FAA To Clarify Pro-Pilot Rest Rules

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The FAA Thursday released a "notice of proposed interpretation" to clarify rules pertaining to flight crew members who exceed permissible duty limits due to system delays, and the agency is seeking comments. Specific to the interpretation, the FAA was asked to provide legal interpretation for a scenario in which a flight officer is subjected to delays that the flight officer knows would extend his duty beyond a 14-hour duty day. The FAA has previously offered two interpretations and has now determined that "it is illogical that the nearly-identical regulatory language in sections 121.471(g) and 135.263(d) is interpreted in two different ways." The FAA's proposed interpretation would supersede any previous interpretations and prohibit flight crew from accepting a flight if he is aware at the time of departure that he has not had required rest. The FAA is accepting comments, but the comment window is small.

The FAA's specific wording states that, "If a flight crewmember was to be aware at the time of departure on the last leg of the flight that he or she has not had the required rest, 14 CFR 135.267(d) would prohibit him or her from departing on the last leg of the flight." The agency is accepting public comments before Jan. 24, 2011, and may alter the interpretation based on those comments. See the text of the proposed interpretation for more details.