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AVSIG Discussion Sections >> Airlines & Air Crews

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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #268447 - 10/16/09 01:13 PM

Scott, a well know airline captain/writer's article in a well know aviation
magazine described how he, the third crew member, boarded the plane for an
overseas flight and as soon as things settled down he went for his nap.

Somehow, I would expect an employee to report to work well rested and capable
of eight hours of acceptable performance. Maybe he had to commute half way
across the country (as was his case) to get to work, but it is his problem to
report for duty rested and ready to perform, not already a victim of jet lag.

I can't imagine my employer allowing me a 30-minute nap so I was well rested
before I programmed a critical error routine at 4pm on a Friday.

Maybe it is an exception if you work for Certa or Beauty Rest, but the
employers I'm familiar with (exception one, with which I have an issue) don't
pay their employees to sleep on the clock.

I'm prepared to defend this position. <g>


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sreyoB yrraL
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/16/04
Posts: 9442
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #268462 - 10/16/09 03:17 PM

Pilots don't work 8-hour shifts, they work shifts up to 16 hours and, under some sections of the regulations, even longer.

Pilots don't report for work the same time each day. They are often required to change the time at which they go to sleep, in order to report well rested, by six or seven hours over a two or three day trip even for domestic schedules--international schedules can be even worse.

The body does not cooperate no matter how hard a pilot might try to sleep when he is "supposed to" sleep. The result is that pilots find themselves on flights fighting to stay awake. When it reaches that point, the safest procedure is to take a 20 to 30 minute nap during the low-workload portion of the flight so that the pilot will be alert during the high-workload portions that follow.

In the 1990s, NASA did a study of aircrew fatigue which included wiring pilots to monitors as they flew actual line trips. Even while attached to the test equipment with the researcher(s) in the jumpseat, pilots were experiencing micro-sleep events while shooting approaches at the end of their flights. The recommendations from that study were published, IIRC, in May of 1996 but have yet to adapted into the applicable regulations.

If you're saying that our schedules should be created, and modified, only so that they allow a reasonable opportunity to rest, considering the latest physiological data about circadian cycles, then I'd agree but that is not the case today and I've seen no interest from the airlines, FAA or ATA in ever doing so.


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Dan Barclay [ORG]
Top Gun


Reged: 05/06/04
Posts: 4492
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Ralph Jones]
      #268473 - 10/16/09 04:06 PM

>> Hey, there's a lock on the cockpit door...if nobody says "You can take a
>> nap now" into the CVR, where's the problem?

If not talking about it, they definitely need to work out some hand signals
as to whose turn it is! <g>

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,426843,00.html

I recommend stopping off in the aviation section of your local truck stop for
a sleep alarm. I use one (not this one):

http://www.the-perfect-present.com/Pages_SCRM/trucker_accessories.html

When flying late and/or tired I set it to come on before time for descent.
It "beeps" before screaming so I can turn it off before it's needed. While I
don't purposely nap, if the tired takes over I can get a wakeup call before
launching out over the Gulf!

Dan


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sreyoB yrraL
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/16/04
Posts: 9442
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Dan Barclay [ORG]]
      #268491 - 10/16/09 05:09 PM

Quote:

I recommend stopping off in the aviation section of your local truck stop for
a sleep alarm.




http://www.shakeawake.com


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Richard Duxbury (Dux)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 5468
Loc: Minneapolis/Tucson
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #268495 - 10/16/09 05:39 PM

Hi Ward

Well, on most long two pilot cockpit flights, we have an additional crewmember. That crewmember is normally in the cockpit during the takeoff, initial climb -then later for the approach and landing. The three crewmembers have a FAA legal nap schedule.

That's been the case for two decades.

In Minneapolis it's routine for speciality nurses to be on duty , and paid for, 24 hours. Mostly they get some nap time -and on a very slow period perhaps 4-5 hours before a call. We have some friends that have been on that schedule. She noted, that on a bad day (no or very little sleep) that she was clearly not close to 100% at the end of her 24 hours. Worked twice a week, 24hrs at a crack and was thus paid 48 hours.

I think the USAF uses some flight deck naps -safer than an extremely tired pilot during a potential difficult approach and landing.

Still I enjoy your insight and comments.

Larry had some good response items.

Trust me Ward, naps in the cockpit have been around a long time, including Dux for sure. Oh well, I've only got around 19,600 hours, so I'm still a low time retired commercial and military pilot.

Northwest was part of that NASA study that Larry talked about in his post. However, that was completed on 3 pilot cockpits without a relief crew as I recall? Mostly B-747-200's.

We used to call them NASA naps.

I know it must be a hard concept to be paid for sleeping. I know it happens in more than just aviation vocations. But it's hard to explain that to anyone who has not walked in those various shoes for a while.

Regards, and time for my legal (and unpaid) nap

Dux


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Dan Barclay [ORG]
Top Gun


Reged: 05/06/04
Posts: 4492
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: sreyoB yrraL]
      #268504 - 10/16/09 07:00 PM

>> http://www.shakeawake.com

Maybe, but I can confirm that the sleep alarms will wake you up even in a
very noisy cockpit. I'm not sure vibration would do that.

Fact is, if I have passengers onboard I will demonstrate to them how it
sounds before I set it. Otherwise they may jump outta the door when it goes
off (no kidding). Trucker sleep alarms are *loud*. Mine is essentially a
timer connected to the sounder from a home smoke alarm (it's made by
Westclock). The Screamin Meanie is at least as loud.

No problem hearing them even with good headsets on.

I'd have bought the Screamin Meanie if I'd seen it but the truc... err...
aviation store I went to had the one I got.

Dan


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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Richard Duxbury (Dux)]
      #268518 - 10/16/09 09:50 PM

>> I know it must be a hard concept to be paid for sleeping. I know it
happens in more than just aviation vocations. But it's hard to explain that
to anyone who has not walked in those various shoes for a while. <<

Well aware of the concept, Dux (and its long history). In my message I
allowed one exception, and I am intimately familiar with it -- career
firefighters. We volunteers do the same things they do, except sleep on the
job. <g> (In our department, about 25% are career (that means: paid)).


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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Dan Barclay [ORG]]
      #268519 - 10/16/09 09:50 PM

Dan, the vibrators will definitely wake you if you clip one to your shirt
over one of those two very sensitive parts of your chest. Guaranteed! <g>


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sreyoB yrraL
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/16/04
Posts: 9442
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Dan Barclay [ORG]]
      #268520 - 10/16/09 10:13 PM

It wakes you up just fine. I used one when I was frequently taking naps in our sleep room during the overnight sorts.

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Terry Carraway
Top Gun


Reged: 06/02/04
Posts: 7098
Loc: Maryland
Re: Pilots Sleeping on the Job [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #268773 - 10/19/09 12:04 AM

Very common. You have a 12 hour flight. 2 crew at a time, with the third getting a break. Someone has to take their break at the beginning of the flight.

--------------------
Terry
Mostly 0W3


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