Segment 2 Of 3 Previous Hearing Segment(1) Next Hearing Segment(3)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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Tuesday, August 3, 1999
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m., in room 2167 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. [chairman of the subcommittee] Presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. Good morning. I would like to go ahead and call the subcommittee to order and welcome everyone here this morning to a hearing that will focus on the issue of pilot fatigue.
Pilot fatigue is a very important, and yet also a very difficult safety issue facing this subcommittee. Because of very strong interest in this subject and some tight time constraints we face today, we will add an additional day of testimony to accommodate all interested parties. The date of the second hearing will be announced at a later time, probably around mid-September.
Fatigue has been a concern since the first long-haul flight. Of his 1927 solo transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh wrote, ''My mind clicks on and off. My whole body argues dully that nothing life can attain is quite as desirable as sleep.'' .
While fatigue is a challenge for all modes of transportation, it is a particular concern for aviation. Aviation is as diverse as it is demanding. Commercial passenger airlines have vastly different needs than overnight cargo operations and charter service. Flight crews must be available many hours each day to meet all of the challenges of this dynamic industry. Moreover, pilot fatigue is very difficult to predict. What may make one person drowsy may not affect another person.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Research has found that fatigue may result from a very complex set of factors including rest, exertion, health, diet, sunlight, movement between time zones, age, fitness and so forth. The most recent findings indicate work schedule disruptions to daily rhythms, accumulated sleep deprivation and time of day may have a greater impact on operator performances than originally suspected.
Fatigue can impact a pilot's decision-making ability, coordination and reaction time. According to several studies, being continuously awake for 20 to 25 hours is comparable to having a 0.10 blood alcohol content. Pilots who fly long-haul legs and back-side-of-the-clock operations are particularly susceptible.
Recent events have renewed national interest in pilot fatigue. The National Transportation Safety Board is examining whether pilot fatigue may have contributed to the June 1 crash of American Airlines Flight 1420 in Little Rock. Stories of pilots falling asleep in the cockpit have added to public concern on this issue.
However, we must proceed carefully. Fatigue has never been cited as the cause of a major airline disaster. Despite their complexity, the current fatigue countermeasures seem to have contributed to airline safety. While the Federal Government should not have to wait for a major incident to review its policies, we must not act in a way that would unknowingly erode safety or damage unnecessarily this vital industry.
We will hear today from the FAA regarding its proposed changes to flight time limitations and its new enforcement policy. We will also hear from the National Transportation Safety Board on its recommendations to the Department of Transportation. We will also hear from pilots and air carriers on what improvements they think should be made. It is of concern that some pilots choose to live long distances from the cities out of which they fly, and we may need to look into that.
I would like to welcome all of today's witnesses. Written statements will be placed in the record, and I look forward to your testimony.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 I will now turn to my ranking member, Mr. Lipinski, for any statement that he wishes to make.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you for holding this hearing today. In particular, I want to thank you for quickly responding to my request to hold hearings on the important issue of pilot fatigue.
Pilot fatigue is an important aviation safety issue. As everyone who has been up all night or worked long hours knows, fatigue impacts on an individual's decision-making ability, memory, and reaction time.
The National Transportation Safety Board has cited fatigue as a factor in more than 20 aviation accidents. As a result, addressing the issue of pilot fatigue has been on the NTSB's Most Wanted Safety Improvement List for almost a decade.
In order to address the issue of pilot fatigue, the FAA does have regulations in place that limit pilots' hours of service. In addition, since December 1995, the FAA has been working on updating and improving the Federal regulations limiting pilots' flight time. The FAA wants to incorporate the latest research on fatigue into regulations, as well as simplify existing rules, making it easier to respond to changing business practices in the aviation industry.
However, pilot fatigue is a complex issue. The FAA received over 2,000 comments on their notice of proposed rule-making. In addition, it has been almost 31/2 years since the FAA issued its proposal on pilot fatigue, and there is still no final rule in place.
Because this is such a complex issue, the subcommittee will have two hearings on pilot fatigue. In September, the subcommittee will hold another hearing to hear from additional witnesses. One of those witnesses for the hearing is here today. I would like to welcome Captain Rick Rubin, the President of the Allied Pilots Association. I look forward to hearing your testimony in September.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 I would also like to welcome our many knowledgeable witnesses here today. I look forward to hearing your testimony. Hopefully, this hearing can help highlight some of the issues surrounding pilot fatigue. Hopefully, it will also help the FAA move ahead with a final rule on pilot fatigue.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you very much for holding this hearing today. I think it is an enormously important subject. As I mentioned in my statement already, it is very, very complex, but we have been working on trying to come up with better rules and regulations for a long period of time, and I really hope that this hearing will be the springboard for getting those new rules into place as soon as possible.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Lipinski. As you mentioned, you were the one who originally requested this hearing, and I thought it was an important subject and one worth taking a look at.
So we are very pleased to have this hearing this morning.
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you and the ranking member for this hearing. The panelists that are going to appear here, and to express my regrets in advance that, as with many members of the committee, I find myself in simultaneous hearings this morning. So I will be going back and forth to this meeting and others, and rather than take time with a statement, I want to leave as much for our witnesses, so I will submit a statement for the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. BASS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to echo my colleague's appreciation for holding this important hearing. I would make only one observation. That is that certainly pilot fatigue is a serious problem; quite frankly, I am also concerned about passenger fatigue. The entire aviation system in this country has started to crumble under the crush of increased demand, a lot tougher schedules, and I hope that we can get together over the coming weeks and pass the AIR 21 bill.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 We are facing a critical moment now where we have passed a bill in the House, and we need all the cooperation we can get to get the Senate to come with us on this issue, because if we do nothing over the next year or year-and-a-half to seriously revamp our aviation system in this country, pilot fatigue will be the least of our worries.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, very good statement, Mr. Bass. Thank you very much.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I share the thanks of my colleagues to you and the ranking member for calling this hearing; it is critically important. In the end, it is the pilot that is the key to air safety, along with working together with the FAA and all of the ground crew; and I am happy to be here and I appreciate this testimony today.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
We will call up the first panel at this time. The first panel consists of Ms. Margaret Gilligan, who is Deputy Associate Administrator for Regulation and Certification of the Federal Aviation Administration; Mr. Vernon S. Ellingstad, who is the Director of the Office of Research and Engineering at the National Transportation Safety Board; Mr. Michael B. Mann, Deputy Associate Administrator of Aerospace Technology at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
TESTIMONY OF MARGARET GILLIGAN, DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR REGULATION AND CERTIFICATION, FEDERAL AVIAITON ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY NICK LACEY, DIRECTOR, FLIGHT STANDARDS SERVICE; VERNON S. ELLINGSTAD, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD; AND MICHAEL B. MANN, DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, AERO-SPACE TECHNOLOGY, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
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Mr. DUNCAN. As usual, we proceed in the way the witnesses are listed in the call for the hearing, and that means, Ms. Gilligan, that we will start with you, and you may begin your testimony.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, members of the committee, for having us here today. We look forward to discussing the role that FAA plays in addressing issues related to pilot fatigue. Accompanying me today is Mr. Nick Lacey. He is Director of our Flight Standards Service, which is the office that has direct responsibility for issues related to flight limitations and rest requirements. He is here to assist us in the questions and answers.
We have provided our written testimony. It outlines the rules for flight and rest limitations. I would like to just make a few remarks.
We think it is important that we focus on what is the fundamental framework for the FAA's flight and rest regulations. As set forth in our statute, it is the role of FAA to set the regulations for maximum hours or periods of service for airmen, and we have done that with a set of regulations that we have promulgated over the years.
Those specific regulations limit the amount of flight time and set a minimum requirement for rest time for pilots operating in the domestic environment, in international operations, and in a number of other operating environments.
But the rules are really just the beginning. There are two other key players in the safety equation when it comes to flight and rest. They are the pilots and the carriers. The carriers must provide the required opportunity for rest, and they must have scheduling procedures and processes in place to ensure that they provide that opportunity. Equally important, the pilot must take advantage of the opportunity for rest and must arrive for work rested and prepared to perform the assigned duties. I can assure you that carriers, pilots and the FAA take this shared responsibility very seriously.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 As we have set forth in more detail in our written testimony, the regulations related to flight time and rest are complicated. Part of that is because they have changed over the last several decades, as airline operating environments have changed and grown, and that has resulted in a complex set of requirements. We have had under way for some time an extensive effort to update and simplify our rules. Both the Chairman and the Ranking Member have noted that it is too long, and I am the first to agree that this effort has taken far too long. But it is important to keep in mind that, while we have our efforts under way to raise the safety bar as it relates to pilot fatigue, the rules that we have in place have served us well. They will continue to do so until we can make the right improvements that will raise that safety bar.
We did propose to change those regulations in 1995. We will propose some additional changes, building on that first proposal. We want to be sure we can benefit from the research that you will hear NASA testify about in just a moment, and we do want to address the concerns that have been raised by the NTSB.
But it is more important to keep in mind that the same fundamental structure will still apply even when we propose changes to the rules. It will be for the FAA to set the standards. It will be for the airlines to have in place systems that ensure that they provide the required rest opportunities, and it will remain with the pilots to take advantage of that rest opportunity and come to work prepared to perform their duties.
Mr. Chairman, that completes our comments at this point, and we are ready to answer questions at any time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Ms. Gilligan. You are the first witness in a long time who has finished before the green light went off.
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. Good morning, Chairman Duncan and members of the committee. It is a pleasure to represent the National Transportation Safety Board before you today to discuss pilot fatigue. As Congressman Lipinski indicated, this issue has been on the Board's's Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements since the list's inception in 1990.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Human fatigue in transportation operations is one of the most widespread safety concerns in the transportation industry. Fatigue problems permeate our entire society, placing a heavy toll on our safety, productivity and quality of life.
The Safety Board's first aviation recommendation related to human fatigue was issued in May 1972, more than a quarter of a century ago, and it asked the FAA to revise FAR 135 to provide adequate flight and duty time limitations. Twenty-seven years later, we are still examining the issue of fatigue, this time in the accident involving American Airlines Flight 1420 that crashed on landing on June 1st in Little Rock, killing 13 people. Although the investigation is ongoing, and no conclusions have been made, we do know that the pilots had flown slightly less than 8 hours, and had been on duty for slightly more than 13 hours on the day of the accident.
Mr. Chairman, the Safety Board's investigative history clearly demonstrates that fatigue continues to be a major factor in transportation accidents. We recognize and appreciate the FAA's efforts with regard to coordinating fatigue research and developing and disseminating educational material as requested by the Board. However, we believe that until they address the critical issue of regulating hours of service, we will not resolve this problem.
This fact was reiterated by the aviation groups at the 1995 NTSB- and NASA-sponsored international symposium on fatigue. In addition, scientific research has shown that certain sleep factors can affect fatigue and performance, and that the current hours of service regulations do not accommodate these concerns.
Mr. Chairman, it is frustrating to be here today to discuss an issue that the Safety Board has addressed in recommendations over and over and over again, most recently on June 1, 1999. The new recommendation issued on June 1st asked the FAA to establish scientifically based hours of service regulations that set limits on hours of service, provide predictable work and rest schedules, and consider circadian rhythms and human sleep and rest requirements.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 The Department of Transportation has spent over 20 million taxpayer dollars to research operator fatigue, but little has been done to apply the knowledge gained from this research. The Board believes that any further delays on the issue of pilot fatigue is an unacceptable risk to the traveling public, and we hope that the FAA will move forward now with a rule-making that makes all of its flight and rest time regulations for all flight crew members consistent with the body of scientific knowledge that currently exists about fatigue.
Mr. Chairman, that completes my testimony. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Ellingstad.
Mr. MANN. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is an honor for me to be here today to discuss the subject of pilot fatigue and our Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center. Accompanying me will be Dr. David Neri, who is a key member of the countermeasures team from our Ames Research Center,
Aviation safety is NASA's highest priority in aeronautics, and we are working with the FAA and industry to reduce the aircraft accident rate by 80 percent. Pilot fatigue is a safety factor, and since its creation in 1980, our Fatigue Countermeasures Program, in collaboration with the FAA, has effectively carried out systematic scientific research designed to evaluate and alleviate flight-related fatigue.
