As Congress considers a bill that would extend new Part 121 pilot rest rules to air cargo operations, the FAA has asked a federal court to put a pilot-union lawsuit on hold so the agency can re-examine its position. When the FAA issued the new regulations in December, it covered only passenger-carrying flights. But a bill introduced by Reps. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) would broaden the fatigue regulations to include cargo pilots. The FAA initially suggested that cargo operators could voluntarily adopt the new flight, duty and rest regulations.
The FAA has asked a federal court to delay a lawsuit by a pilot union so the agency can take another look at whether cargo pilots should be covered by new Part 121 flight, duty and rest regulations. When the FAA issued a final rule last year, it excluded cargo operations.
Both of the FAA signature initiatives that arose out of the crash of a regional turboprop in Buffalo, N.Y., more than three years ago are still receiving some pushback from various quarters. On the subject of fatigue, almost everyone favors more rest for flight crews, and who can argue
RAA vice president Scott Foose knows the “granularities” of the various issues with which the association grapples every day as well as anyone in the industry. A 9,100-hour, ATP-rated pilot and a former senior manager in Allegheny Airlines’ flight operations and safety department, the RAA veteran also brings as balanced a perspective as one could find on the merits and shortcomings of some of the rulemaking stemming from H.R. 5900, the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Bell 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 prompted by two accidents in which investigations revealed a main rotor blade failed because of fatigue cracking. Transport Canada advises there is no reliable inspection method to detect the cracks before blade failure and has reduced the life limit from 3,600 to 1,400 hours’ time-in-service.
It took a pilot to make one of the first moves in Congress to create one level of safety as part of a 2011 proposal to upgrade Part 121 crew-rest requirements.
The FAA’s recent reinterpretation of crew rest guidance sparked a vigorous discussion at the Flight Safety Foundation Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar in San Antonio last week.
Jeppesen plans to conduct an industry-wide survey in April to collect airline pilot and cabin crew fatigue data. The study will be conducted in collaboration with sleep and performance scientists, using the Jeppesen CrewAlert iPhone app to collect data directly from crewmembers. The study will advance understanding on how crew fatigue issues develop in an operational setting, Jeppesen said.
FOCUS on…SAFETY “Fatigue in the aviation industry has been on the NTSB’s Top 10 Most-Wanted list for two decades,” Mark Rosekind told a Heli-Expo audience on Saturday morning. “It still makes up six of our top 10 fears today.”
NTSB Member Mark Rosekind opened the first HAI 2012 education seminar with a discussion about how rotorcraft pilots can fight fatigue. We spoke to him after his talk.