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Australian Aviation article

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loobloke

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What’s in a brand? Ruminations on Virgin Australia and Qantas | Australian Aviation Magazine

Article is ok at best, but the comment quoted below from a pilot I found very interesting.

Fatigue: let me explain to you the difference between “Legal” and “Safe”. in Qantas when we fly from Japan to Australia we are always 3 crew, proper rest is assured for each pilot in a proper bunk. In Jetstar they operate 2 crew, no rest facility and legally both pilots must remain in their seats except for toilet stops. No body wants to crash at the other end so what frequently happens is that one pilot rolls up his coat and sleeps on the floor whilst the other watches the aircraft!

Every day on these routes we dodge massive thunderstorms and the types of conditions the felled the Air France AF447 Airbus last year in the South Atlantic, this is hard to do when one pilot is asleep on the floor if the other one nods off in his seat because it is 4.30am and no one is there to watch him. The reason why we have not had a problem so far is that the australian Jetstar pilots, irrespective of working crazy rostering policies, are good australian operators. How would this situation play out when a Qantas Asia or Jetstar Singapore crew consisting of a Mexican Captain and a inexperienced Malaysian First officer play out?
I believe QF might call this lowering their cost base?
 

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eastwest101

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I think the take-away from some of Bob's comments after that article was two-fold...


"magagement expectations of Singapore/Hong Kong service levels for Thai/Vietnamese wages"

"relationship between bonded arrangement, whereby dismissed or redundant crew have to repay their own training costs in full, and the issue of job security"



Imagine that you wanted to practice law, so a legal firm could employ you and bond you to the value of a law degree (about $70K ?), you do the degree and practice for a few years, and are then made redundant because the firm lost clients or cases. The firm would then send you a bill for your own degree along with the redundancy. How many lawyers would take that offer?
 

samiam

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I think the take-away from some of Bob's comments after that article was two-fold...
This is the bit that I took away:

Qantas management has told us that literally “it doesn’t matter how cheap you are, we will never offer you any form of security and we will always seek to pursue a cheaper option”. In aviation the cost of this attitude is measured in hull losses and body bags.
:shock::shock::shock:
 

Sprucegoose

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What’s in a brand? Ruminations on Virgin Australia and Qantas | Australian Aviation MagazineArticle is ok at best, but the comment quoted below from a pilot I found very interesting.I believe QF might call this lowering their cost base?
Good lord, rolling up your coat and sleeping on the floor, please give me a break. Like students or backpackers. Do you boil tea on a portable stove as well?To JPN it's only 9 hours, I do more than that all day, so do most people. Harden up.
 

straitman

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Good lord, rolling up your coat and sleeping on the floor, please give me a break. Like students or backpackers. Do you boil tea on a portable stove as well?To JPN it's only 9 hours, I do more than that all day, so do most people. Harden up.
Are you serious or are you trying to get a bite :?:

If the first then you need to get a serious grip on fatigue management.

If the second then you will get plenty of bites :!:
 

Pu Koh

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Good lord, rolling up your coat and sleeping on the floor, please give me a break. Like students or backpackers. Do you boil tea on a portable stove as well?To JPN it's only 9 hours, I do more than that all day, so do most people. Harden up.
I do kinda agree. Surely pilots get enough down time between flights to rest. If they choose not to rest during that time, who's fault is it that they are fatigued? If they were flying from Sydney to London it would be a different story. But a 9 hour flight + another 2 hours for preflight and post flight duties, surely one could stay awake for 11 hours.

Flying across time zones does screw your body up, but isn't it part of the job to plan your day based on when your next flight is so you are rested enough to fly?

I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but i thought flights run on auto pilot for most of the journey unless something out of the ordinary happens?

Edit: I have seen the light. Yes it's very hard work being a pilot. Can stop correcting me now :)
 
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straitman

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I do kinda agree. Surely pilots get enough down time between flights to rest. If they choose not to rest during that time, who's fault is it that they are fatigued? If they were flying from Sydney to London it would be a different story. But a 9 hour flight + another 2 hours for preflight and post flight duties, surely one could stay awake for 11 hours.

