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Important - Tc Releases Draft Of New Flight Duty Time Regulations

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A lot has changed in 15 years Brian. They are not as receptive to "massages" from Heli people anymore. Do u remember which AC it was? I assume you mean GAPL 2005-02? Which I presented to my inspectors, the Director of standards and director of operations in 2011. They quickly cancelled the GAPL and said that they meant to cancel it 2009 but due to administrative errors it didn't get cancelled. I don't know what language you mean, I think my English is above average. They are crooked and have no accountability.

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NPA 2014‐019

Flight Crew Fatigue Management

Comments by:

Brian Jenner, BA, MPA Commercial Pilot, Public Policy Analyst October 3rd 2014

 

Having been a very active employer representative in the Flight Duty Time (FDT) reforms processes of 1987, 1992 and 1994/96, as a retiree, I am now in a unique position to criticise the latest effort. To that end, in my opinion, although one could discuss the details of any public policy initiative ad vitam aeternam, I find the proposed regime to be a masterful, except as regard to the definitions of single day free from duty‐ commonly known as a day off ‐ and the new definition of flight time.

 

Until now, attempts to properly regulate FDT have been frustrated by the challenge of prescriptively encompassing claims from various sectors of the air transportation industry to the effect that we are different ... that is not realistic in our case ... it will be disastrous for us. The resulting FDT regulatory cadre has been based on a lowest common safety denominator, that leaves many Canadian flight crews and passengers out in the cold.

 

In contrast, the rules set out in NPA 2014‐019 espouse the highest safety standards while challenging air operators to themselves demonstate they must deviate from the norm and to prove they can do so while maintaining an equivalent level of safety, through Fatigues Risk Management Systems (FRMS).

 

Inevitably, this advance in Canadian public policy will come at some expense. However, as a public policy analyst, specialising for more than 25 years in Canadian air transportation policy, I have no hesitation in affirming that, in spite of the, grossly exaggerated, lamentations of operator associations, the proposed new FDT rules will have no significant impact on the economics or commercial dynamics of Canadian air transportation, in whole or in part.

 

Using the helicopter industry as an example, in the last 30 years the price of helicopter services has increased approximately 4 fold. Nonetheless, the demand for services has continued to rise steadily. The cost of meeting our international obligations in regard to FDT regulations, far from disastrous, will be miniscule compared to continuously increasing cost of fuel, equipment and other inputs. Furthermore, the ensuing decrease in the cost of accidents and incidents will be counter balance, at least to some extent, the cost of new regulations based on the highest common safety denominator.

 

From a commercial point of view, imposing the minimum internationally accepted safety standards, on all air operators, will have a salutary effect on the competitive playing field. By, in effect, eliminating the advantage presently enjoyed by air operators who milk the system for all they can get, companies with a less mercantile approach will at least be assured their competitors share the basic cost of system safety.

 

However the proposed new rules would cause at least one unintended, negative consequence. The present 5 continuous days off in 42 provision, makes bringing crews home for days off more financially attractive than giving them days off in the field. Under the new regime, the proposed requirement for 5 consecutive days off after only 2 weeks away from home base, would make repatriation of flight crews much more expensive than having them take a day off a week at a remote job site; and therefore, air operators who are inspired strictly by profits, will without a doubt keep flight crews away from home base more often.

 

Whether flight crews are forced to take days off in a mining camp or in a five star hotel, their family life will suffer from prolonged absences; and that puts a psychological strain on flight crews; and that would be a source of chronic fatigue; and that would not be in the interest of aviation safety; and that is a counterproductive element, within this regulatory initiative.

 

I therefore recommend that Transport Canada change the new definition of "single day free from duty" to:

"single day free from duty" means: a time free from all duties, free from any requirement to be away from home base and consisting of a single day, preceded by and followed by a local night and which may include a rest period.

 

Air operators who truly must have more flexibility in days off and who can prove they are able to deviate from the norm while maintaining an equivalent level of safety, will be able to do so, under the provisions of the new Part 8 regulations for Fatigue Risk Management Systems.

 

In regard to the proposed new definition of flight time, the problem is the good faith behind the entire fatigue management initiative is cast in doubt by Transport Canadas selective conformity to ICAO standards.

