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The crucial point here is that this title isn't "one or two pilots admitted this", we're talking about totally different levels of scale...
Out of 389 Norwegian pilots, 206 admitted to already have fallen asleep during flight without warning their co-pilot. Now this is scary, isn't it?
Head of norwegian pilots organisation says, that pilots easily work 60 hours a week, and often have to work 13-15 hours without a proper break. Pilots would often be pressured not to take mandatory breaks, because of cost reasons of the airlines.
Some comments during the interviews:
"12 hour flights in ice and snow are totally irresponsible."
One said, that he and his co-pilot both fell asleep at the same time once.
Another pilot stated, that he worked 17 out of 21 weekends and barely sees his family.
In my opinion there are certain jobs which just cannot work with that much pressure - be it in terms of money or working time. Especially jobs high on responsibility -such as pilots and doctors- are just too dependend on full reliability, which also means that the working people should get enough free time... and enough payment, too imo. Just imagine a doctor who worries all day because his wife is pregnant and he gets all worried about not beeing able to have enough financials to live with that.
It's certainly not a Norwegian problem either, it's probably at least as bad (or worse) in 95% of all other countries.
Imo politicians are responsible to assure safety here. This resembles a debate in Germany: Some years ago, trucks needed to have two drivers on board to make sure that each driver could rest properly. This law was discarded, ever since there have been a lot of crashes and casualties involving sleeping truck drivers.
Probably politicians thought it would be good for logistic companies because it's cheaper to pay for a funeral once in a while then paying for a second driver...
Planes obviously already have two pilots, but imo airlines should be forced to give them enough breaks.
Perhaps it's that politicians care too less about the "human factor". They love demanding technical standards to increase safety, but looking at such numbers of working time and stress on people in responsible positions, it seems that politics totally failed.
Last edited by Roflkopt3r; February 09, 2011 at 02:06 PM.
I like how bluntly you put the truck companies way of thinking.
" it's cheaper to pay for a funeral once in a while then paying for a second driver.."
It's sad that a company would prioritize financial gain over the well being of their employees just to make a profit, but alas thats the way many would see it. Tragic?, most definitely but in a world where most companies are trying to survive struggling with the competition, that is the way people invested in the company are going to see it.
With that point taken into account could an airline really be willing to risk the financial repercussions of a plane crash potentially caused by over half of the over-worked and stressed pilots?
Would I blame the pilots, depends there work schedule would have to be taken into consideration if they were one of the unfortunate ones to be on one of those 15 hrs plus shifts (not to mention if they have to work more depending on weather conditions etc etc, i'm not I pilot but I would assume some would have to be drafted in to work as the money lost to the company would be unacceptable) then they have my full sympathy.
Bottom line airlines can't get away with the total disregard for proper safety procedures enforced on their pilots just because they can't deal with mobs of unhappy customers who haven't made their destination.
I'd happily spend the night in the airport than ride in a plane flown by 206 pilots who nod off mid-flight.
Last edited by EureKA; February 09, 2011 at 07:07 PM.
Either way, it's a clear lack of showing responsibility from the airlines and politicians, who allow such circumstances.
Since it's more than 50% of pilots, it's certainly systemic and not just the failure of single pilots.