Despite improved crew rest stations on airline and business aviation aircraft today, concerns about pilot fatigue will never disappear entirely. In association with NBAA, California-based fatigue specialists Alertness Solutions has developed for flight departments a downloadable guide called The Alert Crew. It outlines the top issues time-zone-jumping crewmembers should regularly consider to remain at peak performance.
The pocket-sized guide highlights sleep basics, the physiological effects of fatigue and some practical countermeasures to help deter some of the body’s defenses that conspire to deprive crews of a good night’s sleep. The book details the body’s circadian sleep regulation system and how shift work and jumping multiple time zones can easily produce a performance-robbing sleep deficit.
The Alert Crew offers crews an easy way to figure out how bad their sleep deficit will be depending upon the direction of flight and the length of the flight segments. Other important tips include fatigue coping strategies such as napping, the use of caffeine and the importance of activity breaks that demand pilots on the longest legs get out of their seats.