April 16, 2014

A tired pilot is a tired pilot, regardless of plane

Aviation_CockpitNews broke recently that two pilots reported falling asleep while operating a long-haul Airbus 330 flight to the U.K. full of passengers. For an unknown length of time, autopilot kept the aircraft flying. Before the Aug. 13 flight, the pilots had slept only five hours over the previous two nights. The event brings yet another reminder of the dangers posed by fatigued pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration will soon address the issue, implementing long-overdue new fatigue standards for pilots. But those requirements won’t apply to cargo aircraft pilots, not even when they’re flying a Boeing 747 halfway around the world. By excluding cargo pilots from its new rules, the FAA is failing to adhere to its mission of making safety the first priority in aviation. If the FAA believes even one life lost in an accident is too many, shouldn’t that principle also apply to cargo pilots?

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.