Posted 27 July 2016 - 19:34
You're sitting in your chopper getting ready to fly, but before you turn the key you have to answer a few questions on a tablet that tracks everything you do.
Of course there's the basic, "Did you complete a proper pre-flight of the aircraft?", but then there's this one, "Are you physically or mentally fatigued?".
Seems like a loaded question to me? It reminds me of the forms I had to fill out when I bought my Beretta, that asked, "Are you contemplating suicide?", or my all time favorite, "Are you a fugitive of the law?".
Does anyone ever answer yes?
Posted 29 July 2016 - 14:18
You have no idea……
You, as an amateur, renter, SFH or whatever, have the freedom to operate as you’ve been trained, go wherever you want and do whatever you wish without needing to answer one question. Me, with years of experience and thousands of hours need to fill out a questionnaire of 70 or so questions, many are of which you mentioned, before I can hit the igniter…….. If the score goes above a certain number, I have to call a non-aviator manager to get approval to fly. The thing is, when I have to do that, I tell the manager, I’m not going, simply because his involvement creates willful ignorance situation elevating the risk beyond sensibility……
For me, the pilot is not the crazy one. It’s the commercial industry and self-serving safety industry selling propaganda in order to put fear in operators… And, they have succeeded 10 fold…….
Edited by Spike, 29 July 2016 - 14:21.
- achfly and whoknows idont like this
Posted 29 July 2016 - 20:32
This subject, fatigue, etc. is a huge issue in aviation. Being mentally fatigued has many of the same factors as being 'pharmaceutically' impaired- you will not have intellectual capacity to be aware of and evaluate your level of function and capabilities. Most drunks I know believe they are perfectly capable of driving even when they have trouble walking to the car.
Then there's the machismo facet of admitting that 'you can't hack it' after a long day, or worse, a series of long days. Some employers may consider that an unofficial tender of your resignation.
Answering the questions to indicate ability to continue is a way of transferring some liability by implying that the pilot had a choice when there are many factors acting against an honest answer, even if you are aware.
I agree wholeheartedly with Spike:
"If the score goes above a certain number, I have to call a non-aviator manager to get approval to fly. The thing is, when I have to do that, I tell the manager, I’m not going, simply because his involvement creates willful ignorance situation elevating the risk beyond sensibility……"
"Three to go and one to say no" now requires five assents to the proposed operation: all three crew, the risk assessment matrix, and whatever operational control mechanism the company puts in place. If anything in that series is unhappy with the proposed flight I don't go, period. That reflects the company's long stated policy of not arguing to continue and that we are always to take the most conservative safe response.
- Spike, r22butters and whoknows idont like this
Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...
Posted 29 July 2016 - 23:58
Posted 30 July 2016 - 12:09
Yes, I agree, fatigue is an issue. However, who is in the best position to determine this?
Specifically, in the Denver Pletcher IIMC video, the AIRBUS CP says “the pilot is often, not often but always, the least qualified person to assess his or her ability to fly the machine safely”.
I do not in agree with this statement. Moreover, by Federal Law, it is a pilot’s responsibility to assess the level of flight safety on every flight. This is an example of how the safety industry is eroding the level of judgment required for safe flight in addition to constant evaluation and practice of ADM. Simply put, others believe they are the ones who need to make the decision, not the pilot who is in the cockpit, in the environment. Historically, this is how our military has lost battles in war and we as a society haven’t learned anything from it…..
In any case, currently, our RA has a number of questions, per crewmember, evaluating the level of fatigue. We are required to question each crewmember in order to determine how much sleep they’ve had and their work history over a time period (yes, I’m being vague) in addition to duty time requirements. Conversely, because of what we do, at times, we put people onboard our aircraft for various reasons. That is, complete strangers with no questions whatsoever. And, I’m not talking about RA questions. I’m talking about under the influence of alcohol or drugs or, level mental capacity questions. We call these folks “passengers” and they, by policy, do not increase our risk one-itoa….. Makes no sense…..
With regards to fatigue, I tend to simplify it. If you are not 100% fit for duty, it’s a no-go… Period. Otherwise, the individual who is 80% (for whatever reason) has unnecessarily elevated the risk of the entire operation which, by the way, is 100% preventable. You only slept 3 hours? You’re done. Oh, you say you only slept 5 hours? Nope, you’re done. You’ve worked 15 straight days between two jobs? You’re done…. Basically we are required to relieve ourselves from duty at the first indication of fatigue…. Mind you, for us, this isn’t an operational safety issue. It’s a policy & procedure issue…..
In the end, it’s up to us to come up with a better way to assess the level of risk. An RA that makes sense and has value. Not the Fed’s, company management or the safety industry……
Edited by Spike, 30 July 2016 - 13:27.
Posted 28 August 2016 - 02:04
If you've had inadequate rest, then regardless of whether a safety matrix says you're okay to fly, you need to exercise the professional judgment to say that your'e too fatigued.
This year at certain locations, during the morning briefing, a matrix was presented with group participation, assigning a numerical value to each category on a list. The numbers tallied, a risk factor was assigned to anticipated missions for the day. One of those factors was adequate rest, and fatigue.
I've had a number of occasions in tanker operations when given a "load and return," I declined. It may have been the conditions over the fire. It may have been visibility enroute, or it may have been an experience i'd just had at the fire. Whatever the occasion, the decision as pilot in command to make a safety-related call wasn't debatable, wasn't questioned, and wasn't up for discussion.
A staple component of any practical test standard for many years has been that the outcome of the maneuver be never seriously in doubt. The same can be said for a flight. If there are doubts about the safety of a flight, then the flight operation needs to be withheld until such conditions are changed or the matter rectified, and the concerns are removed.
We are not paid to take chances. We are paid to eliminate them.
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