Fatigue for one-Fatigue for all

George's Point of View
Remember that old Herodotus misquote inscribed on the James A Farley Post Office Building: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.“?
The iconic postman is viewed as being the superman of civil servants, intrepid deliverers, come what may. (For those of you born after 1997, the mythos of the intrepid postal carrier predates the movie. Bless Kevin Costner’s heart)
That iconoclastic perspective will stand unchallenged by pilots if the FAA goes ahead in its move to impose stringent regulations limiting pilot flight time. The bill includes some $8 billion for airport construction and pilot scheduling limitations designed to lessen the incidence of accidents related to pilot fatigue.
However the effectiveness of this bill may be challenged by an amendment exempting some pilots (those flying for nonscheduled carriers and charter flights carrying commercial cargo) from the amendments intended “fatigue protection.”
Are cargo pilots and charter pilots built of sterner stuff? Are they eating their Wheaties and consuming super-charged vitamins? Are they really supermen who are not affected by the debilitating fatigue of lesser men? Is the biology of this select group of pilots different from all other pilots so that they are immune?
What do
you think?
Maybe, just maybe, this new amendment is designed to sacrifice safety concerns in favor of profit.
No kidding.
There is no place for exemptions in this bill.
However, that said, one hopes common sense will be applied in military situations. Say, for example, it is wartime. Can you see some 2011 era John Wayne pilot watching the second hand on his stopwatch and scrubbing a mission based on a peacetime standard? Is some squad somewhere going to have to stop in mid-mission due to a peacetime regulation? How doubly stupid would it be to give any faction opposing us the foreknowledge of such controlling factors. It’s the 2011 equivalent of the British sending their troops out in formation, to be picked off by guerilla fighting Americans. Are we the stupid ones with targets on our chests now?
Let pilots flying commercial aviation have their reasonable hours, and leave the heroism and exemptions up to the military.
And to mailmen too, of course—long may they be by
snow, rain, heat and gloom of night, “unstayed.”

Originally posted by George Hatcher on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011