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Fred Lewis

Flight Duty Time Limitations In Other Jurisdictions

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Working for 30 or 42 days before taking a day off in most cases is not healthy. Even more so when you do 14 hrs each day. Yes, we all get greedy (pilots and management), but change is coming and if it reduces accident rates, well , that is a good thing.

 

The concept that we will all go broke is only based on the fact that we as an industry really seem to enjoy screwing ourselves.

 

There is absolutely no reason that rates and pay cannot increase to cover any additional crewing or time off requirements. It may actually put companies on a more even playing field.......try and lowball a project when you have to provide another pilot, a reduced duty day, and better living conditions.

 

Over the decades we have allowed way too many so called customers to tell us what they will pay for our equipment, and even tell us what they will pay for daily minimums.

 

Not slagging the entire HAC but if my lawyer wrote letters in the style seen from that organization, his *** would have been fired a long time ago.

 

Perhaps radical change is required. The present system certainly hasn’t turned this industry into anything to be sought after. Same equipment and in some cases, the same rates as 20 years ago.

 

And the race to the bottom continues.........

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@ skullcap & vortex:

 

I don't disagree with some of what you, and others, are saying in yours and earlier posts. However, as it appears to me, the method adopted by HAC to get its points across to the WG leaves much to be desired. It's one thing to present a paper by which disagreement is noted and conclusions rebutted. It is quite another to take an entirely negative stand, in complete and utter disagreement with the mandate of the Working Group, in support of what, I'm not exactly sure. I don't think that was quite what the Working Group formulators had in mind when its mandate was written and approved.

 

The word "science" is often mentioned in the HAC submission. I'm wondering what method of "science" was used. The "science" being referred to appears to be that of studies by "qualified individual(s)". Are there other "sciences" that could be used to contribute to the equation? Has a study of accidents/incidents been added into the mix? If not, why not?

 

Is the present method of collection of accident/incident data able/not able to contribute to the information required for the group to form its conclusions? If present accident/incident statistics are of no value, why not? Could/should the methodology be changed to make the data more meaningful for these types of studies? If not, why not?

 

Given the seriousness of the nature of the Fatigue Working Group and its mandate, and the affect many of its conclusions might have on the viability of the helicopter industry, I'd say that its incumbent on HAC and its participants to be a positive contributor to the Working Group. Obviously, someone, somewhere, believes there is a problem. Continually saying that there isn't won't remove the perception that there is a problem. Perhaps time could be better spent proving that there is no problem, rather than denying that a problem exists.

 

As I said, I'm no expert, and your mileage will always vary.

 

Good luck.

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I'm hesitant to actually join this fray as it's starting to feel like parliament, with "critics" simply descrying whatever the "others" are doing without actually speaking to what they would do.

 

However, my household growing up was devoid of sissies so here goes:

 

I have attended two of the current round of TC Flight/Duty Time Working Group meetings. They are, to be honest, excruciating. They are completely dominated by the airline unions. TC, who are supposed to moderate, really could be absent without impact. The early meetings established that regardless of one's thoughts on the limits on FDT imposed by CARs, there was general agreement that the structure of CARs was lacking, with silos of information hidden in various sections. It seems every time you think you've found your answer in CARs there is an exception, a notwithstanding clause or another section you need to find. Editing these inconsistencies out seemed as if it was going to be a welcome adjunct to the FDT deliberations.

 

When something that is established is being challenged (such as the Constitution), the onus is on the challenger(s) to explain why change is necessary. This must be for there will never be universal agreement that something actually needs changing. A case needs to be put forward and then proven, before change can be implemented and accepted.

