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Pilot fatigue has deadly outcome

15-04-2010

Canadian airline pilots are fatigued to a dangerous level, with the issue being directly responsible in at least 12 crashes that killed 28 people over the last decade, the CBC reported recently. The flight regulations in Canada state that pilots carrying a maximum of 9 passengers may be on duty for up to 14 hours, however the CBC investigation revealed that many pilots work for more than one carrier to supplement their income, resulting in longer working hours and significant fatigue. According to the report the issue has been kept from authorities by pilots falsifying their flight hours in regulatory logs submitted to Transport Canada.

A study at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia in Adelaide found that the impairment of people who work 18 to 20 hours at a time is equivalent to those with a blood alcohol level of .05 to .07%, with similar slowness of reaction and dulled senses.

“If it’s not ok to be impaired due to alcohol, why is it ok to have the same level of impairment due to fatigue?” said Drew Dawson, director of the centre.

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