Half of British pilots admit to falling asleep in cockpit – Survey

More than half of British airline pilots say they have fallen asleep in the cockpit, a survey said, ahead of an EU vote on flying hours which a pilots’ association said could compromise flight safety.

According to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), 56 percent of 500 commercial pilots admitted to being asleep while on the flight deck and, of those, nearly one in three said they had woken up to find their co-pilot also asleep.

Pilot exhaustion grabbed the headlines this week when a newspaper reported two pilots on a British long-haul flight fell asleep in the cockpit, leaving the packed jet travelling unsupervised on autopilot.

The survey, released by BALPA, came ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on Monday on new rules which could replace British regulations.

BALPA, a trade union for pilots, voiced concerns that these proposed changes would water down British safety standards.

The rule changes would mean that pilots could work a maximum of 110 hours in a two-week period, more than the 95-hour limit under British regulations, and at night could be expected to fly for up to 11 hours, against a current 10-hour limit.

“Tiredness is already a major challenge for pilots who are deeply concerned that unscientific new EU rules will cut UK standards and lead to increased levels of tiredness, which has been shown to be a major contributory factor in air accidents,” BALPA General Secretary Jim McAuslan said in a statement.

The proposals, devised by the European Aviation Safety Agency to harmonize the rules regarding pilots’ hours across the European Union, would also mean they could be called to work at any time on their days off. Currently, restrictions are in place to help them plan their rest on days off.

The survey of pilots, by pollster ComRes, found 84 percent of respondents believed their abilities had been compromised over the last six months by tiredness with almost half saying pilot exhaustion was the biggest threat to flight safety.

British lawmakers, in a report published earlier this month, expressed concern that the new European rules set the limit for the flight duty period at night too high.

But the Association of European Airlines, which represents 31 European airlines, urged support for the proposals, saying they would ensure all airlines followed the same rules.

“The new … rules would ensure that Europe will continue to have one of the strictest rules in the world, even stricter than today,” the body’s acting Secretary-General Athar Husain Khan said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Agency, Britain’s aviation regulator, dismissed worries about the new rules.

“We think the new European flight time limitation regulations maintain the UK’s current high safety levels, and will actually increase safety for UK passengers travelling on some other European airlines,” it said in a statement.

Source:  Reuters

 

Sad: Our Colleague Died……

Airline pilot dies after heart attack on flight to Seattle.

The captain of a United Airlines jet who suffered an in-flight heart attack, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing in Boise, Idaho, has died, an airline spokeswoman said on Friday.

Seattle-bound United flight 1603, which took off from Houston with 161 passengers on board, landed safely and the pilot was rushed to a local hospital, Boise Airport spokeswoman Patti Miller said.

The pilot, whose name was not released, died as a result of the medical emergency, United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David said on Friday.

“I am sad to confirm that our co-worker passed away last night,” she said. “Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

The Boeing 737 aircraft later continued on to Seattle, landing just after midnight local time, David said.

Source:  Reuters

Related Articles:  http://www.cockpitchatter.com/airline-pilot-suffers-heart-attack-in-mid-air/

UK pilots on Airbus A330 fall asleep during flight

Two pilots of a British passenger flight fell asleep, leaving it on autopilot. The two pilots, who were in charge of the 325-seat passenger long-haul flight, admitted their actions shortly after take-off in an Airbus A330 operated by a British-based airline on 13 August.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed that the pilot and co-pilot had agreed to take turn having short naps, news.com.au reports. However, one of them woke up to discover that they had both been asleep at the same time and did not know how long the plane had been unsupervised. The pilots voluntarily reported their mistake to the CAA, which has hidden the name of the airline.

The CAA’s report said the flight crew was suffering from symptoms of ‘severe fatigue’. A spokesman for the CAA said it would be ‘very surprised’ if any disciplinary action was taken against the pilots, the report added.

Capt. Ivan

Airline Pilot Suffers Heart Attack in Mid-Air

United Airlines Flight 1603 was on its way from Houston to Seattle when one of the pilots suffered a heart attack, forcing the aircraft to declare an emergency and divert to Boise, Idaho.

The incident occurred last Thursday at 8 PM MT (6PM ET) when the pilot of a United Airlines Boeing 737 suffered a heart attack meanwhile the aircraft was en route from Houston to Seattle.

The aircraft landed without further problems at Boise, Idaho, where paramedics boarded the flight to assist the pilot and take him to hospital, no further reports have been done on his condition.