Field studies in a variety of flight environments have revealed a number of factors related to fatigue. Lengthy flights often involve crossing multiple time zones, tolerating variable work/rest schedules, and enduring sleep loss during extended periods of nighttime flying. Individuals experiencing multiple shorter flights can also suffer fatigue due to long work days and sleep loss as a result of short nighttime layovers that do not allow adequate time for sleep. In overnight cargo crews, even nighttime flying on a consistent and predictable schedule can still disrupt the body's normal sleep-wake cycle. Work periods ending in morning hours often lead to sleep loss because of the difficulty of going to sleep in the daylight. This problem can be compounded by occurrence of multiple daytime layovers that are often too short to provide adequate time for sleep.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Flight crews surveys routinely indicate that fatigue is a concern, with frequent admissions to having nodded off during a flight or having arranged for a copilot to nap in the cockpit seat. In a 4-year study of regional airlines, concluded in 1998, 88 percent of the crew members indicated fatigue was a common occurrence, and 92 percent reported fatigue as a moderate-to-serious safety issue.
Clearly, there is widespread evidence that fatigue occurs frequently enough to constitute a significant aviation hazard. Consequently, fatigue detection and control methods have been actively studied in research carried out by the NASA Ames Fatigue Countermeasures Program. For example, NTSB investigators working with NASA researchers determined that fatigue was the probable cause of the 1993 crash of a U.S. DC8 freighter in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This marked the first time fatigue was designated in an aviation accident.
In addition to getting adequate sleep and adequate rest, there are other countermeasures. A NASA-FAA countermeasure study demonstrated the effectiveness of planned cockpit rest periods in improving performance and alertness in long-haul flight operations. Following this study, the Fatigue Countermeasures Program submitted a draft advisory circular to the FAA in January 1993. Regulatory provisions that would sanction the appropriate use of planned cockpit rest are currently in review, and several non-U.S. Air carriers
have already implemented this procedure as standard policy.
The extensive research briefly sampled in my comments up to this point suggests that, because fatigue is a multi-faceted problem, efforts at a solution must effectively integrate a variety of different methods. These include education and training, control of work hours, sound scheduling practices, effective countermeasures, appropriate design and technologies, in addition to regulation.
For example, education establishes the knowledge base necessary for successful implementation and acceptance of all other activities. Educational materials have to include information on the physiological mechanisms underlying fatigue and what can be done to manage fatigue in operational settings. This is both a personal and an organizational issue. NASA and the FAA jointly provide training workshops to the aviation community. To date, 29 two-day training workshops have been provided involving 634 participants representing 234 organizations. These ''train the trainer'' activities, as a result of a 1998 survey, had reached over 116,000 crew members or aviation officials.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Principles and guidelines for work and rest should reflect the latest scientific research on fatigue and also allow sufficient flexibility to meet the unique demands of a diverse aviation setting. In response to a request from the FAA for operational input, NASA assembled an international team of scientists who produced a principles and guidelines document. And this document, I would say, was not a single scientific study; it was rather a collective expert opinion from five leading international scientists intimately familiar with aviation and fatigue. It was provided to the FAA in 1994 and served as one of the inputs in the FAA rule-making team.
Now, within the confines of regulated hours of work, sound flight crew scheduling practices should be developed based on research findings concerning sleep, fatigue, biological sleep-wake patterns, and related factors. To improve prediction of the impact of scheduling practice on sleep-related physical and behavioral phenomena, the Fatigue Countermeasures Program recently sponsored an international research conference in May of this year. It was cosponsored with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This workshop was specifically intended to develop predictive techniques associated with scheduling.
An integrated approach to the problem of fatigue would require active use of a full range of personal, corporate and regulatory countermeasures. These could be employed during flight to maintain alertness and performance, as well as preflight. In addition to demonstrating the potential benefit of in-flight cockpit napping described earlier, we have also done research on activities conducted during the flight that dramatically improve the alertness for short periods of time. Again, these don't replace adequate rest.
So great strides have been made during the last 50 years in our understanding of the relationship between sleep and performance. Recent major advances have also occurred in the understanding of brain systems that control the biological sleep-wake cycle. We are continuing to conduct research in these activities, as well as to address the regulatory scheduling and countermeasures questions. Effectively employed, a research-based approach to public policy development can yield significant improvements in aviation safety.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Mann.
I am going to go for the first questions to Mr. Bass.
Mr. BASS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will pass.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This is an issue in which I have had interest for a number of years, and I have had some conflict with the associations in particular in the past with the regional air carriers.
Now, Ms. Gilligan, in the proposals that were made and withdrawnand perhaps they will be made again in a modified formwe are extending the standard rest period from 8 hours to 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Now, when does that start? The plane lands, I am flying, I land, when does my 10 hours start?
Ms. GILLIGAN. No, sir, actually it doesn't start as you have just described it.
Another part of the proposal was first to establish what is called a duty day, which we do not currently have, and that would be for a maximum 14-hour period, and the rest period begins after you are relieved from duty, which is usually as you are leaving the terminal.
Mr. DEFAZIO. OK. But what is it today?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Today it is the same. But the problem is that there isn'tor the issue is that there isn't a definition of the duty day per se. Right now we require, or we limit the amount of flight time to 8 hours, and we set a minimum rest opportunity of 8 hours. That rest period begins when you are relieved from duty as well.
But the issue is that we don't also have something that ends the total amount of duty day, so in fact, right now, there are some circumstances where the pilot can be on duty for the full 16 hours of the rest of the day, if you understand what I am saying. They can only fly for 8, but they can still be on duty for another 8 and have an 8-hour rest period.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. DEFAZIO. In fact, a number of years ago we had testimony from Part 135 pilots that, in fact, that 15-, 16-hour days were not at all unusual for people involved in that industry.
Ms. GILLIGAN. I have heard that same testimony, yes. It is certainly possible under the current regulatory scheme, and that is why we wanted to add the addition of a definition for the duty day, which I think is consistent with the work that NASA has done for us.
Mr. DEFAZIO. If I flew and I was too tired, if I felt I was too tired to fly, what protections are afforded to a person who says to a carrier, I feel I am too tired to fly?
Ms. GILLIGAN. The rules do have a requirement that, not only that the carrier schedule the pilot properly, but that, in fact, the pilot accept that schedule; and if, in fact, they have not had an opportunity for rest, then it is their responsibility to make that known to the carrier.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Do you know what protections we afford, under law, from punitive action by the carriers? There was testimony we heard a few years ago, and I have no reason to feel that things have changed, that the regional carriers would regularly discourage that because you would end up with a really crummy schedule if you disrupted their operations in that manner.
Ms. GILLIGAN. We do not have regulations in the Federal Aviation Regulations that address that protection. It is our expectation, of course, that operators comply with their responsibilities and expect their pilots to comply with the appropriate responsibilities as well; and in fact, scheduling a pilot who is not properly rested would be a regulatory violation which we would pursue.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Right. But I talk to pilots a lot and fly a lot. The current 8 hours is pretty much a joke. There are very few places where they can step out of the terminal and fall instantly asleep in a nice, comfortable bed. Generally they commute to a hotel, they have to get to the hotel, they have to check in.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 I travel a lot. I know this is all about things that happen easily sometimes. So we are scheduling right now an 8-hour period, and maybe 2, 3, 4 hours of that can be taken up in commuting, check-in, check-out, maybe eating a little something and all of that; is that correct?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes, it could be.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Requiring that they be in their hotel and be given an opportunity to rest for 8 hours; they are off the job for 8 hours.
Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right. And that is why the proposal was to expand that to 10 hours, the assumption being that generally those other things can be taken care of in about a two-hour period, and therefore, a real opportunity for sleep would be protected in the 7-to8-hour range, consistent with the NASA work.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Well, that seems like it would be some modest improvement.
I am curious then, in the proposal you made, why there is also a proposal to extend the standard allowable flight time from 8 to 10 hours. I assume that was the carrot-stick approach. On the one hand, we are doing things that the airlines do not like, and here we are going to give them a big gift.
Is that what this is, to balance the proposal?
Ms. GILLIGAN. In looking again at the NASA work, we believe that if we could better protect the rest period so that, in fact, the average number of hours of rest is what a pilot could get, that it was consistent also with the NASA work that 10 hours of flight time was not an unreasonable schedule. It was a proposalwe did ask for comments on it and, of course, we did get quite a number of comments which we are considering as we look at our next set of proposals.
Mr. DEFAZIO. And were the preponderance of those positive or negative?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. Most all of the pilots suggested that it was an extension that they did not think was appropriate. Most all of the operators commented that they would find that to be an acceptable scheduling opportunity.
Mr. DEFAZIO. So here we have something that is going to be convenient for the airlines, maybe save them a bunch of money, and we have all of the people actually who are flying, who we say right now we are giving all the authority tothat is, if you feel you are too tired to fly, you should not fly, you should just tell the airlineof course, we do not protect them at that point, so we do not.
Now we are saying that all of those same people whom we are cautioning not to fly when they are fatigued, we are saying, in our judgment, that is inappropriate; and the airlines are saying, well, we think it is really appropriate because it can save us some money.
How are we going to come down on that, since theoretically we are giving all of this discretion to the pilots and they are telling us in advance that this is a bad idea? Aren't we going to give a lot of weight to that?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, we are balancing that with whatever we can learn from the fatigue science. As I think you have just heard, we know that that science is not exactly physics, it is not mathematical science; there are judgments to be made, and we will have to exercise that judgment. What we are trying to do is determine where is the right line, from a regulatory authority standpoint, to set minimums and maximums. Of course, there is room for additional negotiation perhaps by the individual parties within those guidelines.
But certainly we are giving serious consideration and heavy weight to the information from the pilots, especially because they have been able to provide some additional scientific data that we need to consider as well.
Mr. DEFAZIO. When we last set these rules, weren't three-person flight decks a lot more prevalent?
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, certainly the rules have grown and changed over the decades. We do have rules that are particularly applicable to two-pilot crews as opposed to augmented crews, which is a two-pilot crew with a third pilot brought along for the purposes of rotation within those assignments. So the rules now address all of those different kinds of schedules or kinds of crew pairings that can occur. That is part of what makes this complicated.
As we tried to address new changes in the operating environments there are some inconsistencies among the different sets of rules, which seemed at the time to make sense for the particular thing we were regulating, but when you look across the whole field, it is hard sometimes to understand those inconsistencies. So the new rules will try to flatten those inconsistencies out.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Do you apply any cost-benefit analysis to a rule-making like this?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes, we do, as we do with all of the rule-makings. The 1995 rule did have an extensive cost-benefit analysis and it was quite a costly proposal for the new proposal.
Mr. DEFAZIO. How do we calculate benefit in preventing one crash which kills 1 or 200 people; what is that worth? What value are we currently putting on life? You always have a value. I am just curious what it is today.
Ms. GILLIGAN. I believe the number that is still used by the Department is on the order of $2.7 million. There are econometric models that we apply for that analysis.
What we are trying with this rule-making is a little bit different. We are also trying to do a risk assessment. That is, we ask what is the risk currently in the system, based on fatigue; and if we have a new set of rules, how much have we mitigated that risk, and try to determine that benefit. We think it is worthwhile to look for other kinds of safety benefits to put into that mix, because we need to be informed when we make the final decisions.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. DEFAZIO. OK. I see my time is up.
I hope we will have another round, Mr. Chairman. But I do find it a bit odd, when we are addressing the issue of fatigue, that we are suggesting an extension of the work time. Perhaps I will get back to that in my next round.
Mr. DUNCAN. I believe Mr. Isakson has been here for the full-time. We will come to you for questions.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just a couple of questions.
