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Posted

Two pilots flying a commercial airliner filled with passengers were both asleep at the controls last month, leaving the jet on autopilot for an unknown amount of time, British aviation authorities said.

Authorities have not released the names of the pilots or the airline, but disclosed that the incident took place in August aboard an Airbus A330, capable of carrying up to 350 passengers, operated by a British-based airline.

The pilots came clean to authorities on their own, reporting the incident to their airline and the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority.

The pilots said they had received little sleep over two nights due to busy flight schedules and planned to rotate taking 20-minute naps, but they discovered they had both fallen asleep at the same time.

A pilot reported "both members of flight crew had only 5 hrs sleep in two nights due to longer duty period with insufficient opportunity to sleep," according to a report by the CAA.

The incident sheds new light on pilot fatigue and international concerns that flight crews receive insufficient sleep to perform their jobs safely and effectively.

The U.K. has rules governing how much sleep pilots need before they are permitted to operate an aircraft, but a CAA spokesman told ABC News it was unclear how much sleep the pilots really received because of changes in time zones when flying internationally.

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Posted

I was going to say, aren't there rules in place that say that a pilot must be grounded for X amount of hours after working for a certain time?

Sounds like the fault was more with management than it was with the pilots.

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Posted

I was going to say, aren't there rules in place that say that a pilot must be grounded for X amount of hours after working for a certain time?

Sounds like the fault was more with management than it was with the pilots.

 

they do that for truck drivers, but not pilots?!   crazy

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Posted

At least nothing bad happened because of it. But yes, this problem needs to be addressed. People require sleep, especially to function safely flying and carrying other people!

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Posted

I don't know what the rules are in the UK, but there are rules in the US, that are easily "worked around" so that pilots are still horribly overworked and under-rested.  It's a practice that needs to stop, before a bunch of people die. 

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Posted

they do that for truck drivers, but not pilots?!   crazy

According to the article they do have rules in place, it's just that this time the rules weren't followed, or someone saw a loophole about timezones.

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Posted

Pilots taking turns asleep would be OK, and probably a good thing, when they are overly tired.

 

But at least one should be watching the plane.

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Posted

As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

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Posted

As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

Yeah, it's not just their lives they're endangering.

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Posted

As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

The management wouldn't listen and they'd probably get fired. 

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Posted

As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

I agree, but I'm not sure how it is with airlines. Wonder if it's a case of "well if you can't do the job we demand of you, you're fired, we'll get equally-overworked-but-not-whining-guy over here to do it instead, stretching his schedule even further"... It definitely needs to come down from the top.

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Posted

As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

That may be, but if they did that then the airline would just go "well our other pilots are doing just fine and aren't complaining."

In the US the FAA just recently passed a law that states that in the past 24 hours the pilot has to have at least 8 continuous hours of rest. Know what the airlines read that as? Oh we can work the pilot for 14 hours, give him two hours to get too and from work and then bring him back for another 14 hours. Before (I think, could be wrong) it was just 8 hours between flights. So if you landed, it took you two hours to get home because of traffic? Too bad for you, be at work 8 hours after your previous flight.

Generally pilots who can hold a line (basically they have a fixed schedule for that month), are better off. But if you're on reserve things are quite different depending on which reserve you are on (the policy varies from airline to airline):

- 6 hour reserve (I think), this means you have be ready to fly within 6 hours of getting a call saying you're needed for a leg.

- 2 hour reserve, same thing as the above except its within two hours.

- Ready reserve, this means you have to show up to the airport every morning and sit around waiting. If a flight leg needs you, you go fly. If not, you go home.

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Posted

Oh c'mon, any modern airliner made in the last 30 years with an autopilot feature will start alarming like crazy if there is even the slightest mishap, not to mention it wouldve let you know if tey were anywhere within 100 miles of their destination... Pilots have been doing this for decades, these two just happened to get caught.

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Posted

... Pilots have been doing this for decades, these two just happened to get caught.

 

So right. They'll need to better than this next time. ;)

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Posted

Oh c'mon, any modern airliner made in the last 30 years with an autopilot feature will start alarming like crazy if there is even the slightest mishap, not to mention it wouldve let you know if tey were anywhere within 100 miles of their destination... Pilots have been doing this for decades, these two just happened to get caught.

Reread the article. They didn't get caught.

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Posted

Meh.  Time to get rid of the pilots.  Modern aircrafts can pretty much take off, follow their trajectory and land on their own.  Airlines are only keeping pilots around because the public isn't yet comfortable enough with a totally automated airplane.

