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UPS pilots complained of fatigue before fatal A300 crash

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The two UPS pilots killed in a crash in Birmingham, Alabama, complained of fatigue just before the accident, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report says the cockpit voice recorder on the UPS Airbus A300 captured Captain Cerea Beal and first officer Shanda Fanning discussing how tired they were while in flight. (airguideonline.com) 更多...

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preacher1
preacher1 4
So much for the economic difference between pax carrier pilots and cargo folks
preacher1
preacher1 4
And as an added note, most cargo, just by it's nature has to move at night, which puts those hours 100% opposite to a persons body clock. We shouldn't have let $ get in the way of rulemaking.

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preacher1
preacher1 2
Best I remember, the NTSB wanted the rules to apply across the board, but the FAA shut it down after pressure from industry groups. I'm flying on memory here. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
rad2
Every job is a choice. There are reasons to work odd hours. I worked the midnight shift for years because if fit my family situation. The most important thing about working the night hours, forget about doing the stuff normal people do. Again, one enters this world by choice. Don't like the hours, find another job and that is also part of the choice.

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THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Hey, you got a promotion...
preacher1
preacher1 2
Yeah, he'll get the big head now. LOL
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Just one rat?
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Could be an NTSB investigator not otherwise occupied with investigations while home on unepxected paid vacation letting details slip, when questioned by reporter.

Could be someone with insider info or someone speculating over potential cause or potential conversation, though given the source of the report, the details were likely fact checked, so I'd go with someone who was participating in the investigation, or access to the info. So --> NTSB investigator, or someone from UPS with an interest in changing the work rules, or someone with an interest in collective bargaining.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Could be one of them working without pay
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Actually it more likely one of them not working with pay (retroactive and after the fact, but pay for no work nonetheless).
bbabis
bbabis 2
If fatigue was discussed, then the crew should have briefed to watch each other for any signs and taken anti-fatigue measures. A few deep drags on the O2 mask @ 100% usually worked for me and a quick jerk on the controls while exclaiming "Oh @&it!" got the other pilot's attention going again. The boxes won't complain.
ray4445
Roger, I don't think you are aware of what being a Night Freightdog entails.
Thanks to the FAA and Companies that talk safety but when it comes to crew
scheduling don't walk the walk - most pilots are at least challenged to stay
alert and conduct safe flight operations. Pt 121 freight operations are being
conducted at most 50% of the time with adequate rest and fully safe and
professionally.
projectabove35000feet
PATFTF PATFTF 1
Well then...
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Here's an older crankyflier post that discusses the change in the pilot rest rules, the carve out for cargo, and the adverse impact particularly on smaller cities that are served mostly with short hops, and the regional airliners that service them, as the work hours decrease with the number of legs worked in the day.

http://crankyflier.com/2012/01/02/new-pilot-rest-rules-may-be-good-but-cargo-pilots-and-small-cities-should-be-worried/

Although, I'd expect that if total duty hours and so total hours flown per day are decreased, then pilots who fly lots of short hops (eg. regional airline pilots) will work shorter days, but would work more days to reach their allowed total work hours and/or the hours needed to pay their bills/ maintain their lifestyle.

The plane needs to stay in service for as many hours as possible in a day. So if pilots' hours are limited per day, the airline will need to use more crews per day. But pilots will also then need to work more days.
hviswanathan
The solution is to automate even more, add altitude sensors to detect altitude and ground terrain to avoid all this but WAIT, all that does is makes it even more complex and we have seen in case of Asiana 214 and AF447 and this UPS accident that more automation isn't always the best thing. Classic chicken and egg story.Eventually I do think it will be pilotless aircraft (we do it with NASA) but it might be a few more years away.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, you are correct on even more complexity. I just don't think everybody will get comfortable in a pilotless craft. Drone or pilotless no pax AC is one thing, but I just don't see 150+ people being comfortable with it. It might even get to the automated point but I think somebody monitoring in the pointy end will always be a necessity.
preacher1
preacher1 2
And as an added note, don't we already have some of those things called altimeters and radar. Ain't none of them any good if they are not looked at.
jbermo
jbermo 1
Thales Avionics (Airbus avionic supplier) is now working on just that. It's called Cockpit 3.0 - Near future airplanes will still have a two pilot crew, but the FO will be ground base. Two in control - 1 inflight and 1 on the ground,

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/farnborough-air-show/2010-07-18/next-gen-cockpits-will-be-single-pilot-posits-thales
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
Back side of the clock flying was once known as the red eye flights. Don't see too much of that, vis a vis, the air carriers these days. Freight is another story. In my days of freight flying in the venerable, lowly esteemed Lear 20's and Falcon 20's, that was the norm. In my experience, as a part timer with no schedule, caffeine and adrenaline kept you going, or you crashed. Didn't happen that often. Usually they crashed because they were dip s--ts. This crew flew for UPS. Back side of the clock, the norm. Rats or no rats, CFIT is a clear and concise crew error, absent any mechanical failure. If you didn't want to fly in bad weather, or at night, somebody else would. It's called a job. They had one. If you don't bitch about it, you probably aint got one. I guess it might go without saying, all my freight flying was 135, with some very loose duty time rules in 1987-----.
preacher1
preacher1 2
UPS and FedEx are both on the back side of the clock as well as a host of smaller ones and those are well known work times before you sign on. Sure they pay the big bucks and sure, that is grueling over the course of time, BUT, cargo and parcel, by it's very nature, moves at night. The times won't change in spite of all the ALPA protests and safety committees. It is what it is and all the gripeing in the world won't change it. No fun but you can't have it both ways. As you say, gripe and leave it and someone else will do it. That's just life.
Musketeer1
Musketeer1 0
All I'm hearing is boo hoo; poor pilots and long, late hours. No one is forcing these guys to work for a freight company. Personally if I could work for any airline in the U.S. right now you better believe it is going to be UPS or FedEx. I could keep my eyes open for a couple hundred grand a year.

