Bill addresses pilot fatigue
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Safe Skies Act, which would ensure that America’s cargo plane pilots are sufficiently rested and alert before they fly.
"Whether flying a passenger or a cargo plane, pilot fatigue can have tragic consequences," said Klobuchar. "That’s why we need consistent rules throughout the aviation system to help prevent any tragedies. This bill will extend current FAA pilot fatigue regulations to cargo pilots so they have the rest they need to stay safe."
“This bipartisan legislation will ensure that pilots of passenger and cargo planes are flying under the same standard,” Senator Boxer said. “We must close this loophole to ensure that cargo pilots are well-rested before they fly.” After the tragic 2009 crash of Colgan Flight 3407 outside of Buffalo, Congress passed legislation by Senator Boxer and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) that directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to write new rules to address pilot fatigue.
Under the new requirements – which go into effect in January – pilots of passenger planes will be limited to flying either eight or nine hours, depending on the start time. Airlines will be required to provide pilots with a minimum of 10 rest hours, with the opportunity for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
However, pilots of cargo planes were left out of the DOT’s new rest rules, allowing cargo pilots to be on duty for up to 16 hours a day, 60 percent longer than other pilots.