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FAR 135.271 rest question


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Does anybody know if 135.271 applies to EMS helicopters not based directly at a hospital? For example, based at an actual airport.

 

More specifically, part (f) that applies to "An adequate place of rest must be provided at, or in close proximity to, the hospital at which the HEMES assignment is being performed."

 

Does the company have to provide rest areas if you are at a hanger at an airport?

What constitutes an "adequate place to rest"? (Chairs? Beds?)

 

Any input would be great.

 

Thanks

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"Any input would be great"

 

I never heard of anybody operating under the "HEMES" rule, 11 years in the biz. So what I'm giving you is "input", wipe your shoes.

 

When new, I asked a manager about this rule, his response was that the 8 hour rest period had to be scheduled-

"(d) Each flight crewmember must receive at least 8 consecutive hours of rest during any 24 consecutive hour period of a HEMES assignment. A flight crewmember must be relieved of the HEMES assignment if he or she has not or cannot receive at least 8 consecutive hours of rest during any 24 consecutive hour period of a HEMES assignment."

With the "look back" precedent, if one received a request at 16:00:01 of continuous duty, I don't think you could accept dispatch as you will not have had 8 hours uninterupted rest within 24 hours. Kinda makes this a 16 hour period vs a 14 hour 135 duty limit, and big-time scheduling problems to gain those 2 hours. Two pilots on 12 hour shifts give you 24/7 availability, easy.

 

The fatigue and safety considerations are, uh- "challenging".

 

The best reason to be in EMS is the fact that you can go home regularly.

Edited by Wally
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Our company has a provision for this, with advance approval from a supervisor, but I've never heard of it being used. It would take something really unusual before anyone would approve it. It's only for working a 24-hour shift, not for normal operations, and we just use 12-hour shifts to avoid the problems. If you're working 12-hour shifts, or less, there is no need to worry about the HEMES stuff.

 

IMO, if the company does use the HEMES provisions, it would have to provide a bedroom as a minimum, where you could get usful sleep. OTOH, if it's just s normal shift, they don't have to provide anything at all, even though many do provide something, be it bedrooms, a separate apartment/house/whatever, or just a room in the hangar. We have a house away from the base. It's not a big house, certainly not a palace, but it's quiet, away from the base, and it's good enough. We previously had an apartment, which wasn't a place anyone wanted to live. We made enough complaints so that the company agreed to get another place, and we found this one after a lot of searching. It doesn't cost significantly more than the apartment. I know of programs that require the pilots to move to the area and provide their own living arrangements, some that provide a small bedroom in the hangar, and pretty much any other situation you can think of. Without a union contract, the company is free to provide anything or nothing, depending entirely on management's whim. N. B., this entire paragraph is on general conditions, NOT on working HEMES shifts. I don't know of any programs that do that regularly.

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Does anybody know if 135.271 applies to EMS helicopters not based directly at a hospital? For example, based at an actual airport.

 

More specifically, part (f) that applies to "An adequate place of rest must be provided at, or in close proximity to, the hospital at which the HEMES assignment is being performed."

 

Does the company have to provide rest areas if you are at a hanger at an airport?

What constitutes an "adequate place to rest"? (Chairs? Beds?)

 

 

This is something you should be able to answer form your Operations Manual. OpSpec A021 is issued, A004 is updated, and your Operations Manual would be required to outline which rule applies to each location, if in fact 135.271 is applicable.

 

The regulation doesn’t contain detail of “adequate place of rest”. The test is just one of reasonableness. An adequate place of rest would be required for a pilot not based directly at a hospital, if 135.271 is applicable. See background information below:

 

8900.1 VOLUME 4:CHAPTER 5 AIR AMBULANCE OPERATIONS

 

INTRODUCTION. This chapter contains background information on air ambulance operations. It also contains information, direction, and guidance to be used by inspectors and principal operations inspectors (POI) when evaluating an operator’s air ambulance procedures, General Operations Manual (GOM), or the unique requirements an operator must meet prior to being issued operations specification (OpSpec) A021, “Air Ambulance Operations—Helicopter”

 

Flight and Rest Time. Operators may choose to schedule crews under one of several rules. In some cases, operators may conduct operations at different locations under different rules. The operator’s GOM must contain the specific method to be used and how records are to be kept to show compliance with the rule used.

 

Flight Time and Rest Requirements. Inspectors should ensure that an operator maintains well-defined records showing the difference of flight time, rest time, and off duty or unassigned time in accordance with part 135, subpart F, Flight Crewmember Flight Time Limitations and Rest Requirements. Air ambulance operators will normally operate under either one of the following regulations:

 

1) Title 14 CFR part 135, § 135.267, Flight Time Limitations and Rest Requirements-Unscheduled One- and Two-Pilot Crews. According to this regulation, the flight crewmembers are allowed to conduct any flight or other duties as assigned, such as training, testing, routine transport missions, while on duty/assignment. For an assignment conducted under § 135.267, flight crewmembers must receive at least 10 consecutive hours of rest during the 24-hour period that precedes the planned completion of the assignment.

