PAPER, RELYING ON VOLUNTARY REPORTING ABOUT FATIGUE, ADDS LITTLE TO THE KNOWLEDGE BASE ON THIS IMPORTANT AVIATION SAFETY ISSUE

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ARTICLE: Hunting Down Fatigue

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Any scientific research on the subject of flight crew fatigue should add to the development of well designed, relevant solutions . The Flight Safety Foundation reviewed a paper published in the August issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine; all three authors were medical or crewing officials with BMI, British Midland International. The methodology was based on the crew members’ voluntary submission of fatigue report forms (FRFs). While the article was published in a recognized journal, the results do not vary from episodic information available to the professionals who work with pilots and flight attendants. The reasons most often cited by the respondents were:

• the quality of hotel accommodations,
• commuting distances between the airport and hotel or home, and
• the “hassle factor” associated with individual airport conditions or technical problems.

Those are all factors which the pilots and flight attendants attribute to management. A lesser reported issue was sleep problems due to circadian rhythm adjustments. The report did not mention concerns related the flight crews’ commuting to/from the point of origin.

Self reporting of subjective issues can produce valid insights; the results of this study really did not add to the knowledge base.

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