Friday, November 2, 2007

11-2-07: Sleeping on the Job

Here’s a thought: have you ever been on an airplane and wondered if the pilots were actually awake at the controls? Well, I’ve found an article that will have you thinking this the very next time you fly:

Apparently, back in March of 2004, a pilot and his first officer fell asleep for the last 45 minutes of a red-eye flight from Baltimore to Denver. They woke up, and landed the airplane safely, with no further incidents. This all came out a recent Congressional hearing, and, of course, Congress is worried about… why this wasn’t in a report from NASA, who monitors such behavior.

The pilot was up front about it and put it in a report that he had flown two red-eyes in a row and was fatigued. I can’t say I blame him. He flied for 8 straight hours in the wee hours of the morning, with no sleep in between. I’d imagine flying an Airbus A319 (about the size of a Boeing 737) isn’t easy, so it has to tire you out. So who’s to blame? I think it’s the employer, who is unnamed in the report (but is most likely Frontier Airlines since they are the only airline that flies A319 red-eyes out of Baltimore). If they schedule these sort of flights back to back, accidents are bound to happen.

I’m not really scared to fly because of this, unless I was on a red-eye from Baltimore. It’s just an odd situation that luckily didn’t end in tragedy. It seems like the airline industry has really been pushing the limits in many areas over the past few years. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call.

1 comment:

scycle said...

Are you sleeping on the job?