Have Flight Time Limitations reached their “sell by date”

Fatigue has been managed in the aviation industry through the use of prescriptive regulations that limit maximum work hours and require minimum rest periods. This method is flawed as it offers a one dimensional solution to a complex problem and creates a false sense of safety, or a lack of safety, on either side of an arbitrary boundary.

The increasing complexity of airline operations and the need for efficient use of crew and aircraft has resulted in increasingly prescriptive rules, which are expected to cope with endlessly changing circumstances. The flaws in this approach are all too apparent, but attempts to resolve these problems often result in confrontation from interested parties.

Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) provide an opportunity to resolve the impasse, and restore an environment of mutual trust. FRMS is operationally based and allows a dynamic and flexible response to changing operational needs. Through the use of the detection, classification, analysis and prioritization of fatigue risks, they can be mitigated and future challenges met.

ESAM supports development and implementation of FRMS in airlines, and further details are available in the ESAM position paper.