NTSB Faults FAA's Inaction on Pilot Fatigue

Business Jet Traveler » April 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - 5:00am

The National Transportation Safety Board has called the FAA's response "unacceptable" to four out of six NTSB safety recommendations addressing fatigue and duty-time limitations. "The Safety Board is very concerned about reducing accidents and incidents caused by human fatigue," NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker said, adding that fatigue was a probable cause or contributing factor in numerous accidents. Among the recommendations: requiring that training, check flights, ferry and repositioning flights be included in a pilot's total revenue time; and ensuring that flight and duty-time limitations take into consideration research findings about fatigue and sleep. Current policy is based on a 2001 FAA notice that calls for pilots to have eight hours of rest in any 24-hour period that includes flight time.

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“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”

-Howard Guy of Design Q, a UK-based consultancy