FAA Open To "Clarifying Questions" On Duty Regs

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The FAA said on Tuesday it will accept written requests for clarification of its proposed new pilot duty-time rules until Oct. 15, and will respond to them by Oct. 22. The FAA said the question period is its response to "numerous requests" from stakeholders for some kind of forum to get answers to questions and technical clarifications before the end of the comment period on Nov. 15. For example, the FAA said, one commenter noted that in at least one instance, the new regulations refer back to the existing regulations, which would no longer exist if the new regulations are adopted. The FAA said "it makes sense to provide additional clarity where commenters believe the draft regulatory text is unclear or omits pertinent information."

The FAA said it hopes to provide greater technical clarity so interested parties can "focus on the policy implications of the proposal without spending undue amounts of time trying to figure out how the rule, if implemented, would be implemented or interact with other regulatory requirements." The complex new rules, years in the making, run 145 pages long, and address flight, duty and rest time for crews operating under Part 121. The FAA says the new rules are based on scientific research about fatigue and performance. One commenter, Atlas Air, asked the FAA to extend its comment period, arguing that 60 days is "unreasonable" and "unfair" for analysis of the "extraordinarily complex" proposal. The new rules, if adopted, would impose "serious operational constraints" on cargo carriers, Atlas Air said.