MIL-OSI Australia: Research report: Fatigue experience and culture in Australian commercial air transport pilots

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Why the ATSB did the research

Fatigue is an inevitable risk in aviation. As it cannot be completely eliminated, it must be managed. Data on fatigue and its impact on air transport safety is generally only obtained if there is an incident or accident. As a result, there is generally a lack of understanding of the baseline level of fatigue in day-to-day Australian air transport across operators.

To provide the air transport industry, regulators and policy makers with further insights into industry perceptions of fatigue, the ATSB conducted a survey of commercial pilots engaged in passenger, freight, and aeromedical operations in the second half of 2016. To understand the reported level of fatigue during normal operations, the survey aimed to discover the amount of sleep and rest obtained by pilots, as well as their perceptions on the length of rests and duty times. The survey also aimed to capture data on the organisational aspects of fatigue, including how pilots feel about removing themselves from duty because of fatigue experienced and how they think management perceive this behaviour.

What the ATSB found

The majority of survey respondents reported they were sufficiently well rested by the end of their last duty. Over half of pilots reported having 7 hours of sleep or more in the previous 24 hours, and over 60 per cent reported having more than 14 hours in the previous 48 hours, at the end of the last flight. The survey also found a small but significant number of pilots, 10 per cent and 17 per cent, who reported obtaining less than 5 hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, or less than 12 hours in the previous 48 hours, respectively, at the end of their last flight. These sleep thresholds have been shown to be associated with impaired performance.

Less sleep on duty was more prevalent for international and domestic jet airline pilots than other air transport pilots (regional, charter and aeromedical). While around one third of the respondents reported obtaining the same amount of sleep at home as they did while on duty, around half of international and domestic pilots reported obtaining less hours of sleep on duty than at home. About 15 per cent of international pilots responded they had no rest during their last international flight.

Domestic pilots completed duties on a stand-by day more often than other pilots. Some believed the rest period between duties was too short, duty periods were too long, and access to food during duties was more difficult compared with other pilots, indicating some pilots within this group have negative perceptions of rest opportunities provided by their employers.

Over 90 per cent of pilots indicated their employer offered a formal process for removing themselves from duty due to fatigue. About one third of respondents indicated they removed themselves from duty at least once in the past year, mostly between one and three days. The pilots who removed themselves from duty generally perceived their actions left a negative impression with management (with the exception of aeromedical pilots), and did not feel comfortable doing so.

Safety message

Responsibility to manage the risk of fatigue lies with both the individual pilot and organisation. It is the individual pilot’s responsibility to use rest periods to obtain adequate sleep and to remove themselves from duty if they feel fatigued. It is important for operators to implement policies to reduce the likelihood of fatigue-related issues through rostering practices and by providing an organisational culture where crew can report fatigue in a supportive environment. The results of this research suggest that operating in circumstances conducive to fatigue is an ongoing challenge for a proportion of Australian air transport pilots.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Pilot experiences with fatigue

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

The ATSB has released a research report outlining the results of a survey on experiences with fatigue by commercial pilots in Australia.

The research report, Fatigue experience and culture in Australian commercial air transport pilots (AR-2015-095), highlights the majority of pilot surveyed reported they were well rested at the end of their last duty.

Over half of the pilots reported having seven hours of sleep or more in the previous 24 hours, and over 60 per cent reported having more than 14 hours in the previous 48 hours at the end of their past duty.

ATSB Chief Commissioner, Greg Hood, said the report highlighted fatigue, and issues associated fatigue, were not common in the Australia, but some pilots do face operating in conditions conducive to fatigue.

“While small in number, some pilots did report operating in conditions consistent with thresholds that have been shown to be associated with impaired performance due to fatigue at the end of their last flight,” Mr Hood said. 

The report shows that 10 per cent of pilots reported obtaining less than five hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, and 17 per cent reported they had less 12 hours in the previous 48 hours of their last fight.

The report also points to other areas for improvement, including organisational culture regarding the reporting of fatigue related issues.

“A third of surveyed pilots reported they had removed themselves from duty in the previous 12 months, however when they did this they reportedly felt it left a negative impression with management,” Mr Hood said.

“The responsibility to manage the risk of fatigue lies with both pilots and operators. Pilots need to use rest periods to get adequate sleep and remove themselves from duty if affected by fatigue and operators need to have polices in place to manage fatigue and create a work culture were pilots and crew can report fatigue in a supportive environment.”

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is currently consulting with industry on the introduction of the proposed CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019 – Modernising Australia’s Fatigue Rules.

High capacity regular public transport operators are required to transition to the new fatigue rules by 30 September 2019. All other operators will need to adopt the new fatigue requirements by 26 March 2020.

Advice on how pilots can manage their fatigue is also available on the CASA website.

