FAA Holds First Aviation Fatigue Symposium

 - June 19, 2008, 11:52 AM

The FAA today wrapped up its first symposium focused specifically on managing fatigue in aviation. The three-day conference, dubbed “Aviation Fatigue Management Symposium: Partnerships for Solutions,” held in Vienna, Va., was attended by about 300 participants from airlines; pilot, flight attendant and controller unions; aviation associations; aircraft manufacturers; expert scientists; government, including FAA, NTSB, NASA and Department of Defense; the Flight Safety Foundation; and other organizations. “Right now, the rules only address sleep opportunities. Even small restrictions on sleep can lead to a sleep debt that causes continuous degradation in performance,” FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell said during an opening speech on Tuesday. “As we move forward, we need to define what is an acceptable level of fatigue risk and what levels of fatigue must be minimized. We need to come to agreement on what studies or data would be needed to provide those definitions.” The symposium was intended to proactively address aviation fatigue management issues by providing information about fatigue physiology, management and mitigation alternatives, as well as discuss best practices.