in the towel and use that sacred sick time. You are paid more for your judgment than your piloting skill, this includes judging your rest needs and fitness to fly. This sounds kind of preachy and I don't mean to be, but it is hard to explain yourself on a keyboard.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
For domestic operations there is now a hard duty limit of 14 hrs

[/ QUOTE ]

This is incorrect information. Some union contracts have this restriction, but the FAA has no set duty day limit. What they do however, is have a max flight time between rest period restriction and a minimum look back rest restriction.

[/ QUOTE ]

I may be referring to non-scheduled ops. There is definitely a 14-hr hard limit on non-scheduled.
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
Seagull and Doug
I apologize, my rant was from a narrow point of view. You are both correct and if I flew your schedules I too would be in acute fatique. I was considering my level of flying when I've heard pilots complain about being tired yet they will stay up late at a bar with no complaining. I guess my real pet peave is when pilots use crew rest to serve thier own agendas.
I'm not hypocrytical I too have been tired in the cockpit and believe if its coordinated with the other pilot a 5-10 min. power nap can make a significant impact ( for the better ) on alertness during the decsent and appraoch phases. As another poster said its all about balance.
 

seagull

Well-Known Member
Under FAA rules, 2 pilots and an engineer are all stuck awake in the cockpit. Now, on two pilot aircraft we add one additional crewmember for lfights over 8 hours and 2 additional crewmembers if over 12. At FedEx, over 12 is an additional Capt and F/O, over 8 it is usually a F/O (all are type rated) or can be a Capt. In any event, with the third pilot, it allows the others to get out of the seat and do what htey want, includng sleep. Over 12 a crew rest area is required, under 12 there is no regulatory requirement to have a crew rest area (which is how UPS gets away with having the crew "rest" in the cockpit jumpseats). We have seats in the back that recline.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
It's not "legal" to take naps while in the seat as a required crewmember on a three man crew. However, two man crew aircraft that have an IRO or relief pilot, can allow one pilot to be resting while the other two sit up front.

I was just thinking this morning how silly the rest rules are. Time in transit to the hotel counts as "rest". I've been getting up at 4am for two days in a row and today at 5am. I wish I could have gone to sleep at 9pm every night before but it just didn't happen. We are supposed to be like machines and be able to just turn ourselves off while not on duty. Gawd, I wish I could do that but I can't. I'd like to see management come out and fly some of these computer enhanced lines and feel good about driving the jet the next night. I can't complain because I'm a senior guy and have it easy but some of our guys are getting their butts whipped every night. I was lucky that it was just one short leg this morning but to think that I was FAA legal to go until 930pm is crazy.

Seagull. Our MD11's have bunks. Our 747's have either bunks or first class seats in the back. The 767, probably what you are refering to, has one seat for the IRO that reclines pretty good and does all other kinds of neat stuff. It's no bunk but reclines as much as a first class seat. It's certainly not out of the flight deck as it's right behind the F/O seat. Personally, I think we all should have bunks for crew rest on anything over 8 hours. I was on KLM the other day and wondered about how they did it. Their relief guy could sit in business class but I don't know if they block a seat for him or if he'd be in coach if business is full.

What really pisses us off is UPS positions crewmembers on standard jumpseats across the pond rather than buying us commercial tickets like FEDEX does....hope we can get that in our next contract.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Please state the reg that says all cockpit crewmembers must be awake 100% of the time.

All I can find is "in critical phases of flight."
 

Mahesh

New Member
I have a question which is sort of related. I think after 9/11, if a pilot wants to leave the cockpit to use the restroom, an FA has to be in the cockpit so as to not have the other polot alone. Is this true?

If so, what about cargo flights with 2 person crews. No one cal get up to use the restroom?


Mahesh
 
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