 

In the early meetings of the current round of FDT WG there was agreement made on the need of sound, proven, scientifically supported facts to create whatever the new structure of FDT would be. Everyone has war stories about how "it used to be" or "the time I spent 3 months straight in one camp" or "when I was starting out we used to...", blah blah blah, ad nauseum. In the absence of any evidence that the current FDT were problematic from the perspective of safety, or from any other viewpoint, why the need for change? Here we get into the realm of opinion. The most common statement I have heard made is that Canada has "the laxest standards in the world", or even "Canada is the backwater of the global helicopter industry". I have heard both those statements made and I take offense to them. For one thing, Part 91 in the US has much greater allowances than what we're allowed here in the snap frozen North, and if we're a backwater, we're a backwater that has pioneered most of the things that helicopters actually do on this planet. The strongest argument that has been put forward by anyone, including in this discussion here on Vertical, that changes to the FDT actually need to be made is that "everyone else around the world is doing it differently and has much stricter limits". So what?

 

Canada was developed by air, first through bush planes and then (and still) by helicopters. There are places in Europe that have never had a utility helicopter industry. There are places all over the world (I haven't done a survey but I might because I believe it is a majority) that have NEVER had a civilian aviation industry until recently. Aviation was, and still is, in many countries, the sole purview of the military. The evolution of the Canadian industry has been to expand the envelope until the limits seem to have been reached and then draw back to where it's workable. This has been accomplished over decades by the legends of the Canadian (therefore the World's) Helicopter Industry. This is not the case in Europe, or Africa or Asia. The point I am making is that Europe did not analyze reams of utility helicopter data and come up with their new FDT requirements (In fact they have reserved the entire section on helicopter usage for later). General scientific analysis on fatigue and rest and probability have all been factored in, but to say that EASA (the European Agency responsible for the production of their standards) is somehow "ahead" of Canada, simply because they have imposed tighter restrictions is a huge oversimplification. They do not do what we do so why are we looking to them for direction?

 

The new EASA standards were discussed at one of the WG meetings and it was agreed they would be examined and mined for things that might benefit the Canadian industry. However, in a scene that would be more in place in a film about the development of Soviet Russia, the unions and the airlines met, in private, before one of the meetings this Spring and agreed to try and drive the broad acceptance of the EASA standards. This is not speculation. This is fact that was admitted in the meeting. HAC protested as did some other stakeholders. Raindrops in a monsoon. In one fell swoop, which took less than 10 minutes, it was "agreed" by a majority of people at the table (that majority had already met in private before the meeting) to scrap CARs completely and adapt the EASA standards. I am still shocked at how little protest there was from anyone but HAC. TC just nodded and smiled politely. And that was that. No more CARs even being considered in the deliberations. And why did the the unions and the airlines meet since they're supposed to be diametrically opposed in their desires? It was explained quite succinctly by one of the airline representatives (in private of course)... The collective agreements they have with the unions are for the most part already more restrictive than what is being proposed, and what is contained in the EASA standards, therefore there is real danger of an upstart, not bound by those obligations to the unions, competing with the existing airlines with far less labour cost. The airlines are demanding that the Government of Canada prevent this through legislation, thereby levelling the playing field, and the unions are jubilant (if a little sleepy from the meeting-induced fatigue). This is fact.

 

One point that was made by one of the airline union reps over and over as HAC was raising protests (and the protests were strategic, not obstructionary... The idea is to get the protest on the record and try to have TC treat helicopters separately from airlines, rather than go along with the "majority", which consists of 705 operators and unions) was that we (HAC) had no pilot representation. The fact that everyone from HAC (3 of us) were pilots was discounted because we were all in management. I find this to be insulting. I am a pilot. I still fly and am willing to go to camp and do whatever I need to do to forward the interests of the company I work for so that the company will look after my interests. My wife is a pilot. Two of my brothers are pilots. We are all in agreement on this issue. With few exceptions every pilot I know feels the same way (and the exceptions usually take exception to most of my opinions... such is life!) and doesn't think the FDT limits need much in the way of anything. I brought this up in the WG meeting and one of the union reps looked me in the eye and said "this is about safety!". This is very common in these meetings. If you have a different viewpoint than you must not care. I, for one, find this aggravating.

