FAA overlooking benefits of rest rules, pilots’ association says

Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration has underestimated the benefits of extending updated rest rules (.pdf file) for passenger-aircraft pilots to cargo-aircraft pilots, according the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

FAA concluded in a cost-benefit analysis released in December 2012 that the high net annual cost of extending updated pilot rest rules to cargo-aircraft pilots would not be offset by the estimated safety benefits. Responding to the analysis, ALPA stated in recent comments (.pdf file) that better sleep and more time off-duty have been found to have positive effects on short-term and long-term illness rates, as well as reducing the risk of fatigued flying.

Also, four serious cargo-aircraft incidents in the past 20 years can be attributed to pilot fatigue, whereas in its analysis FAA only looked at the past 10 years, during which one incident occurred, ALPA stated.

The updated rest rules are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 14, 2014, for passenger-aircraft pilots only.

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