Congress Asked To Review Duty-Time Rules


U. S. Rep Tom Reynolds, of New York, called last week for an investigation into pilot fatigue and a fresh look at rules regarding duty time. “Not since 1940 have flight-and-duty-time rules for pilots been updated,” said Reynolds. “That simply is unacceptable.” Reynolds cited a recent NTSB report on a fatal crash in Kirksville, Mo., in October 2004, which found that pilot fatigue was a contributing factor. The pilots had been on duty for over 14 hours on the day of the crash. Reynolds said he also wants to review the rules regarding the use of Terrain Avoidance Warning Systems. No such system was required for the fatal flight. One of the 13 who died aboard Corporate Airlines Flight 5966 was a New York resident. Current FAA rules do not address the amount of time pilots can be on duty, but impose a limit of eight hours flight time during a 24-hour period, provided the pilot has had at least eight continuous hours of rest during the 24-hour period. In its report on the Kirksville crash, the NTSB asks the FAA to modify and simplify the flight crew hours-of-service regulations to take into consideration factors such as length of duty day, starting time, workload, and other factors shown by recent research, scientific evidence and current industry experience to affect crew alertness. The NTSB also wants Part 121 and 135 operators to incorporate fatigue-related information into their initial and recurrent pilot training programs. Such training should address the detrimental effects of fatigue and include strategies for avoiding fatigue and countering its effects, the safety board said.