Flying across time zones does screw your body up, but isn't it part of the job to plan your day based on when your next flight is so you are rested enough to fly?

I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but i thought flights run on auto pilot for most of the journey unless something out of the ordinary happens?
Maybe you should try it sometime.

Have tomorrow off work then start work at 5pm, then after approx 1 hr sit in a comfortable chair for 9-10 hrs (play a flight simulator game) and stay awake all night. It really is not that easy.

After that have a 24 hr break which would start at (from the above example) at about 5 am then do the reverse trip. In each case make sure you are sufficiently awake at the end of each of the work shifts to safely land a large aircraft with approx 200 (or more) people counting on your abilities.

This is a simple example and it only gets more complicated from there.
 

markis10

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Staying awake is one thing, being alert and on the ball is another all together, both are hard when your body clock is out of sync with the local time. Authorities tell us to take a break when we are driving a car every two hours, yet some of the posts here suggest thats not needed for 9 hours in a plane, give me a break :shock:.
 

loobloke

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1. Running on autopilot is a blessing and curse for a lot of reasons. Just for fatigue, imagine sitting there doing nothing for 9 hours waiting for something to go wrong. Meanwhile the environment outside you is pitch black, encouraging you to sleep. And it's not like you and go read a book or something to kill time, if nothing is requiring your attention you sit there waiting for something that does.

2. Sit there for a few hours in the middle of the night doing very little. When you work for 9+ hours you are actively doing something, you don't feel tired there because of the adrenalin. That and you're body clock is regulated, you aren't doing shift work. Take that away and I would like to see how you cope. I've done graveyard for 3 years, I run off caffeine and I'm lucky I always have fantastic people around to talk to, but then still, it's exhausting.

3. This made me think of the "toughen up princess" story from the PER to SIN run. IIRC, the pilots do a return leg there, so it's like 5.5 hours each way flying in the middle of the night! That's well over a 12 hour shift with the turnaround. I wouldn't be impressed if someone told me to toughen up if I was tired doing something like that.

4. It was particularly the comparison between JQ and QF that caught my eye. One boasts a reputation for safety, the other boasts a low fares every day. Now you can clearly see how each of them are achieved.
 

samiam

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Have tomorrow off work then start work at 5pm, then after approx 1 hr sit in a comfortable chair for 9-10 hrs (play a flight simulator game) and stay awake all night. It really is not that easy.
Apart from the work bit, haven't you just described the life of a young male gamer?
 

Pu Koh

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Staying awake is one thing, being alert and on the ball is another all together, both are hard when your body clock is out of sync with the local time. Authorities tell us to take a break when we are driving a car every two hours, yet some of the posts here suggest thats not needed for 9 hours in a plane, give me a break :shock:.
Driving is hardly like flying a plane. you have to constantly pay attention! (driving is a lot harder!!)

Body clock out of sync is a cow, but it has always been a part of the job.

Would be interesting to know what pilots want done about it. Have 3 pilots and a cot on very flight? Would they be willing to take a pay cut so JQ can hire an extra pilot?

But if there are 2 pilots, don't they take turns taking naps anyway?
 
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markis10

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Driving is hardly like flying a plane. you have to constantly pay attention! (driving is a lot harder!!)
Are you saying you dont have to pay attention flying, I take it you don't have a pilots licence then, driving is easy compared to flying, as its only two dimensional!
 

markis10

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true~ but there's no auto pilot on a car!
Autopilots dont do position reports, check fuel for variations from whats expected, check the updated weather at the destination and enroute, program themselves for an approach route, monitor the radar for turbulence/storms, run through arrival checklists, notify ops about special needs, look out the window for traffic thats not where it told ATC it was, or perform pilots restroom duties :shock:, or even talk to ATC who have been known to ask the odd annoying question LOL.
 

Justchecking

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Fatigue Is not only a matter of staying awake 9hrs. Its also a matter of working at altitude (a pressurised cabin is approx 6,000ft) against your circadian rhythm, and often after minimum daylight hours rest only.
 