With regard to flight time, I am curious. Mr. DeFazio asked a question with regard to when a pilot's time ended, and I believe you said, when they left the terminal. We are experiencing a lot of delays currently in the system because we have such an overload and so much capacity being used. Does the total time in the terminal, whether preparing for flight or flying count toward time, or is it just air time?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Right now, the rules that are currently in effect limit flight time to 8 hours, and they require a rest opportunity of 8 hours. We do not define a total duty day, although we do know pilots have other responsibilities besides just flight time.
In the 1995 proposal, we proposed to also define that duty day, which would take into account the activities before flight, after flight, perhaps training that might occur during the day, or other kinds of responsibilities that the pilot may need to meet for the employer. That proposal was a maximum 14-hour duty day.
Mr. ISAKSON. Whether flying or not flying?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right. It would includethe 8 hours of flying would have to be within a total 14-hour duty day.
Mr. ISAKSON. But currently there is no definition; is that correct.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right. And as Congressman DeFazio pointed out, there is a potential for a pilot to spend 16 hours in the employment, or with responsibilities towards their employer, because we don't have a limitation on the maximum duty day at this time.
Mr. ISAKSON. Second question, I think fromI think it was from NASA, in reading some of the preliminary. There was a proposal about napping during flight time on multiple-person crews, pilot, copilot, et cetera. Is that addressed at all currentlyI mean, one way or anotherin terms of the Safety Board or FAA?
Mr. MANN. Well, I could tell you the research that was done demonstrated that during the non-critical phases of flight, if you took 45-minute naps, effectively got 26 minutes of sleep, that there was a dramatic improvement in alertness for an extended period of time afterwards. There was a proposed rule change submitted to the FAA in 1994, or 1995, but to my belief, that has not been acted on yet.
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. The Board has not taken a position specifically with respect to napping. We are very much concerned with the distinction between flying time and duty time, and certainly anything that would provide opportunities for increased rest would be appropriate.
Ms. GILLIGAN. The FAA has not proposed to permit controlled rest or napping in the cockpit. We are looking at it closely; we are very, very aware of the NASA study that has been done and the work that was done there. There are, as was mentioned in the testimony, a few countries that do permit napping in the cockpit. And the way that works is that the pilots reach agreement ahead of time, who would take a short nap, and who has complete control of the aircraft.
We are looking at that proposal. We do think there are some implications for public safety that need to be fully considered.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. ISAKSON. I am assuming that it may have been said that the 8-hour limitation currently is domestic flights. Is there a different set of rules for international flights?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes, there is, and there are different sets of rules depending on how many crew members there are as well. That is part of what we tried to address in the 1995 proposal, which was to try again to even out some of those differences that have appeared because we regulated each environment as it became a way that the airlines were operating.
We received a number of comments, however, that suggested that what we call the 'one-size-fits-all' set of regulations may not be appropriate; that there are some differences about environments in which pilots operate that should be recognized in the rules. We are looking at those kinds of differences as we try to come up with our next proposal.
Mr. ISAKSON. Final question, or really an observation. Having flown internationally a number of times, it would appear to me we could learn from the way we treat some of the international legs, which can certainly run longer than 8 hours, we could learn some of the effects there and apply those to domestic. Because I would agree one size couldn't fit all. If you start applying the 8-hour limitation, you would certainly change international routes tremendously.
That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Isakson. Mr. Lampson.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am particularly pleased that you have invited the NASA representative to come. I think we need to hear more and more. I have been most anxious to hear from NASA as well.
I was just curious to let you talk a little bit more about some of the research that you are doing, just to follow up on the gentleman's comments of the difference between commutingcommuter flights, short flights, and very long-distance, perhaps international flights. It seems like those pilots who are flying the little commuter planes may be under more stress sometimes than the long flights. Some of those flights may be 30 minutes to an hour long.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Are they pretty much following the same kinds of work patterns as far as number of hours and actual time in the cockpit, in control of the airplane? Can you talk some about that and help me understand it a little bit better, the differences between the two?
Mr. MANN. Yes, sir. There was a study done from 1993 to 1997 on long haul, it was called the Long Haul Field Study, and the major contributors to fatigue in those cases were the fact that you didn't tend to have a 24-hour duty cycle, so you had staggered start and stop times, which made it difficult to get your body acclimated. You also had a circadian rhythm desynchronization because you were crossing time zones.
Quite often during night flying, particularly between the hours of 2 o'clock and 6 o'clock, is when your body cycle is at its lowest level, so it is very difficult to stay awake during those periods of time. So the long haul had fatigue caused by those factors.
We did a study in 1994 to 1998 looking at regional airlines, which are much shorter, and the fatigue contributors there tended to be long duty days, very short night layovers, and progressively earlier report dates.
Now, there wasin the regional study, there was significant sampling from air crews, and so in the oral statement I mentioned that 88 percent of the crews reported that fatigue was a common occurrence, and 92 percent reported that when fatigue did occur, it was a significant safety issue on their part. So the problems with fatigue are totally different between the two different scenarios you talked about. And the countermeasures would be different. During very short flights, it would be very difficult, for instance, to take naps as we mentioned earlier.
The napping study, incidentally, was done using actual flight crews flying domestic flights, and the incidences of what we call microsleep, which are instances of 5 seconds or greater where a crewman actually is drowsy, nods off, goes to the earliest stages of sleep, essentially disappeared with naps during the critical phases of the flight, whereas it was surprisingly high during those same phases on crews that did not have the advantage of having naps.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LAMPSON. The recommendations that you have come up with, you talked some in your testimony about the need for more research. Is it appropriate for the research that has been done to be used in adoptingexcuse mefor FAA to adopt at this point; or are you confident enough of the success of what you have studied?
Mr. MANN. The research that has been donethere is a wide range of research that is available. Some of that has been done very specifically on airlines and air flight activities, as in the napping study. We also did a similar study on crew activities where crews would be given an opportunity to have work that would provide them a significant increased alertness for short periods of time.
A lot of the other study that has been done is not directly in aviation, it is done in other kinds of work situations, so there is clearly an opportunity to do more directed research for aviation.
There is also a significant amount of work we are doing right now on drowsiness detection, if you will, automated devices that help a crew realize when they are starting to get drowsy and take the appropriate countermeasures.
So there are clearly opportunities for additional research that we are pursuing right now, and it could be applicable input to the FAA in their rule-making.
Mr. LAMPSON. Do you all have a particular center that you use predominantly for your research?
Mr. MANN. The research is predominantly done at the Ames Research Center in San Francisco.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Lampson.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Several of you, in fact most of you have used the word ''fatigue'' as describing the problem, and I am not sure that is right. In fact, I am quite sure it isn't, because fatigue is related to physical labor or exertion, can be related to stress. But it seems to me the real problem here is sleepiness rather than fatigue.
I have ridden on a jump seat a lot; I know what the situation is in the cockpit and rarely see fatigued pilots, but I occasionally see sleepy ones.
I have two questions relating to both of these. First of all, do you have any statistics on what percent of accidents involve sleepiness, and do those predominantly occur toward the end of the duty day or not? I noticed the two examples that were given, one was at the end of the duty day, the other was at takeoff, starting the day. So I would be interested in what statistics you have on that as a totality.
Secondly, if indeed the real problem is sleepiness, doesn't it make sense to have regulations on sleep rather than just the work cycle? For example, what do the pilots do in their off time? If they engage in other activities which result in 4 hours sleep, that is more of a problem than if they worked 14 hours orI am sorryhad a duty cycle of 14 hours or 16 hours. I am not saying that they do, but I am saying that that is a possibility.
Related to that is a question of sleep disorders. Are pilots ever checked for sleep disorders which tend to become more common as people get older? I would appreciate answers from anyone on those points.
Mr. MANN. I could answer the data question, sir.
The data on accidents per se is rather sparse. There aren't that many accidents to start with and, quite often, fatigue would be cited more as a contributing factor. The only case that we are aware of where that was cited as a principal factor was the Guantanamo Bay crash in 1993. It does show upa lot of the data that we use comes from the aviation safety reporting system that we operate for the FAA, and fatigue shows up quite often as a contributing factor.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 The survey data that I talked about, we did it for the regional airlines, as well as for a separate study on corporate. In the corporate studyI already cited the data that showed up on the regional airlines; in the corporate aviation sector, it was cited as less of a factor. It was still on the order of 60 or 70 percent as opposed to 80 to 90 percent. And I guess I would pass the questions on regulatory.
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. If I could add with respect to the issue of data, Mr. Mann is correct that the accident data per se do not show a large preponderance of commercial aviation accidents to be caused by fatigue. As a matter of fact, the Guantanamo Bay accident was the first accident that the Board cited fatigue as a cause.
Now, it has been listed a number of times as either a factor or a finding, but the distinctions there in terms of the Board's exercise of the determination of probable cause has tended to be that we would not do that unless we had very compelling evidence.
We believe that those data in terms of the proportion of accidents that are caused or are contributed to by fatigue are probably an underestimate, and we do rely on other data, like the survey data.
I might also mention that in 1994 the Board conducted a study of commuter airline operations and found there particularly the issue of duty time, as opposed to flight time, to be very important. There were a lot of other things that these pilots were doing besides flying the airplane. There were activities, flying activities, that were not counted toward either the regulated flying or duty time, like tail-end ferry flights or tail-end training that was conducted under Part 91, rather than Part 135 or Part 121. So those are a concern.
We are also very, very much concerned from the point of view of the Safety Board, and we would agree that a principal problem is failure to obtain appropriate rest and sleepiness, rather than operational fatigue per se.
Mr. EHLERS. Well, that leads to my second point. If the failure to get enough sleep is a problem, does regulating the work period really solve that problem? How do you ensure that someone gets an adequate amount of sleep?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 But let's get at the problem. Let's not just say if we regulate the workday, we will solve the problem. I am not convinced we will.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, that is obviously an issue, but what we have struggled with from a government standpoint is, how does one actually enforce regulation for sleep? We have been asked why it is that we don't require the pilots sleep for 8 hours. The issue of how to check whether they are doing that becomes a real question, and promulgating a regulation that is very difficult to enforce doesn't necessarily address the issue either.
Instead, what we have looked at, I think, are a couple of options. First of all, our expectations are that pilots are professionals; that they understand they have a professional responsibility to arrive for their duty assignment prepared to take that assignment, and that means rested. We have ensured by regulation that they have the opportunity to get that rest and we expect that they are taking advantage of that opportunity.
But you raised the issue about other outside activities, and that was one of the issues on which we received a number of comments in the proposal we made in 1995. We do have rules in place that limit to some extent what pilots can be expected to do during the course of their flights. As you know, most schedules include a day of flying and some rest opportunity and then more flying over a 2- or 3- or 4-day period. And for those rest periods that are between those scheduled flights, there are very clear limitations on some of the things that the operator can require for the pilot during that time.
What has been harder to address are the time periods leading up to coming on duty for the first scheduled flight. That is something we are trying to look at closely as we go forward with another set of proposals because, as you point out, there are anecdotes that suggest that pilots commute long distances to their first work assignment, or are involved in other activities, so they may not be giving themselves that opportunity for rest. They may think it is restful to commute 3 or 4 hours by plane to get to their first assignment, but it may not meet the real need for sleep that we know is really required.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 So we are looking at how can the Federal Government address some of those personal decisions that individuals make about where to live and how to get to their workplace; and if we can come up with an appropriate role for the government, we will try to propose recommendations along those lines as well.
Mr. EHLERS. If I may just quickly conclude, my point is simply, I am not trying to say, don't worry about the length of the workday; I am saying, also make sure there is adequate rest time and that there are fairly clear instructions as to what the expectations are on that.
Final comment, Mr. Chairman, is, particularly this week, I am beginning to think perhaps we need work rules like this for the Congress.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Ms. DANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, let me say that 8 hours off is not necessarily 8 hours permitted for sleep or rest. I think you used the phrase ''sleep for 8 hours,'' an opportunity to get rest. The truth of the matter is, it is 8 hours off duty, not 8 hours for sleep, because when the crew arrives, the first thing they have to do is wait for the van to shuttle them to the hotel. Then they have to check in, that is probably, you know, 45 minutes to an hour they might lose there.
The next morning they have to get up and get ready for the flight, so they are going to lose at least another hour and a half, so we are down to 51/2 hours, aren't we?
