Snoozing While Cruising OK In Europe


Professional pilots in Europe have been told that it’s OK to take a nap while flying, as long as they remain at their post, strapped into their seat at the controls (if only we could get away with that). The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) last week issued new guidelines saying that a quick cockpit snooze up to 45 minutes long is allowed, the UK Mirror reported on Saturday. The “controlled rest” is OK only in the cruising phase, where pilot tasks are less demanding, the JAA said. There’s nothing new about pilots napping — one pilot told the Mirror he once woke up to find all three pilots in the cockpit had nodded off at once. The new policy requires that a member of the cabin crew schedule a wake-up call. A spokesman for the British pilots union, BALPA, said naps aren’t the solution to pilot fatigue. BALPA suggests that schedules should allow for adequate rest between flights. But in a long-haul situation, there should be procedures to allow for adequate rest aloft. BALPA has raised concerns in the past about fatigue issues. When large aircraft like the A380 go into service, some flights will be up to 20 hours long, and more study is needed to find the best way to ensure crews get enough rest, BALPA said. Meanwhile, a captain for Alitalia was fired last month for leaving the cockpit to sleep in a bunk during a flight from Rome to Miami, according to The Mirror.