FAA balances safety, flexibility in rules on pilot rest

09/13/2010 | Wall Street Journal, The · USA Today

Proposed new rules for pilot rest unveiled by the FAA on Friday seek to alleviate fatigue in the cockpit while still providing airlines with the flexibility to run their flights on time, experts say. The rules would add one hour to the required down time between shifts, while trimming three hours a day from the maximum that pilots can work. But the overhaul would also lift the strict 8-hour cap that pilots can be behind the controls, opting instead for a sliding scale of seven to 10 hours, depending on factors such as time of day and number of time zones crossed. Some pilots' unions objected to that change, but FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the rules reflect the realities of the profession. "For far too long, we have acted as if all flights are created equally," he said. "Well, they are not."

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Wall Street Journal, The · USA Today

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