Ms. GILLIGAN. We agree, Mrs. Danner, that the opportunity that is provided by the current rule may be insufficient. The proposal in 1995 was to extend the rest period to 10 hours. I expect that in our next proposal we will have a similar kind of recommendation as well. The intent was, in fact, to extend the opportunity for rest to allow for the performance of some of those regular things you have to do, like getting from the airport to your hotel, and still allow for a protected rest period of 7 to 8 hours, which is what the NASA data would support.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. DANNER. I think that every member of this committee and certainly some of the audience know that my husband flew for TWA for 31 years, so I know more than a passing amount about what takes place here.
In addition, in conversing with him, he tells me that another major factor is what your flight time has been the day before, if you have nonroutine, for example, and you have put in a very, very long day the day before. And if memory serves me, in a prior conversation with him, I think that he could have been on duty as long as 16 hours the day before and still have only what amounts to, in reality, 51/2 hours rest before he goes out again. Is that correct?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes. Again, we don't have a current limitation on the length of the duty day, and the proposal in 1995 did include a limitation on the duty day to 14 hours. And again, in our next proposal, I would anticipate we will make a similar kind of recommendation.
Ms. DANNER. Very good.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of quick questions, maybe to FAA.
Has FAA ever issued a penalty against a certificate holder or pilot for violating flight time limitation or rest time requirements?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes, sir. We have taken enforcement actions against both operators, as well as airmen, when we can demonstrate or when there is evidence that there has been a violation of the flight limitations.
Mr. MICA. Can you tell me how often, how many?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. I apologize. I meant to have that data with me, but I did not come with that, but we can certainly provide it.
Mr. MICA. Dozens and dozens, hundreds of violations and citations?
Ms. GILLIGAN. My recollection is that over the last 5 years, there has been a fairly standard number, somewhere in the 80 to 100 sort of range, but I could be wrong, and we will provide the data.
[The information follows:]
Mr. MICA. The other question I have, having been involved in the civil service aspect of government, chaired that subcommittee for 4 years, the number of personnel that are required for enforcement, could you tell us how manynow, you have been criticized for not enforcing enough when you have had rules on the books; and you are saying enforcement is on the way.
How many folks have been devoted to this in the past, and then how many folks would it take to adequately conduct enforcement when you begin in 2000, or have this new program?
Ms. GILLIGAN. First, let me just clarify, I am reminded that it is, on average, about 85 enforcement cases related to flight and duty limitations in a year. But we will give you the specific numbers.
The enforcement program actually is a part of the work that all of our inspector work force does, and we have about 3,000 inspectors. About half of those are operations inspectors who would look at things like flight and duty time in addition to many, many other kinds of things. At this point, I don't think we feel a need for particular growth in the inspector work force for the purposes of enforcement.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Those cases then are handled through our counsel's office, because, of course, there are due process requirements of notice and opportunity to respond, and in fact, ultimately cases are heard by administrative law judges who are employed by the NTSB.
We have over time made requests for additional resources for counsel's office, and have not always been successful in getting those additional resources, so that there may be some value in additional resources there in the future. But we certainly make those requests through the budget process when that is appropriate.
Mr. MICA. The other question I would have is, to really enforce this, you would really have to know more about the patterns of sleep or conduct of a pilot before they actually take duty. Somebody could be up for 20 hours, or partied all weekend, and then present themselves at 8 o'clock on Monday morning to fly a plane. And you really don't have any way to totally get a handle on this; is that correct?
Ms. GILLIGAN. I think that is accurate. Most of the violations we discover through a paper review that indicates, for example that, either the flight time was scheduled incorrectly, that is the flights actually added up to 10 hours rather than 8 hours, or the opportunity to rest wasn't properly protected. I am not aware of a case that we have brought because a pilot was not, in fact, rested when they reported to work, because I agree with you, it would be difficult for us to determine that.
Mr. MICA. The final question for FAA, with all of the publicity surrounding the JFK tragedyJFK, Jr., tragedy, I have read that some of these civil pilots are out there at night and flying with a limited number of hours. Have you all been considering changing this policy for night flying because of this and other incidents? And I understand that this is not, you know, an anomaly; this is happening with other cases.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, yes, and certainly, as you know, anything related to the accident will be determined by the NTSB. But, yes, we are certainly always looking at whether the standards we have in place are appropriate.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Currently, the requirements are that private pilots, before they receive their certificate, do take training in night flight, as well as in instrument flight, and that they must demonstrate they are proficient in both night and instrument operations, with their instructor evaluating that, be tested on it in their flight test. But we are certainly considering whether we should change those standards in some way to enhance that safety.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Mica.
Ms. NORTON. No questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. I believe Mr. Miller is next.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to ask a few questions on terminology you used. One is ''standard duty time'' and the other is ''allowable flight time.'' explain to me the difference between those, just so there is no confusion.
Ms. GILLIGAN. OK. First, I will makeI am a lawyer by training, and I will tell you they are not terms of art. Flight time is currently defined in our regulations, and there is a limitation of 8 hours of flight time. That is the standard rule.
Mr. MILLER. When does that start? Does that start when the plane taxis out, or when the pilot arrives at the airport?
Ms. GILLIGAN. When the airplane moves under its own power, and that is in the current regulations.
The issue of duty time is the total amount of time during the day that a pilot would be available for the employer, it is a new terminology that was proposed in our 1995 rules, and again, I expect we will see a similar proposal again, and that is, an effort to capture all of the assignments that a pilot may take on, not just flight time, but other duties that would be performed, and to limit that to a 14-hour maximum.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. MILLER. Looking at those proposals, you propose limiting flight time to 32 hours in a 7-day period, limiting flight time to 100 hours per calendar month.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Right.
Mr. MILLER. How does thatdoes that mix in also with standard duty time? Could a pilotwhat is an average pilot flight per week? Let's ask that question.
Ms. GILLIGAN. You would actually be better off asking the representatives on the next panel, who will.
Mr. MILLER. OK. We will assume that they don't fly over 32 hours a week?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right. We currently have similar limitations.
Mr. MILLER. Are there standard duty time hours on top of that, or does that include standard duty time? How many hours a week will a pilot work, basically?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Again, because we don't have a regulation on duty time right now, that is not a measure that I am familiar with. I do understand that many operators, through negotiations with their pilot representatives, have set limitations for both their flight time, as well as their duty time; and so again, the members of the next panel may be able to give you a better sense of what the actual work schedule looks like.
Mr. MILLER. Is there any limitation on how many days a week they can work? Can they work 7 days a week?
Ms. GILLIGAN. No, they must have one 24-hour period off in any 7 days, by regulation.
Mr. MILLER. So, virtually, a pilot could fly 32 hours a week and would have 32 hours of standard duty time; is that what you are saying?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. Hmmm, I.
Mr. MILLER. And if you haven't looked at that, why not?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, we have looked, again, at all of the sets of limitations. It is true, that because the duty time is not currently limited by rule, the time that isn't required for rest or time that isn't required by flight could be time spent on behalf of the employer right now. That is a possibility, and that is why we are moving toward definition of a duty day.
Mr. MILLER. If you are concerned here about pilots coming to work exhausted because they haven't had enough rest, it would seem that you would take into consideration allowable flight time and standard duty time in your proposal.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes.
Mr. MILLER. Yet you are not doing that as a cumulative number.
Ms. GILLIGAN. It is true the last proposal did not show a limited cumulative duty day. That may certainly be something we should take a look at in the new proposal, and we will look at that.
Mr. MILLER. So in a work week, if a pilot were to fly, in a month, three 32-hour weeks, the last week he could only fly 4 hours?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right.
Mr. MILLER. A total of 100 hours?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That's right.
Mr. MILLER. Now, I heard some questions and they alluded to airline profits, as if airlines are going to overwork their employees, and cost-benefit and risk assessment. I don't see a cost-benefit to a crash, nor do I see any benefit at all to the airline pushing pilots to the point where there is a plane crash. So I hate to have our conversation going in that direction, as some have, because it sends somebody in the direction of thinking that airlines are bad and trying to abuse pilots.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Is there a shortage of pilots? In fact, I know several people who want to become airline pilots, and there are no openings. Is that a reasonable statement?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, there is concern, a growing concern, about the future pool for pilots as the industry anticipates growth.
Mr. MILLER. But typically, is there an adequate number of people who want to come into the industry?
Ms. GILLIGAN. At this time there is, yes.
Mr. MILLER. Do you know not how much they are paid, but how pilots are paid?
Ms. GILLIGAN. It is related to their flight time and to some of their other scheduling, but again the next panel can give you all of those details.
Mr. MILLER. So they are paid for what they do, basically. It is not just, we are going to give you 5 bucks a week, and you are going to work 8 hours for $5; you are paid basically on how much time you spend on the job?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That is my understanding.
Mr. MILLER. So if a pilot is being paidI would assume that a pilot takes a flight, they don't want to have an 18-hour layover, because they want to get back on that plane and get back home. So the more time they have between flights somewhat is a detriment to a pilot, and yet if it is a too narrow window, that is also a detriment to a pilot. So we are trying to come up with some reasonable layover time that makes everybody happy.
And based on there being no cost savings to a crash and no benefit to a crash, is there a detriment to a pilot coming in and saying, I didn't get enough sleep last night, I shouldn't fly this plane? Is there a consequence that you know of for a pilot doing that?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, again, as I indicated, certainly under our regulatory scheme we would expect pilots to make it known if they aren't prepared to take a flight.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. MILLER. But is there a job consequence if a pilot does that?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Certainly, as Congressman DeFazio indicated, there are those who have said that there is. I am not really in a position to evaluate that right now.
Mr. MILLER. OK. So that would be more a question to be applied to the next panel?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes. I think they may be able to give you more firsthand experience.
Mr. MILLER. OK. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right.
I believe what we will have to do at this time, unfortunately, is break for a couple of votes, and so we will be in recess, I suppose for at least about 15 minutes, maybe more than that.
Mr. DUNCAN. I apologize for the delay, but we had to have a motion to recommit following the two votes that were announced.
Let's go ahead, and I will ask you just one question and then go to Mr. Lipinski. On the next panel we are going to hear testimony from the Air Transport Association that claims that rigorous scientific analysis has not been performed in this area.
Mr. Ellingstad, what do you say about that?
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. We believe that the research on fatigue has been solid. Much of the research that has been directed at this issue has been conducted by NASA/Ames, and they have provided, we believe, very solid research.
A difficulty is that to establish specific causation in accidents is a much more difficult task, and perhaps we have not been able to conclude convincingly that a great proportion of accidents are caused by or contributed to by fatigue. We certainly do know a great deal about the processes of fatigue and we know the relationships of scheduling and duty time, as well as the opportunity for sleep to this process.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 We believe that there is a sufficient research base and sufficient scientific evidence to support rule-making, to support regulation of flight and duty time or, more appropriately, the whole hours of service.
Mr. DUNCAN. Do you see any problem about the 10-and10 proposition that Ms. Gilligan was talking about, rather than the 8-and8-hour?
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. There are a couple of important issues that the Safety Board has observed in various of our studies that have involved accident investigations and our safety studies. One very important issue is the distinction between duty time and flight time. A significant problem in this area is what has been regulated is the time that the airplane has been moving, and that is not the time that the pilots are in there experiencing working demands and essentially using up their fitness for duty, if you will.
So that is a very important kind of an issue.
Another very important issue, as Congressman Ehlers indicated, is the opportunity for sleep. In aviation as well as in other transportation modes, one of the major issues that we have found, even perhaps more important than the actual time on duty, is the opportunity to obtain rest, and the capability of a regulation and a schedule to protect the opportunity, to obtain rest and to obtain proper sleep. Those, I would submit, were probably the most important issues. Certainly, 10 hours of protected time during which the pilot can obtain good-quality sleep would be an improvement.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon, folks.
