1 in 3 pilots wake to find their co-pilot also asleep (so how many pilots are asleep?)

27 September 2013


People say flying is safer than driving, because there are fewer accidents. However, the thought of hurtling to your inevitable death from the sky at hundreds of miles an hour is a perfectly logical fear and that, most car accidents are piddling little things compared to giant vehicles plummeting from the sky.

To make matters worse, most pilots sleep on the job, according to findings from the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa). On one long-haul flight, the captain and his co-pilot on the 325-seat Airbus A330 decided to take turns in having 20-minute naps and both nodded off at the same time.

Of course, there's an autopilot to rely on, but the thought of pilots sleeping through an emergency is enough to send an icy chill down the spine of sensible people who are terrified of flying. And the stats continue to make for nauseous reading.

The survey found that 43% felt their abilities have been compromised at least once a month in the last 6 months by tiredness, with 84% saying that they'd been hindered by doziness during the past 6 months.

51% said they reckoned their airline Chief Executive would back them if they refused to fly because of tiredness, which means that at the moment, the 31% who believe that airlines don't have a culture that lends itself to reporting fatigue, appear to be right.

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of BALPA, said: "Making every flight a safe flight is the number one priority for British pilots who have helped establish some of the highest safety standards in Europe. Tiredness is already a major challenge for pilots who are deeply concerned that unscientific new EU rules will cut UK standards and lead to increased levels of tiredness, which has been shown to be a major contributory factor in air accidents."

TOPICS:   Travel


  • People P.
    Breaking news .. Trade Union says its members are overworked Yawn
  • Chewbie
    Smoke da sensi
  • dvdj10
    Gotta say I'm with People. If I could get away with working less for the same pay then I'd be kicking up a fuss too. Does anyone actually know the legal length of time a pilot has to have between flights etc? Why aren't they getting their sleep then rather than drinking and trying to bang air hostesses?
  • Wendy J.
    Let the plane passengers tune in a TV channel to the cockpit so they can watch their pilots sleep on long overnight flights ( after setting the wrong cruise control, saying goodnight and turning off noise disturbances like the goodnight radio).

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