is resting while commuting. Accordingly, time spent commuting, either locally or long-distance, is not considered rest” (p. 55,875).


As part of its efforts to update the regulations, the FAA chartered an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) in June 2009. The ARC was comprised of representatives from labor, industry, and the FAA, and it was tasked with using fatigue science and a review of international approaches to develop recommendations for revisions of current regulations. The ARC was unable to reach consensus on all issues, however they did reach consensus on the role of commuting in any proposed regulations. With respect to commuting they “unanimously recommended that pilots be reminded of their existing obligations under part 91 to report to work fit for duty, but that the FAA impose no new requirements” (p. 55,874).

Issues Related to the Proposed Rule

The proposed regulations present commuting as fundamentally an issue of fitness for duty, defining a responsible commuter as a pilot who “plans his or her commute to minimize its impact on his or her ability to get meaningful rest shortly before flying, thus fulfilling the proposed requirement that he or she reports for an FDP rested and prepared to perform his or her assigned duty” (p. 55,874). The NPRM places considerable emphasis on education because, as the NPRM states, “The FAA believes a primary reason that pilots may engage in irresponsible commuting practices is a lack of education on what activities are fatiguing and how to mitigate developing fatigue” (p. 55,875). Pilot education is one of the specified objectives of the draft advisory circular on fitness-for-duty mentioned above. The effect of commuting on fatigue is also one element of a recommended training curriculum specified in the NPRM.

In the NPRM (pThe draft circular clearly states. 55,875), the FAA further states that “it is inappropriate to simply rely on the existing requirements in Part 91 to report to work fit for duty.” FAA proposes a new Part 117 to address fitness for duty. The proposed rule states, “Fit for duty means physiologically and mentally prepared and capable of performing assigned duties in flight with the highest degree of safety” (p. 55,885). The proposed section 117.5 goes on to place specific responsibility on both the flight crew member and the airline: see Box 6-1.

As a complement to issuance of the NPRM, the FAA issued a draft advisory circular (AC 120-FIT) on fitness for duty “to demonstrate acceptable methods of compliance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) proposed part 117, § 117.5.” The draft circular clearly states

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