FAA proposes rule changes to fight pilot fatigue

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday proposed amendments that would limit the hours of flight and duty time for pilots in an effort to address pilot fatigue.

Provisions in the proposed rule (.pdf file), which was published in the Sept. 14 Federal Register, relate to a pilot's commute, including consideration of commute time when determining rest periods, and consideration of flight and duty time in relation to a pilot's "home base." Under the proposed rule, an air carrier would not be able to assign -- and a pilot would not be able to accept -- flight duty if the pilot is too fatigued. A company employee who suspects a pilot of being too fatigued to perform his or her duties would be able to report that information to the air carrier; the carrier would then determine if the pilot is too fatigued to fly.

FAA officials said pilot fatigue "threatens aviation safety because it increases the risk of pilot error that could lead to an accident."

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