 

2) Title 14 CFR part 135, § 135.271, Helicopter Hospital Emergency Medical Evacuation (HEMES). The rest requirements for HEMES differ from the requirements for flights conducted under § 135.267. During operations in accordance with § 135.271, provisions must be made for eight consecutive hours of rest during any 24 hour period, and that eight-hour rest period must be declared in advance. If the flight crewmember does not receive the required rest period, that person must be relieved of the assignment. The operator should establish recordkeeping to show that only emergency medical evacuation flights are conducted during these assignments. While a flight crewmember is assigned to duty under § 135.271, that person may not be assigned to any other duties. Prohibited duties during a HEMES assignment include, but are not limited to, maintenance test flights, public relations flights, and administrative duties.

 

Inspectors should ensure that operators scheduling under § 135.271 have identified those procedures and policies in their operations manual.

 

Legal Interpretations & Chief Counsel's Opinions: FAR 135.267 & 135.271

Edited by iChris
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  • 2 months later...

Has anyone ever asked the FAA about flying Part135 for 14 hours then returning to the base under Part 9?

Really depends on the company. My company considers a return flight as still Part 135. Training, test flights, currency flight, reposition flights are all Part 91. I've heard some companies calling the return flight Part 91 because the med crew in the back is under the certificate holder. My crews work for the hospital so they dont fall under the certificate holder and consider the flight back as 135. Really it's something for your Chief Pilot/Standards Pilot to clarify. I know ours has made it clear not to exceed 14 hrs on a return flight.

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Making the return flight under Part 91 should be in the ops specs. The people in the back have to be considered crewmembers, and that requires specific training requirements. If they aren't trained as crewmembers, and not employed by the 135 certificate holder, they're passengers, and you can't fly them past 14 hours of duty time. If they're qualified crewmembers, then you can fly as long as you want as long as there is no patient onboard. You still have to meet the 10 hours of rest requirement before you can fly Part 135 again.

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Oh, and thanks for all the responses. I was more concerned with what the company has to provide in terms of a physical place to rest, such as a bedroom or if they can just hand you a chair and tell you to stand-by in it for 14 hours in a room with a tv.

Edited by Bluetamon
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Oh, and thanks for all the responses. I was more concerned with what the company has to provide in terms of a physical place to rest, such as a bedroom or if they can just hand you a chair and tell you to stand-by in it for 14 hours in a room with a tv.

 

The feds only define "rest" as not flying commercially. You can get off duty and go fly a Guard, public use, or your own aircraft and come back to work 10 hrs later. Or you could work all day in construction or basically ANYTHING not commercial flying. Basically the certificate holder cannot require anything of you on your 10 hrs off.

 

Same goes for a HEMES shift. You don't answer the phone, you don't go do PRs, no ground standby's, you don't do duties as the base safety officer, etc. The FARs do not say anything specifically about what your place of rest has to be, but you POI for the local FSDO will. An operator cannot assign a HEMES to you unless you accept it. So if you don't like it, don't accept it.

 

I used to do them all the time. I would do 47-hr ones so I could come back on shift after 12 hrs rest (anything 48+ and you would have to be off for 16 hrs.) We are based at an airport and do fairly quick flights. I never got bumped off shift by exceeding flight time or not getting the 8hrs rest on the go. They were great, you could make about $2500 if OT on a holiday weekend with a 48hr. Unfortunately our FSDO changed them around 2007. Rather than picked up the 8hrs rest as you were required to go out of service for 8 hrs rest--then you could go for 16 hrs. So the company was paying for an extra shift, but only gaining an extra 2 hrs on top of the 14 you could work on a normal shift.

 

We still have them in the book, but I think I was the last one to ever work one......and that was 6 yrs ago. I would do 24hrs anytime over 12's.......ah, the good ole' days.

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I guess it would depend on who's paying for it also. If you have a "customer" paying for the return flight, even if you don't have a patient, wouldn't it still be Part 135?

 

Not necessarily. If there are no passengers on board, it can be a "Part 91 positioning flight". You see that a lot on accident reports. It's really only Part 135 if you're actually carrying passengers or cargo. Who is paying isn't really the governing criterion.

 

As noted, Part 135 says nothing about the conditions of the rest area, or even whether the company has to provide anything at all. If there is no labor contract, then the company doesn't have to provide any rest area at all. It can require you to provide your own if it wants.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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