On another note, I don't remember the last night flight I've been on where I didn't put "...yawn...I'm tired" on the CVR.

Too bad we lost these guys; and too bad for their families and the company.
MANBOI
MANBOI -1
Drugs? Sabotage? Carbon Monoxide? Pressure leak?

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THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Years of doing medevacs in the middle of the night has me wide awake 2 AM at home, and sleepy at 10 AM... That crap takes its toll on you!!!
joecarello
Joe Carello 1
I concur. I used to fly for a UPS feeder, and the 7pm to 9am schedule 5 days a week was grueling. After a year I felt like a zombie and my health was terrible.

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THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Don't forget Part 135 and the double clocks. Now if anything will screw you up, that will!!! But the FAA turns a blind eye to that. It is correct in that it will only change with a major body count, sadly no 777's or 380's in 135...
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well there is some big iron in 135, with most being in 90 though, but generally when a company can afford such aircraft as that, a pilot don't really get whammed with all that. Most of the 121's have got the true charter business sewn up anyway.
joecarello
Joe Carello 2
The FAA rules of 14 hr max duty days would be OK if they were used in that way, as a max. But companies trying to squeeze profits run everything at the absolute max, and the 14 hr (16 on reduced rest mins) duty day becomes the standard. And that's the problem. I once worked 47 14 hr shifts in a row.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Dang, my son right now is working night dispatch and is working 4 on, 4 off, 12 hour shifts. At times, such as this coming week, he has to cover vacations and will work 9 days straight. He has done that before and is a zombie when he's done. I can't imagine 47 shifts.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Don't think he means 47 days in a row. Just that every time he worked, his shift was always happened to be scheduled for the maximum permissible (47 times or so).

This ALPA report from 9 years ago is a bit fated and has a few axes to grind, but provided a decent overview with many if the issues facing cargo carriers.

Talks about harmonizing flight hour rules between scheduled passenger and suuplemental cargo carriers. But no less important is the harmonizing of safety riles between US carriers and foreign carriers operating within the US.

One thing that must be considered is the need to hold foreign carriers and foreign pilots to the same standards that we expect for US part 121 carriers. If we create work rules that are very restrictive either through collective bargaining or regulation, but that only apply to US carriers, but not overseas carriers flying into the US, then we give those foreign carriers an undue competitive advantage and a license to operate unsafely, or to a standard below what we expect of our own pilots.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
* a bit dated

but many issues still relevant nearly a decade later.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Forgot the link:
http://www2.alpa.org/alpa/DesktopModules/ViewAnnDocument.aspx?DocumentID=5524
joecarello
Joe Carello 1
You are correct about the foreign carrier issue, would be terrible for it to go the way of the shipping industries, with foreign flagged vessels doing the bulk of the business. There sure is a lot of lobbying to make that happen though.
joecarello
Joe Carello 1
No, I meant 47 days in a row, I was flying single pilot milt engine IFR in Alaska. Was not illegal because I got my 13 days off per quarter. They weren't night shifts though, that would've been terrible.
preacher1
preacher1 1
As this thread started with this morning, Cargo, by nature, moves at night. That fact is known when you take the job. It is a known fact that night shift is totally against the "BODY" clock and you never really get used to it. That is part of the big bucks. While economics should not have been used in the rest decision here while back, I don't know if an extra hour will make that much difference.
MANBOI
MANBOI 1
None of that was a problem? The female pilots were discussing on the CVR during the flight about how tired they were. They may have been tired due to exhaustion or from drugs, sabotage, carbon monoxide or lack of pressurization. Those are things that make you tired and perform slowly or pass out. If you set the autopilot for the decent and pass out the plane will do what it did, descend to the pre-selected altitude or approach then mush into the ground.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
The article said that they were discussing these issues right before the approach. Seems to me if they were that tired, they should have been flying the airplane, not having a discussion. Not to be anal, but that damn sterile cockpit is there for a reason!!!
preacher1
preacher1 2
Reckon that's like 214. They had it all stabilized and automated and weren't monitoring. You are not being anal on the sterile cockpit; it don't matter if you have been in someplace 1000 times before. Those hours are rough but they are known in advance. As the comment says above, you have to change your lifestyle and a lot of folks don't.

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PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Gravity is funny that way -- very reliable, and never takes a break.

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preacher1
preacher1 3
Well, he can say it again if he wants to. Timing on his post was 9 hours ago and you are just now saying something?

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