Fighting Pilot Fatigue

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:35pm

FAA releases new rules to prevent fatigued pilots from flying.

Nearly three years after pilot fatigue was suspected in a deadly commuter plane crash the Federal Aviation Administration has re-written the rules to make sure pilots are more rested before flying.

After the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 that killed 50 people near Buffalo in February 2009 investigators blamed pilot error, and more specifically pilot fatigue.

That's what's behind new rules announced Wednesday.

The new regulations basically give commercial pilots longer breaks between flights.

Commercial pilots will get a minimum 10 hour rest period between flights.

They'll be limited in the number of flights they fly daily and weekly.

The rules put the burden on the pilot to speak up if they don't feel up to flying.

"Every pilot has a personal responsibility to arrive at work fit for duty," explained acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The Airline Pilots' Association is happy with the new rules, except that they don't apply to cargo pilots, who Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants included voluntarily.

The rules take effect in two years, and are the first to address pilot fatigue in 25 years.

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