The flight was delayed at Boise airport for some time until a replacement pilot arrived from San Francisco.

Learjet Megafactories – NatGeo – Video

The National Geographic Channel has been in Wichita filming a Bombardier Learjet for its “Megafactories” show.

When the show contacted Bombardier Learjet, it wasn’t a difficult decision, says manager of communications Peggy Gross.

“It will be a story of basically how does a Learjet get built?” she says.

Gross calls it “great exposure” for the company, so there was “absolutely no hesitation about doing this.”

The show will follow the making of one customer’s plane. Since it normally takes months to built a Learjet, some of the steps in the process will feature similar planes instead of that customer’s plane.

Gross says one of the most thrilling moments of shooting came when she accompanied the crew in a plane that flew in formation with the customer’s plane on a test flight.

“That was fabulous.”

She says National Geographic crew members have remarked how nice and helpful everyone at the plant has been.

“Everybody has done their best to support them,” she says.

Airbus announces lower weight A330 for regional & domestic operations

Optimized for shorter haul missions, offering higher capacity, long-range comfort and unbeatable economics.

Airbus has announced a new lower weight variant of its versatile A330-300 wide-body aircraft that is optimized for use on domestic and regional routes in high growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows. China will be one of the most important markets for this new version of today’s world’s most efficient and reliable widebody aircraft.

The announcement was made by Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus, at the Aviation Expo China (Beijing Airshow) 2013, which has opened its doors today in Beijing.

“The new lower weight A330-300 variant specially designed for regional and domestic use is Airbus’ solution for markets with large populations and fast growing, concentrated air traffic flows. Operators of the new A330-300 variant will benefit from a proven, mature and reliable aircraft that brings relief to limited airspace, airport congestion and pilot shortage,” said Fabrice Bregier. “We are announcing the new A330-300 lower weight variant today in China because here we see strong pent-up demand for efficient and reliable wide-body aircraft connecting mega cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.”

Compared to current A330-300 variants that are adapted to longer-range missions of up to 6,100 nautical miles (nm), the new A330-300 regional and domestic variant will be optimized to seat up to around 400 passengers in Airbus’ best in class 18 inches wide economy seat comfort on missions up to 3,000 nm and offer significant cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 tonnes. The reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs thanks to these innovations will result in an overall cost reduction by up to 15% compared with the today’s long-range A330-300 variants.

In addition, the new A330-300 variant will benefit from the latest A350 XWB and A380 technologies. These include cockpit functionalities such as dual head-up display and the latest navigational systems. The cabin will also be future proofed with innovations such as modern slimline light-weight seats, high broadband wi-fi connectivity throughout, the newest In-Flight Entertainment allowing HD TV, LED lighting and full color mood lighting.

Source:  Airbus

 

Novak Djokovic plays tennis on wings of a flying airplane – Video

In order to show you their fastest tennis racquet ever, HEAD Tennis has Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic play the fastest tennis game ever. At over 150 mph, Djokovic needs all the power and speed he has to beat the wind drag, with the help of the HEAD Tennis YouTek IG SPEED MP 18/20 racquet, it almost looks easy…

Asiana Crash Response to Families Triggers Review by U.S. Agency

Asiana Airlines is under review by the U.S. Transportation Department on whether the South Korean carrier met its legal obligation to assist passengers’ families after a July crash in San Francisco.

The review, prompted by the National Transportation Safety Board, is the first time the board has raised concerns with the department over an airline’s assistance, said Keith Holloway, an NTSB spokesman. A 1996 law requires airlines to provide aid such as posting toll-free numbers and providing lodging and transportation for family members after an accident.

“We didn’t feel that Asiana was providing that information in a timely fashion to the families as they should have, so we notified the DOT about that,” Holloway said in a telephone interview yesterday. Bill Mosley, a DOT spokesman, confirmed that the department is conducting a review.

The July 6 crash occurred when one of Seoul-based Asiana’s planes, carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew members, struck a seawall short of the San Francisco airport, resulting in three deaths and dozens of injuries. The pilots’ manual flying skills and cockpit teamwork are part of an NTSB investigation into the cause of crash, which has prompted the carrier to increase pilot training and begin an outside review of safety standards.

Kiwon Suh, an Asiana spokesman in South Korea, didn’t respond to a call and an e-mail outside regular business hours seeking comment about the U.S. review.

The NTSB raised its concerns with the department immediately after the crash, Holloway said. Asiana’s aid plan, filed with the Transportation Department, was last updated in 2004, he said.

Source:  AP

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