 

Rather than a change of rules, what about focussing on the disregard and abuse of the rules we have already? Clients not wanting us to bend the rules and providing proper accommodation and food is a waaaaaay more important consideration than the current FDT. In step with this are Operators who will follow the existing rules and stand up for their field crews, and I believe most Operators are in this category. The ones who aren't are usually the ones who are charging less, running a very narrow margin and can't afford to say no or they'll likely be out of business. That's a vicious cycle but the market will eventually correct it, at least for individual companies.

 

So, let's back up. Where is the science in all of this? Experts were hired by TC and many papers on fatigue and performance were examined and consulted. Dr. Gregory Belenky, of Washington State University, who's considered by many to be the top researcher in the world on the subject of sleep, fatigue, performance, recovery ,etc, actually attended some meetings and is involved. But you would never know it to see the direction of deliberations. Dr. Belenky was asked point-blank if a pilot could work a 14-hr duty day indefinitely as long as he had opportunity for 8 hours of sleep each night. He was unequivocal in his response - "yes" he said. He has a lot of data to back this up. In fact, all the data on the effects of sleep deprivation, cumulative fatigue, performance degradation, recovery from fatigue, etc, all have some things in common. Without exception that I have been able to find (so far) all the studies have looked at extreme cases of wakeful vs. resting periods. The control groups (who are consistent in never showing any effects) are usually allowed 8-9 hrs of rest while the other groups get 2 or 3 or 5 hrs a day. Those groups show performance degradation. Those studies are cited by the airline unions. They are not relevant since the groups in the studies that don't show any degradation are getting less rest than the average airline pilot... believe me. But don't believe me about the studies, google it for yourself and read as much as you can.

 

The meeting where the EASA standards were "agreed" to be the target for the FDT WG was the meeting where Cumulative Duty Hours was also introduced. Unlike most in Canada, I have worked under this system overseas. I hate it but that's my personal opinion. I was on a job that consisted of a lot of standby in case of medevac. The duty hours accumulate. The client wanted to go flying but I had reached a limit on Duty Hours. Having not hit the starter in over 2 weeks I informed him that I needed a day off. True story. I worked under JAR ops for almost 3 years. As a pilot. Not as an owner or whoever these (seemingly) evil people we have running HAC are. 1 day off in 7 sucks unless you're working out of your house and you're still being paid for it. And just because I would "like" to have a day off in 7 doesn't mean that there's safety benefit. To be honest I'd like to stay home and get paid anyway - I think we can all agree that nothing could be safer for us and our families than to all stay home and get paid anyway... I think I'll suggest that at the next FDT meeting!

 

Kidding aside, I would like to say a couple of things about HAC. First off I served on the board for a year and had to vacate my seat because I changed companies. I had no idea how much work went on behind the scenes until I was actually involved with it. Until you sit at the table and attend the telecons and read the material you'll have no clue. It is a volunteer position with no recompense of any kind, especially when the time involved is considered. Does HAC and its activities benefit "owners"? Of course it does because without owners and entrepreneurial-types in general, there is no industry. Most owners in this business started off as pilots and/or engineers so we have a very egalitarian industry. Are some owners a-holes? Of course, but they were a-holes when they were pilots or engineers I'm pretty sure. I have also served on HAC Committees and am pretty happy to have been involved with some of the progress we have made in certain areas. Of course people criticize what we have done, but they are always welcome to show up and voice these opinions during the committee deliberations. They never do. No input. No effort. Just criticism after the fact.

 

HV

 

P.S. Fred Jones is now on his third Flight Duty Time Working Group. He was involved in the '90s with the development of the current system. The one that some people seem to think should just be tossed in the trash as having no merit because they're "doing it different" in Europe... Where they also where lederhosen I might add...

 

P.P.S. A lot of the push from the unions in these meetings is to have time of day carry more weight in the consideration of fatigue. There is a phenomenon that everyone experiences which has been dubbed a "window of Circadian Low" or WOCL for short. The idea being that your reflexes are slower, your attentiveness is less and you really should be sleeping. So the idea is that if you start before 06:00, say at 05:59, you would have a more restrictive Duty Day than if you started at 06:00. Maybe an hour less... maybe 3 hours less... It all depends on how the union negotiation goes... oops, I mean what the Transport Canada Flight Duty Time Working Group decides.

