Fred Lewis Posted December 3, 2012 Report Share Posted December 3, 2012 The crux of the issue is that we are not in the airline business. Duty time to us is not the same as duty time to them. We fly low altitude and generally only work Day VFR. Much of my duty time over the years has been spent fishing... or napping... or taking pictures... Apparently, the helicopter pilot's job as one with plenty of leisure time during which relaxation can be pursued. Yet the second quote below characterizes sitting around to be 'far more tiring'. Which is it to be? I think the job that most closely resembles a helicopter pilot's duties is that of a heavy equipment operator, particularly someone running an excavator. So much depends on the hand-eye coordination and the motor skills of the operator or pilot. An airplane (of any size) doesn't require anywhere near the "attention" a helicopter does. This causes a pilot to stay engaged and really does reduce fatigue effects. It is far more tiring to sit around waiting to fly than it is to actually fly a helicopter in my experience. Airline pilots may not take kindly to the contention that their job does not require 'anywhere near the "attention" a helicopter does'. If the writer intended to alienate a large and powerful segment of Canada's pilot population, he could not have done a better job, but more important aspectsof helicopter flying are raised here. Longlining and mountain flying are common helicopter activities which really have no analogues in the fixed-wing world and both of them are very demanding. Powerful arguments can be made that because of this the FDT limitations for helicopter pilots should be more restrictive than those for fixed-wing pilots. There are also the issues of excessively long tours of duty and unacceptable camps. Even though some operators may favour their crews with 28 day rotations, it is the exception rather than the rule, and even 28 days is far too long. While some camps are unacceptable, they may be endurable for some period of time, such as the 15 days proposed as the maximum tour of duty in the new regulations. Are there any reports of fatigue causing incidents or accidents within the heavy equipment world? I honestly don't know but that's where I would start to look if I was with TC and wanted a model that was close to the hours, shift and type of work performed by helicopters (obviously I am not talking about scheduled helicopter operations, or EMS, or those types of jobs that make up less than 10% of helicopter operations in Canada). When the Transportation Safety Board examines the question of fatigue as an accident factor, it refers to the present Flight and Duty Time Regulations and if none of those have been contravened, no finding of fatigue is expressed. Unfortunately, the existing regulations are not based on fatigue science and so there almost certianly have been accidents in which fatigue was a factor. The new regulations are based on fatigue science and when they become the law, a reduction in accidents will be seen. A compilation of accidents has been made at Canadian Helicopter Pilots Association (Unincorporated) - Accidents which would not have occurred had the new FTD regulations been in effect and had the pilots in question adherred to these new regulations. Eight these accidents were fatal. To ignore this fact is to say that the loss of a few lives in the interest of the bottom line is an acceptable point of view. It is not. During the Working Group deliberations the airline union representatives pointed out several times that helicopter pilots were not represented during the process. The fact that there were five helicopter pilots there made no difference to them because we were all management, or had been appointed by management or, in the case of Fred Jones of HAC, had been "tainted" by association with management and ownership. I found this offensive but you really are powerless when you stare down the barrel of the union gun with the Chair of the Working Group also being the President of that union. What about those who really are powerless when they stare down the barrel of the management gun?. It must also be remembered that no pilots of non-scheduled on-demand fixed-wing pilots were at the table when FDT regulations were discussed. Their views must also be taken into consideration. There were two chairs of the working group, the second being a TC representative who had no interest one way or the other in the outcome of the debate. There are online survey tools that guarantee anonymity (although this vote is just for pilots so a name and licence number would need to be provided but "we" the survey holders would not get to see that) if someone wants to vote but doesn't want their thoughts known publicly, while providing a powerful data collection system that produces relevant and fascinating reports. How can it be guaranteed who sees what? Given the reticence of people in general and helicopter pilots in particular to indentify themselves when addressing issues as contentious as this, will anyone respond if they have even the slightest suspicion that their views may be used against them? Long term readers of this forum will recall the talk some years ago of blacklists and culls. The fear is great of being so classified. The results of any such survey must include the petitioners' names, addresses, employers and position held with those employers if any such petition is to have credibility. Management opinion must be separated from employee opinion. It would help if everyone who posted here identified themselves, which happily seems to be happening more often these days. Will Harmonic_Vibe not post his real name, the company for whom he works and the position he holds there? 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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