Warning that the safety of the flying public is at stake, two of the nation’s best known pilots on Wednesday expressed concern over proposed new rules that would govern pilot duty and rest requirements.
Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, who safely landed a disabled US Airways plane in the Hudson River last year, said portions of the government plan would actually increase pilot fatigue. “For decades, pilot fatigue has been a problem that we have not completely solved,” Sullenberger said at a news conference in Washington.
“I’m here to propose that these rules be improved before they’re enacted to do what’s essential and to protect the safety of the flying public.”
The Pilot Flight and Duty Time Rule currently under consideration would consolidate current rest requirements, which vary depending on whether the flight is domestic, international or unscheduled (as with charter flights).
But the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, which represents more than 28,000 commercial airline pilots, said several provisions may have a negative impact on flight safety.
The Allied Pilots Association has called parts of the plan “a big step backwards.”The rules that we enact now we must get right. Not only will the people who fly be living under them for decades to come, our passengers will feel the effects of these new rules for decades to come,” Sullenberger said.
Over the past 15 years, pilot fatigue has been linked to more than 250 fatalities in air carrier accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.