New Rules Needed to Reduce Pilot Fatigue
June 26, 2009
The Federal Aviation Administration stated on Wednesday that recommendations for new rules aimed at limiting pilot fatigue need to be submitted by Sept. 1, according to a recent USA Today article. In a recent string of crashes — including the accident in Buffalo, NY, last February that killed 50 — pilots stated they had not received a full night’s sleep. Airlines are currently operating under 50-year-old rules allowing pilots to fly up to eight hours a day. Including ground time between flights, their day can extend up to 16 hours. Curtis Graeber, a researcher of pilot fatigue for nearly 30 years and a National Sleep Foundation board member, told USA Today that research is a better predictor of how long pilots should work rather than limiting hours. Graeber stated factors that should be considered by the governing bodies, including how many days in a row a pilot may work and allowing for an adequate rest period to ensure pilots have a good night’s sleep. Some believe that a consensus between airlines and pilot unions will prove challenging.
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