Flight-time limitations that apply to airlines cannot be applied to business aviation, according to European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) president and chief executive Brian Humphries, who emphasized that the rules governing flight-crew duty times should accommodate “the nature and pattern of business aircraft operations.” The EASA participates in the flight-times limitation (FTL) working group and will join a new EASA FTL group to consider such operations as business aviation, air taxis and night-cargo (with resultant proposals slated for publication in late 2013).
To establish a position based on EASA’s draft NPA and industry best practice–something Humphries characterizes as a major achievement–the EBAA considered rules in six leading countries. “EASA wanted hard rules; operators wanted minimum hard regulation. All drafts were shared, with an EBAA [scientific study] supporting requests to deviate from new regulations” and it became “increasingly obvious” that EASA rules would not work for business aviation, particularly helicopters.
Summarizing EBAA’s position, Humphries emphasized that a split-duty system is the “absolute cornerstone” of business aviation, with pilots flying “out in the morning and back in the evening.” Seats or bunks for augmented crewmembers–“very important if operators are to achieve up to 18 hours ultra-long-range aircraft performance,”–can be in the passenger cabin. FTL should not “be driven by dogma”; pilot fatigue is a consideration for high-utilization operators such as low-cost carriers, but “tiredness is not the same as fatigue. If business aviation has to follow [airline crew-standby rules] it would not have a business; we need a different model,” said Humphries. –Ian Goold