Time running out to sign petition calling on government for safer skies

Air Canada Pilots Association Press Release | August 23, 2017

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 59 seconds.

Pilots are calling on Canadians to add their voice to the 7,000 who have signed a petition calling on Transport Canada to implement stronger pilot fatigue rules.

Transport Canada’s proposed updates to the 20-year-old Canadian Aviation Regulations still do not comply with established fatigue science, leaving Canadian pilots and their passengers falling behind comparable jurisdictions like the United States, according to  the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA).

“Most Canadians don’t realize how out of step Canada’s aviation regulations are with what science recommends,” says Milt Isaacs, CEO of the ACPA. “Canada has an opportunity to ensure safer skies–but risks squandering it by disregarding sleep science and international standards. Canadian pilots are asking for help–on behalf of their passengers and crew–to ensure that Canada is a leader and not a laggard in aviation fatigue science.”

Fatigue is a type of impairment and it affects all pilots. Unlike a tired driver, a pilot can’t pull over to the side of the road. NASA research recommends a maximum flight time at night of 8.5 hours, as alertness, response time and cognitive performance is degraded. Fatigue is especially prevalent on long-haul over-night flights, but it can be mitigated with the right rules: adequate rest, sufficient recovery time after crossing time zones, and ensuring additional pilots are on board to take over the controls after that limit has been reached (augmentation).

“Nowhere else in the world can pilots fly as many hours in a day, week, and month with as little time off to recover as Canada, and even the updated regulations do not go far enough,” said Capt Dan Adamus, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) Canada.

“This may be the last chance in a very long time for Canadians to advocate for regulations that comply with science, align with international standards and strengthen protections for pilots and passengers. We encourage all Canadians who travel on planes of any size to sign the petition at saferskies.ca and keep Canada’s skies safe and our aviation standards world-class.”

Canada should learn from its neighbours in the United States and not wait for a tragedy to act. Following the 2009 Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, N.Y., the Federal Aviation Administration adopted regulations that go even further than NASA’s recommendations. Today, these rules require pilot augmentation after just eight hours of flight time for departures after 8 p.m.

Click here for more from Canada’s pilots about the challenges of managing fatigue, getting proper rest, and why one level of safety for all is so important.

To sign the petition, concerned Canadians can visit this website.


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