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ALPA Readies Aviation Industry For New Rule To Combat Pilot Fatigue

August 8, 2013 - The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), hosted a special meeting this week bringing together representatives from government agencies, airlines, and aviation labor groups to ensure that all parties involved in the implementation of new pilot fatigue rules next year are coordinated (Congress Passes Airline Safety And Pilot Training Improvement Act). 

This new rule received much attention as a result of the fatal crash of Colgan Air Bombardier Dash 8-Q400, N200WQ d.b.a. Continental Connection Flight 3407 on February 12, 2009. The aircraft was on an instrument approach to runway 23 at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF), Buffalo, New York. Pilot fatigue and training were the main factors that led to the crash. 


“For decades, ALPA has been fully engaged in efforts to change the flight-time/ duty-time regulations to reduce fatigue and enhance aviation safety for all,” said ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak. “With the final rule set to go into effect on January 4, 2014, we thought it was imperative to bring key people together to ensure an ‘on-time arrival’ of this essential change in regulations.” 

More than 200 people attended the “Part 117: A Path to Implementation” conference. Wide-ranging discussions included a thorough overview of the new rule, all aspects of implementing the new flight- and duty-time regulations and minimum rest requirements, and available software tools. 

“While we commend the FAA for its actions in proceeding toward implementation of Part 117, we are disappointed that cargo pilots will continue to be subject to antiquated fatigue rules,” said Moak. “ALPA will continue to work tirelessly and strongly advocate for One Level of Safety for all types of flight operations and across the airline industry.” 

This new rule incorporates the latest fatigue science to set different requirements for Pilot flight time, duty period and rest based on the time of day pilots begin their first flight, the number of scheduled flight segments, and the number of time zones they cross.



The rule sets a 10 hour minimum rest period prior to the flight duty period, a two hour increase over the previous rules. The new rule also mandates that a pilot must have an opportunity for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep within the 10 hour rest period. For Pilots, rest begins at blockin not checkout time (this could change in Pilot negotiations). For Flight Attendants, rest begins at check-out and ends at report time, per Flight Attendant FARs. 

Rest requires 10 hours before report for duty with an “8 hour sleep opportunity” this is subject to the captain’s determination. This could result in missed connections due to delays. 10-hour minimum rest before report for duty cannot be reduced. Compensatory rest no longer exists.  ALPA will continue to work with the airlines and FAA to ensure the rule is properly implemented in a timely manner.

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