 

At first glance, the ICAO definition of flight time is so similar to the present CARs definition as to lead one to assume the change is based simply on the desire of Transport Canada to fully respect Canadas treaty obligation to adopt ICAO standards. But the new rules only incorporate half the ICAO standard for defining flight time ‐ only the for aeroplanes part.

 

Argument over the meaning of fligh time and regional disparity in the application of the CARs definition of flight time as regard to helicopters, has raged for decades, within Transport Canada, within industry and between the two. The VERTICAL MAGAZINE Helicopter Operations Forum has almost 40 pages engorged with arguing on the subject.

 

In 2005, the problem was solved by a Transport Canada General Aviation Policy Letter (GAPL) No 2005‐02 that adopted the ICAO definition of flight time for helicopters. For some unknown reason, that GAPL was rescinded a few years later. As a result the arguing and regional disparity came back, with a vengeance. Why was GAPL 2005‐02 rescinded? Who is saying Canada cant adopt entire ICAO definition of flight time while others insist Canada must comply with all ICAO FTD standards? Who deleted the ICAO definition of flight time for helicopters from NPA 2014‐019? Who is responsible for treating the Canadian helicopter industry as a second class citizen when it comes to flight time?

 

If the Transport Canada FDT reform initiative is to be perceived as being in good faith, it must put an end to the industry confusion and regional disparity that reigns in regard to the definition of helicopter flight time. Treaty obligation and good governance require new FDT regulations that include the entire ICAO definition of flight time and not just the part that suits certain Transport Canada internal factions:

 

Flight time aeroplanes

The total time from the moment an aeroplane first moves for the purpose of taking off until the moment it finally comes to rest at the end of the flight

 

Flight time ‐ helicopters

The total time from the moment a helicopters rotor blades start turning until the moment the

helicopter finally comes to rest at the end of the flight, and the rotor blades are stopped.

 

Brian Jenner, BA, MPA

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 239‐877‐3788

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Here's what I wrote to CARAC last week:

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the CARAC,

I write to you today with regards to the proposed amendments to FDT regulations. I am a commercial helicopter pilot and have been flying mainly day VFR in Canada since 2003.

I believe that current FDT regulations are very much out of date and need an overhaul. I find that over the past few years, just about every industrial sector (mining exploration, oil&gas, etc.) that uses helicopters has made safety a priority and made improvements to their regulations, while the aviation industry lagged far behind.

Our industry, deregulated as it is, is composed of operators that range from the very small, single-aircraft operation, to very large, multinational players. The majority of these operators, regardless of their size, have over the years developed their own standards with respect to FDT that by and large surpass the current FDT regulations. There are also certain operators who will disregard even the current FDT regulations by abusing the vague verbiage in some of the articles, in particular with regards to suitable accommodations, time free from duty, and the definition of air time versus flight time.

This makes for a playing field that is not very level, and where a small number of unscrupulous operators make it difficult for the more progressive to prosper in this grossly over-saturated market.

I believe that the proposed changes are, generally speaking, a step in the right direction. However, just as the current regulations are open to interpretation, so are the new ones, especially with respect to deployed operations, which probably account for the majority of the work performed by domestic VFR helicopter operators.

When I go to work, my employer flies me from my home to the company's main base, where I take possession of an aircraft and fly it to the job site, or they fly me directly to the job site if I am taking over from another pilot. Many of these job sites are very rustic in nature and generally consist of Atco trailers at best, and often canvas tents.

Under the NPA, I must be afforded either one day free from duty within every seven days, or five days free from duty within every twenty days. Logic would dictate that most reasonable operators will opt for two week tours, with adequate time off to respect the new regulations. However, as currently written, my employer could very well require me to take one day per week free from duty in camp and keep me there indefinitely, which would clearly go against the spirit of these new regulations.

In order to prevent abuse of the new FDT regulations and ensure compliance with the spirit of the regulations, I believe a number of terms need to be more clearly defined:

Time free from duty: This term needs to be more clearly defined as to where time free from duty may be given. While an airline crew taking a day free from duty in Paris could conceivably take their mind off of work to achieve the desired result of being well rested upon their return to work, the helicopter pilot sequestered in a makeshift camp in the high arctic is more likely to develop an acute case of cabin fever, thereby negating the desired result. I realize that for airline crews, taking a day free from duty in an exotic locale might be appealing, but for the vast majority of domestic VFR helicopter pilots, taking a day free from duty on their job site means sitting around thinking about work and wishing they were elsewhere. There needs to be a means of preventing an abusive employer from coercing crews to take days free from duty in inadequate locales.

