New Airline Pilot Rest Rules Could Migrate to Part 135

 - September 14, 2010, 12:02 PM

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that reflects the universal nature of pilot fatigue, the FAA on Friday announced a plan to fight crew fatigue at Part 121 carriers by setting new flight time, duty and rest requirements. The proposed rules would be the same for all types of Part 121 flights (passenger and cargo airlines): domestic, flag (international) or supplemental (unscheduled). There are currently different requirements for each of these categories of operation. And while the rule does not apply to Part 135 operators, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt explained that the Part 121 NPRM serves as notice to unscheduled charter operators that "this could well be coming to your neighborhood soon." In addition to covering all types of Part 121 flight, the NPRM also sets different requirements for pilots based on time of day and number of scheduled flight segments, as well as time zones, type of flight and likelihood that a pilot is able to sleep under different circumstances. Under the proposal, pilots can decline an assignment without penalty if they feel too fatigued to fly.