Monday, September 26, 2022

66 percent of Indian pilots fall asleep in cockpit mid-flight, survey finds

Pilot fatigue is increasingly becoming one of global aviation’s top concerns and a recent survey of 542 Indian pilots - a majority of whom have admitted to falling asleep in-flight - has ignited calls for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) regulations for fatigue management to be scrapped altogether.

Gurugram-based NGO, Safety Matters Foundation, laid bare an alarming statistic of “daytime sleepiness” when 66 percent of “Indian pilots flying with regional, domestic, domestic with destinations within four hours flying” reported having dozed off in the cockpit without alerting/consent of crew members.

“Based on their responses, it was found that about 54% of the pilots suffer from severe excessive daytime sleepiness while 41% suffer from moderate daytime sleepiness,” the survey stated its findings.

74% of the pilots cited morning departures as the leading cause of fatigue, which was also attributed to consecutive flights, up to 168 flying hours without a weekly off and disruption of rest/sleep pattern due to alternate day and night flights.

Insisting that pilots and their representative bodies should have a say in drafting new guidelines, the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (IPCA) has urged DGCA to do away with all its existing norms in a letter dated September 12.

"Scrap all the current regulations, circulars, et cetera regarding Fatigue Management for flight crew as they violate all the scientific principles and various Operational Knowledge and Experience promulgated in various ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation] SARPs," it said.

26/09/22 Krishna Kakani/TimesNow

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