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Freewheel

Important - Tc Releases Draft Of New Flight Duty Time Regulations

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Here's a question.

 

From how it's been explained to me, the Canadian government doesn't consider pilots to be "working" (for the purpose of hours worked for the year, averaging, etc) unless we are actively flying. So all the time where we are refueling, flight planning, briefing customers, waiting in the field, inspecting aircraft, etc, we are not actually "working".

 

This is why we aren't paid overtime, despite working 14 hour days throughout the year, while maintenance are considered to be working.

 

Perhaps if we were considered to be working for the whole time we are actually working, there might be better conditions? Unless I'm way off the mark and my employer is telling me the wrong thing.

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I believe the goal is to make this industry safer. Accident rates have remained the same for over a decade. The majority of accidents can be traced back to the meat servo which is very prone to fatigue.

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There is no doubt their intentions are good; but the road to #### is paved with good intentions. If they were really interested in making regulations that make our industry safer, don't you think it might be helpful to have a clue about what actually goes on in our industry.

 

The danger of letting the uninformed make regulations and/or policy is that they may actually increase risk (unknowingly). More often than not that is exactly what happens and may be happening in this instance...airline pilots and unions have no clue what happens in the Canadian helicopter sector. The same is true with most at Transport Canada these days.

 

Here is Director of Standards (and co-chair of fatigue working group) commenting on how flight time is being logged for most commercial flights in Canada: "The CARs does not state that flight time shall be the same as air time, however the majority of flights conducted by commercial helicopter operators are logged as the same time."

 

Then in the next breath: "The reality is that helicopter flights do not end when the helicopter touches a surface, but rather the moment it comes to rest at the end of the flight as per the meaning within Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CARs. Within your scenario, flight time might continue while the helicopter is in contact with the surface but still under control by the pilot in command. If the intent is to not terminate the flight at this time and where there is no intent to shut down the helicopter, then the flight time should continue to be logged. "

 

Does this sound like someone who knows anything about our industry? I can only assume she figures most Heli flights have 1 takeoff and landing per start. I don't know, I would think understanding how flight time is logged and should be logged in our industry would be a prerequisite to be the co-chair of a committee tasked with changing flight time limits. Maybe if she would have allowed input from a few others (other than airline union with ulterior motives), she'd have a better understanding about what really goes on. Her full response can be seen here:

http://forums.verticalmag.com/index.php?showtopic=19518?&page=7

 

HAC was not the only association opposed. 8 other national aviation associations also were opposed including ATAC and CBAA. These associations (that could have brought valuable insight) and their input were largely ignored and TC allowed an airline union to make rules that affect our industry.

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Here's a question.

 

From how it's been explained to me, the Canadian government doesn't consider pilots to be "working" (for the purpose of hours worked for the year, averaging, etc) unless we are actively flying. So all the time where we are refueling, flight planning, briefing customers, waiting in the field, inspecting aircraft, etc, we are not actually "working".

 

This is why we aren't paid overtime, despite working 14 hour days throughout the year, while maintenance are considered to be working.

 

Perhaps if we were considered to be working for the whole time we are actually working, there might be better conditions? Unless I'm way off the mark and my employer is telling me the wrong thing.

wow really? Thats pretty low there is no way I would do that.

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Any thought on how this will affect low timers? With potentially more pilots needed, perhaps a few more low time guys will be able to get established in the industry.

It might give time guys some extra opportunities since more pilots will definitely be required, but in the long run your ability to gain hours and make money will be reduced. You might want to get out while you still can...lol

FYI the likelihood of you being pressured to take your days off on the job just went up. If you're willing to do that regularly (and share your tent with your snoring engineer or client) you'll have a leg up on your competition. SAFETY FIRST.

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And if you can learn to move the drill along the way, the client will prefer to have you at site than the experienced guy who wants to flown home for his days off and complains about sharing accommodations. Oh yeah, these rules will be much safer.

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What was the push back from industry decades ago when our current flight/duty times were implemented? I wasn't around then, but often hear the old farts, ooops I mean more experienced pilots telling stories about flying all day long, every day for 3 months straight.

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We flew, and flew, and flew till we either had an accident, couldn,t get up in the morning because we were still drunk, or the rare few who made it till the end of the season, only to file for divorce.

AHHHHHHHHHH, the good old days, right!

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I'm not reviewing the proposed changes right now, but from I remember reading, there wasn't much change to suitable accommodations definition either. Meaning: no need for single occupancy accommodations (when such a room is not available). So, with more aircrew at site (and customers having less money because of increased aircraft/aircrew rates) you'll likely be asked (pressured) to spend this "time free from duty" in quarters with other aircrew ( or worse clients/passengers).

 

Of course, this would never dawn on an airline pilot (who rarely meets his passengers and stays in hotels) or union. That is why all other associations were in joint dissent with the working group (who mostly ignored what they had to say). These proposals were driven by airline union, who have no idea what you do. How could they assess the risks when making these rules without understanding our industry. This contrary to the principles of SMS and the mandate of the rule making process.

 

Here is the joint dissent document form ATAC, CBAA, HAC and others if you haven't seen it. It was released in Jan 2013 (prior to the proposed amendments)

http://www.cbaa-acaa.ca/en/component/jdownloads/finish/4/153

Freewheel " I remember reading, there wasn't much change to suitable accommodations definition either. Meaning: no need for single occupancy accommodations (when such a room is not available). So, with more aircrew at site (and customers having less money because of increased aircraft/aircrew rates) you'll likely be asked (pressured) to spend this "time free from duty" in quarters with other aircrew ( or worse clients/passengers). "

 

Freewheel hit the nail on the head about accommodations. Under the proposed definition of "suitable accommodations" there will rarely, if ever, be a single occupancy room available. So TC should get serious and delete the caveat from that definition. Then if an operator can't provide "suitable accommodations" let him prove it to TC, in his application for a waiver. That would guarantee to keep the riff raff out of your bunk!

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What hasn't changed, and I hope won't, is the PIC's prerogative to pull the plug anytime he/she feels safety is an issue. Most places I've worked in the past will back their pilots up 100% on that.

 

Regardless of the quality of accommodations, if I can't get sufficient rest, I simply don't fly. I've been billeted in a private room with air conditioning and even my own bathroom...above the hotel bar open until 3am...and refused to fly early the next day. Some of the best accommodations I've had were in a weatherhaven shared with my engineer...

 

I pulled the safety card twice this summer. In one case, I flew back to town every night (0.6 return) because camp accommodations were inadequate. In the other, we were going to be two hours from town and I warned the customer that if accommodations were inadequate I'd be pulling the plug. They made alternate arrangements, and instead of sleeping in pup tents in polar bear country, we stayed in weatherhavens at an outfitters camp nearby. I don't know many people who sleep well spooning with a loaded shotgun... :lol:

 

Any pilot with a backbone can usually make the customer understand the importance of crew rest. There are ways of communicating with the customer without it getting ugly.

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