Sector: Unlike airplanes, in most helicopter operations, a single flight will likely include several takeoffs and landings, or several cycles (commonly referred to as "turns" or "picks") in the case of external load operations. The type of operation will dictate how many take-offs and landings or cycles will be carried out in a single flight. There needs to be an amendment to the term to cover the specificity of helicopter operations.

An element not addressed in the NPA has to do with holding time. It is not defined or addressed in the fatigue management study. It is quite common for helicopter pilots (and I suspect as well for GA bush pilots) to spend long hours holding on-site in inhospitable locales. From personal experience, I can tell you that sitting in the bush (or on the tundra, or on pack ice, or on a mountain top) for several hours in extreme weather (cold or hot) is probably the most fatiguing aspect of my job. On a cold winter day, I will be much more tired after a 12 hour duty day consisting of two hours of flying and 10 hours of holding in the bush in between, than if I fly 8 hours and hold for four hours.

This may be of negligible interest to airline crews who fly from airport to airport with some sort of adequate shelter to spend holding times, but it is arguably the single largest fatigue factor for bush pilots in general, and it seems to have been largely ignored in the working group's discussions on flight crew fatigue management.

Another issue that has been long disputed in the helicopter industry is that of air time vs flight time. Many operators use air time as the basis for FDT calculations, while others use flight time. There doesn't seem to be clear consensus, neither among pilots, operators or among Transport Canada officials, as to the clear definition of what is flight time in helicopters. The impact is that the time used to calculate FDT limits can differ by as much as 20% between pilots using air time vs flight time (this is a non-scientific figure, obtained from the analysis of my own flights with operators using differing definitions for flight time with regards to FDT). ICAO, JAR and EASA use the following definition for flight time in helicopters:

"The total time from the moment a helicopter’s rotor blades start turning

until the moment the helicopter finally comes to rest at the end of the

flight, and the rotor blades are stopped."

There is no flight time definition specific to helicopters in the Canadian Aviation Regulations. There have only been a multitude of conflicting interpretations advanced by Transport Canada officials over the years.

The definition of air time is more consensual:

"The total time from the moment an aircraft first moves for the purpose of taking off until the moment it finally comes to rest at the end of the flight."

Although probably out of scope for the new FDT regulations proper, I don't believe these new regulations can be effectively and rigourously applied to helicopter operations without CARS Part I Subpart 1 101.01(1) being amended appropriately.

In closing, I would like to say that I believe the NPA is a move in the right direction, but there needs to be no ambiguity in its text and in its application. I understand that the CARAC is mostly preoccupied by airline operations, as they account for the majority of aviation activity in Canada and are much more visible to the public, but GA and helicopter operations in remote areas must not be left behind.

Respectfully submitted,

 

I'm assuming they're not being inundated with comments, seeing as I received a very nice, personalized acknowledgement on their part the next day.

 

Helicopter pilots were never heard during the CARAC hearings two years ago. Now's our chance to at least stand up somewhat and show we exist, if not as a credible organization, at least as individuals.

 

You have a week left to make yourselves heard. Those who know me know I'm opiniated and loudmouthed (and talk too much, I know), but I'm not all wind and I stand behind those opinions with concrete actions.

 

Now it's your turn...

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Here's what I wrote to CARAC last week:

 

 

 

I'm assuming they're not being inundated with comments, seeing as I received a very nice, personalized acknowledgement on their part the next day.

 

Helicopter pilots were never heard during the CARAC hearings two years ago. Now's our chance to at least stand up somewhat and show we exist, if not as a credible organization, at least as individuals.

 

You have a week left to make yourselves heard. Those who know me know I'm opiniated and loudmouthed (and talk too much, I know), but I'm not all wind and I stand behind those opinions with concrete actions.

 

Now it's your turn...

Hear! hear!

You did a great job! Now if others could at least make an effort. Doesn't have tobe great. Just has to be sincere!

