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The Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue

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Nearly everyone experiences fatigue, but some professions--such as aviation, medicine and the military--demand alert, precise, rapid, and well-informed decision making and communication with little margin for error. The potential for fatigue to negatively affect human performance is well established. Concern about this potential in the aviation context extends back decades, with both airlines and pilots agreeing that fatigue is a safety concern. A more recent consideration is whether and how pilot commuting, conducted in a pilot's off-duty time, may affect fatigue during flight duty.

In summer 2010 the U.S. Congress directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to update the federal regulations that govern pilot flight and duty time, taking into account recent research related to sleep and fatigue. As part of their directive, Congress also instructed FAA to have the National Academy of Sciences conduct a study on the effects of commuting on pilot fatigue. The Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue reviews research and other information related to the prevalence and characteristics of commuting; to the science of sleep, fatigue, and circadian rhythms; to airline and regulatory oversight policies; and to pilot and airline practices.

The Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue discusses the policy, economic, and regulatory issues that affect pilot commuting, and outlines potential next steps, including recommendations for regulatory or administrative actions, or further research by the FAA.

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Suggested Citation

Transportation Research Board and National Research Council. 2011. The Effects of Commuting on Pilot Fatigue. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13201.

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Publication Info

222 pages | 6 x 9
ISBNs:
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-21696-8
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-21699-9
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/13201
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