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Posted

Meh.  Time to get rid of the pilots.  Modern aircrafts can pretty much take off, follow their trajectory and land on their own.  Airlines are only keeping pilots around because the public isn't yet comfortable enough with a totally automated airplane.

 

you can not leave pilots out because you never know the system could get malfaction or crashed. And the hijacker could take over the controls.

 

the pilots can try to be their best to keep their plane protected from hijacking or whatever happens

 

if the landing gears do not work, then the pilots can manually lower the gears down.

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Posted

you can not leave pilots out because you never know the system could get malfaction or crashed. And the hijacker could take over the controls.

 

the pilots can try to be their best to keep their plane protected from hijacking or whatever happens

 

if the landing gears do not work, then the pilots can manually lower the gears down.

 

But if you no longer need pilots, you can redesign the craft so there's no traditional cockpit to speak of and break into and take over.

 

I just brought it up for the sake of argument.  Thinking longer-term solution.  There's no need to take it all literally.

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Meh.  Time to get rid of the pilots.  Modern aircrafts can pretty much take off, follow their trajectory and land on their own.  Airlines are only keeping pilots around because the public isn't yet comfortable enough with a totally automated airplane.

 

You will always need pilots, just like any other system needs a backup.

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Posted

But if you no longer need pilots, you can redesign the craft so there's no traditional cockpit to speak of and break into and take over.

I just brought it up for the sake of argument. Thinking longer-term solution. There's no need to take it all literally.

Never happen. Plus pilots are armed with their guns in case hijackers start taking over. I am sure that the flight attendants are trained on what to do in case something is going on.

You can control the drone from your office or home without the pilots

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Posted

Never happen. Plus pilots are armed with their guns in case hijackers start taking over. I am sure that the flight attendants are trained on what to do in case something is going on.

You can control the drone from your office or home without the pilots

 

I'm almost regretting suggesting anything at all in this thread.  Can we at least agree that given today's automated systems, a pilot's role has been greatly diminished from what it was even just a couple of years ago?  I mean, here we have a story about both the pilot and copilot hard asleep for some "unknown amount of time", and the autopilot managing to keep going on its own without instantaneously killing everyone onboard...

 

I mean, it's a much more impressive feat IMO to have a Google car manage to log over 100,000 miles on public roads without a single incident, than going in a straight line from point A to point B in the open sky with nothing in-between...

 

My whole point:  No big deal.  Wouldn't bother me to learn the pilot on my last flight feel asleep.

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Posted

you can not leave pilots out because you never know the system could get malfaction or crashed. And the hijacker could take over the controls.

 

the pilots can try to be their best to keep their plane protected from hijacking or whatever happens

 

if the landing gears do not work, then the pilots can manually lower the gears down.

The hijackers can't take the controls if there are none though ;)

As for this incident. Not they're not the first, not on purpose or accident. And a lot of people here don't realize the reason they informed on themselves.

Airlines are abusing pilots and crews horribly now, especially budget lines like Ryan air, but all are guilty. Pilots are overworked and tired. And they can't complain or refuse.

So what did they do. They reported their own failure due to fatigue. Any I beeline they're not actually the first to do it. This causes an investigation into the airlines practices and puts a bigger focus from the media and public on the issue. And the airline can't punish them for going public or such things, they merely reported what they're supposed to.

The fact the whole incident is completely safe is something the media and common people neither cares about or understand.

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Posted

Meh.  Time to get rid of the pilots.  Modern aircrafts can pretty much take off, follow their trajectory and land on their own.  Airlines are only keeping pilots around because the public isn't yet comfortable enough with a totally automated airplane.

I'm not sure I agree, but it is an amusing thought. :laugh:

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Posted

Until we're capable of building a true AI that can think with the same level of creative complexity as a human being, pilots will not be phased out.

 

I thought the CAA had restrictions on flying hours however, but it's worrying that they can be bypassed so easily

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Posted

I agree, but I'm not sure how it is with airlines. Wonder if it's a case of "well if you can't do the job we demand of you, you're fired, we'll get equally-overworked-but-not-whining-guy over here to do it instead, stretching his schedule even further"... It definitely needs to come down from the top.

Maybe. That is certainly a possibility. However, at that point the pilots could sue for wrongful termination. It would also come to light that the airline isn't following the mandated pilot schedules and downtime which would probably cost them much, much more than having a few more pilots on the pay roll.

 

Regardless, if I were the pilot I would rather risk losing my job than dying/killing hundreds of people.

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