 

The problem with WOCL is that it isn't bound by clocks. If you work night shift all the time you'll adapt and your WOCL will be during the day. So how can they make such prescriptive announcements?

 

I have a solution... No less than two (2) studies I read showed that the clearest indicator of you being in your WOCl was rectal temperature... It is incredibly accurate. I think the direction we, as an industry, need to go is clear... I no longer want to fly on an airline unless I can be assured the pilot has a rectal probe installed that is constantly monitoring the likelihood of him entering his WOCL... And if it detects this an alarm or stimulating device is activated (shock collar?) to ensure full wakefullness is restored.

 

This is after all, about safety!

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I'm hesitant to actually join this fray as it's starting to feel like parliament, with "critics" simply descrying whatever the "others" are doing without actually speaking to what they would do.

Max duty day = 11 hrs.

Max flight hrs/day = 7.

Max hrs/5 consecutive days = 30.

Max tour of duty = 14 days.

Min days off = 1 for each day worked.

 

However, my household growing up was devoid of sissies so here goes:

Hopefully this does not imply that anyone who does not meet the poster's standards are sissies.

 

I have attended two of the current round of TC Flight/Duty Time Working Group meetings. They are, to be honest, excruciating. They are completely dominated by the airline unions. TC, who are supposed to moderate, really could be absent without impact.

The adversarial system, which is used in Canada, is a legal system where two advocates represent their party's positions before an impartial person or group of people, usually a jury or judge, who attempt to determine the truth of the case.

 

For one thing, Part 91 in the US has much greater allowances than what we're allowed here in the snap frozen North

The rules in the USA are about to change also.

 

The strongest argument that has been put forward by anyone, including in this discussion here on Vertical, that changes to the FDT actually need to be made is that "everyone else around the world is doing it differently and has much stricter limits". So what?

It means that a large number of intelligent and knowledgeable people are doing what they think is right for both the flying public and pilots.

 

The evolution of the Canadian industry has been to expand the envelope until the limits seem to have been reached and then draw back to where it's workable. This has been accomplished over decades by the legends of the Canadian (therefore the World's) Helicopter Industry. This is not the case in Europe, or Africa or Asia.

In both Africa and Australia both fixed wing and helicopters have been instrumental in development.

 

General scientific analysis on fatigue and rest and probability have all been factored in, but to say that EASA (the European Agency responsible for the production of their standards) is somehow "ahead" of Canada, simply because they have imposed tighter restrictions is a huge oversimplification. They do not do what we do so why are we looking to them for direction?

They do precisely what we do. They fly helicopters.

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However, in a scene that would be more in place in a film about the development of Soviet Russia, the unions and the airlines met, in private, before one of the meetings this Spring and agreed to try and drive the broad acceptance of the EASA standards. This is not speculation. This is fact that was admitted in the meeting.

Please explain why this is illegal or immoral. The airlines and the unions meeting is only a meeting between employer and employees. Such a thing is unlikely to happen between helicopter employers and their employees who have at best an at-will employment arrangement are almost certainly unwilling to voice their heartfelt sentiments on a matter such as this.

 

The collective agreements they have with the unions are for the most part already more restrictive than what is being proposed, and what is contained in the EASA standards, therefore there is real danger of an upstart, not bound by those obligations to the unions, competing with the existing airlines with far less labour cost.

This has not happened because airline pilots will always insist on parity and will organize if they do not get it.

 

 

The idea is to get the protest on the record and try to have TC treat helicopters separately from airlines, rather than go along with the "majority", which consists of 705 operators and unions) was that we (HAC) had no pilot representation. The fact that everyone from HAC (3 of us) were pilots was discounted because we were all in management. I find this to be insulting.

Three pilots, whose interest is compromised by their management involvement, can not speak for a few thousand others.

 

Dr. Belenky was asked point-blank if a pilot could work a 14-hr duty day indefinitely as long as he had opportunity for 8 hours of sleep each night. He was unequivocal in his response - "yes" he said. He has a lot of data to back this up.

