USA Publish New Pilot Fatigue Rules


On 21 Dec. 2011, the USA’s Federal Aviation Authority released its long-awaited new pilot fatigue regulation. This publication comes almost 3 years after 50 people died in a plane crash (Colgan Air) in which pilot fatigue played a major role. The new US legislation replaces the current antiquated fatigue rules and will take effect in two years time. – This publication is a major step in fighting the safety risks related to pilot fatigue, and comes just a few weeks before the EU is tabling its revised proposal on pilot fatigue rules (13 Jan. 2012).

However, as a result of the operators’ intensive lobbying campaign, cargo operations are excluded from the new legislation – despite the fact that fatigue affects pilots irrespectively of whether they transport passengers or cargo... On the other hand, the remaining segments of the industry – which constitutes the large majority of operations – are included. Crucially, the airline industry was not successful in aborting these new rules altogether. Instead,  and the FAA was able to defend key aspects of its proposal, which is largely based on scientific evidence.

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