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I just noticed that in their newfound fever for, respecting Canada's treaty obligations to adopt ICAO standards, TC's FDT NPA includes adopting the ICAO definition of "flight time".

Not much different from the present CARs definition of flight time but, noblesse oblige, you gotta do what you gatta do, under the treaty!

Did I mention the new definition of flight time will be word for word the ICAO definition of flight time ... for aeroplanes!

With 34 pages on this Forum, dedicated to arguing over what constitutes "flight time" for helicopters, why doesn't NPA 2014-019 include the adoption of the ICAO definition, for helicopters, word for word:

"Flight time helicopters

The total time from the moment a helicopters rotor blades start turning until the moment the helicopter finally comes to rest at the end of the flight, and the rotor blades are stopped."

Keep sending those cards and letters to TC. You have until October 3rd to let them know what the helicopter ondustry thinks of adopting ICAO standards.

I'll be submitting comments before Oct. 3 deadline. As mentioned a CAIRS report was filed asking for clarification in 2011. One of the questions was with regards to the differences between canadian definition and ICAO definition for "flight Time" as they relate to helicopters. Here is the response from the Director of Standards and co-chair of the fatigue working group, Jacqueline Booth:

 

Concern #3

 

I also understand, that member states of ICAO must file differences in regulations with ICAO. To my knowledge no “difference†with respect the CARs and ICAO standards with regards to this issue have been filed.

 

j. booth's response:

 

As you pointed out the ICAO definition of flight time is not identical to the meaning of flight time within Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CARs. Many of the ICAO member states have individual phrases within their Regulations that are not identical to the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). This occurs for many reasons. Unless a member state adopts the SARPS verbatim these subtle inconsistencies between the regulatory phrasing will continue to exist.

 

Differences are generally filed when the individual Member States regulations are not included, are missing, or not in compliance with the international aviation regulations. Where the definitions are not identical but are similar to those contained in the ICAO Annexes, a filing of a difference is not required. In many cases Canada has included definitions in the CARs that are not included, or are not exactly the same as the ICAO definitions. One example where similar definitions cover the same meaning or intent is the ICAO definition for Flight duty period and the CAR definition for flight duty time. These two definitions have the same meaning but are calculated differently

 

The entire official response to the CAIRS can be seen on page 7 of the Flight Time vs Air Time forum. http://forums.vertic...c=19518?&page=7

 

She also advises that for most Heli flights in Canada, Flight Time and Air Time are calculated as the same.

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I'm undecided on this. Without a doubt, the day of the 3 month tour without a day off like I used to do is gone, as it should be. However the operators need to make money too....

 

Maybe our industry does need an overhaul? We have done nothing but complain about being over worked and under paid for years! Be we, or the owner/operators have done nothing about it. Maybe it's time for realistic rates and less cut throat activity? I mean, let's be honest with one another, there is very little chance of anyone making any money with the prices the customers are getting the aircraft for today.... Companies are being very inventive in their ways of cutting costs so they can keep rates low and keep the ships flying, not making any money, but keeping them flying....

 

So, what is the answer? I don't know. I don't think we need or want to return to regulated rates, but I do believe we need to do something to return to a reasonable cost per hour for the aircraft.... Is this change to the flight/duty times the start? Maybe.....

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I'm of mixed opinion on this. Without a doubt, the way we used to do it (and I was one of those) with 3 month tours without a day off is not the answer, but neither is 5 days on with a guaranteed 2 days off the right either.

 

Perhaps our whole industry does need an overhaul? We've done nothing but complain about being over worked and under paid for years now, but neither us or the owners seemed to want to address the problem. I mean, if we're honest, nobody but the customer is getting a good deal right now with the way rates are being kept artificially low. Companies are getting very inventive with their ways of cutting costs to keep the rates lower than they probably should be.

 

I don't think any of us want to return to the days of regulated rates, but I believe something need to be done to get a way from the cut throat industry ours has become!

 

Maybe if we'd addressed this issue ourselves years ago, we wouldn't be faced with the government making the rules for us?

 

I know I've over simplified it, but.......

