Report examines issues with commuting, pilot fatigue

February 23, 2011

Washington – A National Academy of Sciences committee on Feb. 14 released an interim report outlining efforts to study issues with commuting and pilot fatigue.

The Federal Aviation Administration contracted with NAS, under a mandate by Congress, to attempt to address concerns about an airline pilot’s commute to work potentially contributing to fatigue. Members of the Committee on the Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue said concerns about the effects of commuting on pilot fatigue were elevated following the fatal Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, NY, in February 2009.

According to the interim report, although fatigue or commuting was not listed as a contributing factor in the crash, an investigation report (.pdf file) from the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that “the pilots’ performance was likely impaired because of fatigue, but the extent of their impairment and the degree to which it contributed to the performance deficiencies that occurred during the flight cannot be conclusively determined.”

The study is intended to provide a snapshot of the committee’s activities and issues it plans to address in its final report, which is expected to be issued this summer.