Sleeping on the job?

Aviation chatter - For ALL Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts

Moderator: Moderators

SKYMASTER
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by SKYMASTER » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:23 pm

Plane overshoots Mumbai as both pilots go to sleep
26 Jun 2008, 0049 hrs IST, Manju V,TNN

MUMBAI: An Air India Jaipur-Mumbai flight flew well past its destination with both its pilots fatigued and fast asleep in the cockpit. When the pilots were finally woken up by anxious Mumbai air traffic controllers, the plane was about half way to Goa.

This nap in the sky took place about a fortnight ago on the domestic leg of a Dubai-Jaipur-Mumbai flight — IC 612 — which had about 100 passengers on board. "The plane took off from Dubai at 1.35am IST and then from Jaipur at 7am. After operating an overnight flight, fatigue levels peak, and so the pilots dozed off after taking off from Jaipur," said a source.

The flight schedules of pilots prior to this flight is not known.

The aircraft was supposed to take the A 474 South route — a designated route to Mumbai — and since it was on autopilot, it headed in that direction. "It was only after the aircraft reached Mumbai airspace that air traffic controllers realized it was not responding to any instructions and was carrying on on its own course," said the source.

Said an air traffic controller: "The aircraft should have begun its descent about 100 miles from Mumbai, but here it was still at cruising altitude. We checked for hijack and when there was no response we made a SELCAL (selective calling)."

Every aircraft has its own exclusive code. When the ATC uses this high frequency communication system — which it does very rarely and only when other communication draws a blank — a buzzer sounds in the cockpit. Jolted by the sound of the SELCAL buzzer, the pilots woke up and brought the plane back to Mumbai safely.

Kanu Gohain, directorate general of civil aviation, was not available for comment. Contacted for its version on Wednesday evening, Jitendra Bhargava, director, public relations of Air India, said, "The director, operations, is getting information on the matter."

'Aircraft had communications failure'

General manager, Mumbai aerodrome, M G Junghare, denied that the pilots were asleep behind the control column. "The aircraft had a radio communications failure and so could not be contacted. It had gone only 10 or 15 miles off Mumbai and after we ascertained that it was not hijacked we made the SELCAL," he said.

Commanders, however, pooh-poohed this claim and said the lapse was being hushed up. "There is a strict procedure which is followed during a radio communications failure whereby the aircraft should have descended to a holding point. Instead, it flew over Mumbai. Also, every flight has an Expected Time of Arrival (ETA), so why did it not begin its descent even after crossing its ETA?" argued a check pilot.

For the last one month, airlines have been following an old set of pilot rest rules that has no scientific backing. This happened after DGCA issued a circular in May asking airlines to the old and outdated Flight Duty Time Limitation that essentially lengthened flight duty hours. DGCA withdrew the new timing schedule introduced in July last year and which was based on scientific studies by Nasa. The pilots protested this. A Joint Action Committee of Airlines Pilots' Association has recently moved the Bombay HC to quash the DGCA circular stating that shorter breaks between long-haul flights and even ultra-long haul flights could compromise safety.

"If you get home past midnight and then by noon the next day you are in a car back to the airport, and if this happens every other day and you do not even know your weekly off in advance, the buildup of exhaustion is huge," said a commander. The latest incident, an index of fatigue in the skies, could strengthen the pilots' case. "Had the aircraft flown over Hyderabad they would not have been able to contact the pilots since SELCAL is available only at old airports like Mumbai and Chennai since it is an obsolete technology and not used in newer airports. Moreover, a SELCAL cannot be made in certain weather conditions," the commander said.

A similar incident in the US in February suggests that pilots don't have it easy there either. The difference is that the US authorities were not only open about it, but initiated corrective measures. Two 'go!' airline pilots fell asleep while flying from Honolulu to Hilo, cruising past their destination for 18 minutes before waking up and returning safely. The two pilots had been flying for three arduous days. Following the incident, the US's National Transportation Safety Board highlighted the need for new rules. It recommended working hour limits for flight crews, aviation mechanics, and air traffic controllers based on fatigue research.
User avatar
HAAN
Fife Thousand feet
Fife Thousand feet
Posts: 5898
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:17 pm
Closest Airfield: OMDB
Location: UAE
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 19 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by HAAN » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:45 pm

Same what happened to pilots of go! airlines, crew fell asleep on the way from Honolulu to Hilo on Feb. 13.
The aircraft, which took off on time from Honolulu at 9:25 a.m., flew past the Big Island and 15 miles out to
sea before turning around and landing. The 200-mile flight between Honolulu and Hilo typically takes about 40 minutes.

Both pilots got fired after the inquest
Hannes Meyer
User avatar
Snitch
Niner Tousand
Niner Tousand
Posts: 9973
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:34 am
Closest Airfield: Unknown
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 2 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Snitch » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:53 pm

Mental note, set watch alarm clock to go off at top of Decent ETA
User avatar
Mauler
10000 and still climbing
10000 and still climbing
Posts: 10050
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 4:52 pm
Closest Airfield: Vans
Location: Tarlton
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 4 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Mauler » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:15 pm

What bugs me is that these guys still log the hours even though they are asleep! There should at least be a logbook column of hours flown with autopilot engaged. That way I probably have more "real" flying hours than most of the "professionals"!
User avatar
Mike Gough
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:36 am
Location: home, airport, hotel..
Has liked: 8 times
Been liked: 22 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Mike Gough » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:14 pm

Mauler wrote: There should at least be a logbook column of hours flown with autopilot engaged.

