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Flight Time Limitations – One-Size-Fits-None?

Aviation legislators worldwide have long struggled with the need to create flight time limitation (FTL) rules that strike a balance between providing flexibility for operators whilst protecting flight crew from overly arduous schedules.

As the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Authority face criticism of their respective proposed FTLs from operators and unions, an editorial  in industry mouthpiece Flight International argues that they should heed the words of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). When the CAA issued the UK’s FTL scheme, CAP371, it came with a clear warning that it would be effective only if operators respected the spirit in addition to the letter of the law. Any FTL scheme is open to abuse, and this one-size-fits-all approach may actually result in one-size-fits-none.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, fatigue risk management is the potential solution to this conundrum. FRMS removes the issues associated with the one-size-fits-all approach and makes operators legally responsible for managing fatigue, albeit with regulatory oversight.

Clockwork comment: While FTL provide a degree of protection and a line in the sand, used in isolation they run the risk of being used as targets to be met. In contrast, a FRMS requires that each operator identifies the risks due to fatigue inherent in their operation, that they implement effective procedures for managing these risks, and that they document these procedures. In return, the operator can expect increased flexibility, improved operational effectiveness and more effective management of fatigue.



Related articles:

Private jet and charter pilots not covered by FAA fatigue regulation

Unions unhappy with proposed FAA changes to flight and rest times

BALPA warns that proposed EASA FTLs are unsafe

ICAO adopts international standards for FRMS


Sources: Flight International, flightglobal.com