AVSIG: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
JetBlue Fatigue Experiment
      #131847 - 10/31/06 04:15 PM

I happened on a WSJ article from 10 days ago, about a JetBlue cockpit fatigue experiment with the blessing of local NY FAA officials that has 800 Indy in an uproar:

----------------------
Last year, thousands of JetBlue Airways passengers became unwitting participants in a highly unusual test of pilot fatigue.

Without seeking approval from Federal Aviation Administration headquarters, consultants for JetBlue outfitted a small number of pilots with devices to measure alertness. Operating on a green light from lower-level FAA officials, management assigned the crews to work longer shifts in the cockpit -- as many as 10 to 11 hours a day -- than the eight hours the government allows. Their hope: Showing that pilots could safely fly far longer without exhibiting ill effects from fatigue.

The results of the test haven't yet been made public -- they are expected to be published by the end of the year -- and JetBlue executives say even they don't know the findings. But the experiment has landed JetBlue in hot water while fueling a fierce debate within the airline industry about how long pilots should be allowed to stay at the controls.
-------------------------

Basically, JBU was looking at whether domestic duty rules could be relaxed to international standards with the addition of a third cockpit crewmember.

-----------------------
The two-pilot crews were equipped with specially designed motion detectors on their wrists to measure activity, and participated in tests with hand-held computing devices that issued random prompts and then recorded the speed of responses. All told, JetBlue says 29 pilots, including the backup aviators, participated in more than 50 data-gathering flights during May 2005. All of the flights were domestic, and a big portion were coast-to-coast trips.

The carrier says it proceeded under the assumption that local FAA officials had the power to approve the company's plans under so-called supplemental flight rules. Those rules specify that airlines flying longer distances must have at least one extra pilot on board so no single pilot flies more than eight hours in total. However, in the JetBlue test, even though each flight had a third pilot on board, the original crews stayed at the controls for more than 10 hours a day. None of the reserve pilots ever replaced a regular crew member.
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Interesting stuff.


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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #131848 - 10/31/06 04:18 PM

What is more interesting is that it does not seem anyone is going to get more than a small slap on the wrist. I doubt had this been a legacy carrier things would have gone so quietly. OR is the FAA embarassed by a local FSDO allowing such an experiment?

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Rick Durden
Top Gun


Reged: 06/07/04
Posts: 4366
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: J. Wiley]
      #131850 - 10/31/06 04:36 PM

John,

FAA inspector friend called me and told me about this one - it seems the FAA is really hot about it. I'm going to wait and see, but there are some very pissed off people inside the FAA. Whether the politics will allow them to do anything remains to be seen.

Warmest regards,
Rick


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: J. Wiley]
      #131862 - 10/31/06 05:12 PM

John -- I am certain that the JFK FSDO is the source of a lot of egg on the
old FAA visage. They'd have a darn tough time prosecuting any case with the
approval of the FAA's chief ops guy for JBU. <G>

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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B. Butler (Oregonian)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 9760
Loc: Ashland, Oregon
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: Rick Durden]
      #131872 - 10/31/06 06:36 PM

Quote:

John,

but there are some very pissed off people inside the FAA. Whether the politics will allow them to do anything remains to be seen.

Warmest regards,
Rick




There ought to be a lot of very pissed-off people in the pilot community. How'd they ever get anyone to participate in this goat rope?

--------------------
"Why not be a nihilist? A man has to believe in something."
-Bernie Gunther


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Rick Durden
Top Gun


Reged: 06/07/04
Posts: 4366
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: B. Butler (Oregonian)]
      #131875 - 10/31/06 07:01 PM

Bill,

When the pilot's union is weak and the company wants something, pilots who value their jobs tend to go along - plus there is a weird bias in human behavior, people seem to volunteer for experiments even though they can be dangerous or just foolish.

I'd have hoped that the pilots would not have been such sheep.

Warmest regards,
Rick


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Richard Duxbury (Dux)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 5468
Loc: Minneapolis/Tucson
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: B. Butler (Oregonian)]
      #131932 - 11/01/06 10:20 AM

Northwest did some fatigue research almost 20 years ago for NASA on long haul flights. It was indeed FAA approved well in advance.

It concerned allowing pilots to sleep for about 45 minutes while in the cockpit seat. However, all these cases were with three pilot cockpits.

The results showed more alert pilots during decent and landing with a so called "NASA Nap" during the cruise portion.

Flying 10 hours (flying time) may or may not be a fatigue issue (IMO). If it's 10 hours with 8 legs, that would be close to a 16-18 hour duty day. Yup, a lot of potential fatigue.

If it's 10 hours with (for example) just two legs and perhaps a 12-13 hour duty day, that might not be so prone to fatigue.

And, of course, it depends upon when the flight periods start. If they are off you normal sleep cycle, that clearly it's likely to have more fatigue issues (IMO).

Enough of this, I'm off for a "NASA Nap".

regards,

Dux


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Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
Top Gun


Reged: 04/30/04
Posts: 7864
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: Rick Durden]
      #131959 - 11/01/06 02:09 PM

I don't think that Jet Blue has a pilot's union. I could be wrong.

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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: Rick Durden]
      #131960 - 11/01/06 02:11 PM

Quote:

John,

FAA inspector friend called me and told me about this one - it seems the FAA is really hot about it. I'm going to wait and see, but there are some very pissed off people inside the FAA. Whether the politics will allow them to do anything remains to be seen.

Warmest regards,
Rick




I would imagine there is a lot of heat.. but as you note, it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

It does point out what has been said here before and that is 'a FSDO is a FSDO is a FSDO' ain't necessarily so....


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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: JetBlue Fatigue Experiment [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #131962 - 11/01/06 02:16 PM

Quote:

John -- I am certain that the JFK FSDO is the source of a lot of egg on the old FAA visage. They'd have a darn tough time prosecuting any case with the approval of the FAA's chief ops guy for JBU. <G>




No doubt... it will be interesting to see what happens.

Back in the Piedmont days, we had a exce-wannabe who thought he could elevate his status in the company by some creative scheduling. We had a 727 headed to the west coast that was late and no crew on the west coast legal to bring it back. The trip out and back would easily exceed the max scheduled limit of 8 hours...

So, our boy-wizard decided to use an 'augmented' crew. Good for international flights but nowhere near legal for domestic.

He got his wee-wee wacked for that one.


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