June 5, 2023
In a recent letter, NBAA asked the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Aviation Subcommittee chairs to consider revising Part 135 rest and duty requirements as lawmakers consider FAA reauthorization.
“Preventing and mitigating fatigue remains a universal area of concern,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen wrote, calling attention to the recommendations of the Part 135 Pilot Rest and Duty Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) report presented to the FAA on July 2, 2021.
The ARC, consisting of Part 135 operators of various scopes and sizes, legal experts, trade association and others, developed practical and effective recommendations to improve safety through revised rest and duty rules, specifically the elimination of “tail-end ferry” legs.
“Currently, an operator may assign, and a pilot may accept, a Part 91 flight at the conclusion of a Part 135 duty period that would have otherwise exceeded the allowable duty limits for Part 135 had the Part 91 flight been considered part of the Part 135 duty period,” Bolen explained. “This practice, referred to as ‘tail-end ferry flights,’ among other terms, allows an operator or pilot to claim the flight is outside the scope of the Part 135 duty period, and therefore, the rest and duty regulations for Part 135 would not apply.”
Both the FAA and NTSB note this practice of conducting Part 91 flights after completing a Part 135 duty period of maximum duration poses a substantial safety risk that is deemed unacceptable. Many Part 135 operators also recognize these risks and do not allow the practice.
Accordingly, NBAA asserts the cost of ending tail-end ferry flights will not be significant.
Bolen also expressed support for additional language in recordkeeping requirements in 135.63. Currently, operators are only required to record flight time, which is insufficient for ensuring flight crews receive prospectively scheduled rest and inadequate as an oversight mechanism for the FAA to effective monitor and enforce these requirements.
“Eliminating tail-end ferry flights and enhancing recordkeeping requirements is a crucial step toward improving safety,” said Bolen.