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Studies have shown that 71 – 90% of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish pilots have admitted to making errors while fatigued, and over 50% admitted to falling asleep in the cockpit. A similar study done in Britain revealed that 31% of pilots who dozed off in the cockpit woke up to find the other pilot asleep (Allianz, 2014, p. 34). The FAA defines fatigue as “a condition characterized by increased discomfort by lessened capacity for work, reduced efficiency of accomplishment, loss of power or capacity to respond to stimulation, and is usually accompaniedby a feeling of weariness and tiredness” (Fatigue in Aviation, n.d., p. 2). Fatigue is detrimental to aviation operations as it heightens the risk of potential accidents and incidents. There are many causes of fatigue, such as not getting proper rest, stress, physical strain, boredom, grief, malnutrition, and the use of caffeine, narcotics, alcohol, and certain prescribed medications. Shiftwork, unpredictable schedules, and constant time zone changes can also cause fatigue because it disrupts the circadian rhythm. Fatigued individuals may experience a lack of situational awareness, decreased response times, poor decision making skills, difficulty communicating 8
EVALUATING HUMAN FACTORSclearly, lapses in attention and vigilance, inability to track multiple sources of information, poor risk assessment, and overall decreased performance (Nesthus, 2009).The Colgan Air crash also resulted in fatigue related regulation. Captain Rebecca Shaw commuted from Seattle, Washington, to Newark, New Jersey, jumping on a cockpit seat of a FedEx flight to Memphis, Tennessee, and another FedEx flight to Newark, New Jersey. The CVRrecorded her discussing her long commute and ill feeling with the Captain. Regulations regardingfatigue that resulted from this accident include a flight duty period of no more than 14 hours for single crew operations, flight time limits not to exceed nine hours, a 10 hour minimum rest period prior to the flight duty period, and an airline specific fatigue risk management system. (Press Release – Pilot Fatigue, 2011) These new legislations are great tools in decreasing fatigued flight crew and ensuring safety.On American Airlines flight 1420 that departed on June 1, 1999, from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas, Texas, to Little Rock National Airport (LIT), Little Rock, Arkansas, Captain Richard Buschmann and First Officer Michael Origel had been awake for about 16 hours and on duty for about 13 hours. The flight was scheduled to depart at 8:28 p.m., but received a message from the aircraft communication addressing and reporting system (ACARS) that there was a delay due to bad weather conditions with a new departure time of 9:00p.m. Because of American Airline’s company duty time limitation, the first officer was concerned and notified the gate agents the plane must take off before 11:16 p.m., or another crewwould need to operate the flight. The flight departed at 10:40 p.m. and the flight crew encountered severe thunderstorms in the Little Rock area. There was never any mention of diverting the flight. The captain had a difficult time seeing the airport through the storm. The