October 30, 2013

NBAA’s Jeppesen-sponsored live webinar, “Fatigue Risk Management Simplified,” recently proved a popular topic. The recorded webinar is now available, free of charge, on NBAA’s On-Demand Education website for those who missed the original live presentation.

“The depth and technical nature of the questions revealed just how serious business aircraft operators have become about fatigue risk management,” said Jo Damato, NBAA’s director of educational development and strategy. “The most effective flight departments will consider this webinar as an additional resource to produce a fatigue management program that will ensure crew fatigue does not affect the safety of flight.”

Presenter Tomas Klemets, head of scheduling safety at Jeppesen, fielded questions that suggest a growing interest among operators in ways they can improve fatigue management. The following were among the questions addressed by Klemets:

Q: If fatigue and alertness are so subjective, how can you put a limit on a duty day? I say 16 hours is within my limits, but others say 10. I’m afraid that what once was acceptable now is not because a publication by the Flight Safety Foundation says so.

A: I agree — there is a significant individual variability. We have little option other than to provide rules/metrics that work in most cases for most crewmembers, trying to put the limits on the conservative side. The International Civil Aviation Organization is driving an attempt to harmonize the rules, allowing operators to tailor them and align them better to science on human physiology. Right now, the rules may even cause fatigue.

Q: I am a scheduler for a mid-sized company. We want to use a fatigue risk management system (FRMS). My worry is that pilots may use tiredness as an excuse, interrupting our schedule. How do we deal with this?

A: Yes, it could interrupt your schedule, but hopefully justified through lower risks. Remember, [the combination of] compliance with bad rules, missing fatigue metrics, crew not trained in FRM and pressure to operate, if not fit, could also become very expensive.

Q: You mention fatigue reports – are these only to get off an assigned flight, or would they also be used even if the flight was completed as scheduled? How would such fatigue reports be used?

A: Yes — they should be used also if the flight was completed. The Fatigue Action Safety Group can use the reports to find a pattern in the overall operation and take corrective action.

View the full “Fatigue Risk Management Simplified” webinar.