Ms. Gilligan, I want to go back to the monitoring of your existing regulation as it pertains to the flight time. Did you say that there were an average of 85 noncompliances reported to you a year?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes. The numbers are about 85 actual enforcement cases. There may be others that were reported, but that can't be substantiated. But we keep track of our enforcement cases.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Those cases now, are they the pilot complaining to the FAA about the regulations not being enforced? Is it your inspectors catching the paperwork, and do your inspectors actually find any of these violations as they are going around?
Ms. GILLIGAN. It is actually a little bit of all of the above. It is not uncommon for pilots to call and ask about a schedule. It is not uncommon for competitors to call and tell us that they believe that a competitor may not be complying with all of the regulations and our inspectors will go and investigate those allegations.
In addition, as part of their regular oversight, the inspectors do review the scheduling systems. That is generally paperwork review, and they will sometimes compare the schedule to pay records to determine that there is consistency between the hours that are to be scheduled and the hours of pay that the individual received.
So it is a mix of any of those kinds of opportunities.
Mr. LIPINSKI. You have about 85 per year that go to an administrative hearing?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Either an administrative hearing or to a civil penalty.
Mr. LIPINSKI. How many inspectors do you have that are involved in this work?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Our whole inspector work force is about 3,500. I would ask Mr. Lacey to give you some of the breakdown if that would be all right.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I would appreciate that.
Mr. LACEY. Sir, our flight operations inspectors are the ones that are tasked to review the scheduling system and the scheduling practices. It is roughly 1,300 that are involved in that specific work.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LIPINSKI. They do do other work, though, besides this, correct?
Mr. LACEY. Absolutely. They have an annual work plan of surveillance that is built up; and then there isin addition to that, there is work that they decide that needs to be done based on their particular situation. It more or less rounds out how they spend their time.
Built into their annual plan is a sample which looks into the scheduling practices and procedures.
Mr. LIPINSKI. These 1,300 inspectors, do you have any idea what percentage of their time is spent in regards to monitoring the compliance with the rules pertaining to flight time?
Mr. LACEY. No, I don't have a specific number. I would tell you off the top of my head, it is probably less than 5 percent. I think there are.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Less than 5 percent?
Mr. LACEY. Yes, in a planned mode. You might find variations based on investigations that come as a result of a hotline; or a crew member calls. We investigate each and every one of those. I think there would be some kind of variation there, that there may be a situation in a certain carrier that is causing a lot of investigation.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Do you have any idea what percentage of the cases that go to a hearing or have a civil penalty are actually initiated by your inspectors out in the field?
Mr. LACEY. I don't. I would certainly be happy to provide you with that.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I would be interested in getting that information.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LACEY. Absolutely. We will get back to you, sir.
[The information follows:]
Mr. LIPINSKI. Flight time, just so I clearly understand it, starts when the plane leaves the gate; is that correct?
Mr. LACEY. Yes, sir. It is actually logged as when the aircraft taxis under its own power. So normally, you have a push-back, start the engines, and flight time starts as the throttles are advanced. Basically the aircraft is headed or intendedthey are intending to fly at that point.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, here is what I want to know. The plane leaves the gate, OK, the brake has been released obviously, and there has to be some power going on in the plane. And then when you go and you sit on the runway for 2 hours before you take off and actually start flying to a destination, that 2 hours you are sitting on the runway, does that count, or doesn't it count? And the reason you are sitting there is because you have a ground hold or you have some other weather problem or something like that?
Mr. LACEY. Actually, when you put it in that context, it is really the start of the takeoff roll is when flight time can be considered to start. I might need some clarification on that. I mean, there is a time of.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. LIPINSKI. Certainly.
Mr. OBERSTAR. In an earlier hearing in this committee, earlier this year, we established with the general counsel at DOT that definitively, flight time begins when the brake is released. That was established in this committee.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LACEY. OK.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Now, either that is the rule or it is not the rule. You are adding to and complicating this.
Mr. LACEY. Welland it can get complicated depending on how you are looking at it, but that is exactly right. The brake being released, to me, is the same as taxiing under your own power.
Mr. LIPINSKI. So then the 2 hours I spend on the Tarmac waiting to take off does count towards flight time?
Mr. LACEY. Absolutely.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Of course, there is a provision here someplace that also says if there is a weather condition and mechanical problem, that doesn't count toward flight time.
Ms. GILLIGAN. You are right, sir. Under our proposed rule, there is the opportunity to extend the flight time based on weather, mechanicalsthere is a third that escapes me right now.
Mr. LIPINSKI. It escapes me also.
Ms. GILLIGAN. But we can provide that. But it also requires that change to the rest requirement at the other end, so we do try to accommodate that. But again, when the rulesas the rules grew, there was the recognition that there were sometimes things beyond the control of the operator; and we did try to accommodate that. I think as we look at the new duty limitation, that is an issue that we have to reexamine and be certain that we understand if we are allowing extensions, what the basis is for that and how we balance whatever impact that might have on sleep.
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Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 [insert here]
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, how does thewe leave the gate and we sit on the runway for 2 hours, and then we fly and we land in Chicago. If we go ahead and do that, this flight crew is going to be 2 hours over their 8-hour limit; they will be up to 10 hours. Now, you say that it is permissible when there is a mechanical, weather, and a third one?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Air traffic delay, I have been told.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Air traffic delay, very good. Your staff told you before my staff told me. I was wondering who was going to win the race.
Howat what point does the air carrier or the pilot have toand do they have to get any permission in order to do this?
I am sitting on the runway, OK? I am a pilot of my United flight going back to Chicago. I am sitting on the runway, and I know, based upon the problems that we are having with weather, that when I finally get to Chicago, I will have been flying this plane technically for 11 hours, which is going to be 3 hours over.
Now, do I have to get permission before I can do that from anybody, or do I just go ahead and do it, and then after we get there, I tell them I did it, and I am routinely given dispensation for doing it?
Ms. GILLIGAN. The proposed rules do allow the 2-hour extension, and that is notit doesn't require any additional approval, as you have just described it. It is the expectation, however, that again both the airline and the pilots are acting responsibly. And that is why airlines, of course, have standby crews, as well as what are called reserve crews, in the event that they find they have to switch crews because of an impasse that has occurred during the day of operation; and it is our experience they do take advantage of those other crews to supplement the schedule.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LIPINSKI. Now, you say that there is a 2-hour automatic exemption, and I just went 3 hours, though. What would happen if there would be 3 hours, if there would be 1 more hour over the 10 hours?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Some of it depends on when it actually occurs. The departure should not occur if the carrier and the pilot know that they will not be able to complete the flight within the limitation, within the 2-hour extension. Then the flight should not be released and, in fact, replacement crews should be considered. Sometimes in the course of flight, because of conditions that occur, what happens is it becomes apparent that, in fact, the flight may go beyond the limit. At that point, safe operation is expected to continue; and if that is to continue to the ultimate destination, then that would be acceptable.
Mr. LIPINSKI. OK. I understand.
In your new regulations, rules that you are going to propose, have you done any real investigation or proposal for pilots whosay a pilot lives in Florida and he operates out of Chicago, O'Hare, and it takes him 21/2 hours or so to fly up to Chicago, and then he starts his flight date. Have you done anything in regards to that?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That is an issue that we received a number of comments on in 1995 because, in our 1995 proposal, we did not address what the pilot may experience in coming in to work for the first shift. It is an issue that we are looking at more closely for our new proposal.
The current rules do already limit whether the airline can require the pilot to fly to or deadhead to another location, and we make it clear that that is not considered rest. If the airline is going to require the deadhead flight, they cannot consider that part of the pilot rest period. We think we may need to look at a similar kind of limitation for the pilot-commuting example that you have given as well.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Chairman, I have a couple more questions. Should I ask them now?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, go ahead.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you.
Your existing rules and regulations allow for domestic pilots to fly 30 hours in a 7-consecutive-day period. Your international rules say that they can fly 32 hours. Obviously, an international flight, you are going through time zones, they have to be longer flights, and it would seem to me that if flying domestically you can fly only 30 hours, aren't you stretching safety by allowing them to fly 32 hours when they are going internationally through a number of time zones on longer flights?
Ms. GILLIGAN. One of the several circumstances that caused us in 1995 to look at a new proposal that could bring some consistency was just the kind of example that you have pointed out. Again, because we approached each of these environments separately when we originally set the rulesand we did that because of the airlines' ability to fly first domestically and then internationally and long haul, changed over timewe tried to adjust the rules to accommodate what the environment was. But what we have now are some anomalies among those rules, and so our new proposal will look at how we can try to smooth those anomalies out, or explain them as having a safety justification.
Mr. LIPINSKI. The 30 hours for domestic flights, I assume that is for two pilots in the cockpit, correct?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Yes.
Mr. LIPINSKI. And what are they for international flights? Is that for two also, or is that for three?
Ms. GILLIGAN. I am sorry, I don't know off the top of my head, but we can get that before we leave today.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I would think that that would have a bearing on how long they can fly, particularly in light of the fact we have been talking about these catnaps.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. GILLIGAN. Right. Yes, we do have different schemes depending on the number of crew members and whether they are augmented pilots, that is, additional crew who are not assigned at the start of the flight, but who can rotate in during the course of the flight.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Is it possible for you today, this minute, to give me an idea when you are going to come out with your new proposed rule-making?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, we have a team that is dedicated to it. We have been working on it very hard, but I have to admit there are even some issues raised here today that we have to go back and look at a little more closely, given some of the exchange we have had here. My hope would be to have it at least through FAA review within the next 4 to 6 months. Beyond that, there is additional review within the administration before it would actually be published.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, the administration, I read today, is coming out with some rules on fatigue for motor carriers, so maybe that will help give a little impetus inside the administration for moving this along. Thank you very much.
Mr. Mann, I have a question for you in regards to is there a relationship between a person's age and fatigue? Are older pilots more susceptible to fatigue, especially when crossing time zones on international flights?
Mr. MANN. Let me ask Dr. Neri to address that.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Go right ahead, sure.
Mr. NERI. Thank you. There are wide individual differences, both for those who are young and those who are older, and it may be the case that older individuals have a little more difficulty adapting to the time zone transitions and some of the other challenges associated with international flying, but it is difficult to say in any specific case.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LIPINSKI. OK. Did you have something you want to say?
Mr. LACEY. Sir, I just wanted to go back to your question pertaining to any differences in the number of hours that you can fly in a week, whether it is a two- or three-man cockpit. There are no differences in that realm. There are differences in how many hours you can fly in a 24-hour period, based on a two- or a three-person cockpit.
Mr. LIPINSKI. What is the difference in the 24-hour period?
Mr. LACEY. For international, it is 10 hours with a two-person cockpit, and with a flight engineernot an extra pilot, but a flight engineerit is 12 hours.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Can the flight engineer land the plane?
Mr. LACEY. No, sir. It is admittedly an inconsistency.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, panel.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. COOKSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have several questions. What I would like to do is read all my questions and let you divide the questions up and give you more time to prepare for them.
Are any of you pilots? Mr. Lacey, are you a pilot?
Mr. LACEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. COOKSEY. And the person on the end here, the other end?
Mr. NERI. No, sir.
Mr. COOKSEY. OK. I am sorry, what is your name?
Mr. NERI. David Neri.
Mr. COOKSEY. Mrs. Gilligan, in your original testimony and questions, you alluded to the lack of a limitation on a duty day or maximum duty day. First, do you think we need a limitation on a maximum duty hours day? That is my first question.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 The second question, I would really like for you to answer since I understand you are an attorney, and I promise I will not make any snide remarks about attorneys today.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. COOKSEY. I have a daughter who is about to finish law school.
The current regulations are based on the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, and these were all updated about 20 years ago, I assume about 1979 or 1980. And these were done when most of the service was local serviceprop planes, not even turboprops, but props. Today, a lot of flying is international flights, jets, even the regional flights are jets now.
Do you feel that these changes in the FARs have been adequate in preventing scheduling pilots for periods of duty, for minimal periods of rest? Those are the two questions I would like for you to answer.
Ms. GILLIGAN. OK.
Mr. COOKSEY. And, Mr. Lacey, today are or could pilots be asked by management to, quote, waive their contractual provisions in favor of the more relaxed FARs? Because FARs are a little easier and are not as stringent, not as strict is my understanding.
