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FAA issues pilot fatigue rule

December 27, 2011

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December 26, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a rule on December 21 to limit pilots’ flight and duty hours, according to Occupational Health and Safety.

Under the new rule, flight time will be limited to eight or nine hours. The 10-hour minimum rest period is a two hour increase from the old rules.

Pilots will be required to attend training updates every two years, which will include fatigue mitigation measures, sleep fundamentals, and how fatigue is influenced by lifestyle, including nutrition, exercise, and family life.

The pilot fatigue rule won praise from the National Transportation Safety Board's chief, Deborah A.P. Hersman, but she and other groups say it falls short by holding cargo aviation to a lesser standard.

"We applaud the leadership of DOT [Department of Transportation] and FAA for bringing it across the finish line," Hersman said. "Yet we are extremely disappointed that the new rule is limited . . . A tired pilot is a tired pilot . . . whether the payload is passengers or pallets. We look forward to working with the FAA and the aviation community to support the rule's essential education and training components and to identify areas where additional measures are needed."

Do you think that pilot fatigue has led to a large percentage of air plane accidents?

Read more.

If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.

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