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Flight Duty Time Limitations In Other Jurisdictions


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In Australia, where the flight crew includes not more than 2 pilots for other than aerial agricultural operations into which category helicopter pilots appear to fall, the duty day is limited to 11 hours and the maximum flight hours in 7 days to 30. Pilots are restricted to 90 hours of duty in a 14 day period.

 

In Great Britain, helicopter pilots specifically are limited to 60 hours of duty in 7 days and 30 hours of flying in 7 days. Helicopter crew members shall not work more than 7 consecutive days.

 

The rules in these two countries are detailed and should be studied to be fully appreciated.

 

The contrast with the Canadian rules is marked. Unless one believes that Australians and the British are silly wimps, to which characterization they would certainly vigorously object, an alternative conclusion is that these rules are carefully thought out with a view to both safety and the pilot’s quality of life.

 

Some Canadian pilots and most if not all Canadian operators will argue that the geographical realities in Canada preclude liberal F&DT regulations such as those in these other two countries. Helicopter flying in Canada is more demanding and more difficult. If this is true, then how can the F&DT rules be more onerous for the pilot? This is a contradiction.

 

In a significant number of cases, the F&DT rules lead to the failure of a pilot’s family life, assuming he can initiate one to begin with. The single most important thing in the life of any woman or man is one’s family. Too often one’s occupation interferes with this. Work to live. Do not live to work.

 

It costs a great deal of money to train to be a helicopter pilot. There are no guarantees of employment or a satisfactory lifestyle at the conclusion of training. If the supply of pilots is a problem for operators, then they must consider training their own pilots and doing what they can to see that their employees can enjoy the sort of life that any human being deserves to have.

 

It is unfortunate the pilots do not have association through which their views, whatever they may be, can be expressed to law makers. HEPAC almost got off the ground and this would have been the instrument through which such representation was accomplished.

 

The operators have such an association in HAC. They lobby the government with vigor and effect. Their website presents their views on F&DT. Their position is skewed in favor of the operator. How considerate of them to allow a pilot to sleep during the day if he cannot get enough of it at night. How considerate of them to allow a pilot 10 hours a day to sleep and contemplate rest, meals and personal hygiene. Ten hours is enough to contemplate these activities but that’s about it. Thirteen hours is more like it. A 35 day tour of duty followed by 7 days off results in 5 times as much time spent at work than with the family. This is wrong. A 14 day tour of duty followed by 14 days off is about right.

 

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."

Lee Iacocca

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In Australia, where the flight crew includes not more than 2 pilots for other than aerial agricultural operations into which category helicopter pilots appear to fall, the duty day is limited to 11 hours and the maximum flight hours in 7 days to 30. Pilots are restricted to 90 hours of duty in a 14 day period.

 

In Great Britain, helicopter pilots specifically are limited to 60 hours of duty in 7 days and 30 hours of flying in 7 days. Helicopter crew members shall not work more than 7 consecutive days.

 

The rules in these two countries are detailed and should be studied to be fully appreciated.

 

The contrast with the Canadian rules is marked. Unless one believes that Australians and the British are silly wimps, to which characterization they would certainly vigorously object, an alternative conclusion is that these rules are carefully thought out with a view to both safety and the pilot’s quality of life.

 

Some Canadian pilots and most if not all Canadian operators will argue that the geographical realities in Canada preclude liberal F&DT regulations such as those in these other two countries. Helicopter flying in Canada is more demanding and more difficult. If this is true, then how can the F&DT rules be more onerous for the pilot? This is a contradiction.

 

In a significant number of cases, the F&DT rules lead to the failure of a pilot’s family life, assuming he can initiate one to begin with. The single most important thing in the life of any woman or man is one’s family. Too often one’s occupation interferes with this. Work to live. Do not live to work.

 

It costs a great deal of money to train to be a helicopter pilot. There are no guarantees of employment or a satisfactory lifestyle at the conclusion of training. If the supply of pilots is a problem for operators, then they must consider training their own pilots and doing what they can to see that their employees can enjoy the sort of life that any human being deserves to have.

 

It is unfortunate the pilots do not have association through which their views, whatever they may be, can be expressed to law makers. HEPAC almost got off the ground and this would have been the instrument through which such representation was accomplished.