And Mr. Ellingstad, do any orand this may not be your area of expertise, but you are in the Office of Engineering of the National Transportation Safety Board. Do any or many of the pilots have benefit of labor contracts that provide duty flight and rest period enhancements to ensure that an adequate margin of safety will be maintained? Do any or many have benefit or if so, what percentage have benefit of labor contracts that will provide duty, flight and rest period enhancements to ensure an adequate margin ofto ensure an adequate margin of safety will be maintained?
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Now, Ms. Gilligan, I would like to go back to you. I feel like this is a fundamental question that needs to be asked today. Do we need a maximum duty hours day? We do not have it, I understand.
Ms. GILLIGAN. You are right, we don't have it now, and, yes, we do believe that that would be an improvement for the safety of the crew. We did propose it in 1995. We do know that there have been anomalous situations where pilots have been on duty for a continuous period of time that we believe, based on the work from NASA, is beyond what is reasonable to expect safe performance. That is why we believe that the balance of a longer protected rest period and a set duty day would address the possible safety risks that may still be there, given the rules that we have in place now.
Mr. COOKSEY. My second question was in relation to the current regulations being based on the civil aviation, Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, and then the update about 20 years ago. Do you think these are adequate?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, the statutes in most cases were very broad and gave FAA the authority to put in place proper, or appropriate, limitations on hours of service. So I think the statutory basis is still perfectly sufficient for what we are intending to do.
As I mentioned a couple of times, many of the rules grew over time as the operations changed. You made the point that many of them came about at the time of older kinds of equipment, and that is accurate, and that is part of why we began our 1995 effort. It was an effort to update the rules, to not only make sure we are considering what is happening in the aviation environment, but also because we started to learn, through the work of NASA, that there are some elements about being tired or being sleepy that aren't related to the environment in which you work. They are, in fact, physiological. Our rules did not necessary account for that as well as they could have.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 The 1995 proposal was very much based on the NASA work and proposed a single approach for all environments.
Now I think we have moved a little bit away from that, as well, to say that there are some things about the environment that you operate in that contribute to tiredness, and there are some physiological things that we know account for tiredness. We need to try to have the rule be broad enough to accommodate both; and that is what we are building into our new proposal.
Mr. COOKSEY. It sounds to me as if then you like having the broad statutorywell, law, effectthat allows a good bit of latitude; but do you think that really protects the pilots, having those broad guidelines?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, again I think the statutory.
Mr. COOKSEY. When I say ''protects pilots,'' I mean ultimately protects the flying passengers.
Ms. GILLIGAN. I think the statutory base has allowed us to react to changes in the industry as they first came into place and is now allowing us to react to new scientific data, as well as new operating environments. I don't think this is an issue that can be easily controlled by legislation. I think the broad legislation providing us the regulatory basis is the right approach.
I have to say, though, and I have said earlier, the effort to update the rules has taken too long. It is a very difficult and complex issue. You will hear I think in the next panel even more about the complexities of this global industry and how scheduling crews gets very, very complicated. But we do need to move it forward, and I thinkI know within FAA we are well on the road to having a new set of proposals that we will put out for public comment.
Mr. COOKSEY. Good. Thank you.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. LACEY. All right, sir. Your question related to, could the company ask a pilot to basically overlook scheduling practices or procedures that were put in place through the collective bargaining agreement; and I think the answer to that is yes. I do, though, think there are some fundamental controls still in place that go to the responsibility of the companythe airmen to be ready to fly and the company to provide adequate rest and that type of thing. I think that does happen. Hopefully, there is.
Mr. COOKSEY. Do you think it should happen?
Mr. LACEY. It normally should not happen. I mean, there could be circumstances again where, through the collective bargaining process, there may be a rule that is extremely restrictive for a particular set of flights or a charter or something to that effect. I don't think it should happen to the extent that it is abuse, or takes advantage of the pilot or puts undue pressure on the pilot to accept a flight that may be within the rules and that he or she does not feel prepared to fly.
Mr. COOKSEY. OK. Thank you.
And Mr. Ellingstad, my question to you wasand again, this probably is more of a legal question, but do anyor what percentage of the pilots have benefit of labor contracts which provide duty flight and rest period enhancements to make sure there is an adequate.
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. I am sorry, sir, but I don't have the information relative to the labor contracts, and perhaps the next panel from industry could speak to that.
Mr. COOKSEY. Ms. Gilligan, would you have any idea about that, just a wild guess?
Ms. GILLIGAN. Well, sir, we do know anecdotally that there are contractual agreements that build on the limitations in the rule, the minimum requirements, and are different from that. I don't know how many or what percentage.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. COOKSEY. OK. Mr. Chairman, if I could make two closing comments.
Two of my colleagues who are both classmates of mine who happen to be from Arkansas, otherwise they are pretty good guysAsa Hutchinson and Vic Snyder, who were here; and they are really great guys and good friends. Both were here earlier and had to leave to go to another meetingMr. Hutchinson to Judiciary, and I am not sure where Congressman Snyder went.
I know they were both concerned about the recent accident in Little Rock, and the question that I would like to see somewhat answeredI don't think you probably should answer it at this point until the investigation is complete, but was fatigue a factor in this accident? You know, there was some speculation among some of those of us that are pilots about maybe not having checked everything on the checklist, particularly with the ground spoilers, whatever. And the other point that I think needs to be reemphasized for people who are not involved with aviation here, and the general public,
when you are landing, you are basically gliding with a little power, and you are testing, and the man or the womanincidentally, I know some really wonderful pilots; my daughter actually used to fly. Still, when you are landing, at the end of a long day, or a long flight, then the human factors become more important.
So I think that we should keep that in mind as we go through this whole process, and I hope that you will keep that in mind as you develop new regulations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I compliment you on holding this hearing, both you and Mr. Lipinski, who I think initially requested it.
This issue of fatigue is among the two or three most important issues in aviation. Vince Lombardi was well-known for his comment, ''Fatigue''after a particularly rigorous workout for his Green Bay Packers, as to why he put them through such a drill, he said, ''Fatigue makes cowards of us all.'' what he meant was it just weakens all of your senses, all of your reaction times, all of your ability to perform at the highest level.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 I note with some interest ATA's perennial projection on regulations on fatigue in saying, it has never been cited as the cause of a major airline accident.
Fatigue never shows up in autopsies. Whether automobile, truck, rail, maritime, or aviation, you don't find fatigue in a body. That should not be a criterion for determining whether to improve and strengthen regulations concerning fatigue and alertness of the crew at its most important time: Flight.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to include in the record my opening statement.
Mr. DUNCAN. That may be included in the record.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Now, I have four issues that I would like to explore. The first is why there is no differentiation between Part 135 and Part 121 operators I mean, why there is a differentiation, why there is. Why do we not have a rule that closes that gap?
Let's take a long-distance flight, intercontinental flight from U.S. To Europe, or U.S. Across the Pacific. The flight deck crew has two operations, one takeoff and one landing.
Now let's take a commuter operation, one that I fly quite regularly in Minnesota, or one that you might fly anywhere else. I regularly ask the cabin crew and the flight deck crew, which number is this today in the number of operations you are going to have? Is it two or three, sometimes it is the first, often it is the sixth city that they have operated in. So that means 12 operations, 12 times that the crew has to be particularly alert, sharp. Why don't they have the same rules?
Ms. GILLIGAN. That is a good question, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I have asked it for many years.
Ms. GILLIGAN. I think part of what we tried to address in our 1995 Notice was to look at the science that NASA presented to us. We looked at it from a standpoint of just fatigue. I think that that may have been not as thorough as it could have been, and I think we do need to look more closely at a mix of both operating environment and the physiological impacts that we know there are on fatigue.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 The gentleman from NASA can give you the details, but they have done extensive studies for both long haul and short haul flights, and each of them has different elements that affect the tiredness of the crews.
In the example that you give, of course, the number of operations may add to the wear and tear on the crew. In the long term, in the long-distance flight there are issues of boredom, of making sure that there is ongoing interchange among the crew so that they are staying alert during what can be an extended period of time where there is relatively little piloting activity that they need to undertake.
Trying to balance all of these things is very, very difficult and very complicated. That is, in part, what has taken us so long in trying to come up with another set of proposals, because the science isn't so black and white. It isn't that we can set a parameter and know that, in fact, in the short-haul market, we have solved it, or in the long haul market we have solved it. So we continue to struggle.
Mr. OBERSTAR. That is a very scholarly and thoughtful response. I think there are other factors. I think it is breaking the mold.
We have had for years a different attitude about commuter operations, they aren't as significant as air carrier operations. But today, the fastest growing sector of aviation is commuters, over 62 million boardings on commuter airlines. That is more boardings than 30 years ago in all air carrier operations. So at a rate of 8 to 9 percent growth a year, compared to 3 to 4 percent growth a year for air carrier operations, this is the areathat is the sector of aviation that needs greater attention.
Mr. Ellingstad, has the NTSB taken a look at the differentiation between Part 135 and Part 121 carriers? Do you have any recommendations?
Mr. ELLINGSTAD. Yes, sir. We are also very concerned with the distinction between those kinds of operations, and this is one other area that emphasizes the distinction between flight time and duty time.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 In addition, as you correctly note, the increased number of critical demands in terms of landing and takeoff segments of flight, the commuter crews are doing a lot of other work during and between these flight segments that does not count as flight time. We are also concerned that we are extending the duty days of these people; we tack on ferrying operations at the conclusion of duty days and essentially, within the existing regulations, can tack on even more fatiguing operations than are recognized in the current regulations.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Now, the industry itself values commuter service less than air carrier service; pilots are paid less, work more long hours, and in the hub-and-spoke aviation concept, without the commuter pilots, you don't have hubs. Do you expect people to drive to every hub in order to fly? No.
So that is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Cost-benefit. This has been a long-time concern of mine in every mode of transportation, that the rules require a cost-benefit analysis before FAA or the Department as a whole can promulgate its regulations, and I think that is important.
I think you should look at costs and you should look at benefits, but that should not be the determinant. The role of the NTSB is to be normative, to set a goal, a standard, without regard to cost, to say, this is what is the optimum or the maximum for safety; and the FAA has a different role. But it took 14 years to get to the 1994 ruling on flight attendant duty time, and I think that is why we called that bill H.R. 14; we never thought it was going to take 14 years. I still think it is not as good of a rule as it should be, but this is not the forum to debate that issue.
It is now taking almost as long to get the flight deck crew. How much of this debate within the Department and within the Agency has been over justifying a rule on the basis of costs measured against benefits?
Ms. GILLIGAN. A couple of comments that I would make.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. OBERSTAR. And also I would like you to comment on the risk analysis contract study that you have done.
Ms. GILLIGAN. I will do that, sir. Actually, I would have to say that a good deal of the delay in moving forward has really been on the substance of the rule. We have had over the years a number of efforts to try to work with both the carriers and their pilot unions to try to reach consensus and to get the best advice from the FAA on just how to address these issues. Three separate efforts have fallen apart without success. The most recent started last fall and ended early this year, again without success.
So that has really added to our delay, although I can tell you FAA has learned a lot in each of those efforts by hearing the differing opinions and the debate that has gone on.
It had been our hope and preference to actually reach consensus around how to address these very difficult issues with those who would be most affected and with those who live with it all the time. That has not been successful, so we will move forward and we will propose our own set of regulations.
On the issue of cost-benefit, as you identify, it is a worthwhile analysis. We should know what things cost and what their benefits will be. But in looking at safety rules, we are trying to look at a new model, which is to try to identify a risk assessment; and what we are trying to analyze is what is the current risk in the system as a result of fatigue, and will the rules that we propose reduce that risk, manage that risk in some way, and do we have under way an analysis to help us try to do that? It is a two-part approach. They are looking at a performance model to try to measure relative fatigue among pilot positions. They are also looking at accident data, NTSB accident data where pilot error was considered to be a causal factor. They are trying to plot whether, in those accidents, where in the duty day or in the flight time day those accidents occurred, so that we might be able to see that, in fact, there is accident data that suggests that there is a relationship between performance and pilot error and time of day or time of duty. Both of those pieces will hopefully be available in time to inform the decision that we will make about this proposal.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 So it is an effort.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, I think you are on the right track on risk analysis. I don't know if you have ever promulgated a definition of safety.