So the autopilot makes decisions and provides its own inputs?
www.skyhawk.co.za

COMPASS Pilot Aptitude Assessment
gundaan
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by gundaan » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:39 pm

Mauler wrote:What bugs me is that these guys still log the hours even though they are asleep! There should at least be a logbook column of hours flown with autopilot engaged. That way I probably have more "real" flying hours than most of the "professionals"!
I know of people who logged compass swings as flying hours. :evil: :evil: :evil:
User avatar
Mauler
10000 and still climbing
10000 and still climbing
Posts: 10050
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 4:52 pm
Closest Airfield: Vans
Location: Tarlton
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 4 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Mauler » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:13 pm

Mike Gough wrote:
Mauler wrote: There should at least be a logbook column of hours flown with autopilot engaged.
So the autopilot makes decisions and provides its own inputs?
The autopilot makes ALL the decisions and provides ALL the inputs when the crew is asleep. And when they're scared of the weather, or lost, or...
User avatar
Spice
Fower Tousand
Fower Tousand
Posts: 4561
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:53 pm
Closest Airfield: OMAA
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Has liked: 11 times
Been liked: 45 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Spice » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:46 pm

Oops.... Can lead to fatalities should crew not wake-up. Hope not it happens when I am sitting in row somewhere behind cockpit.
Dash 8 Q 300 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
User avatar
Technocrat
Helicopter getting close
Posts: 559
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:27 pm
Location: Swellendam
Has liked: 2 times
Been liked: 20 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Technocrat » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:52 pm

I was in a discussion last week where a pilot of a twin admitted he does this regularly. Once at cruising altitude he sets auto pilot and asks his wife (who is at home) to phone him every hour on the hour...... and he dozes off on the 4 hour flight home.
CLFO
Taxiing
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:52 pm
Location: Africa
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 10 times

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by CLFO » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:07 pm

Mauler you are obviously not a proffessional pilot, your post indicates a poor understanding of the situation. FTL ( Flight Time limitations) in India are some of the most lax in the world, no doubt the guys in question were fatigued beyond belief, and it is very east to drift off during cruise when not much is happening. It is common practice for one pilot to doze while the other does the radios and nav. Incidentally the cabin crew should have picked this up as they are supposed to do regular checks on the flight deck crew.

To suggest that the phases of flight where the autopilot is flying are a "cop out" is ridiculous. You will be grateful when your pilot has not wasted his energy on straight and level when there is a 30 kt crosswind and a thundershower over JHB :D
Flaps Takkies Runway
User avatar
Dan
Fower Tousand
Fower Tousand
Posts: 4886
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: JHB,FAVV
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Dan » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:59 pm

I do it often sometimes up to 3 hrs when i wakeup im still on track and about 4 hrs to go to destination, if something goes wrong it will sure wake one up,, if there is weather enroute i stay awake untill throught it ,,, sometimes one is so uncomfortable it's impossible to sleep,
ferrying is not for the faint hearted,,

it's a challenge ,, it's agreat job

and can get interesting,, :)
"Always Always check the weather"
kilos
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:05 pm
Closest Airfield: George
Location: George, SA
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by kilos » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:56 pm

Not a wise move to sleep while in African airspace with possibly ATC and pilots sleeping.
Anti-collision avoidance compulsory as most airlines have it installed .

Traversing timezones and fatique must take its toll on pilots are the are pushed more and more
as seen from a very quiet *E*.
User avatar
Dan
Fower Tousand
Fower Tousand
Posts: 4886
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: JHB,FAVV
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by Dan » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:24 pm

i only sleep over the oceans never over land unless i have a copilot with me,,then our rule is we take turns,,
"Always Always check the weather"
123
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by 123 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:14 pm

gundaan wrote:
Mauler wrote:What bugs me is that these guys still log the hours even though they are asleep! There should at least be a logbook column of hours flown with autopilot engaged. That way I probably have more "real" flying hours than most of the "professionals"!
I know of people who logged compass swings as flying hours. :evil: :evil: :evil:
Quite normal to log hours when you do a compass swing in a helicopter with skids. :D
darkiecrew
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sleeping on the job?

Unread post by darkiecrew » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:46 am

An american mate of mine is a captain on an oil and rubber company VIP EMB120 in Asia .they used freelance guys to co-jo usually its over night corporate flights. They discovered that one of the co-jos they used once flew for them 3 nights in a row and during the day he flew an ATR as captain his full time job.After a day in the ATR he would doze off in his car for an hour or two then shower at the airport before his night contract. The contract paid US$100/hour ferrying VVIP CEOs etc. He made almost US$1500 in just three nights a third of his salary with the airline. Apperantly he never showed signs of fatigue in the cockpit he only used to worry about getting back by 6am the next day. They reported him to the FAA coz the Brasilia was an american aircraft. He partially won the case coz he claimed he only flew 4 hours during his airline job and another 4 in the Brasilia in multi crew enviroments leaving him 16 hours to rest be it in his car. His licence was suspended then re-issued after a re test or something. The airline fired him the rubber company never used him agian............. But guess what he got a job on an ATR42 in India as a check captain.

Return to “General Aviation Chatter”