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Here's what Fred Jones has to say (so far):

 

President’s Message
Flight & Duty Time Update

HAC has been receiving a flood of comments from Operator-members on Transport Canada’s
proposed new Flight & Duty Time regulations and their impact if they were to move forward in their
existing form. (read the proposal – link to URL below)

ENGLISH

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/NPA-APM/actr.aspx?id=13&aType=1〈=engon

 

FRENCH

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/npa-apm/tcctr.aspx?id=240〈=fra

Read the joint dissent to the Report from nine associations dated January 31 2013 (available in
English-only).

http://www.h-a-c.ca/CARC_Dissent_January_31_2013_FINAL.pdf

 

We are currently preparing a joint submission to the Minister on this subject in concert with our
other nine allied associations that will incorporate some of the comments and scenarios that have
been offered up by Industry.

Initial indications are, that the new regulations would increase crew costs by about 35% - in the
absence of any evidence that the new rules would actually enhance safety. Certainly too much of
an increase for any operator to absorb, in an industry whose margins are already paper-thin.
That’s 35%, IF we could find more experienced helicopter pilots in Canada to hire … And don’t
even get me started on how this could affect the Temporary Foreign Workers debate.

Helicopter operators from across Canada have made it clear that this issue is the most important
issue faced by the industry, and the impact of the proposed new regulations would be catastrophic
for the helicopter community, but also for our the communities and customers that they serve.

Our deadline for comment has been extended from October 3 to October 17, so that we can
provide a more fulsome response relating to the impact of the proposed new regulations, so if you
weren’t able to beat-the-clock to provide your comments this week (and thank-you, if you did),
please provide your input on or before October 10 when the allied associations will be
consolidating the input from our members in our final submission to the Minister.

Please don’t understate the value of your input. This government prides itself on its pro-business
policies, and the Federal election is only a year away. We are already seeing the parties spinning
up their election campaigns.

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Skidz, I don't disagree with you that this will increase costs, it will for sure. But as I hinted above MAYBE it's time we realigned the tariff rates to make them more realistic? Why does our industry seemingly keep trying to line the clients pockets instead of our own?

 

Are client expectations of pilot experience unrealistic? Again, I'm not sure, but we all had to start somewhere.... Everyone would love to start with a 1000 hours and our clients would all like pilots with a minimum of 5000 hours, both both scenarios are totally unrealistic, but again, we collectively keep bowing to pressure. Whose fault is that I wonder?

 

Again, I sure don't have all the answers, but like most things in life, there are at least two sides to every story. Sometimes neither side is 100% correct and we have to compromise....

 

 

Here's what Fred Jones has to say (so far):

 

President’s Message
Flight & Duty Time Update

HAC has been receiving a flood of comments from Operator-members on Transport Canada’s
proposed new Flight & Duty Time regulations and their impact if they were to move forward in their
existing form. (read the proposal – link to URL below)

ENGLISH

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/NPA-APM/actr.aspx?id=13&aType=1〈=engon

 

FRENCH

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/npa-apm/tcctr.aspx?id=240〈=fra

Read the joint dissent to the Report from nine associations dated January 31 2013 (available in
English-only).

http://www.h-a-c.ca/CARC_Dissent_January_31_2013_FINAL.pdf

 

We are currently preparing a joint submission to the Minister on this subject in concert with our
other nine allied associations that will incorporate some of the comments and scenarios that have
been offered up by Industry.

Initial indications are, that the new regulations would increase crew costs by about 35% - in the
absence of any evidence that the new rules would actually enhance safety. Certainly too much of
an increase for any operator to absorb, in an industry whose margins are already paper-thin.

That’s 35%, IF we could find more experienced helicopter pilots in Canada to hire … And don’t
even get me started on how this could affect the Temporary Foreign Workers debate.

Helicopter operators from across Canada have made it clear that this issue is the most important
issue faced by the industry, and the impact of the proposed new regulations would be catastrophic
for the helicopter community, but also for our the communities and customers that they serve.

Our deadline for comment has been extended from October 3 to October 17, so that we can
provide a more fulsome response relating to the impact of the proposed new regulations, so if you
weren’t able to beat-the-clock to provide your comments this week (and thank-you, if you did),
please provide your input on or before October 10 when the allied associations will be
consolidating the input from our members in our final submission to the Minister.

Please don’t understate the value of your input. This government prides itself on its pro-business
policies, and the Federal election is only a year away. We are already seeing the parties spinning
up their election campaigns.

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