Ms. GILLIGAN. No, sir, we haven't.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mine is the relative absence of risk.
Ms. GILLIGAN. Certainly we would agree that safety is always a relative stage. And you are right, we are trying to measure it against the potential risk in the system and how to reduce that.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Further, I have always felt that the burden of proof should be on those who argue against the safest measures that can be promulgated.
I would also like you to differentiate, and perhaps this is a NASA question, as well as FAA and NTSB, but flightnone of these rules differentiate. Among flights across time zones or flights within a time zone, it is the same rule; and we know there are differences imposed on the human body when you go against the body's normal circadian rhythm. But why should we have one rule for all time zones and not differentiate for flight within a single time zone and across multiple time zones?
Mr. MANN. The guidelines that were provided to the FAA in 1995 actually made a distinction in some of the rules as to whether or not the flight duty period encroaches on certain time of day and also the number of time zones that had been crossed. So there were some adjustments in terms of whether you could have, for instance, extended flights if you had crossed a circadian low, then there was a restriction on when you should be able to fly again. So the basic scientific data did make these distinctions in it. But the rules are still being evaluated, and so to an extent, we have to see how that will play out.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Oberstar, I have to apologize to you, but we are going to have to get out of this room shortly, so if you could kind of close in the next couple of minutes so that they can get to the next panel, we need to do that if we can.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. OBERSTAR. I will stop at this point.
Mr. DUNCAN. OK. Thank you very much.
Let me thank this panel. You have been a great panel, and I am sorry we had so many votes to interrupt us, but do we need to move on to the next panel. Thank you very much for being with us.
The next panel consists of Mr. John M. Meenan, who is Senior Vice President for Industry Policy at the Air Transport Association, and Captain Duane E. Woerth, who is President of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN M. MEENAN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INDUSTRY POLICY, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA; AND CAPTAIN DUANE E. WOERTH, PRESIDENT, AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION, INTERNATIONAL
Mr. DUNCAN. I want to thank both the gentlemen for being here with us today and apologize that you have had to wait.
We will proceed as stated earlier, in the order the witnesses are listed, and that means, Mr. Meenan, you may go first. You may begin your testimony.
Mr. MEENAN. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. It is always a pleasure to appear before in committee to discuss the current issues of the day.
As has been noted with some regularity this morning, this is an area of immense complexity. However, there are two central points that have to be kept in mind in all of this discussion. One is that there has never been a commercial airline accident attributed to fatigue. Not one, not ever. And two, reports in the press notwithstanding, commercial pilots are highly trained, well-paid professionals who work, on average, 13 to 15 days a month. The idea that they would show up for work sleepy and endanger the lives of their passengers, or indeed their own, is absurd.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Our record of success makes clear that even well-intended, but nonscience-based, tinkering with pilot flight and duty rules must be approached with great skepticism. Making changes in any system can always produce unintended and unforeseen consequences. We know that reality sometimes produces counterintuitive results.
For example, the intuitive driver in this debate would lead one to believe that a freshly rested pilot coming off of several days of leave would be the optimal performer. In reality, however, NTSB's own study reveals that is precisely not the case. It is the first flight of the first duty day back in which an accident or incident is most likely to occur.
The point is that conventional wisdom and what we think might be the right answer is not the guide that we should follow here.
The simple truth is that without real scientific foundation, any new requirements. Could all too easily compromise safety, disrupt the very effective system we have in place, and by forcing too rapid hiring of new pilots, produce an unseasoned work force and have unintended consequences well beyond anything we are talking about today.
By analogy here, I would note that like the natural quiet debate that has gone on for some time or the spotted owl debate, if you get into these things without understanding the scientific parameters and what we are trying to accomplish, you can find yourself in an endless morass.
I want to touch briefly on a couple of the key issues:
As has been announced, FAA intends to begin enforcing its 1991 interpretation of the Reserve Rest rule. While we have serious questions about the procedural adequacy of the approach that has been taken, the fact of the matter is, the airline industry is working very closely with the FAA and their unions to try to accomplish what the FAA is about here. At this point, it is our expectation that by the end of this year, we will be able to find that 8 hours of protected rest.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 At present, it can't be determined how many additional pilots will be required as a result. What is important to keep in mind is that pilot acquisition is a bottom-fed system. Each new hire, which in the case of major airlines typically means a pilot who comes out of the regional operators, triggers multiple retraining events for all of the pilots who have advanced from the right seat to the left and from one aircraft to the next. That puts a tremendous demand on both the supply line of pilots and the limited capacity of simulators and other training materials.
Obviously, if we are going to minimize the risks associated with overstressing this system and the supply stream, we have to approach these steps with very determined and graduated measures in mind.
Now, as to the FAA's proposed revamping of the pilot flight and duty rules, along with the thousands of other commenters, ATA provided exhaustive comments in 1996 which demonstrated that the FAA had not conducted an adequate safety analysis of its proposals and could not assure the public that the proposal would actually do no harm. We noted our very serious concern with the FAA's total disregard of issues such as pilot commuting, military flying, pilot lifestyle, outside employment, a variety of other issues that all play an important role in this debate.
Nothing has changed since that time. There has been no change in any of those issues. All we have continued to do is talk about whether or not we are going to change the hours of duty and the hours of flight. We think that is the wrong direction to take here.
There were, and remain, four major gaps between the existing science and the FAA's proposal. First, there was no basis for the simplistic one-size-fits-all approach that was put forward. It could have led to the absurd result where a pilot flying in a crew rest bunk on a long-haul flight is accumulating flight hours, while a pilot commuting on that same flight is considered not to be accumulating hours; he is considered to be arriving rested and ready to fly.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Second, the NASA work performed in the past never looked at the specific flight duty time and rest requirements that are being proposed or that have been proposed.
Third, there has been no serious look taken at the other, more obvious questions, as I mentioned, about pilot commuting and military flying and so forth. Our 1996 study revealed that 43 percent of our pilots commute over at least one time zone, on average about 1,000, miles to get to work. That is an issue that has to be taken into account here.
Fourth and finally, NASA's existing scientific findings actually contradict many of the FAA's critical assumptions. There is an extensive list of the disconnects that we cited back in 1996, but probably the most significant is the fact that what the FAA is relying on here is the assumption that mandating a longer rest period will produce a better rested pilot. In fact, NASA's work very clearly shows that personal sleep strategies of individual pilots are what produce a better-rested pilot.
We are strong supporters of the scientific work necessary to really deal responsibly with these issues, and we look forward to working with the committee and the FAA and everyone involved to really get to the right decision and not just go off on the tangent of the day.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Meenan.
Mr. WOERTH. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Captain Duane Woerth, and I am President of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents 55,000 pilots who fly for 51 airlines in the United States and Canada. ALPA appreciates this opportunity to discuss pilot fatigue, because we feel it is a significant flight safety issue.
Pilot fatigue is equally as important to flight safety as is metal fatigue, wiring installation fatigue, and other aircraft component fatigue. The FAA has a statutory responsibility to prescribe minimum standards to prevent all fatigue that impacts safety. While the Agency has been responsive to mechanical fatigue, it is moving at a snail's pace to address the issues surrounding pilot fatigue.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 There is no question that pilot fatigue is present in our commercial airline operations. ALPA receives daily reports of scheduling that causes pilots to be virtual zombies by the end of the day.
To illustrate, I would like to share one schedule that is legal under the current rules and has been assigned to pilots frequently. The pilot reports at 7:10 a.m. And is scheduled to be released from duty at 9:15 p.m. For a 14-hour, 5-minute scheduled duty period. During that time, the pilot made 12 landings, flying to and from a major hub airport. While the scheduled duty time was 14-plus hours, in the reality of today's flight environment, this duty period is often extended to 16 hours due to weather and ATC delays.
Once the pilot is released, he must travel to the hotel and take care of his personal requirements before going to bed. This particular schedule was repeated for 4 days so the pilot had to awaken, dress, travel to the airport on each of those days for a 7:10 a.m. Report time. As a practical matter, this pilot's sleep opportunity was 6 hours from approximately 11 p.m. To 5 a.m.
To fly this schedule once is fatiguing, and the pilot has to be extremely tired on his last leg of the day; but to repeat this schedule for 4 days in succession results in cumulative fatigue which increases on each of the following 3 days. Under such conditions, science and common sense have told us that pilots are more prone to making mistakes that could result in serious incidents or accident.
Pilots are continuously subjected to onerous scheduling because the FAA regulations on flight and duty time are simply not based on current scientific principles and are not adequate to prevent fatigue. The supplemental and international flight time rules have not been seriously addressed for nearly 50 years. These rules were implemented when the DC3 was the state of the art. It carried 28 passengers hundreds of miles at a speed of 170 miles per hour. Today, we have Boeing 747s and 777s which carry 400 passengers 7,000 miles at 600 miles per hour.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Times and equipment have changed, but the rules have not. They are not designed to cope with the modern environment and equipment. While the domestic rules were amended modestly in 1985, the FAA has acknowledged that these revisions did not completely resolve the problem of fatigue, and even though it admits that the current rule is inadequate, the FAA has taken no action.
Action on this issue is urgently needed and needed now. The National Transportation Safety Board has found that fatigue and long duty days were a causal factor in some 20 accidents and incidents. Unless these rules are revised soon, we can expect fatigue to contribute to more accidents and incidents. As a result of the NTSB's investigation of these fatigue-related accidents, changing the hours of service regulation is on their Most Wanted Safety Improvements list and has been a high priority of the Safety Board for many years. As Chairman Hall recently said, and I quote, ''The Department of Transportation is still permitting pilots to operate under regulations that are out of date and contribute to fatigue. This lack of leadership to change the regulations continues to put all users of the national transportation system at risk,'' end quote.
ALPA wholeheartedly agrees with Chairman Hall.
We have been actively engaged in the rule-making process and have encouraged the FAA to apply recent scientific findings to the flight and duty regulations. The FAA's most current effort to revise these rules is contained in NPRM 9518, published on December 18, 1995. ALPA, along with other interested parties, submitted comments in June of 1996 and expected prompt action; we are still waiting.
Some of the key provisions that must be included in the revision include the following:
One, the current rule limiting actual flying to 8 hours per duty period must not be changed;
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Two, the 8-hour reduced rest period must be eliminated; ALPA concurs with the NASA study which found that a minimum rest period must be 10 hours;
Three, a duty limit needs to be established for all pilots. ALPA proposes a 12-hour duty limit which can be extended to a maximum of 14 hours for circumstances beyond the control of the carrier. The 12 hours is again based upon a NASA study that found that there is, quote, ''significantly increased vulnerability for quote, 'performance-impairing fatigue' after 12 hours'';
Four, eliminate tag-on ferry flights; and
Five, night flying and circadian rhythm disruption must be considered in establishing rest periods.
Mr. Chairman, this lists just the highlights. As you know, ALPA has submitted for the committee our entire submission, and you are welcome to more copies.
In conclusion, pilot fatigue is a major safety concern for the traveling public. ALPA highly urges this subcommittee to encourage the FAA to promptly finalize their rule-making on this critical issue.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Captain Woerth.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I give my time and his own time to Congressman DeFazio.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. DEFAZIO. I thank the gentlemen. I wish that we had been able to have the other panel longer, but perhaps we can get to some of the issues here.
Captain Woerth, you are an experienced pilot. Have you ever flown a schedule that gave you the minimum rest period, the 8 hours?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. WOERTH. I have flown a schedule that gave me the minimum rest period.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Now, when you have 8 hours between the time you have departed the airport and you have to be back the next morning, how much sleep do you think you can squeeze in with your personal sleep strategy to that 8 hours?