Read the report: Fatigue experience and culture in Australian commercial air transport pilots (AR-2015-095).

Last update 22 January 2019

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: FlySafe 2019 forum set to improve aviation safety

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

In a concerted effort to maintain Australia’s world-leading safety record, Australia’s three government aviation agencies are hosting the inaugural FlySafe 2019 Aviation Safety Forum at the Australian International Airshow next month.

Airservices Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will together discuss and explore a range of aviation safety issues with the aim of enhancing aviation safety during a full day forum at the airshow, to be held at Avalon Airport in Victoria on Thursday 28 February.

FlySafe 2019 is open and free to trade visitors, exhibitors and conference delegates. The forum will include keynote sessions by Airservices Chief Executive Officer Jason Harfield; ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood; and CASA Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody.

Safety experts from the three agencies will be discussing the benefits of enabling a positive safety reporting culture and will also talk through a hypothetical accident at a busy airport to describe the important roles each agency plays during an aviation accident.

With the ATSB’s latest annual statistics showing an increase in the number of fatalities from aviation accidents in Australia during 2017, Chief Commissioner Hood said the ATSB regularly investigates aviation accidents involving poor decision making and risk management.

“We regularly see accidents repeated – fatal accidents which could have quite easily been avoided – it is incredibly tragic and very frustrating,” said Mr Hood. “There are valuable safety lessons to be learned for the whole of industry from our investigations, and I look forward to discussing a range of safety matters with the attendees at FlySafe 2019.”

FlySafe 2019 will also hear from the Director of the Defence Flight Safety Bureau, Group Captain Nigel Ward, and from New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Chief Commissioner, Jane Meares.

“Australia’s aviation safety scorecard is the envy of the world, and we continue to innovate and improve in order to maintain this proud legacy,” said Mr Harfield, who will be providing an update on current developments in air traffic management safety, including the OneSKY program. “It is crucial we do this, so the industry grows safely and efficiently in the years to come.”

Mr Carmody said FlySafe 2019 represents a unique opportunity for the aviation industry.

“CASA is committed to maintaining Australia’s strong aviation safety record through improvements to regulations, effective consultation with industry and working together with other aviation agencies,” Mr Carmody said. “At FlySafe 2019 the aviation industry will have the opportunity to address and confront safety issues, and hear how the three agencies will continue to work together to improve aviation safety in Australia.”

Registration is free for airshow trade visitors and limited places are available. To attend FlySafe 2019, delegates should send their name, title and affiliation to: before 15 February 2019.

Last update 21 January 2019

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI UK: Chris Grayling to update MPs on the drone consultation response

Source: British Parliament News

07 January 2019
Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, will give a statement in the House of Commons on drones.

Over the Christmas period tens of thousands of travellers had holidays disrupted as Gatwick grounded flights due to the presence of a drone flying near the airport.
Following a consultation proposing policies for drone use and enforcement, Chris Grayling will provide MPs with a Government response, today in the House of Commons.
This consultation suggested counter drone technology systems, a minimum age requirement for operators for small unmanned aircraft, and other proposals.
The statement from the Transport Secretary is expected to begin at 7pm, though this time is subject to change depending on the preceding business in the House of Commons.
Image: iStock
Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.
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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates operation of air services regulations post Brexit

Source: British Parliament News

17 December 2018
Members of the House of Lords will discuss draft regulations which address deficiencies in air regulations arising as a result of the UK leaving the EU, in the Lords on Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Draft Operation of Air Services (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
This statutory instrument is a contingency that would take effect in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated deal. It reflects the fact that it applies only within the UK and affects UK entities, rather than the EU and EU entities. Therefore it will not provide air carriers with the ability to operate intra-EU air services. It will continue to set out the requirements for holding an operating licence, although these will now apply to UK carriers and it will provide continuity of the regime for approving the wet lease of aircraft (which includes crew, maintenance and insurance).
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) will propose a motion to regret the regulations, on the grounds that the effect of a no deal exit from the EU risks grounding all civil aircraft after 29 March 2019; and calls on the government to seek UK membership of the European Common Aviation Area in its own right to prevent such an outcome.
If agreed, this motion will not stop the regulations, which came into force in April, but will provide an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that the government is making these changes, in respect of a potential no deal exit from the EU.
How do these regulations become law
These regulations are presented as a Statutory Instrument (SI). An Act will often contain a broad framework and statutory instruments are used to provide the necessary detail that would be too complex to include in the Act itself. They are also easier to change than an Act – for example to upgrade the rate of payment each year or amend the necessary forms in the light of experience.
This instrument is subject to the affirmative procedure, this means that it must be debated in both Houses before it can be made law. A vote can be taken on them if the House wishes but is not essential.  
Further information
Image: iStockphoto