And what if they do not get 8 hours, or they do not get 8 good hours, or they do not get 8 hours consistently? The worst case scenario must be allowed for in this sort of situation.

 

Does HAC and its activities benefit "owners"? Of course it does because without owners and entrepreneurial-types in general, there is no industry.

Reality is precisely the reverse. Without pilots and engineers there is no industry.

 

P.S. Fred Jones is now on his third Flight Duty Time Working Group. He was involved in the '90s with the development of the current system.

It must always be remembered that two Freds are better than one.

 

I have a solution... No less than two (2) studies I read showed that the clearest indicator of you being in your WOCl was rectal temperature... It is incredibly accurate. I think the direction we, as an industry, need to go is clear... I no longer want to fly on an airline unless I can be assured the pilot has a rectal probe installed that is constantly monitoring the likelihood of him entering his WOCL... And if it detects this an alarm or stimulating device is activated (shock collar?) to ensure full wakefullness is restored.

This is ridiculous.

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Ridiculous??????????

 

It's about safety Fred!!!!!!! Ha hah ha.

 

I think it's a great idea. Don't you want to know those guys up front arent in a window of circadian low? I don't think taht's any hardship at all to have a teeny little probe installed. It might even be fun.

 

And who said two Freds are better then one?

 

Also, I think HV meant he wasn't a sissy so he was going to post even though he knew you'd react like you did. He probably regrets it now tho ha ha ha.

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P5, I have a news flash for you! The helicopter industry is a business like any other business, the owners take financial risks to make money! Why that disturbs you is beyond my comprehension. They aren't in business for your personal gratification, shocking but true.

 

A company that steps all over their employees will suffer financial losses, it doesn't take an rocket scientist to figure that out. I work for money it sure isn't for the chicks, all I usually get to fly is juggies, riggers and drillers etc. etc..

 

I am not an owner or a manager, you couldn't pay me enough to put up with the egos in this industry. ( including my own)

 

If you are not happy with the way things are leave or try and fix it, there are no other options! But quit your whining, and make an adult decision and quit blaming everyone for your misfortune..........

 

 

Im not blaming anybody for anything! Only trying pass on some of the deficiencies that need to be dealt with. HAC aint gonna do it! Blatent violations of the Canadian Labour Code??

 

Come now! Crap wages! What is with the bullshit psychology word mannipulation game trip games with seasonal/contract/ full time shaft the guy in the fall.. Thought is was a full time Job?

 

(edited by twinnie..)! Open your eyes! HAC will not support guys getting shafted?

 

P5

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My understanding is that the HAC is just fighting to keep the FDT rules the same as they are now. If fatigue is the big contributor to accidents then FDT should be changed. If its not, why are changes proposed?

 

"I" think that the airline union has proposed some changes that "they" feel makes the industry safer. And since we always have been painted with their same brush, we always end up playing by their rules.

 

Anybody remember the Dangerous Goods world and their rules? Airline made and enforced, and we have to play.

 

Are the present rules for us unsafe? Some would argue yes, many would argue not. But these flight duty limitations were not, are not in place because of operators wishes.

 

It was said at HAC, that whatever happens in the FARs', JAR's and whatever other _ _R's out there, that TC will just rubber stamp them into existence for us.

 

That is what the fight is about.

 

This is NOT operators trying to work us to death, take unfair advantage of pilots and engineers, (wait till the new rules for engineers are in place!) but is our organization (HAC in my mind) trying to do something for the CANADIAN HELICOPTER INDUSTRY that the rest of the world is trying to change. And most of it being pushed by some 747 Captain making a gazzillion dollars a year, and thinking he's working too hard, at 2 - 3 shifts a month? give me a break!

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Now, if I accept the arguement of what is good for the Airline indusrty, as being good for us (helicopter industry)... I'd be very careful about advancing any rectal probe proposal. As it then becomes not a matter of if we are going to take it up the a**, but when.

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