 

The operators have such an association in HAC. They lobby the government with vigor and effect. Their website presents their views on F&DT. Their position is skewed in favor of the operator. How considerate of them to allow a pilot to sleep during the day if he cannot get enough of it at night. How considerate of them to allow a pilot 10 hours a day to sleep and contemplate rest, meals and personal hygiene. Ten hours is enough to contemplate these activities but that’s about it. Thirteen hours is more like it. A 35 day tour of duty followed by 7 days off results in 5 times as much time spent at work than with the family. This is wrong. A 14 day tour of duty followed by 14 days off is about right.

 

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."

Lee Iacocca

Good Luck with this one Fred! To expect such a drastic change in the regulations is unrealistic. The CARs have been around for 16 years and TC is still trying to figure out when a pilot should start and finish logging Flight Time.

 

Does anyone find it a little odd that all this time is spent discussing new Flight Time Limits and Duty Time Limits, when it's obvious that pilots still don't clearly understand the basic principle of how to log Flight Time in the first place?

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I fly in Australia during the fire season there. What you've stated Mr. Lewis are the basic regs. There are exceptions for fire work as well as aerial application. In these two types of operations the limitations you stated aren't correct. A little more research prior to a grandstand type of statement would be nice.

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What I should add, to clarify my point, is that in Australia, fire operations, ag work (spraying) and mustering have limitations that are higher than the basic for say someone flying an aircraft for traffic or news reporting. So, like here in Canada, the flight and duty limitations have been altered for operational convenience as well as, I'm sure, financial reasons. The result is that 3 of the operations that generally entail a heavier workload have been given dispensation to increase the pilots work period.

 

If we are to look to other countries for guidance as to how we should structure our own rules and regs, then we had better look at the mindset behind the decision making.

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Fred it is pretty clear that the vast majority of pilots or engineers don't want to form an association or union. It is a subject that keeps coming up, thats the bottom line whether it is right or wrong.

 

A lot of guys work summer fire or winter heli skii contracts and have a short period of time to make enough money to survive between contracts.

 

From what I see in the field a lot if pilots don't even adhere to the 14 hour duty days. I wonder if they know that their insurance becomes null and void if something goes sideways?

 

So we will continue to live with the status quo for many years to come, unless by some miracle we can all start to band together for the betterment of the profession. I am not holding breath......

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I would love to work a 14/14 shift, flying the bush operations that I presently fly. BUT I make 50% of my cash by the the hour. Yes I get mins, but I have to show up. I've worked within and to the letter of the F&DT regs as set forth in CAR's for the last 13 years, most of it with the same operator. I have learned to use them to my advantage. If I make 150 hours...Well Yeah! for me (and my wife). If I don't, well that's what my salary is for. I also chose to live at a base, which means that when times are slow, I can spend a great deal of my tour sitting at home.

 

For us (myself, wife, and company) it is give and take. To restrict my ability to work will cause me more stress than anything else. And I honestly can't see industry paying more to switch out pilots every 7 days, not to mention the costs of hiring more staff to accomodate those regulations. If you want an 11 hour duty day that would mean that almost every machine on fires in Northern AB would have to be double crewed for June and July...and if it isn't flying 13 hours a day, well whats the point?

 

Like I said, for me it is a case of give and take. As with any job, I do indeed get screwed but if it was all roses I'd be running a flower shop. And to be honest if I'm really that tired all I have to do as PIC is make a phone call and say "Hey! It's coming on 30 days and the OT is great but I want to go home". There is something about being "well rested" somewhere in our Ops book for that. Maybe there are Operators out there that will try to tell me when I'm tired, but I don't work for one.

 

Like I said, the present regs as set out can be abused. They can also be judiciously used to your own benefit. You are after all the PIC and as such only you can determine whether or not you are tired, where your duty day starts/ends, and ultimately whether or not you and yours are happy with your present situation.

 

The best example is this...30 day contract 4-6 hours a day out of my own home. Start at 0800. Down at 1700. 150 hours! Happened last year. Another one coming up. And you want me to give up 3 months salary because why? I can't remember feeling any better after that shift LOL! I've also sat along time twiddling my thumbs, but during the last week of my shift suddenly blast off 60 hours. Give and take and interpretation are great tools when using the present regs as is.

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A little more research before a grandstand type statement would be nice. If we are to look to other countries for guidance as to how we should structure our own rules and regs, then we had better look at the mindset behind the decision making.

 

Totally agree. Some of your points have merit Fred but your opening points are weak and appear to be the foundation of your argument.

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