I am surprised with the actions of the shipping company mentioned in the article below and also Fed Ex’s statement with both going against those try to fix the gap in the new pilot fatigue rules. New fatigue rules were implemented recently as a direct result of the investigation carried out on the Colgan Air regional jet that crashed in Buffalo NY in 2009. Unfortunately the new rule was not mandatory for cargo pilots.
One of the largest shipping companies is criticizing an effort to apply Federal Aviation Administration scheduling rules for avoiding fatigue among commercial airline pilots to pilots flying cargo airplanes. Reps. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) said last week that they were filing legislation to addresses a gap in new fatigue rules announced by the FAA last year that were crafted in response to the crash of a regional airline jet in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009. The FAA responded to the crash late in 2011 with new rules that require airlines to allow their pilots to get at least 10 hours of off-duty time between flight schedules, which transportation officials have said would give them at least the opportunity to get eight hours of sleep before they get to the cockpit. But FedEx said Monday in a statement provided to The Hill that applying the same rules to cargo pilots was a bad idea.
“The proposed legislation attempts to implement a ‘one size fits all’ approach to fatigue mitigation; an approach that the administration’s own analysis determined was not practical,” the FedEx statement said. “The FAA recognized that fact when it wisely introduced the Fatigue Risk Management System, allowing carriers and pilots to develop customized plans together to achieve the best possible alertness results.”
I have stated my opinion on a previous post but feel it is important enough to say it again. The hours of operation that are flown by the majority of cargo pilots are at the back of the clock. When most passenger pilots are in bed asleep, freighter pilots are hard at work trying to stay awake to safely pilot their aircraft in the middle of the night. If any group of pilots were to benefit from these new rules it would be the freighter pilots.
I have been asked why is it important that pilots who do not carry passengers should come under this new rule as they are not putting anybody at risk by flying tired. I have two responses to this.
Firstly tell that to the families of the cargo pilots, ask them if it is okay for Mum or Dad to have less rest and therefore more chance of an accident than passenger pilots.
Secondly a large percentage of those freight planes make their final landings at airports early in the morning. About the same time as when peak hour for the morning passenger flights gets underway. Now our tired freight pilots are operating in the same airspace as the fresh well rested ones, which could potentially cancel out any safety benefits.
The sooner legislation is passed making the new rules mandatory for cargo operators the safer our skies will be.
To view the full article click here: http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/aviation/223093-shipping-company-condemns-one-sized-fits-all-cargo-pilot-fatigue-rules