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Good lord, rolling up your coat and sleeping on the floor, please give me a break. Like students or backpackers. Do you boil tea on a portable stove as well?To JPN it's only 9 hours, I do more than that all day, so do most people. Harden up.
Sorry, but I will bite here. OK I am only a PPL, but I can tell you that after 3 hours as PIC with mainly hands on flying, you are fatigued due to the concentration and things you need to do. It's much the same in a larger aircraft as you must remain alert all the time. You can't duck over to the cafe for a coffee or grab the paper for a quick read. I'd like to see you after 9 hours flying a plane and tell you to harden up!
 

straitman

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The best description I have ever been able to offer re pilot fatigue is to strap your self into your office chair, (4 or 5 point harness) for the nine or so hours and not be able to get up for anything other than a brief toilet break. No lunch breaks or visits to the canteen as lunch and coffee is delivered.

Then multiply that nine hours by a factor of approx 150% (or more) and you get the fatigue level that people talk about.

After a ten hour day in the office I was always a lot fresher than if I'd done 6-8 hours flying. There really is no comparison.
 

anat0l

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true~ but there's no auto pilot on a car!
Driving is hardly like flying a plane. you have to constantly pay attention! (driving is a lot harder!!)
Oh you could not be any more wrong, foolish nor very insulting to every pilot worth his earned wings. :evil:

You are obviously of the school of thought of Micheal O'Leary, the man who purported that we can do away with two or even a pilot at all because an autopilot can do a significant amount already and possibly all of it!

Are you suggesting in a plane you do not have to constantly pay attention either? If anything, flying is significantly more difficult than driving. In fact, driving is more or less child's play compared to flying. That's why the processes to become a pilot are far, far, far more (deservedly) extensive and expensive compared to that of becoming a licensed driver.

Can I also remind you that the mark of a good, trained pilot is not that of when everything is normal, but when things are abnormal, or when they go wrong. Driving has a similar analogy, but the number of things that can go wrong and the sophistication required to handle such incidents in an aircraft is substantial compared to the similar issues with a car. Now really try and tell me to my face that driving is a lot harder than flying.


Would be interesting to know what pilots want done about it. Have 3 pilots and a cot on very flight? Would they be willing to take a pay cut so JQ can hire an extra pilot?
Aren't some aircraft supposed to have rest locations? I know that sometimes pilots sit in premium class seats earmarked for them, but it probably won't give them a prospect of decent sleep, which is what they sorely need. Let's not consider that the pax can be inconsiderately noisy, and given this is JQ we are talking about, that's not awfully far from the truth.

But if there are 2 pilots, don't they take turns taking naps anyway?
A functioning cockpit must always have an active pilot and co-pilot. Can't understand how JQ gets away with this on their longhaul flights, unless CASA is being a complete passive <insert expletive descriptor> in this regard (e.g. by foolishly not acting and / or delegating the safety enforcement to the airlines).


The article (and / or the comments) seem to allude to some racist overtones, i.e. a Mexican or a Malaysian pilot and / or first officer would have absolutely no chance of being an even adequate let alone world class pilot. I think that's rather unfair. The main reason we do not want more Asian based staff is purely nationalistic reasons, that's it. It may be because of the quality of the staff in such areas, but the reasons for failure would be related to the quality of which these staff are actually trained (a responsibility of QF), not because of the race these staff were born into.


It begs to reason as to where are VA getting their pilots / first officers, and how much are they being paid (assuming they are paid less than their QF counterparts, but perhaps more than their JQ ones)? Of course, some of them could be former QF staff who are happy to take a pay cut...
 

markis10

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DJ may have a lower cost base but I am not aware of them being under investigation or CASA audit nor has there been examples of poor CRM or a culture of cover up when it comes to safety as has been the case with other LCCs operating in Australia. With LCCs ordering massive amounts of new aircraft in the last week at Paris while we have an aircraft manufacturer warning we have a skills shortage when in comes to technical crew, I shudder to think where we are heading!

PARIS: Boeing warns airlines time's running out for training
 

Nigelinoz

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Car driving harder than flying a plane?Yeah right,remember QF32?try asking a car driver to handle that sort of situation
and see how they perform.
Ridiculous,and insulting to every pilot.
 
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