ALPA Adopts New Pilot Fatigue Policy

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While the FAA continues to work on long-awaited new rules to cope with pilot fatigue, the Air Line Pilots Association this week announced its own new policy, which it says is based on the latest science and three years of work. "With the FAA's commitment to issue a new proposed flight- and duty-time rule by the end of the year, ALPA seized the opportunity to improve the safety and quality of work life for airline pilots by forging the strongest policy possible," ALPA President John Prater said on Tuesday. ALPA's policy takes into consideration seven different aspects of fatigue: rest, duty, extension of duty, cumulative fatigue, augmentation, reserve, and fatigue risk management systems.

The time of day is also taken into consideration, in recognition of the impact of circadian rhythms on fatigue --- for example, a pilot who reports for work between midnight and 4 a.m. would be restricted to a shorter overall flight-duty period for that day than a pilot whose day starts between 7 a.m. and midnight. "We won't know what is in the FAA's proposed rule until it is published," said Prater. "But if the FAA considers ALPA's new policy, and those of the other international aviation safety organizations, the result should be a regulation that sets the pace for progress in combating pilot fatigue around the globe."