Colgan Curbs Speculation Regarding FAA Fatigue Probe

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The FAA is examining some Colgan Air crew members to determine if they exceeded flight-time limitations, but according to Colgan that examination is not in any way related to the NTSB investigation of Colgan Air Flight 3407 that crashed Feb. 12, in Buffalo, N.Y, killing all 49 on board and one person on the ground. The NTSB previously listed fatigue management and stall-recovery training as factors that it was studying as it investigates that crash. According to the pilots union, letters sent from the FAA to Colgan Air pilots regarding their scheduling do not make mention of the crash. A memo sent by the union for Colgan pilots and obtained by Buffalo News told pilots the FAA is looking at a limited number of pilot schedules dating from last November and that the agency believes some pilots flew in violation of flight- or duty-time regulations. Toward that end, Colgan and the FAA may be in disagreement about the interpretation of the rules and specific paperwork under review. Specifically, exception reports may or may not indicate that pilots legally flew beyond their allowances due to weather or other factors outside the carrier's control. Colgan said the probe was part of a routine FAA review, that its pilots are "in full compliance" with federal regulations and it is not expecting any enforcement actions as a result.

Current FAA regulations allow pilots to fly no more than eight out of each 24 hours, allowing for at least eight continuous hours of rest. Rest periods shorter than nine hours require an automatic compensatory extension of the pilot's next rest period. Operators found to be in violation of the regulations are subject to civil fines.