Mr. WOERTH. You are lucky to get 5 or 6 hours of real sleep.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Five to 6 hours. And do you think that that is optimal? Do you feel like you wake up in 5 or 6 hours and do you feel like you are raring to go, at the top of your form?
Mr. WOERTH. Of course not.
Mr. DEFAZIO. OK. And again this is not saying you have ever done this, but I just want to understand the rules. If you feel you are too tired, do you feel that the airline will be receptive if you were the pilot, say, in Eugene, Oregon, where they don't have another pilot, and you called in and said, you know, I am really too tired to fly this morning? Do you think the airline would beI mean do they encourage you to do that, where it would cause a delay or cancellation of a flight?
Mr. WOERTH. To answer your question, I think you did it in a generic sense, just not the airline I used to work for, but in a generic sense, quite clearly, as you know, pilots have been disciplined, including terminated, for calling in fatigued. They have been called in to see the chief pilot, which is again a varied response, depending on the nature of the airline and the nature of the management team, and whether they have the benefit of a union contract to protect them or they are not of the union.
So clearly, what we need is a Federal regulation to make that a nonquestion of compliance.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Now, if a pilot did, under that pressure, fly while fatigued, cause an accident, a serious accident, but survived the accident, what would happen to that pilot if they admitted to the investigators, 'I was too tired to fly; actually, I had just had a little burst of microsleep, and that is when I crashed the plane into the terminal?' What would happen to that pilot?
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. WOERTH. Well, in practical terms, as a previous panel from the FAA admitted, the truth of the matter is, both the pilot is licensed and the air carrier also has a certificate. Both parties are required to obey the law. So the pilot, to admit he was fatigued, admits he violated a law and is not worthy of the certificate he holds. So that would be.
Mr. DEFAZIO. So on the one hand, there is pressure from the airline not to report in fatigued, and on the other end if you say, well, actually, when that accident happened, I was fatigued, you are going to lose your license. So you either lose your job or lose your license in that situation?
Mr. WOERTH. That is correct.
Mr. DEFAZIO. All right. Then that brings us to Mr. Meenan, the gentleman from the ATA, who assertively says that there has never been a scheduled commercial airline accident attributed to pilot fatigue.
Now, obviously you will admit to Mr. Oberstar's point, which is, we can't autopsy for fatigue. So would you address these other two points: the fact that airlines have disciplined or fired people for reporting in fatigued, or if the pilot were to admit to fatigue, having caused an accident, they would lose their license; and how you can make your statement. Because what we have got here is, you are either dead or you are going to lose your license; and you are going to say, well, a guy is going to volunteeror a womanto lose their license.
Mr. MEENAN. To the best of my knowledge, all of our member carriers have agreements in place that not only recognize the right of a pilot to refuse a flightin some instances, they have actually put it into their flight manuals. They say to a pilot, if you believe that you are not well rested and you don't believe that you can safely operate this trip, don't take it. There is no further action taken, there is no sanction imposed.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. DEFAZIO. We are going to run out of time, so thank you for that response.
So you are saying that Captain Woerth is lying, the people who have come to us in confidence and in testimony have lied; there has never been a disciplinary action, the airlines always encouraged us to be happy to have a flight sit on the ground in Eugene, Oregon, because the pilot called in fatigued and there is no alternate available, except in Portland, which is 110 miles away?
You are saying, it has never happenedjust as you are saying fatigue has never been a factor, it has never happened, never will happen, and if it ever does, that would be astonishing?
Mr. MEENAN. First of all, I am not saying that anyone is not telling the truth. What I am say is that .
Mr. DEFAZIO. Well, he said very definitively people have been disciplined and lost their jobs for not reporting to work because they, as a captain, in their judgment, felt they were too fatigued to fly; and you are saying, that won't happen, it can't happen and they are absolutely, positively protected.
So you wouldn't object, then, if the FAA were to just adopt a little rule that said, if anybody is ever disciplined for this that they would have all sorts of recourse against the airline? You wouldn't object, because it doesn't happen and it is in the manual; is that correct?
Mr. MEENAN. Like everything in this area, we believe that many of these issues are far better left to the labor-management negotiation process.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you. I appreciate that.
I am always astonished by the ATA, because when I talk to the individual carriers, particularly the ones I respect, they are a little more admitting to the problems.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Now, you talk about personal sleep strategies. Please comment on Captain Woerth's lack of developing an effective personal sleep strategy when he had 8 hours portal-to-portal to rest and he could only squeeze in 5 or 6 hours of sleep. How would you have handled that to get more than the 5 or 6 hours of sleep; and how do you recommend pilots handle that to get more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep when they have to ride in a van, check into the hotel, brush their teeth, get undressed, get in bed, get up, take a shower, shave, maybe even eat something, get in the van and drive back to the airport in 8 hours? How are they going to squeeze into 8 hours of sleep?
Tell me how that works. I am really interested in this personal sleep strategy.
Mr. MEENAN. What we have said from the beginning is that there are many issues relating to pilot fatigue that need to be addressed. Certainly personal sleep strategies are one of them; lifestyle issues are very important. There, a whole .
Mr. DEFAZIO. Here is what frustrates me about your organization. You won't even accede .
Mr. DUNCAN. Excuse me, Mr. DeFazio. That is the fourth time you haven't let him finish his answer.
Mr. DEFAZIO. I know, Mr. Chairman, but we are running out of time, and you didn't let me ask these questions of the last panel. This is the only interesting hearing we have had in months. This is life or death, and I would really like to pursue this. No offense.
Mr. MEENAN. Mr. DeFazio, if I might, we would be happy, as we have in the past, to come by and visit with you personally on any of these issues. I know you and I have had these discussions at some length in the past.
Mr. DEFAZIO. We have had them for a number of years.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 One last point, Mr. Chairman.
Would you accede to the fact that in 8 hours of door-to-door, you can't get 8 hours of sleep, and that is probably not adequate, and we should be looking seriously at the 10-hour rule? Would your association at least give that point?
Mr. MEENAN. I think we should be looking at the scientific foundation for any rule change.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Captain Woerth, you addressed something that is very euphemistically worded, ''back-side-of-the-clock flying.'' .
When I worked in the mine in northern Minnesota, we called that the ''graveyard shift,'' for good reason. A lot of people made mistakes working that time of day, the 11-to7 shift. It didn't make too much difference from the standpoint of light for my father, who worked in the underground mine, it was dark down there, day or night. It made a big difference in ability to be alert, sharp, to listen for the least little cracking of the timber, and to push members of your crew out of the drift in time to avoid the cave-in.
The least little bit fatigued made you miss an operation, miss that split second of timing to maybe save a person's life. Fatigued, atop a rail car of iron ore, sampling ore at 2:00 in the morning during a rain storm, I was tired. I made a misstep. The rock slid out from under me and I fell 15 feet from the top of an ore car, right slam between two tracks and missed a tie by inchesthe backside of the night, the graveyard shift.
Flying imposes a whole different set of fatigue questions. How do the airlines respond when you talk these issues over?
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. WOERTH. I think that we need to focus on is what you just mentioned, that the real world, whether it be a graveyard shift or the back-side-of-the-clock or an international circadian rhythm we try to address the real world about fatigue and what a human pilot is up against. It is usually difficult to negotiate, due to operational necessity, tighter rules to address, as we have had a great deal of difficulty negotiating them and, quite frankly, we don't think we should have to.
We think these safety regulations should be a matter of law, not a matter of collective bargaining, because quite frankly, not every pilot flying has the benefit of a union contract or a union to represent him. What do we with those people?
So we run into quite a bit of resistance, Mr. Congressman, on dealing with back-side-of-the-clock flying or circadian rhythm issues.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I think, as a general rule, general principle, I am not enamored of allowing safety matters to be the subject of contract negotiations. Even in the flight attendant rule-making, just looking at the FAA filing in the Federal Register, several of the commenters who identified themselves as flight attendants stated that provisions in the NPRM would limit a flight attendant's opportunities to work extra trips.
Now, I have had the same kind of discussion with locomotive engineers, with other members of the railroad brotherhood community, with truck drivers. We stand between the public and management and stand for safety. We have an obligation to stand against an employee's interest in working longer hours and making more money when that will jeopardize safety.
Mr. WOERTH. I agree completely.
Mr. OBERSTAR. And the collective bargaining process is not just a clean-cut issue on safety and work hours, it is thrown in with a whole lot of other things called productivitywe will give you a few bucks more if you improve productivityeven when, in the final analysis, that may jeopardize safety, by working longer hours. Give us the flexibility, they say, for a little longer hours.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 They propose now to have cockpit rest periods. The MD11 was built with a place for a bunk, the 747s are built now400's, they are built now with a bunk to sleep. How do you feel about that, having a little nap en route?
Mr. WOERTH. Well, I would like to distinguish between long-range rest facilities that you just described for like a 747 flying from Minneapolis to Tokyo where, with an augmented crew, with each crew member getting adequate or some rest on an airplane.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Augmented crew, augmented crew, yes.
Mr. WOERTH. an augmented crew, adequate rest facilities for an augmented crew under reasonable rules which we propose and we, of course, supportas opposed to napping, which we have heard suggested here.
We think that is treating the symptom rather than the disease. If we have an adequate flight time duty day and we have adequate minimum rest by regulation, then we won't need to treat the symptom, we will have treated the disease.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Meenan, can you explain how ATA came to the conclusion that FAA's 1995 proposal of flight and duty time would, quote, ''implementation for ATA members alone would cost $1.1 billion in the first year and $8.4 billion over a 14-year period,'' close quote.
Mr. MEENAN. At that point, Mr. Oberstar, we conducted a very extensive analysis of what we believed would be required in terms of additional pilot hires which, to be honest, is part of what this debate is all about. That is what that number was based upon.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Based entirely upon additional hires?
Mr. MEENAN. That is correct.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Oberstar.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 I do want to apologize again to the second panel, but we do have to clear the room. Your testimony has been very, very helpful to us, and we appreciate it very much.
Mr. COOKSEY. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mr. COOKSEY. Could I have 30 seconds?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. COOKSEY. First, I know that a lot of pilots are represented here, but one of the carriers that serves my area is Continental Airlines, and there was not time to get them in, but I would like to submit some written testimony that I have as part of the record; and I will give it to you now. I actually have some questions I would like to submit too, and I would like to get an answer on those. I will have those as part of the record. If I could get the two of you to respond to these two questions; I will have the staff send them to you.
Mr. WOERTH. Of course. Very happy to.
Mr. COOKSEY. I think it is something that does need to be addressed. I know we are all interested in airline safety and the safety of the flying public. Too often we personalize this because we spend a lot of time on airplanes, but do we see the good and the not-too-good? But I think we have a great airline industry. I think we have incredible pilots and a safer flying environment than any other place in the world. I am glad to get to fly on these planes.
So if I could have unanimous consent to submit the testimony and the questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. You may submit that testimony and those questions, and I apologize to you, Dr. Cooksey, but the chairman has to take over the committee room in a few minutes, and I certainly don't outrank the chairman. Let me just say before we close that on our side of the aisle, we are losing one of our most valuable employees, a very fine young woman, Donna McLean, who started with this committee, this subcommittee in 1993, is leaving to go to the FAA to become Assistant Administrator for Financial Services.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Donna has been a most pleasant person with whom to work and has been very knowledgeable and hard-working and dedicated to the efforts of this subcommittee; and I want her to know that I think everyone really, on both sides, appreciates very much the work that she has done. We are sorry to see her go, but we know that she is moving on to bigger and better things, and we want to wish her the very, very best. I believe Mr. Oberstar wanted to say something.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Would simply like to join you in offering my compliments to Donna McLean, and my gratitude and appreciation for her loyal and dedicated and ever-professional service to this committee. She came to us from the Office of Management and Budget with a wealth of knowledge about the budget side of aviation and has contributed immensely. We are all the better for her service, contributing to the bipartisan spirit in which this committee functions, and I wish her the very best of success.
Our loss is FAA's gain. Aviation will be the better for it, if she doesn't go on to greater things, different things.
Mr. DUNCAN. OK. Well, thank you. Thank you very much. That will conclude this hearing.
[Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
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