Jan. 26, 2016

FAA regulations governing FAR Part 135 crew duty and rest times have been a source of confusion for many operators, particularly following an October 2015 FAA chief counsel interpretation. Although that interpretation was in line with others on the subject, it came as a surprise to many who did not fully understand how the regulations affect pilots who are “on call.”

“Many operate under the mistaken belief that pilots enter their 10-hour rest period when they end their day, and that a ‘perpetual’ rest period exists until they receive their next assignment,” said Alex Beringer, executive vice president at Fair Wind Air Charter.

“That isn’t the case,” said Beringer. “Rest is defined as ‘freedom from any obligation.’ Any time that a crewmember is expected to answer a call for an assignment, that isn’t rest.”

An upcoming NBAA webinar will advise operators about the proper crew duty and rest procedures that are key to an effective and responsible fatigue-management program. The session also will highlight how operations with even the best intentions may not be in full compliance with existing FAA regulations.

Taking place Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. (EST), “Part 135 Duty & Rest – Gauging Your Compliance” will include a detailed review of crew duty and rest requirements under FAR Part 135.263, as well as a discussion about the letter and intent of the FAA’s interpretations on the subject. Register for the webinar.

The webinar will also examine different scenarios, and include examples of compliant rest and duty policies. Beringer noted that a similar presentation he attended led him to completely rewrite his company’s crew duty and rest procedures six years ago.

“We want to say ‘yes’ all the time in Part 135 operations, because that’s how we earn revenue. But we can’t always do that,” said Beringer. “We must say ‘no’ to certain trips if the request comes at the back end of a crew’s 14-hour duty cycle.”

Additional scheduled presenters include Jason Herman, chairman of the Part 135 Working Group of NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee, and David Norton, an aviation attorney with Dallas-based Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton, LLP.

Read the FAA chief counsel’s October 2015 interpretation.